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Treated with steroids for disc problem. Diagnosed with internal shingles. On virus medication. Any advice?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1978
Answered : 6593 Questions

I'm a 40 year old male in good shape. I'm an avid runner (marathoner) and weight lifter. About two months ago, I had a disc problem at L-4 or L-5 that had been previously diagnosed before and had resolved. This time, I was placed on streroids and it again resolved. Two weeks ago, I got a pain signifnicantly higher on my back, that radiated only on my right side around to the front of my chest. The pain steadily worsened to the point where it was hard to breathe. I went to urgent care, and was again given steroids, told it was probably another disc problem, and referred to an orthopedist. When the steroids did not work, I went to a different doctor. This time, he diagnosed XXXXXXX shingles, even though there are no blisters or lesions. He put me on virus medication, which I have now been on for about 5 days. The pain has subsided somewhat, but I have no idea what to attribute it to or if it is just resolving on its own. I really want to get back to running. Drives me crazy not to. I'm wondering if I ever got the right diagnosis, if I should get another MRI to see if its disc problems, or if if it's something else entirely. Basically, I'm frustrated. Any adivce?
Posted Thu, 22 Nov 2012 in Back Pain
Answered by Dr. Pavan Kumar Gupta 4 hours later
Thanks for the query.
Since there are no blisters or rash,it looks unlikely to be shingles.
There are chances that it could be due to thoracic disc bulge which can be diagnosed by getting an MRI done.
Other causes for such a pain could be due to 
Intercostal muscle strain
Costovertebral joint sprain
Facet joint sprain.
These pains can be made alright by anti inflammatory muscle relaxants and physiotherapy.

I would advise you to consult a orthopedic surgeon and get yourself thoroughly investigated.
I hope to have answered your query however you may revert to me for any further query.
Best of luck
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Treated with steroids for disc problem. Diagnosed with internal shingles. On virus medication. Any advice? 18 minutes later
Is an MRI the only way to diagnose this for sure?
Answered by Dr. Pavan Kumar Gupta 21 hours later
MRI shall tell only about the bulging of disc,if any.
Other types of strains are diagnosed clinically and physical examination,however MRI becomes essential to rule out any disc problem.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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