Middle back pain is usually caused by unhealthy posture, improper lifting or twisting, and minor injuries like muscle strains, sprains, and herniated discs. Thoracic herniated discs are less common than neck or low back herniations because of the thoracic vertebrae’s size and rigidity, but they do happen. Chiropractic care can treat thoracic herniated discs and prevent future episodes.
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Herniated discs happen when the soft, gel-like layer of the shock-absorbing intervertebral disc bulges into or leaks through the disc’s tough outer layer. Due to the location, a herniated disc can cause various issues to the middle back, chest wall, and/or abdominal areas around the injured vertebrae. This displacement can cause:
If the herniation compresses a thoracic spinal nerve, it can cause radiculopathy or pain that radiates down the nerve and out from the spine into the surrounding muscles. The symptoms can present around the rib cage or upper abdominal area. A large disc herniation can compress the spinal cord inside the spinal canal. This is a condition called myelopathy which can cause:
Degenerative disc disease and trauma like vehicle collisions or falls are the most common causes of thoracic herniation.
Most cases of thoracic herniation do not require surgery. Surgery could be recommended if there is intolerable pain, neurological issues, and conservative treatments are not working. A spine specialist can determine if surgery is necessary based on the injury’s size, type, and location. Spinal surgery will remove all or part of the herniated disc compressing a nerve root. Common surgical procedures include:
Barrow Neurological Institute. “Herniated Thoracic Disc.” Barrow Neurological Institute, August 3, 2022. www.barrowneuro.org/condition/thoracic-disc-herniation/.
Court, C., E. Mansour, and C. Bouthors. “Thoracic Disc Herniation: Surgical Treatment.” Orthopaedics & Traumatology: Surgery & Research 104, no. 1 (2018). doi.org/10.1016/j.otsr.2017.04.022.
Dydyk, Alexander M, Ruben Ngnitewe Massa, and Fassil B Mesfin. “Disc Herniation – Statpearls – NCBI Bookshelf.” National Library of Medicine, January 18, 2022. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441822/.
Yoon, Wai Weng, and Jonathan Koch. “Herniated Discs: When Is Surgery Necessary?” EFORT Open Reviews 6, no. 6 (2021): 526–30. doi.org/10.1302/2058-5241.6.210020.
The information herein on "Thoracic Herniated Disc Chiropractor" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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