Thoracic Torn Disc

Thoracic Torn Disc

A thoracic torn disc is a condition in which the annulus fibrosus (or outer layer) of one of the intervertebral discs between the thoracic (T1 to T12) vertebrae ruptures. This outer layer normally protects and holds the jelly-like nucleus pulposus, or inner layer, of the disc, but when the annulus fibrosus tears, this inner layer is able to leak out into the spinal canal. This condition is more commonly known as a ruptured or herniated disc.

Symptoms of a thoracic torn disc

Most of the time, this condition does not cause any symptoms because the disc does not impinge upon the spinal cord or a nerve root, and many people don’t even realize they have a torn disc. However, when it does put pressure on the spinal cord or nerve root, a thoracic torn disc presents symptoms that are experienced in the middle of the back, ribs, chest and arms. These symptoms include:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of movement
  • More

Treatments for a thoracic torn disc

Due to the support provided by the rib cage in the thoracic region of the spine, a thoracic torn disc is much less common than one in the cervical (neck) or lumbar (lower back) region. However, that doesn’t mean that symptoms will be any more bearable when they do occur, and a torn disc can make it difficult even to get out of bed in the morning. To help those with a ruptured disc continue to live a happy life, there are a number of conservative treatment options available, including:

  • Physical therapy
  • Stretching
  • Weight loss
  • Cardio
  • Strength training
  • Pain medication
  • Spinal steroid injections