While not nearly as common as a herniated disc in the neck (cervical) and lower back (lumbar) regions of the spine, a thoracic herniated disc is possible. This condition occurs when an intervertebral disc located within the area occupied by the 12 vertebrae in the thoracic, or middle, spine (T1-T12) becomes ruptured and extrudes gel-like nucleus material into the spinal canal. While the condition itself is rare and often asymptomatic, it can result in the compression of neighboring thoracic nerve roots. Depending on the location of the herniated disc, symptoms can vary from localized pain in the back and neck to discomfort radiating down a nerve to other parts of the body.
In the presence of a thoracic herniated disc, the nerve roots in the T1-T12 region are at risk of being compressed. This can result in back and neck pain, but can also be responsible for other symptoms – including numbness and tingling – in the chest and torso. It also can potentially interfere with the ability of some internal organs to function properly, because the nerves that carry signals between many organs and the brain originate in the thoracic region of the spine.
Most symptomatic herniated discs, including thoracic herniated discs, can be treated with a conservative treatment plan, including short-term rest, long-term lifestyle changes (exercise and diet) and over-the-counter or prescription medication, among others.
If you believe you are suffering from a thoracic herniated disc, the best course of action is to visit your physician. Typically the physician will:
- Review your medical history and discuss potential causes of the problem
- Complete a complete physical examination and discuss the symptoms in question
- Conduct a medical imagery test, typically an MRI or CT scan
- Confirm the thoracic herniated disc
- Outline a treatment plan, depending on the source, origin and severity of the herniated disc
While Laser Spine Institute does not treat the thoracic region of the spine, there are many reasons why someone suffering from a symptomatic thoracic herniated disc would benefit from our orthopedic expertise. For one, herniated discs often occur at several levels of the spine. Therefore, someone diagnosed with disc herniation in the thoracic region might also expect to develop one or more in the lumbar or cervical regions, as well.
To learn how Laser Spine Institute can help alleviate symptoms associated with spinal nerve compression in the cervical and lumbar spine, contact us today and request a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan. Laser Spine Institute is the leader in endoscopic spine surgery.