Disc extrusion in the thoracic spine

Thoracic disc extrusion is a condition in which a disc in the middle of the back (thoracic spine) becomes damaged and moves out of the natural alignment of the spine. While this condition is not always symptomatic, sometimes the disc out of alignment can cause a nerve root near the spine to become compressed. When this happens, pain may radiate from the spine into the extremities, accompanied by tingling, numbness or weakness.

For many people, this can be treated with conservative methods of therapy, though some patients may require surgical intervention. Before treatment can be discussed, your doctor or spine care specialist must determine the source of the thoracic disc extrusion to recommend the appropriate treatment. To learn about the possible causes of this condition and the treatment options available for relief, read the following article.

Causes of thoracic disc extrusion

Disc extrusion and any damage to a disc in the spine is most commonly caused by the natural aging process of the spine. However, degenerative disc disease typically occurs in the lumbar spine (lower back) or cervical spine (neck) because those are the two areas that allow movement. The thoracic spine, on the other hand, is partly attached to the rib cage and is responsible for supporting the upper half of the body and keeping proper posture.

Even so, natural degeneration can develop in the thoracic spine and contribute to the weakening, and even tearing, of a disc. Other factors involved in thoracic disc extrusion include:

  • Injury
  • Age
  • Weight
  • Trauma
  • Illness

Treatment for thoracic disc extrusion

Your doctor may recommend a course of conservative treatments, including pain medication, strengthening exercises, chiropractic care and low-impact activity, such as walking, swimming and biking. Conservative treatments often help relieve pain over a period of several weeks or months. However, symptoms of a thoracic disc extrusion or another spinal condition may not subside with conservative options.

If this is what you are experiencing, we encourage you to contact the spine care experts at Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spine surgery allows patients to experience a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery as well as a lower risk of complication and shorter recovery period.^

For a damaged disc, we offer two types of spine surgery to treat the condition — minimally invasive discectomy and minimally invasive stabilization. A minimally invasive discectomy relieves pressure on the compressed nerve root by removing a small portion of the damaged disc. A minimally invasive stabilization is used when the entire damaged disc must be removed because it can no longer offer support in the spine. An artificial disc is then inserted to offer immediate stabilization.

Laser Spine Institute helps thousands of patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain each year. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute, reach out to our dedicated team today. Through a free MRI review* we can determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.