Thoracic nerve roots

Thoracic nerve roots are structures that exist in pairs in the thoracic spine (middle back) and help transmit information between the brain and the nerve endings in the torso, middle back and inner arms.

These nerve roots branch off the spinal cord in the thoracic spine and extend out of the spinal canal through openings in the vertebrae called foramina. While nerve compression in the thoracic spine is less common than in the cervical (neck) or lumbar spine (lower back) segments, the close proximity of the nerve roots to the discs and vertebrae of the spine make nerve compression a possibility if a degenerative spine condition develops.

Thoracic nerve roots and the central nervous system

The central nervous system (CNS) is an essential component to life, movement and sensations. Consisting of the brain and spinal cord, this complex system sends and receives a variety of signals throughout the body that sustain regular function, such as muscle movement, organ function and pain signals.

The nerve roots are the base where this information leaves the spinal cord and is transferred to different areas of the body. Some examples of the functions controlled by spinal nerve roots include:

  • Muscle control, flexion and extension
  • The sense of touch, including pain receptors
  • Organ function
  • Reflexes

However, should one of the 12 thoracic nerve roots, known as the T1-12 nerve roots, become compressed, regular function may be interrupted and numerous symptoms may follow. Several types of degenerative spine conditions can cause nerve compression in the thoracic nerve roots, including:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Facet disease
  • Traumatic injury

Treatment for thoracic nerve root compression

If you have any of these conditions and are experiencing pain or symptoms as a result of a pinched nerve root, the first step is to schedule a consultation with your physician. In most cases, the symptoms associated with compressed thoracic nerve roots can be managed with a conservative treatment plan over the course of several months.

However, if spine surgery becomes necessary, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spine surgery has several advantages over traditional open back surgery, including a safer and effective procedure, shorter recovery time^ and lower risk of complication and infection.

To find out if one of our minimally invasive spine surgeries is the best treatment option for you, contact us today and ask for a review of your MRI report or CT scan.