Herniated disc — herniated disc in the thoracic spine

A herniated disc occurs when the outer layer of the disc cracks from compression, allowing the inner fluid to leak into the spinal canal and impact a nerve root. While a herniated disc usually occurs in the cervical spine (neck) or lumbar spine (lower back), it can occasionally present itself in the thoracic spine (middle back).

A thoracic herniated disc often presents symptoms of pain in the back and in one of the extremities, depending on the location of the herniated disc. For example, if the herniated disc is in the upper part of the thoracic spine, you may experience pain in one of your arms or hands. Likewise, if the herniated disc occurs in the lower portion of the thoracic spine, you may feel radiating pain through a buttock or leg. You may also feel tingling or numbness in your extremities. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your physician to determine the cause of your pain and the best treatment option for your needs.

As you continue to research different types of herniated discs, we encourage you to reach out to our Care Team with any questions. Our goal is to help you find more information about your condition and the treatment options available to you so you can make an informed decision about your spine care needs.

Causes of thoracic herniated disc

Herniated discs often occur in the cervical or lumbar spine due to the stabilizing nature of these two sections of the spine. The lumbar spine is responsible for supporting and stabilizing most of the body’s weight, while the cervical spine is responsible for supporting the head and allowing mobility in the head and neck. As time goes on, the components of the spine become compressed due to years of repetitive motion and weight gain. This can lead to the development of spine conditions, such as a herniated disc.

However, the thoracic spine does not allow much movement. Therefore, spine conditions and herniated discs are not often found in this section of the spine. When a herniated disc does occur in the thoracic spine, it is often caused by the following factors:

  • Spine injury
  • Bad posture
  • Wrong form during weightlifting

The sooner you diagnose your herniated disc, the sooner you can begin treatment and prevention of the spine condition worsening.

In order to diagnose your herniated disc, your physician may require you to undergo an MRI test or CT scan to get a better look at your spinal anatomy. Once a herniated disc is diagnosed, you can work with your physician to find a treatment option that is right for you.

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive decompression surgery and minimally invasive stabilization surgery to treat a herniated disc. Contact our Care Team for more information about the treatments available to you.

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