Thoracic Spine Pain Can Be Treated
Many people are familiar with lumbar (low back) pain and cervical (neck) pain, but the thoracic spine’s middle area has more support than the upper and lower areas, so there tend to be fewer problems here. However, thoracic spine pain needs treatment just like the rest of the spine to restore health and flexibility.
What Causes Thoracic Spine Pain?
The thoracic spine comprises 12 vertebrae and the discs that cushion them. They are supported by the ribs, which are attached to them. Although the thoracic spine doesn’t move as much as the lumbar area or the cervical spine, it contains half the total vertebrae in the spine. These vertebrae suffer from wear due to poor lifting habits and poor posture. However, the disorders that plague the thoracic spine contribute to most of the problems a doctor sees.
Thoracic spine pain can be caused by osteoarthritis, bulging or herniated discs or degenerative disc disease. Compression fractures can also cause thoracic spinal pain. All these problems are common in any area of the spine, and the pain can be particularly frightening in the thoracic area because the rib cage protects the heart. When an individual has this type of pain, it can radiate along the rib cage to the front of the body and may even feel like a heart attack.
Aging is also a culprit when it comes to spine pain. As we grow older, our spine will begin to narrow as we lose bone density. This aging can lead to stenosis, a narrowing in the spinal column that can begin to compress nerves, causing pain and damage if left untreated.
Disease Also Creates Thoracic Spine Pain
Lifestyle habits and injuries aren’t the only things that cause thoracic pain; several diseases can also contribute to the pain. For example, degenerative disc disease can affect the thoracic spine, although the lumbar and cervical spine are attacked more often.
Another potential cause of thoracic spinal pain is an infection. Because infections can move throughout the body, there is always a risk of one is settling in and creating further problems, which can include pain.
Thoracic Myelopathy can become excruciating if a tumor is causing pressure. Arthritis and bone spurs are also culprits that demonstrate pain as a symptom.
Treatment for Thoracic Spine Pain
There are often medications that can relieve your pain and allow your body to heal naturally. Other times, injections are the best way to go. Spinal cord stimulation and regenerative treatments are all options, depending on the details of your pain situation.
Physical therapy may help relieve your thoracic spine pain when the therapist moves your body in restorative ways that stretch and loosen tightened muscles and teach you to avoid some movements that can exacerbate your condition. Physical therapy treatments can often provide excellent results for many people.
Sometimes surgery or microsurgery is the best answer and the fastest way to return to mobility and a pain-free spine. When you choose an orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal problems, you can trust the decision to perform surgery for the best outcome comes from education, training and experience.
While we have only discussed a few causes of thoracic spine pain, there are many more. Generally, we can find ways to reduce or eliminate the cause of your pain. However, as with all medicine, no single technique, device or procedure will be the answer for every patient. In addition, at DOCS Health, we believe no individual physician is the only option. So, instead, we offer a group of orthopedic surgeons and spine specialists to work as a team and provide the best possible treatment or combination of treatments available in the state. Relying on the experts is a great way to get the best results and become free of pain.
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