Thoracic Spine Pain

Where is the thoracic spine?

  • The thoracic spine is located at the thorax (the back of the chest) between the shoulder blades. It extends from the base of the neck to the top of the lumbar spine. Thoracic spine pain is most commonly seen as back pain due to herniated disks, injury, overuse of a muscle, etc.

What causes thoracic spine pain?

  • Muscular problems: A common cause of myofascial pain, upper back pain, is tension and muscle irritation. This can occur as a result of improper posture, spasms, muscle strain, etc.
  • Joint dysfunction: This pertains to issues such as facet joint degeneration (osteoarthritis) and degenerative disk disease.
    • Cartilage tears and degeneration can develop at the facet joints
    • Displacement or misalignment of ribs from the vertebrae

What are some health conditions that are related to thoracic spine pain?

  1. Herniated disc
  2. Muscle strain
  3. Arthritis
  4. Ankylosing spondylitis
  5. Osteoarthritis
  6. Sciatica
  7. Spinal stenosis
  8. Skeletal irregularities
  9. Radiculopathy

What are the symptoms of thoracic spine pain?

  • Restrictions in one’s range of motion
  • Muscle spasms with activity or when at rest
  • Stiffness in the mid back area
  • Persisting pain (10-14 days)

What are the treatment options for thoracic spine pain?

  • Adjusting Activity: 1-2 days of absolute rest may be suggested for severe pain and performing pain inducing activities should be limited for a period.
  • Medication: over-the counter prescription pain relievers and/or muscle relaxers to reduce spasms
  • Physical therapy: PT may be recommended for individuals who have recurring pain the interferes with daily functions. Therapists can provide strengthening exercises as hell as heat, cold, massage, or ultrasound treatments.
  • If the above treatment options fail to provide adequate relief, NOVA Interventional Pain and Spine provides other conservative treatments e.g. steroid injections and nerve root blocks. These procedures can be done multiple times and they can provide significant relief.
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