The spine is divided into three sections – cervical, thoracic and lumbar. These divisions represent the neck, middle back and lower back. It is important to note that the thoracic spine is comprised of 12 spinal vertebrae. The levels are abbreviated by healthcare professionals as T1, T2 and so on in order to identify the precise location where the thoracic spine issues are originating from.
It is important that you are familiar with these conditions that can affect the thoracic spine so that early treatment can be provided in order to prevent the condition from worsening.
Any form of trauma to the thoracic spine is considered devastating. Always bear in mind that thoracic spine trauma can lead to severe hypotension or low blood pressure. In case of burst fractures on the vertebrae, it can cause impingement on the spinal cord, resulting to the loss of muscle tone and spasticity.
Trauma to the thoracic spine can also cause tingling, numbness, weakness as well as bladder or bowel incontinence. Fractures on the back can also sever the spinal cord if dislocation of the vertebrae occurs. Once the spinal cord is severed, it would surely lead to paralysis. Any type of trauma entails immediate immobilization with the application of a brace and extensive back surgery might be required. If you want to learn how to properly manage such injuries, read here. Always bear in mind that if a fracture on the spine is suspected, it is important to call for emergency assistance so that appropriate medical care can be provided. Just make sure to avoid moving the individual since this can cause further damage.
A herniated disc can occur once the exterior fibrous container of the disc is damaged while the soft contents of the disc protrude into the spinal canal. It would result to limited space in the thoracic spinal canal and the herniation of the disc can lead to severe issues.
The symptoms of a herniated disc may or may not include back pain. Since the thoracic spine nerve roots are structurally linked with the nerves in the chest and abdomen, impingement of the spinal nerves in the thoracic spine can lead to chest pain. In some cases, the individual can suffer from gallbladder symptoms such as upper right quadrant pain and nausea due to the herniation of the thoracic disc.
Kyphosis or hunchback takes place in the thoracic spine. Once the normal curve of the thoracic spine is pronounced, the hunchback appearance occurs. Take note that structural kyphosis can occur due to compression fractures, osteoarthritis, abnormalities with the muscles or ligaments and disc disease. Individuals who have neuromuscular disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, neurodegenerative issues and muscular dystrophy can develop kyphosis as the disease progresses.