Hernia of the thoracic spine: signs and methods of treatment

The health of the ridge largely determines the general condition of a person. The thoracic region has the longest duration – it consists of twelve vertebrae and is the least mobile.

The discs are endowed with a low height. This creates an additional condition for reducing the mobility of the vertebrae. In this zone, the costal arches are attached to the vertebrae. With their help, a rigid frame is created.

The spinal canal is endowed with a relatively narrow lumen. The design of the chest area provides protection against accidental factors leading to deformations.

That is why in the thoracic spine, two percent of cases of hernia formation are observed from the general statistics. If a pathology has happened, it can cause a lot of problems to a sick person.

How does a hernia appear in the thoracic spine?

The discs are positioned between the vertebrae and provide cushioning and a flexible connection. The discs consist of a gelatinous soft core and a protective shell.

The spacers between the vertebrae over time and under the influence of unfavorable factors sag and lose their structure.

Education intervertebral hernia has three stages:

  1. The nucleus bulges out, stretching part of the shell. Its integrity is still preserved, but protrusion peeking out of the vertebrae creates compression in the surrounding tissues.
  2. The dense shell in the place of the greatest stress cracks and a gelatinous nucleus is visible in the gaps. Destructive processes begin in the disk.
  3. If the negative circumstances that cause the continuation of the development of the pathological process are not stopped, then a breakthrough of the fibrous membrane and the loss of a part of the soft nucleus are possible.


The direction of protrusion of the hernia matters. On this basis, it may have a name:

  • foraminal – affects the exit site of the radicular nerve,
  • back,
  • front,
  • right-sided,
  • left-sided.

Symptoms and signs of the disease

Hernias can remain asymptomatic at the location of the problem. Pain occurs when the bulging part of the disc oppresses the radicular nerve.

The nature of the pain:

  • Discomfort, turning into pain syndrome, increases after a long stay of the body in a frozen position. This happens when performing professional duties, for example:
    • hairdressers,
    • surgeons,
    • dentists
    • and others.
  • Localization of persistent lower back pain (in its upper region).
  • Perhaps a feeling of pain in the chest area.
  • Discomfort in the abdomen, upper zone.
  • A feeling of pain between the shoulder blades.
  • When changing from lying to a seated position, pain intensifies.
  • This section is characterized by a girdle type of pain.

Due to the fact that the nerve endings coming out of the spinal cord of this section are responsible for the functions of internal organs, a failure occurs in their vital activity.

  • Deterioration of the intestinal motility, which is manifested by constipation, alternating diarrhea.
  • Problems in the genital area in men.
  • Violation of urination: rare or frequent.
  • During physical exertion, the muscles of the arms and legs get tired quickly.
  • Symptoms similar to diseases:
    • gastropathy,
    • angina pectoris,
    • pancreatitis,
    • cholecystitis,
    • heart problems
    • renal colic.
  • Discomfort in the pelvic area.
  • Numbness, feeling as if creeping, tingling in the area:
    • backs,
    • upper abdomen
    • upper limbs.

The localization of symptoms depends on where the hernia occurred.

  • Paralysis of the part of the body, the control of which is located below the place of oppression of the spinal cord by a hernia, may occur.
    With partial paralysis, the lower body and legs are immobilized.
  • If the hernia is localized at the top of the thoracic zone, then complete paralysis can occur. In such a situation, only the head can move.
  • In the presence of a hernia in the thoracic region, there may be an increased muscle contraction related to reflex actions.


The condition of the discs can deteriorate with age. Their thinning, loss of fluid can give prerequisites for a disease of the spine.

Much depends on how the person himself relates to his health. Imposes its participation in back diseases and the chosen profession.

Spinal pathology – a hernia is provoked by the following circumstances:

  1. Disruption of the structure of the disc due to its poor nutrition. This situation can arise if:
    • metabolism is disturbed,
    • a person eats poorly,
    • The patient leads an immobile lifestyle. The disc is not supplied with blood vessels. It receives nutrition by diffusion from the surrounding tissues. For this process to take place fully, movement in this zone is necessary.
  2. The smoking habit creates prerequisites for the weakening of metabolism. The smoker reduces the oxygen content in the blood.
  3. Hereditary predisposition to degenerative processes in the discs.
  4. Sudden lifting of weights in an inclined position. The spine can withstand heavy loads if you follow simple rules: the spine must be kept upright. The vector of application of the force of the load on the spine should be directed downward, but not obliquely.
  5. Scoliosis, osteochondrosis predispose the ridge to the occurrence of a hernia.
  6. Weak muscle corset of the back.
  7. Professions where there is a need to be in frozen poses for a long time contribute to the creation of pathology. These are:
    • at the machine in a factory or factory,
    • on the production line,
    • jewelers,
    • hairdressers,
    • office employees,
    • and other professions.

Statistics show that hernias of the thoracic spine usually occur in middle age in the working population.

  1. Traumatic situations with the spine.
  2. The increased weight adds stress to the discs.
  3.                    Poor posture regularly creates disharmonious loads.
  4.                    Hypothermia worsens the condition of the disks.

What is the danger of the disease

If the pushed part of the disc nucleus does not touch the nerve ending, then there will be no pain signal. A person can be careless and waste time.

The sooner you take action to prevent and treat this pathology, the more chances you have to get rid of the problem completely.

The thoracic region is protected from unwanted traumatic circumstances leading to protrusion. But, if a hernia does happen, it poses a serious threat to health.

This is due to the fact that the spinal canal of this area is relatively narrow. Oppression of the spinal cord by a protruding hernia is fraught with dangerous consequences.

The insidiousness of the manifestation of a hernia lies in the fact that it can give signals of false diseases. The feeling that the heart hurts, the digestive organs and other signs guide patients and doctors along the path of treating these organs.

That is why experienced specialists advise, in case of persistent pain in the region of the heart, abdomen, without obvious pathology in them, to make an examination of the spine.

The danger of a hernia in the chest area is fraught with consequences from slight discomfort to paralysis.


If symptoms similar to the presence of a hernia are found, it is necessary to seek the help of a specialist and undergo an examination.

  1. A study on a magnetic resonance imaging scanner can give a complete and detailed picture of the problems of the spine. The device will present an image in any plane. It can make slices with small steps, if you need to clarify and expand the examination area. Among the important advantages of this method is that it has no harmful radiation.
  2. Rarely, computer diagnostics are used to study the problem . It can show what the situation is in the examined area, only you have to use a contrast agent. This circumstance creates to some extent the possibility of complications for the patient.

How to treat disc pathology

Experts suggest using conservative treatment. The operation is foreseen if nothing else brings relief.

In the first days of treatment, the patient should be given rest to the spine. The acute condition is relieved by drug therapy:

  • Non-steroidal drugs relieve pain, extinguish inflammation, and contribute to edema in the tissues.
  • To relax muscles with spasm, muscle relaxants are prescribed .
  • Chondroprotectors and fortified preparations support the nutrition of the cartilage tissue.

After the transition of the course of the disease to the stage of remission, the specialist prescribes a rehabilitation complex, which may include:

  • massotherapy,
  • traction,
  • manual therapy,
  • acupuncture,
  • hirudotherapy,
  • special gymnastics.

If the pain is not relieved by conservative treatment, an epidural block is performed. Hormones are injected into the problem zone. In many cases, this brings quick relief.

If the hernia has significant pressure on the spinal cord or other methods have not brought relief, then they resort to surgical intervention. In the chest area, surgery is complicated.

Laminotomy is done with dissection of several vertebrae of their arches. Discectomy involves removing the problem disk or part of it.

The most gentle surgical method is microdiscectomy. The procedure is performed with microinstruments under the supervision of a microscope.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *