Thoracic Spine Pain Syndromes
Thoracic Facet Syndrome

Diagram of Thoracic Spinal pain resulting from thoracic facet syndrome

The facet joints connect the bones that align to make up the spine. The natural aging process, injury, arthritis, and certain spine conditions can change the way that the facet joints move and lead to pain and restricted motion. Such symptoms are referred to as facet joint syndrome.

Signs and Symptoms:

Testing:

Diagnosis:

A comprehensive physical exam and medical history by clinician, medical history, along with above tests to help your doctor identify structural abnormalities. A facet joint injection (block) may be performed to determine the specific source of your pain.

Treatment:

Postherpetic Neuralgia

Side diagram of thoracic spine pain as result of postherpetic neuralgia.

What is Postherpetic Neuralgia?

Postherpetic neuralgia is caused when a nerve is irritated or inflamed as a result of a recent viral infection from herpes zoster (shingles). Shingles is caused by a reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox.

Signs and Symptoms:

Testing:

Testing is generally used to identify other treatable coexisting diseases or to rule out the underlying disease responsible for the patient’s immunocompromised state.

Diagnosis:

A targeted history and physical examination combined with appropriate testing should help the clinician identify and properly treat this condition.

Treatment:

Vertebral Compression Fracture

Diagram of Thoracic Spinal pain resulting from vertebral compression fracture

What causes vertebral compression fractures?

The leading cause of vertebral body fractures is osteoporosis. The following factors will increase the likelihood of acquiring osteoporosis:

Signs and Symptoms:


Testing:

  • Plain X-Rays
  • CT Scan
  • MRI

Diagnosis:

A targeted history and physical examination combined with appropriate testing should help the clinician to identify and properly treat this condition.

Treatment:

  • Drug Therapy
  • Application of Heat/Cold
  • Orthotic Device
  • Bed Rest
  • Vertrobroplasty
Thoracic HNP

HNP within the thoracic spine is relatively uncommon because the rib cage protects this area of the spine, reducing the motion and forces transmitted to and through the discs here. Never-the-less, discs can herniate in this area, and may cause significant mid-back pain.

Side diagram of thoracic spine pain as result of thoracic HNPMany factors increase the risk for disc herniation:

Sign and Symptoms:


Testing:

  • Physical exam
  • MRI
  • X-Ray
  • CT or CAT scan
  • Discography
  • Myelograms
  • EMG
  • Ultrasound imaging

Diagnosis:

A comprehensive medical history along with proper testing as well as what type of herniation is involved.

Treatment:

Spinal Nerve Root Neuritis

What is Spinal Nerve Root Neuritis?

Neuritis is a complex process involving inflammation of the nerves, resulting in irritation that interferes with normal nerve function and the areas served. Specifically, it affects the peripheral nerves (those outside the brain, spinal cord, or central nervous system), blocking sensory and motor functions, with pronounced symptoms.

Diagram of Thoracic Spinal pain as a result of spinal nerve neuritisSign and Symptoms:

Testing:

Diagnosis:

Obtaining a comprehensive medical history along with proper testing can determine diagnosis as well as what type of herniation is involved.

Treatment:

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