Thoracic Pain

WHAT IS THORACIC PAIN?

The thoracic spine is the part of the spine just behind the chest wall. Pain in this area is referred to as thoracic pain. Cases of thoracic pain are less frequent as compared to neck pain or lower back pain, but the pain can impact stability and also affect the vital organs in your chest.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF THORACIC PAIN?

Thoracic pain is generally harmless and can be treated with painkiller, but if you notice a few symptoms, you should seek medical care. These include:

  • High fever
  • Weight loss without any reason
  • Infections
  • Paralysis
  • Injury to the thoracic spine
  • Diminished bladder or bowel control

If you notice any of these symptoms in combination with pain in the thoracic spine, contact a doctor immediately.

WHAT CAUSES THORACIC PAIN?

Thoracic pain can be caused by any condition which affects the discs in your spine. This can include arthritis. Thoracic pain can also be caused by a hematoma or spinal stenosis. Any injury to the spine or a disease of the spine can cause thoracic pain as well.

A common cause is thoracic spondylosis, where the disc space in the thoracic spine narrows over the years due to wear and tear. This leads to bone spurs. Both these place added strain on the nerves and tissue in the thoracic spine, causing pain.

HOW IS THORACIC PAIN TREATED?

As mentioned, thoracic pain is generally harmless and can be treated with painkillers and anti-inflammation drugs. The doctor may prescribe more powerful medication based on the intensity of the pain. Other treatments include

  • Facet blocks
  • Physical therapy combined with exercise
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Spinal surgery, in case none of the other treatments work.

The patient may also be asked to make a few lifestyle changes to deal with the pain better.