Thoracic Spine Conditions
The thoracic spinal region, the area between the neck (cervical spine) and the lower back (lumbar spine) comprises of the middle 12 vertebrae. The common disease conditions affecting the thoracic spine include herniated disc, scoliosis, kyphosis, degenerative disc disease, and spondylolisthesis. Trauma to the region may lead to compression fractures.
- Herniated disc is a condition in which the outer fibers (annulus) of the intervertebral disc are damaged causing the soft inner material of the nucleus pulposus to rupture out of its space. This condition can be extremely serious if it occurs in the thoracic spine
- Scoliosis is a medical condition where there is abnormal lateral curvature of the spine
- Kyphosis is a condition in which there is abnormal curvature of the spine that causes rounding of the upper back or a hunchback. The thoracic portion of the spine normally has a “C”-shaped curve, but excessive forward curve in the spine leads to kyphosis. Kyphosis most commonly affects the thoracic spine
- Degenerative disc disease is referred to as gradual degeneration of the disc between the vertebrae. It is a natural process of aging. As the age increases, the discs begin to lose fluid. Loss of fluid in the discs decreases the ability to act as shock absorber and thus causing loss of flexibility. The outer ring of the disc called the annulus fibrosis, become weak and is more likely to develop tears and at the same time the nucleus pulposus, the central softer portion of the disc becomes dehydrated and shrinks. As a result the central portion of the disc is pushed out through the tears in the annulus and cause the disc to bulge, rupture or break
Spondylolisthesis is a condition of the spine which occurs when one vertebra is displaced or slipped forward over the other below it. This causes gradual deformity of the lower spine and narrowing of the spinal canal.