Thoracic disc herniation

What is it?

  • A bulge in the intervertebral disc, the spongy bit between the bony vertebrae of the neck occurs due to the outer fibres of the disc being damaged.
  • Thoracic disc lesions do occur, however are uncommon
  • Occurs predominantly in males, most commonly in the 5th decade.
  • Thoracic disc problems compromise the function of the spinal cord, either by compression of the cord or indirectly by interruption of the vascular supply

What are the causes?

Predisposing factors include – previous injury (often of an insignificant degree), degeneration, and healed osteochondritis (Sheuermann’s)

What are the symptoms?

  • Vague back pain.
  • It may be referred unilaterally or bilaterally about the chest, abdomen or lower extremities.
  • Typically the pain is intensified by neck flexion, coughing or straining.  
  • The pain is relieved by recumbency.
  • Sensory deficits may include paraesthesia and paresis of the lower extremities.

Thoracic disc herniation