Spine Thoracic

Early Treatment for Thoracic Myelopathy Advised

There are many changes in the spine that occur with aging. Most affect the lower (lumbar) spine. Some affect the neck (cervical) spine. Much less often, but no less disabling, the thoracic spine is affected. The thoracic spine is in the middle between the cervical and lumbar spines. The ribs attach to the thoracic spine.

What is a cervical rib? Our pediatrician says this may be what's causing my son's neck and arm pain. How can a rib cause arm pain?

A cervical rib is an extra rib. It is attached to the last vertebra in the cervical spine (neck). Normally, the ribs start in the thoracic spine at T1. A cervical rib is considered a congenital anomaly meaning it's an abnormality present at birth.

Cervical ribs attach to the first thoracic rib with a dense band of fibrous tissue. Usually there is only one cervical rib and it's only on one side. Less often, there is a cervical rib on both sides.

I have a job that requires a lot of overhead lifting. The items aren't that heavy but after about 3 minutes or so, I notice my arms feel very tired. Sometimes my hands go to sleep. It takes a few minutes to shake them back awake. Are there some strengthening exercises I can do to make this problem go away?

You may want to see your physician first before starting an exercise program for this problem. Without knowing your age, past medical history, or the state of your general health, it's impossible to recommend specific exercises without a diagnosis.

Causes of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) refers to a condition of arm (and sometimes neck) pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness of the arms and hands. It is caused by pressure on the nerves and/or blood vessels as they pass through the neck and travel down the arm. TOS can affect one or both sides.

My dear uncle had a farming accident several years ago and broke his back. It happened during the harvest. He didn't take any time off and just kept right on working. I notice his upper back is starting to curve forward badly. Is it too late to do something to help him?

Maybe not. An orthopedic surgeon would need to see him and evaluate his situation. A clinical exam along with X-rays will help identify the problem and possible solutions.

Kyphosis or forward curvature of the spine can occur after injury to the spine, especially if there's been a fracture that wasn't treated properly. This type of post-traumatic deformity can be improved with surgery to fuse the spine.

Early Spinal Fusion is the Key to Success After Traumatic Kyphosis

Kyphosis, a forward curvature of the spine can occur after vertebral fracture. If the fracture isn't treated properly or the bones don't heal for some reason, this deformity can become a problem.

Diagnosing and Treating Symptomatic Thoracic Kyphosis

Surgeons from the Kyoto University School of Medicine report on a rare case of thoracic kyphosis causing serious problems for an 84-year old man. Thoracic kyphosis refers to an increased forward curve in the middle of the back. He was unable to walk more than 50 meters with a walker. Symptoms of dysesthesia in both legs kept him from walking farther. Dysesthesia is an unpleasant numbness caused by a normal, everyday activity like walking or touch to the bottom of the feet.

My surgeon told me one drawback to the cement they injected into my spine is leakage. Fortunately that didn't happen to me. How do they know how much to put in?

Vertebroplasty is the injection of liquid cement into a fractured vertebra. Once it has been injected it hardens and holds the bone together. The procedure works well to relieve pain and stabilize the weakened bone.

As your doctor told you, there are some potential problems with this operation. Cement leakage into the spinal canal or around the spinal nerves can cause nerve pain, numbness, and muscle weakness.

Translaminar Screws for High Thoracic Fixation

When fusing bones of the spine together, surgeons can use hooks, wires, screws, rods, or plates. Recently special screws with superior strength called transpedicular screws have been in use. The location of the fusion has a large bearing in deciding which type of fixation to use.

I'm having some very pinpoint pain in the middle of my back. Two of the bumps you can feel in the middle of the spine hurt. There's also a spot off to the side between those two bumps that hurts when I press on it. What are those bumps and why do they hurt?

The middle of your back is the section of the spine called the thoracic spine. There are 12 thoracic vertebrae. It’s likely that you are feeling the spinous process (SP) of the thoracic vertebra.

Each vertebra in the spine is made of the same parts. A round block of bone forms the main section of each thoracic vertebra from T1 to T12. This is called the vertebral body.

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