Although the thoracic spine is the largest segment of the back, because of its relative stability it is also the least likely location for a bulging disc to develop. Both the breastbone and rib cage limit the amount of movement these 12 vertebrae are able to perform. Still, when a bulging disc does occur in the thoracic spine, it can be quite painful. Symptoms may include stabbing sensations between the shoulder blades or in the shoulders themselves, radiating pain in the chest, abdomen, arms, and legs, and tingling or numbness along the length of the nerve being compressed.
As with bulging discs in the upper or lower spine, thoracic bulging disc treatment usually begins with conservative options. These can include options such as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, stretching exercises, improved posture, and lifestyle changes such as losing weight. In addition to these strategies, some patients may decide to pursue alternative treatment options like chiropractic manipulation.
What is a Chiropractor?
Chiropractors are healthcare professionals who have specialized training in detecting and reducing vertebral subluxation, or misalignments of the spine. In the case of a thoracic bulging disc, a chiropractor will usually apply high-velocity, short lever arm trusts to the joints in the middle back. Chiropractic manipulation usually produces a popping or cracking sound due release of gas between the joints. This is often followed by a sensation of relief, although some mild soreness is also common the next day. In addition to adjustments a chiropractor may also treat a bulging disc through:
- Traction therapy to relieve pressure on the spine
- Ergonomic training
- Exercise routines
What BEST Can Do?
Many patients have reported significant pain relief using a combination of conservative and alternative therapies, including chiropractic adjustments. In some cases, however, surgery may be necessary to provide long-term pain relief. If you’re experiencing chronic pain due to a bulging thoracic disc, you may be a candidate for minimally invasive surgery at BEST Health System. Our board-certified surgeons, Dr. Girton and Dr. Abbott have helped many patients get back to the lives they used to lead. The minimally invasive procedures at BEST are a much safer and more effective alternative to open back surgery.
If you would like to learn more about our minimally invasive procedures, contact us today!