What are the usual degenerative changes in the thoracic spine?

31 October 2014
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31 October 2014, Comments: 0

It is important to note that the thoracic spine is the middle part of the back that extends from the center of the neck up to the foundation of the rib cage. The thoracic spine is made out of 12 thoracic vertebrae that are parted by the soft spongy discs that help in absorbing shock. It also has reduced movement and experiences less stress than the other parts of the spine.

Due to this, the thoracic spine has less deterioration than the neck and lower back. The degenerative changes that develop can lead to symptoms such as pain, tingling and numbness as well as limited movement. Conservative treatment options are often effective in minimizing the pain experienced by the individual as well as improving the mobility. If you want to learn more about these degenerative changes, all you have to do is to enroll in a first aid class today so that you can familiarize yourself with treatment measures to provide relief to the symptoms.

Thoracic spine

The symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, stiffness and a grinding sensation during movement.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis involves the loss of mineral density of the bones where they become brittle. The brittle bones become prone to fractures and can break even with minor stresses. Take note that women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men. The condition can cause progressive deterioration of the bones but generally painless. Many do not even know that they already have the condition until a bone is fractured.

Degenerative disc disease

This condition involves the breaking down of the intervertebral discs. These discs are composed of a durable fibrous outer ring which contains a soft, gel-like middle part. Due to injury, aging process and poor posture, the outer ring dries up and eventually cracks, thus allowing the nucleus to protrude outside the normal space.

The protrusion will add pressure on the surrounding spinal nerves and cause symptoms which includes pain, tingling and numbness as well as muscle weakness. NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen are given since they provide relief from the pain and possess anti-inflammatory properties.

Osteoarthritis

It is important to note that osteoarthritis involves the progressive deterioration of the cartilaginous covering of the bones in the joints. This will cause them to quickly wear out. The symptoms include pain, stiffness and a grinding sensation during movement. Due to the limited level of movement in the thoracic spine, it is not usually affected by the condition.

Hyperkyphosis

Kyphosis is the posterior curve in the spine. If the individual develops hyperkyphosis, it is the excessive curvature of the spine that leads to compaction and extreme wear and tear on the vertebra, discs and soft tissues.

The condition is often common among the elderly and can result to several conditions such as osteoporosis, postural roundback and Scheuemann’s kyphosis. The conservative modes of treatment are aimed at strengthening the thoracic extensor muscles as well as restoring movement to the fixed joints.

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