What is tho­racic spondy­lo­sis?

Daily Trust - - HEALTH -

Per­mit me a space in your pop­u­lar col­umn to ask about tho­racic spondy­lo­sis. What are its symp­toms and pos­si­ble treat­ment?

Agnes Y.

Thanks for your ques­tion Agnes. Please be in­formed that spine pain or back pain is one of the most com­mon types of pains that an in­di­vid­ual suf­fers dur­ing mid­dle age, and above the age of 45 years. The cause of the back pain is ba­si­cally de­gen­er­a­tion of the spine due to age or nor­mal wear and tear fol­low­ing stren­u­ous ac­tiv­i­ties re­sult­ing in de­gen­er­a­tion of the bones, lig­a­ments and disc. The painful con­di­tion of mid-back is known as tho­racic spondy­lo­sis. Def­i­ni­tion? “Tho­racic spondy­lo­sis is a med­i­cal con­di­tion of the up­per back that gen­er­ally af­fects peo­ple above the age of 45. It is a de­gen­er­a­tion of the soft tis­sues of the tho­racic spine. As our body ages, due to nat­u­ral chemical changes in the body; there is de­hy­dra­tion of the car­ti­lagi­nous pads cush­ion­ing the ver­te­brae, also known as the discs.

Due to the nor­mal ag­ing process, these discs start be­com­ing weak and hence be­come sen­si­tive to nor­mal stresses put on the spine. Due to this break­down, painful con­di­tions of the spine de­velop, of which tho­racic spondy­lo­sis is a con­di­tion.” Causes of tho­racic spondy­lo­sis? 1. Age is the main cause of tho­racic spondy­lo­sis. Ma­jor­ity of the cases of tho­racic spondy­lo­sis de­velop in in­di­vid­u­als who are above the age of 45.

2. Due to the nor­mal ag­ing process, the discs in the spine start wear­ing out and be­come brit­tle. This may re­sult in tear­ing of the discs or make the discs ex­tremely weak. These brit­tle and stiff discs may be­come small or pro­trude out from their usual place and cause un­due strain or pres­sure in the joints and tis­sues in the area re­sult­ing in pain. Symp­toms of tho­racic spondy­lo­sis? Tho­racic spondy­lo­sis de­vel­ops as an after ef­fect of de­gen­er­a­tion of the spine at an­other lo­ca­tion but this is not al­ways the sce­nario. Some of the com­mon symp­toms of tho­racic spondy­lo­sis are: 1. Pain in the up­per back, es­pe­cially in the morn­ing when get­ting up. 2. Stiff­ness of the mid­back or the up­per back. 3. Numb­ness and tin­gling of the up­per and lower ex­trem­i­ties. 4. Weak­ness of mus­cles. 5. Disco-or­di­na­tion. 6. Trou­ble am­bu­lat­ing. Di­ag­no­sis of tho­racic spondy­lo­sis? Thor­ough his­tory and de­tailed phys­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion of the spine are done for symp­toms. These in­clude imaging stud­ies like x-rays, CT scan or an MRI of the tho­racic spine. Treat­ment for tho­racic spondy­lo­sis? The treat­ment of tho­racic spondy­lo­sis de­pends on the de­gree of de­gen­er­a­tion of the tho­racic spine and the symp­toms ex­pe­ri­enced by the in­di­vid­ual. 1. Rest, ex­er­cise and back sup­ports are en­cour­aged. 2. Heat and in­fra-red light treat­ment. 3. Ul­travi­o­let ther­apy. 4. Med­i­ca­tions to treat tho­racic spondy­lo­sis are mostly Non­s­teroidal Anti-in­flam­ma­tory Med­i­ca­tions (NSAIDs) to con­trol pain and treat in­flam­ma­tion.

5. Mus­cle re­lax­ants for tho­racic spondy­lo­sis are also pre­scribed.

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