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