spinal decompression drx

Thoracic Spine

The specialty trained doctors at Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine are recognized leaders in the diagnosis and non-surgical treatment of Thoracic Spine Injuries

Whether you are suffering from a recent or chronic thoracic spine condition that is adversely affecting your ability to live life under your terms we may be able to help.

The thoracic spine makes up the middle portion of our spinal column and is supported by many ligaments, tendons and muscles that help with support and movement. The thoracic spine is made up of twelve different vertebrae transitioning from our neck to lower back. Many different muscles help control and stabilize our spines and aid us in various movements. The thoracic spine plays an important role in spinal mobility. The thoracic spine is a much stiffer portion of our spinal column, which allows it to function and support our ribcage, protecting many different organs in our bodies.

Some symptoms associated with thoracic spine injuries include:

  • Muscle spasm
  • Mid back pain and tenderness
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Localized trigger points
  • Numbness and tingling into the mid back
  • Referred pain into different areas of the spine



The thoracic spine is supported by ligaments, tendons and muscles that enable the back to perform different movements. When these ligaments become injured, they can produce pain in the mid back. Some causes of these injuries can happen from heavy lifting, twisting, and sudden or violent forces, which result in muscle pain. A thoracic sprain can limit the mobility of the thoracic spine, leading to different areas of pain. Some of the symptoms with thoracic sprain/strain commonly include pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion.



Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is an arthritic process that occurs in the discs of the spine, as we age. The discs act as shock absorbers and bear weight, when they begin to degenerate, this can result in many different problems, including   pain and stiffness in the thoracic spine. As we age the discs in our mid back have a tendency to lose their hydration and flatten which predisposes you to chronic conditions.



Thoracic spine osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease (DJD) is the most common form of arthritis that affects the joints in our body. In the thoracic spine DJD will affect the vertebrae, facet joints and intervertebral discs. In between our joints we have a substance known as articular cartilage that aids in protecting our bones. Over time the cartilage will wear away resulting in pain and stiffness in the joints and muscles of the mid back.



The facet joints in the thoracic spine are small joints in the mid back that are surrounded by a joint capsule, that aid in movement of our neck. As a major contributor to pain in the spine these joints often break down and become arthritic over time. When inflammatory changes occur in these joints, pain is produced during extension (looking up) of the spine. Often times individuals with facet joint problems will demonstrate a forward flexed posture to relieve the stress on the facet joints. Facet syndrome in the thoracic is usually uncommon in the thoracic spine.



In between each vertebrae there are soft cartilage based pads known as intervertebral discs (IVD). These discs aid as shock absorbers and help bear weight. There are two layers that make up the IVDs. The outer layer (annulus fibrosis) and the inner layer (Nucleus Pulposus.) The inner layer is a soft gel center that often migrates to the outside when there is an injury in the annulus fibrosis layer of the disc. In between each vertebrae is an exiting nerve root. When a disc herniates it often will put pressure on these nerve roots leading to pain and altered sensation into the mid back and torso. In the thoracic spine the most common areas of herniated discs are between the levels of T8-T12 vertebrae.



Thoracic spine radiculopathy occurs when there is compression on the nerve roots that exit between each of the vertebrae, which travel to different areas into our torso and into our back. Herniated discs and arthritic bone spurs are often responsible for compression on a nerve. Patients will typically experience severe pain in the mid back, which can result in numbness and tingling into the back. Due to the strength of the thoracic spine, radiculopathy is uncommon.



This is a condition that occurs in the muscles and fascia (outer layer of connective tissue) of the thoracic spine, which can lead to areas of tension in the muscles which are known as trigger points. Trigger points when stimulated or compressed can refer pain into the neck and shoulders. The most common area for trigger points to build up in the mid back is the thoracic paraspinal muscles, middle trapezius, and rhomboids muscle groups. When trigger points exist in these locations they can produce pain that will refer in a specific type of pattern throughout the mid back.


Why Choose Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine?

Whether you are suffering from a recent or chronic thoracic spine condition that is adversely affecting your ability to live life under your terms, we may be able to help.

To have a consultation with one of our doctors, please contact one of our Patient Care Coordinators at 908-754-1960 or you may contact us online.