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Common Thoracic Spine Disorders and What Can Be Done About Them

Last updated 6 years ago

The term “thoracic” refers to the upper portion of the spine. While upper back pain is less common than lower back pain, there are several conditions that can cause it. Each of these conditions requires a specific treatment plan.


Scoliosis refers to a curvature of the spine. This can affect both the upper and lower portions of the spine and usually becomes apparent during puberty. The symptoms of scoliosis will depend upon the severity of the case, though common symptoms include an asymmetry in an individual’s posture and a jutting out of one shoulder blade. For mild cases of scoliosis, no treatment may be required. However, in severe cases, surgery may be necessary to avoid damage to internal organs. A back brace may also be used to effectively treat scoliosis.

Fracture of the Thoracic Vertebrae

A spinal fracture in the upper back is usually caused by trauma, such as a car accident or other high-impact force. The spinal cord is often at risk, and damage to the spinal cord can lead to numbness, weakness, and problems in the bowels or bladder. Surgically implanted rods or an external brace may be used to help the spine heal correctly after a fracture. Physical therapy and exercises can also be helpful for strengthening the muscles which support the area.

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc develops when the material contained within vertebral discs becomes displaced. Herniated discs can put pressure on the spinal cord or nearby nerves, causing severe pain, weakness, or numbness. This discomfort can extend down one leg, a condition which is referred to as sciatica. Physical therapy, bed rest, a change in activities, and even surgery may be necessary to treat a herniated disc.

If you are suffering from upper back pain, contact SpineOne at (303) 367-2225 to learn more about our various treatment programs, including physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, and massage.


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