As a disc degenerates, the soft inner gel in the disc can leak back into the spinal canal. This is known as disc herniation, or herniated disc. Once inside the spinal canal, the herniated disc material then puts pressure on the nerve, causing pain to radiate down the nerve leading to sciatica or leg pain (from a lumbar herniated disc) or arm pain (from a cervical herniated disc).


Thoracic herniated discs are typically classified as being caused by one of two sources: degenerative disc disease or a sudden trauma resulting in upper back pain.

Diagnosing a thoracic herniated disc always includes a good patient medical history and physical examination, and may be supplemented by diagnostic tests.

Thoracic herniated disc surgery is indicated in only rare instances when a herniated disc leads to myelopathy (spinal cord dysfunction), progressive neurologic deficits, or intolerable pain

Depending on the location of the back pain and other symptoms, it is possible to know whether a patient is suffering from a cervical, thoracic, or lumbar herniated disc.


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