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DDD in Thoracic Spine

Miller35MMiller35 Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:59 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
I was diagnosed with degenerating disc disease in the fall of 2010 and I was 17 years old at the time. I found out in my thoracic spine I have four discs degenerating and I have two discs bulging. The pain is quite significant in the area and I was hoping if anyone out there has any advice or exercises I could do to reduce my pain. I was also wondering if anyone knows how rare it is to have DDD in the thoracic spine and considering my age. Any help would be deeply appreciated.


  • as few as one in a million. There are few neurosurgeons who are interested in doing surgery on the thoracic spine. You may have to travel to have an appointment with one who has is interested, has experience with the thoracic spine, and who is willing to take on another patient.

    Good luck,

  • Caden,
    as I understand it, Degenerative Disc Disease is a catchall phrase that can mean a little or a lot.
    The process begins as soon as we stop growing. We all have it but most of us don't notice until we are quite old.

    In your case it has clearly become a problem at a very young age which is very sad as you are clearly suffering a lot.

    I know that injuries in the thoracic spine are fairly rare, but I think DDD can strike anywhere.

    I can't offer any advice other than to do what your doctors and physios tell you. Make sure you let them know if there are any changes in your condition or if any of the exercises make things worse.

    You might want to post on the DDD forum (condition forums)

    Good Luck.

    I'm not young enough to know everything - Oscar Wilde
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  • I have some mild DDD in my thoracic spine. It certainly wasn't the 'Aha!' moment that I was hoping for, given the severity and length of time in pain.

    I am now seeing a pain specialist who seems to be more concerned with treating pain than completely solving the puzzle of what is generating the pain.

    As you undoubtedly know, once pain is chronic, it is sending signals that we don't really need (we aren't in danger of reinjuring an area, etc).

    So this doctor is trying to shut down or moderate some of those signals via medications (anti-depressants, pain patch, etc) as well as nerve blocking.

    I am now looking into radio frequency ablation of
    nerves, to see if that might be a longer laster solution to nerve pain in my thoracic spine.

    May not be 'enough' for your condition, but might be worth exploring as an option to gain some control of the pain and try to quiet things down to a more manageable level?
  • I was 28 when I was diagnosed with DDD in my t-spine, from T5 down to T11. I went to a NS and asked him why, at my age, I would have such significant DDD and disc herniations throughout my t-spine. The t-spine is supposed to be the most stable of all. The NS mentioned Ankylosing Spondylitis as a possible cause. After reading about it and realizing I had a lot of symptoms from the list, I made an appt with a rheumatologist. Long story short, I was just diagnosed with AS this past November. The NS that first offered the preliminary diagnosis said that with AS, the ligaments are damaged/weakened, which puts us at greater risk for disc herniations. I have now started treatment for the AS. Not saying that this is the case for everyone, but you are very young to have such issues with your t-spine, so it may be worth looking into. Just a thought!
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