Thoracic (Mid Back) Pain Numb Fingers

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Numb Fingers as a Symptom of Thoracic Pain

After an injury or trauma to the thoracic spine, upper-to-mid- back pain may radiate to the extremities causing numbness, tingling, or weakness. When numb fingers are accompanied by the symptom of thoracic pain, it usually means that one or more of the surrounding nerves or blood vessels is affected.

Thoracic Pain Symptoms –Numb Fingers

If both thoracic pain and numb fingers are present, the individual needs to seek help from a spine health expert as these are symptoms of a more pronounced issue. Thoracic pain may radiate down the arm and into the hand depending on the type and severity of the damage. Damage to different nerves and discs will determine what body parts experience pain.

Understanding Hand Weakness as a Symptom of Thoracic Pain

The thoracic spine provides stability to the core and protects the organs in the chest. Since there is less flexibility in this upper-to-mid-back region, the discs between the vertebrae here are thinner, making herniated discs and bulging discs rare, but not impossible. The ribs wrap around the organs and connect at the sternum. However, the vertebrae T11 and T12 protect the kidneys and do not reach the sternum. This creates a slight increase in injury risk for these vertebrae. If a herniated disc is the problem and located in the T1 and C7 (bottom vertebrae in the cervical spine), a C8 nerve root impingement will form. This can result in numb in the fingers as a symptom of thoracic pain and may also be combined with pain and tingling in the arm.

Thoracic pain symptoms including numb fingers can feel extremely uncomfortable to the person suffering their effects and may also include brief periods of pain or tingling. Activities that aggravate numb fingers may need to be discontinued until the numbness or other symptoms subside. Physical therapy or chiropractic care may be an option, as treating the thoracic issue in this way can result in realignment, thereby decreasing thoracic pain and finger numbness. Additionally, when a bulging disc presses against certain nerves or blood vessels, the effect can be felt down the arm and into the hand and fingers, also resulting in numbness or tingling.

There are some steps a patient can take to alleviate the numb fingers, tingling, and pain as a result of thoracic pain. Remove all jewelry at the first sign of numbness in case of swelling. Even if the fingers are not swollen at the onset of the numbness, it will be difficult to remove any rings if the fingers do begin to swell. Use ice packs to help with inflammation and pain. It is suggested to ice for 10 to 15 minutes.

Patients with extremity problems due to thoracic pain may develop depression if they are forced to stop favorite activities. Seeking the help of a spine health expert sooner rather than later to treat the thoracic spine issue will help restore necessary quality of life for the patient.

At-a-Glance: Numb Fingers as a Symptom of Thoracic Pain

  • As a thoracic pain symptom, numb fingers may be accompanied by pain and tingling in the arm or hand
  • Always check with a spine health professional if experiencing numb fingers and thoracic pain
  • Physical therapy may help with thoracic pain, leading to fewer episodes of finger numbness
  • Herniated thoracic discs or degenerative thoracic discs (although rare) can cause weakness, numbness, and tingling in the extremities, including the hands

Health Tips For Numb Fingers

  • Rest fingers as much as possible until numbness subsides
  • Ice for 10 to 15 minutes at a time to help reduce swelling
  • Remove any rings or other jewelry in case of swelling
  • If permitted by your doctor, take an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) like ibuprofen for help with inflammation

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