Thoracic (Mid Back) Pain Spinal Stenosis

Make an appointment

Is Spinal Stenosis Causing Your Thoracic Back Pain?

Spinal stenosis is not typically found in the mid-back. It is caused by a narrowing of the spinal canal which can cause the nerve roots and the spinal cord to be pinched. A patient may experience radiating pain (thoracic radiculopathy) across a rib. The patient may also feel a weakness or a tingling sensation along the rib.

Understanding How Spinal Stenosis Can Cause Thoracic Pain

In order to understand how spinal stenosis can cause pain in this region, it is helpful to understand the basic structure of the thoracic spine. The middle back is made up of 12 vertebrae (T1-T12) with each vertebra supporting two ribs which curve around connecting to the sternum. There are 24 facet joints with each rib having an upper and lower joint. There are 12 pairs of spinal nerve roots.

The reason that spinal stenosis is rare in the thoracic spine is primarily due to the fact that the region is designed to provide stability to the rib cage. The mid-back is not meant to provide high mobility which is more typical of the neck and lower back regions. With less mobility, there is less wear and tear on the vertebrae and facet joints that form the spinal canal in this part of the back.  Additionally, the thoracic vertebrae carry less load than the lumbar discs which are more prone to spinal stenosis.

Thoracic spinal stenosis can occur in rare cases involving hereditary anomalies that caused a narrowing of the spinal canal in the mid-back region

Because each patient is different and because other conditions can mimic thoracic radiculopathy, the diagnosis begins with gathering the medical history of the patient and identifying their symptoms. If needed, nerve conduction studies and electromyography can be done to help localize the impairment. An MRI may also be done to verify the condition. Because no two patients are the same, the diagnostic tests would be specifically tailored to each patient.

Health Tips

  • Always eat breakfast
  • Eat your fruit and veg
  • Take time to shop each week
  • Sit down at the table to eat
  • Get adequate rest daily.

Physicians Trained At Renowned Medical Schools

Get Relief Today: Call (949)-335-7500

Ask The Expert