Although the thoracic spine is the largest segment of the back, because of its relative stability it is also the least likely location for a bulging disc to develop. Both the breastbone and ribcage limit the amount of movement these 12 vertebrae are subjected to. Still, when a bulging disc does occur in the thoracic spine, it can be quite painful. Symptoms may include stabbing sensations between the shoulder blades or in the shoulders themselves, radiating pain in the chest, abdomen, arms and legs and tingling or numbness along the length of the nerve being compressed.
As with bulging discs in the upper or lower spine, thoracic bulging disc treatment usually beings with conservative options, including over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, stretching, exercises, improved posture and lifestyle changes such as losing weight. In addition to these strategies, some patients may decide to pursue alternative treatment options like chiropractic manipulation.
What is a chiropractor?
Chiropractors are health care professionals who have specialized training in detecting and reducing vertebral subluxation, or misalignments of the spine. In the case of a thoracic bulging disc, a chiropractor will usually apply high-velocity, short-lever arm trusts to joints in the middle back. Chiropractic manipulation usually produces a popping or cracking sound as gas between the joints is released. This is often followed by a sensation of relief, although some mild soreness is also common the next day. In addition to adjustments, a chiropractor may also treat a bulging disc thorough:
- Traction therapy to relieve pressure on the spine
- Ergonomic training
- Exercise routines
- Electrical stimulation
Many patients have reported significant pain relief using a combination of conservative and alternative therapies, including chiropractic adjustments. In some cases, however, surgery may be necessary to provide long-term pain relief. If you’re experiencing chronic pain due to a bulging thoracic disc, you may be a candidate for minimally invasive surgery at USA Spine Care. Our board-certified surgeons have performed more than 100,000 outpatient procedures that are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back procedures. To find out if our surgery is right for you, contact a member of our team today and ask how you can obtain a free MRI review* as the first step in the screening process.