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Thoracic Spondylosis

By Editorial Team (2)
January 31, 2022

The term Spondylosis is used by doctors to describe a general deterioration of the spine. Thoracic Spondylosis is a deterioration of the middle part of the spinal column. This condition does not happen as often as Cervical Spondylosis, which occurs in the neck region of the spine, or as frequently as Lumbar Spondylosis which affects the lower back. But it does commonly occur in people 50 years old or older.


In most cases, Thoracic Spondylosis occurs as a result of degenerative changes in the spine due to aging. Intervertebral discs start to become dry and thin around the age of 40.

Disc degeneration can cause disc bulging – one of the signs of Thoracic Spondylosis.

Aging in the thoracic region of the spine can also cause signs of Spondylosis as bone spurs form on the vertebral body or facet joints. With age, ligaments that bind the spine together become thickened and stiff. This condition also can cause symptoms of Thoracic Spondylosis. Usually, Thoracic Spondylosis occurs in older people. But other factors can contribute to this condition in young people also, such as an injury to the thoracic region of the spine.

Being overweight, and inactivity are also risk factors in the development of Thoracic Spondylosis. Holding your thoracic spine in an uncomfortable position for prolonged periods contributes to the development of spondylosis.

Risk Factors

Spondylosis is a maturing wonder. With age, the bones and tendons in the spine wear, prompting bone spurs (Osteoarthritis). Additionally, the intervertebral plates decline and debilitate, which can prompt circle herniation and swelling circles. Spondylosis is normal. Side effects are frequently first detailed between the ages of 20 and 50. More than 80% of individuals beyond 40 years old have confirmation of Spondylosis. The rate at which Spondylosis happens is mostly identified with a hereditary inclination and additionally any history of damage.

Hazard factors for Thoracic Spondylosis include:

  • Age. Thoracic Spondylosis is an ordinary piece of maturing.
  • Occupation. Employment that includes dull thoracic movements, awkward body positioning or a considerable measure of overhead work put extra weight on your thoracic spine.
  • Spinal wounds. Past neck wounds seem to expand the danger of thoracic spondylosis.
  • Hereditary variables. A few people in specific families will experience a greater amount of these progressions after some time, while others won’t.
  • Smoking. Smoking has been connected to expanded thoracic pain.


Thoracic Spondylosis, additionally called as Thoracic Osteoarthritis is the harm of the vertebrae or spinal bone, because of changes in the bones, circles, joints because of wear-and-tear, which joins maturing. This spinal brokenness is extremely regular in the moderately aged and elderly individuals. On account of maturing, the Thoracic spine loses its smoothness, flexibility, ends up noticeably stiffer and progressively tends to separate.

Thoracic Spondylosis is joined by neck pain and stiffening of the bone. In spite of the fact that it is once in a while dynamic, restorative surgery is the main treatment accommodating in muddled conditions.

Variables Resulting In Thoracic Spondylosis

This clinical condition is basic among matured individuals. Age assumes a key part of the discs and bones turn out to be less flexible. The bones and tendons end up thicker thus hindering the openings in the spinal nerves and spinal channel.

  • Serious damage to the neck may likewise be a reason bringing about Thoracic Spondylosis.
  • Athletes such as gymnasts may likewise endure because of this brokenness because of excess pressure on their spinal cord.
  • The poor stance may also bring about a state of Thoracic Spondylosis.

Different Complications, Which May Arise Due To Thoracic Spondylosis:

Nerve Compression

In a level of individuals experiencing Thoracic Spondylosis, the consistent pressure exerted on the spinal nerves convolutes to a medicinal condition called Thoracic Radiculopathy. Consistent nerve pressure may prompt an assortment of side effects in view of the nerve, which has been influenced. Thoracic Radiculopathy carries with it a tingling sensation, numbness, and weakness in the arms and legs. The intense pain of the shoulder and chest, loss of body coordination, trouble walking, strange spinal reflexes, loss of bladder and bowel control are a few different examples. Likewise, because of the debilitating of the muscles in the spinal nerve, the nerves are never again ready to flag the body muscles to contract typically. These are likewise a direct result of nerve pressure.

Spinal Stenosis

Thoracic Spondylosis, when unattended for an impressively long time span convolutes into yet another condition called Spinal Stenosis wherein the spinal column has encroached. This narrowing down of the spinal column may harm the spinal cord itself. This condition is named as Cervical Myelopathy and is like Cervical Radiculopathy. Like Cervical Radiculopathy, this medical condition may cause a tingling sensation, distress of the shoulders, arms, and legs. Individuals experiencing these conditions may likewise experience the absence of coordination in extreme conditions.

Permanent Disability

With consistent harm to the vertebrae, the effect of cervical myelopathy and cervical radiculopathy might be irreversible. The patients may turn out to be excessively feeble, making it impossible to try and walk and play out their day to day tasks, influencing their everyday schedule life. In extreme cases, surgery might be the main alternative to ease pain and reestablish halfway functionalities.

Thoracic Spondylosis: Treatment and Care

Thoracic Spondylosis treatment relies on the seriousness of your signs and side effects. The objective of Thoracic Spondylosis treatment is to soothe pain, enable you to keep up your typical exercises however much as could reasonably be expected and avoid changeless damage to the spinal string and nerves.


On the off chance that over-the-counter pain relievers don’t help, your specialist may endorse:

  • Nonsteroidal calming drugs: Medicine quality (Ibuprofen) or naproxen sodium (Anaprox, Anaprox DS) may be taken to alleviate pain and irritation.
  • Corticosteroids: Oral medicines, for example, prednisone, may reduce the pain. On the off chance that your pain is serious, your specialist may propose steroid infusions.
  • Muscle relaxants: Certain medications, for example, cyclobenzaprine (Amrix, Fexmid) and methocarbamol (Robaxin), can help ease muscle spasms in the neck.
  • Hostile to seizure prescriptions: Numerous epilepsy medicines, for example, gabapentin (Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica), can ease the pain of harmed nerves.
  • Antidepressants: Certain antidepressants have been found to relieve neck pain from Thoracic Spondylosis.
  • Prescription medicines: Your specialist may prescribe oxycodone (Percocet, Roxicet) or similar medicines for severe pain.

Thoracic Spondylosis Treatment

A physical specialist can show you exercises to help extend and fortify the muscles in your neck and shoulders. A few people with Thoracic Spondylosis benefit from the utilization of braces, which can help give more space inside the spine if nerve roots are being pinched.


Your specialist may prescribe attempting acupuncture to lessen your pain. Acupuncture is best given by an authorized specialist.


In the event that moderate Thoracic Spondylosis treatment does not correct the pain or if your neurological signs and side effects, for example, the weakness in your arms or legs decline, you may require surgery to make more space for your spinal cord and nerve roots.

The surgery may include:

  • Removing a herniated disc or bone spur
  • Removing some portion of a vertebra
  • Combining a section of the neck utilizing bone joints

Conservative Thoracic Spondylosis treatment is effective in controlling the symptoms of Thoracic Spondylosis in all, but the most severe cases of the condition. Typically, initial Thoracic Spondylosis treatment includes a combination of the following:

  • Changes in lifestyle to compensate for decreased mobility and to prevent further loss of function.
  • Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help relieve pain and decrease the inflammation caused by nerve compression.
  • Activity to help strengthen the muscles and supportive tissues and also to help manage pain through the release of endorphins.

If these approaches are ineffective or the pain escalates or becomes chronic, massage therapy, physical therapy, prescription-strength medications or other interventions like ultrasound therapy may be recommended. Very rarely is surgery indicated in cases of thoracic spondylosis.

Pathological changes

As we grow older, chemical changes naturally occur in our body. Some of these changes lead to the dehydration or “drying out” of the discs that separate each of our vertebrae or backbones. The centers of these discs are meant to be gel-like so they can absorb the shock that occurs when we move and walk; they keep our backbones from grinding against each other. When these discs dry up, they are less able to cushion and protect our vertebrae (backbones) and they begin to deteriorate due to stress. Discs that herniate or bulge are the painful result.

Wear and tear due to aging also causes changes in the soft tissues, like the tendons and ligaments in the thoracic spine. These strong bands of fibrous tissue that hold the skeleton together also dry out and shrink. This shrinkage pulls the bones out of their proper position. The spinal canal, the tunnel which the spinal cord runs through, narrows. This condition is called spinal stenosis. When there isn’t enough room for the spinal cord and its nerves, the nerves become pinched, causing pain as a result of thoracic spondylosis.

Cartilage which is meant to protect joints can also wear out over time. This allows the ends of bones to grind against each other causing damage. Bone spurs form as a result of the damage and these spurs compress or pinch the spinal nerves, creating pain.

Home Care

Moderate Thoracic Spondylosis may react to the following Thoracic Spondylosis:

  • Customary exercise: Keeping up movement will help speed recuperation, regardless of the possibility that you need to briefly alter some of your exercises on account of neck pain. Individuals who walk daily are more averse to experience neck and low back pain.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers: Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) is regularly enough to control the pain related to Thoracic Spondylosis treatment.
  • Ice or Heat: Applying ice or heat to your neck can ease sore neck muscles.
  • Neck support or brace: The support permits your neck muscles to rest. A neck support or brace should be worn for brief time frames on the grounds that it can inevitably debilitate neck muscles.

Thoracic Spondylosis Symptoms

Many individuals with Thoracic Spondylosis symptoms on X-ray don’t have any indications. Truth be told, lumbar (spondylosis in the low back) is evident in 25%-35% of individuals without side effects. In a few people, Thoracic Spondylosis symptoms cause back pain and neck pain because of nerve pressure (pinched nerves). Pinched nerves in the neck can cause pain in the neck or shoulders and cause migraines. Nerve pressure is caused by swelling disc and bone spurs on the joints, causing narrowing of the openings where the nerve roots exit the spinal fluids (foraminal stenosis).

Trademark discoveries of Thoracic Spondylosis symptoms can be envisioned with X-ray tests. These discoveries incorporate the reduction in the plate space, hard goad development at the upper or lower parts of the vertebrae, and calcium affidavit where the vertebrae have been influenced by degenerative irritation.

Thoracic Spondylosis symptoms incorporate restricted pain in the zone of Spondylosis, for the most part in the back or neck. Spondylosis in the cervical spine (neck) can cause cerebral pain. Notwithstanding, it is questionable whether mild spondylosis, for example, small bone spurs and protruding disc that doesn’t compress nerves, causes back pain. This is on the grounds that most moderately aged and elderly individuals have strange discoveries on X-ray trial of spondylosis, notwithstanding when they are totally pain-free. Subsequently, different components are likely significant supporters of their back pain.

On the off chance that a herniated disc from Thoracic Spondylosis symptoms causes a pinched nerve, pain may shoot into an appendage. For example, an expansive disc herniation in the lumbar spine can cause nerve pressure and cause pain that begins in the low back and afterwards transmits into the legs. This is called Radiculopathy. At the point when the sciatic nerve, which keeps running from the low down the leg to the foot, is influenced, it is called sciatica. Radiculopathy and sciatica regularly cause deadness and tingling (vibe of pins and needles) in an extremity. Back pain because of a protruding disc is ordinarily more painful with prolonged standing, sitting, and forward bending and is usually better at changing positions every now and again and walking.

Back pain because of Osteoarthritis of the feature joints is commonly more awful with strolling and standing and diminished with forward twisting. Thoracic Spondylosis symptoms of numbness and tingling might be felt if a nerve is pinched. On the off chance that a nerve is extremely pinched, weakness of an influenced extremity may happen. In the event that a herniated disc pushes on the spinal cord, this can cause damage to the spinal column (myelopathy). Spondylosis with Myelopathy alludes to Spondylosis that is harming the spinal cord. Spondylosis without Myelopathy alludes to Spondylosis with no damage to the spinal cord. Indications of Myelopathy incorporate numbness, tingling, and weakness. For example, a substantial herniated disc in the cervical spine could cause Cervical Myelopathy on the off chance that it is sufficiently extensive to push on the spinal cord with coming about indications of numbness, tingling, and weakness in the arms and perhaps the legs.

The lumbar and the cervical portions of the spine tend to work harder in most cases than the thoracic area of the spine. This is why, most of the time, degeneration or Spondylosis usually does not start in the midsection of the spine. Spondylosis can occur in any spinal area, so it can affect the thoracic spine. Thoracic Spondylosis symptoms include:

  • Stiffness and pain in the middle portion of the back, that is worse following a period of inactivity.
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands, arms, legs or feet
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Decreased coordination or difficulty walking.

Diagnostic Procedures

Your specialist will begin with a physical exam that incorporates:

  • Checking the scope of movement in your neck
  • Testing your reflexes and muscle quality to see whether there’s weight on your spinal nerves or spinal cord
  • Watching you walk to check whether the spinal pressure is influencing your stride

Imaging tests

Imaging tests can give itemized data to manage analysis and treatment. Your specialist may suggest:

  • Neck X-ray: An X-ray can demonstrate anomalies, for example, bone spurs, that show Cervical Spondylosis. Neck X-ray can likewise preclude uncommon and more explanations for neck pain and stiffness, for example, tumors, diseases or fractures.
  • CT exam: CT output can give more itemized imaging, especially of bones.
  • Myelography. A tracer color is infused into the spinal column to give more detailed imagery.

Nerve function tests

Your specialist may prescribe tests to decide whether nerve signals are venturing out legitimately to your muscles. Nerve work tests include:

  • Electromyography (EMG): This test measures the electrical movement in your nerves as they transmit messages to your muscles when the muscles are contracting and when they’re very still.
  • Nerve conduction studies: Terminals are connected to your skin over the nerve to be considered. A little stun is gone through the nerve to gauge the quality and speed of nerve signals.

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