About Thoracic Spinal Stenosis
Thoracic spinal stenosis is a condition in which the nerves in the thoracic portion of the spinal canal are compressed. It is generally less common than cervical or lumbar spinal stenosis. Causes for thoracic stenosis can involve congenital problems, such as shortened pedicles, but most commonly involves degenerative spine disease from osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritic changes occur over time and cause excess bone to take up space around the nerves. As we age, our intervertebral discs lose water content and “shrink”. With this loss of disc height, spinal ligaments (ligamentum flavum) that support the spine can fold inward and cause stenosis. Additionally, wear and tear on your spinal bones can prompt the formation of bone spurs, which can take up space within the spinal canal.
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Symptoms of Thoracic Spinal Stenosis
Narrowing of the spinal canal in the thoracic spine can cause a variety of symptoms including mid-back pain, numbness and tingling across the chest, cramping pain that radiates into the abdomen, and even a sense of weakness in the legs. Patients sometimes endorse that their pain improves with leaning forward however this may not always be the case.
Treatment for Thoracic Spinal Stenosis
Procedural treatment for thoracic spinal stenosis can include thoracic epidural steroid or cortisone injections into the thoracic epidural space which can help decrease the amount of inflammation around the spinal cord and nerves. Additionally, Ospina Medical offers Regenexx regenerative medicine treatments that have shown promise in reducing hypertrophied ligamentum flavum and minimizing stenosis. When paired with platelet-lysate epidurals patients have shown improvement in nerve related pain as well as an increased ability to walk and stand.
If you have been diagnosed with thoracic spinal stenosis or have symptoms of this condition, visit our interventional spine specialists at Ospina Medical. We offer advanced treatments for spinal conditions aimed at improving your pain, function, and quality of life while minimizing the need for unnecessary surgery. Contact our clinic in Midtown Manhattan to schedule your consultation today.
Thoracic Stenosis FAQS
What are common symptoms of thoracic stenosis?
While many people believe that thoracic stenosis may appear as back pain, there are other symptoms to watch out for as well. Individuals with thoracic stenosis in and around Manhattan, NY may experience a number of sensations in the abdominal region. These symptoms can include tingling, pain, and numbness, as well as some cases of issues with maintaining a normal balance.
Is thoracic stenosis serious?
In general, any conditions involving the spinal cord are not to be ignored. Thoracic stenosis typically develops over longer periods of time. However, most spinal cord injuries that are ignored tend to develop into additional issues later on, including arthritis and nerve damage.
What activities should I avoid if I have thoracic stenosis?
At Ospina Medical, we do recommend that our patients with thoracic stenosis avoid certain activities to prevent the worsening of their condition and/or symptoms. If you have been diagnosed with thoracic stenosis, you will want to avoid high impact sports or various rounding or extension stretches for your lower back. Low-impact activities, such as swimming and cycling, provide good alternatives for returning to activity following your diagnosis.