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Thoracic Disc Prolapse

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What is it?

A Thoracic Disc Prolapse is when the soft inner core of the discs, that are located between the vertebrae in your thoracics spine (middle back) extrude through a tear in the outer ring. This can put pressure on nerve roots in the area leading to pain felt in other parts of the body.


• Upper back pain - Pain is dependent on the size of the prolapse, it is not uncommon if small to be symptomless • Radiating Chest or abdominal pain - an indication of a lateral disc prolapse, protruding sideways from the spine • Radiating back pain - if the pain radiates from the back into the fron may indicate a centro-lateral prolapse • Myelopathy - Compression of the spinal cord causing leg weakness and bladder and bowel disturbances.

When to see a doctor or consider surgery?

You should see your doctor if symptoms are severe, that do not improve over time and/or worsen. Surgery can be considered if non surgical treatments do not relieve symptoms. If you experience any 'Red Flags' (Symptoms requiring immidiate attention) you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

How is it diagnosed?

An appointment with your doctor is normally enough to diagnose a prolapsed disc, they will use your medical history and symptoms to help the diagnosis. A physical examination may be carried out to examine posture whilst standing and walking, as well as muscle strength and reflexes.