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Thoracic Radiculopathy

Radiculopathy is a back and neck pain condition caused by a compressed nerve in the spine. The most common forms are cervical radiculopathy, which involves the neck, and lumbar radiculopathy, which involves the lower back. Thoracic radiculopathy, which affects the mid-back, is less common.

Causes

In radiculopathy, the pinched nerve can be caused by a bone spur, a ruptured disc or abnormal thickening of the ligaments. Less common causes include tumors or infections that reduce the amount of space in the spinal canal. Abnormal curvatures of the spine like scoliosis can also cause compressed nerves.

Diabetes can cause radiculopathy by decreasing blood flow to the spinal nerves. Injury to the spine, like that caused by an accident, can also cause radiculopathy, as can some degenerative conditions.

A susceptibility to radiculopathy can run in some families. Radiculopathy is most common in people who frequently put excessive loads on the spine. It is thus more common in people that perform heavy labor and in some athletes.

Symptoms

In thoracic radiculopathy, the affected nerves control the thoracic and abdominal muscles, and they also control feeling in that area. The most common symptoms of radiculopathy are numbness and pain. In thoracic radiculopathy, the pain often starts in the mid-back and circles around to the chest. Many people mistake it for shingles.

Some patients also become abnormally sensitive to light touches in the affected area. To these people, a gentle touch feels painful. A less common symptom is weakness in the muscles controlled by the affected nerves. As this can indicate actual nerve damage, this symptom is particularly serious.

Treatments

Treating the radiculopathy will depend on its cause. If the radiculopathy is caused by a disease or injury, the doctor will start by treating those.

Therefore, the doctor will have to determine the cause of the radiculopathy in order to decide on a treatment. They will typically start with a medical history and physical exam. The doctor will often ask for X-rays, which can be used to identify conditions like osteoarthritis or a tumor. A discography is a type of X-ray used to locate ruptured discs. The doctor may also order an MRI, which will give them a view of the nerves, discs and other soft tissues around the spine.

Most patients respond well to conservative and non-invasive treatments like anti-inflammatory medications, chiropractic, physical therapy and simply avoiding activities that strain the back.Many patients improve between six weeks and three months.

If the patient has not improved within that time, the doctor will typically administer an epidural steroid injection. The doctor injects the steroid medication between the vertebrae next to the affected nerves. The injection can quickly ease the symptoms by reducing the inflammation.

In severe cases, the doctor may perform surgery to give the pinched nerve more room. The procedure used will depend on the causes of the radiculopathy. If the patient has a herniated disc, for example, the surgeon will perform a discectomy and remove the part of the ruptured disc pressing on the nerve. In a laminectomy, the surgeon will remove part of the bone covering the nerve to give it more space.

Contact our office today to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists at Allied Pain & Spine Institute.

Our Patient Reviews

Allied Pain & Spine Institute

5.0

Based on 8 reviews

Michelle T.

I fly in to see Dr. Petros from Southern California.  I wouldn't do so if he wasn't the best there is.  He is compassionate and has always treated me kindly. I can tell he is sincere in the way he talks to me and is diligently looking for solutions that work best with me and my chronic pain needs.  Very out of the box approach, which I appreciate these days!  I would truly recommend Dr. Petros to anyone looking for a Dr. that not only cares about you as a patient but has the confidence and skill set to get results! His office staff is friendly and caring too.  Allied Pain and Spine Institute is the Gold Standard in pain care in my humble opinion!! When I find a doctor that understands the issue and always goes above and beyond to help me, I do what I can to continue seeing them. I am so glad I found this office!!

Louise W.

Dr Petros is amazing!  When he uses a needle his aim is "right on".  He is also very personable, an altogether great guy.  I always find my visits to him to be very informative. I have had both sides of my degenerated back injected (epidural shots) with complete success.  He allows me to have no sedative, which is cool because his jokes and stories in the operating room are really good.  He greatly enjoys his work, and enjoys the difficult challenges of getting a needle into the right place in my back.  My arthritic knee is perhaps more straight-forward, but other doctors have failed to give me pain relief.  Dr Petros studies the structure with ultrasound before injecting it.  The result - instant relief! On my recent visit for a broken back (ski accident) the doctor and staff were very accomodating to help me make a dinner engagement shortly after my appointment.  This is definitely a five-star operation!

Ellie O.

Wow, wonderful doctor!!! I avoid all the doctors like the plague...seriously it makes my blood pressure go up when I have to go but I chose Dr. Vaidya. My friend referred him to me, he's simply the best... TOP NOTCH!!! He turned out to be a breath of fresh air. Dr. Vaidya really stands out head and shoulders above everyone else. I usually don't write reviews but he's so outstanding that I really wanted to do it for him. He's the most honest and caring doctor I have met.  He listens and gives you full attention and committed to find the best individual solution for you. He always goes out of his way to get you the most appropriate treatment and he will make it happen. He's very knowledgeable in his field. He's very professional, friendly, personable and definitely easy to talk to. His integrity is very valuable. He's one of the sharpest and most driven individuals you will ever meet.

Keith M.

Simply the best doctors and staff in the area. I've fought back and neck pain for over 30 years, and Dr. Petros and his team have kept me from the operating table and able to enjoy my life. I've had injections, acupuncture, as well as back braces. He listens to my concerns, cares very deeply for my pain and discomfort, and has successfully treated everything from stenosis, pinched nerves, herniated disks, and even helped me with the symptoms from shingles and lung disease. I couldn't be happier with the care he has given me over the years.

Kaitlin Z.

Dr. Vaidya has changed my life. I am in my late 20s with chronic pain and nothing had worked until I came here. All services here are wonderful and the staff is absolutely amazing. I can't recommend enough!!

Tracy B.

I have been a patient of Dr. Vaidya for a few years after not getting what I needed from other spine and pain doctors. I was looking for a doctor who would think outside the box and come up with some other ways to treat my growing amount of pain. Between Dr. Petros and Dr. Vaidya, they have brought me to a place where my pain is better managed. And let's just talk about bedside manners! I have never met doctors in the past 23 years of this back journey of mine that has as amazing bedside manners as these guys. I have cried and laughed with the team at Allied Spine. The way that I am always greeted and promptly cared for is bar none! The front office staff, and especially Nas, has been a God sent. I would never go anywhere else.

Justin P.

I am a new patient of DR Petros and my experience was great for my first two visits so far. He really takes time to listen to your issues and provides thorough answers and treatment options. The front desk staff are all very nice and respond in a timely manner to requests. Highly recommended all around!

Lisa A.

I have seen Dr. Vaidya for about 2 years. He is an amazing doctor.the attention and care you receive is well over 5 stars. He knows who I am by my face, he knows my health history with out looking in my chart, he remembers conversations we have had at previous appointments. He truly cares for his patients. I will be moving our of state, and will travel back here each month to see doctor Vaidya. I lost my insurance over a year ago and pay out of pocket to see the doctor, it is worth every penny to be treated with respect, as a person and with care. I love all the staff and feel like I am visiting family when I come in for my appointments.

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