Pinched Nerve In Thoracic Region: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

The thoracic nerves are found in the upper body, predominantly in the chest region. These nerve fibers carry and convey messages between the spinal cord and the various parts of your body.

The fibers of the first 2 thoracic nerves supply the shoulder and arms; the next 4 nerves convey messages to the chest.

The lower 5 are located in the chest and abdomen. The last thoracic nerve supplies the abdominal wall and the buttocks.

A pinched thoracic nerve occurs when there is excessive pressure exerted over one of the nerves by bones, cartilage, muscles or tendons. This interrupts the normal functioning of the nerve, causing pain, tingling, and numbness.

With rest and conservative treatments, by and large most people recover from a pinched nerve in a couple of weeks. Now and again, surgical intervention may be required to allay pain from an impinged nerve.

What Causes Pinched Nerve In Thoracic Region?

Many different conditions can cause pressure over a nerve:

  • Poor posture
  • Trauma
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Stress due to recurring, cyclic work
  • Certain sports activities
  • Obesity

Pressure on the nerve causes inflammation and hampers nerve function.

In case the impingement is only for a short interval of time, there’s no permanent impairment. When the pressure is removed, function of the nerve becomes normal. On the other hand, in case the pressure persists for a protracted period of time, chronic pain and lasting damage to the nerve can develop.

Symptoms Of Pinched Nerve In Thoracic Area

  • Numbness in the arms, hands and fingers.
  • Sharp, throbbing, or burning pain, which radiates outwards.
  • Tingling and muscle weakness.
  • Usually, the problems associated with a pinched nerve tend to aggravate when you are sleeping.

Treatment Options For Pinched Thoracic Nerve

  • You need to confer with your health care provider and understand what exactly is causing the nerve impingement. The most habitually advised treatment regimen for nerve impingement is resting the area affected. Your healthcare provider may ask you to discontinue the activities which cause, trigger or aggravate this problem.
  • Depending on the exact site of the impinged nerve, you will require a brace or splint that will immobilize that area.
  • A physical therapist will teach you exercises to fortify and strengthen the muscles to help relieve pressure on the afflicted nerve. He will also advocate certain changes in your activities which aggravate the nerve. Schedule yourself for 10 to 12 sessions of physiotherapy.
  • Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs allay pain and lessen inflammation around the nerve.
  • In cases of excruciating pain, corticosteroids may be given by mouth or by injection, to help decrease the pain as well as inflammation.
  • Ginger is an excellent home remedy for pinched nerve related pain and discomfort. Have ginger tea at least 4 to 5 times daily; it will allay pain effectively.
  • Also, talk to your doctor and start vitamin B supplements; that will help deal with the tingling numbness better.

If there is no improvement after several weeks of the conservative treatments, your health care provider will advise surgical intervention to take the pressure off the nerve. The type of surgery depends up on the situation of the pinched nerve.

Surgery comprises of excising bone spurs or a segment of a herniated disk in the spine, to effectively manage the case.