Thoracic disc herniations. They’re not very common. They’re not talked about much. But thoracic disc herniations do exist. The C7/T1 disc herniations are even more unusual and are presented in the spine literature more because of their unusualness. Young Chiropractic welcomes unusual! Unusual deserves care and attention. Young Chiropractic tends to unusual presentations like thoracic disc herniations, specifically those at the C7/T1 spinal level which is also known as the cervicothoracic junction where the neck connects with the upper back.
Unusual Disc Herniation
C7/T1 disc herniations are unusual from their adjacent segments, cervical disc herniations (neck) and thoracic disc herniations (mid-back). Why? They tend to herniate laterally (out to the side) instead of centrally. What makes that unusual? The C7/T1 disc level does not normally have Luschka joints. These joints hold the intervertebral discs in place and reduce the risk of herniation. They permit flexion and extension and restrain the extent of lateral flexion in the cervical spine. There is a report of a rare occurrence of a central C7/T1 disc herniation that instigated lower extremity numbness and weakness as well as gait disturbance though in a patient who had no or very little hand-related symptoms that would otherwise be anticipated. (1) Be confident that your Easley chiropractor will perform a careful examination and discover the root cause of your pain with awareness of unusual incidences like this.
Symptoms of C8 Disc Herniation
C7/T1 disc herniations make up 3.5% to 4% of all herniated cervical discs. (2,3) They tend to be misdiagnosed owing to their unusual neurological findings. C7/T1 disc herniations (aka herniations of the C8 disc) cause weakness in hand muscles. The C8 nerve roots exit between the C7 vertebra and the T1 vertebra. (4) They are positioned above the C8 disc making it unusual for a disc herniation to compress the C8 nerve. (5) Nevertheless when it does, a C7/T1 disc herniation usually sends pain down the arm into the ring and pinky fingers (which sometimes confuses the case as pain here also suggests of ulnar neuropathy). (3,4) It won’t be confusing to your Easley chiropractor though! Young Chiropractic is ready with the tests to do and questions to ask to determine the diagnosis.
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Listen to a podcast about neck pain helped with Cox Technic.