The danger of pinching the nerve in the thoracic region: methods of treatment and prognosis


The danger of pinching the nerve in the thoracic region: methods of treatment and prognosis


Pinched nerve in the thoracic is largely due to the peculiarities of the anatomical structure of this part of the spine.

The thoracic region consists of 12 separate vertebrae – according to the number of ribs. This is the most sedentary part of the back, it carries a small load, but at the same time it performs an important function – it serves as a support for the chest and all the organs that are located in it. Intervertebral discs are located between the vertebrae. Their thickness is less than in other parts of the spine. Each disk has an inner core and an outer ring holding it. Nerve roots pass through the holes between the vertebrae.

Three types of nerves come out of the thoracic region:

  • sensitive;
  • motor;
  • vegetative.

Violation of the position of the vertebrae in relation to each other, injuries, excess weight, old age provoke the emergence and development of various diseases, which in turn lead to pinching of the thoracic nerves. By pinching is understood as a clip of nerve roots.

The intensity, the nature of the pain that occurs during the clamps, and other symptoms depend on which nerves are in the affected area.   

The reasons

Pinched nerves caused by the following pathologies:

  1. Osteochondrosis. This is probably the most common factor. With the disease there is a gradual destruction of the intervertebral discs. Converging vertebrae pinch the fiber.
  2. Intervertebral hernia is formed mainly between the 6th and 7th vertebrae due to the protrusion of the inner core of the disk and the rupture of the outer ring. The initial stage of hernia development is protrusion. Both violations lead to the infringement of the nervous tissue of the vertebral discs.
  3. Various kinds of spinal injuries – cracks, fractures, including compression.
  4. Curvature of the spine – kyphosis, lordosis, scoliosis.
  5. Benign and malignant tumors.
  6. Diseases of the cardiovascular system. Impaired blood circulation leads to a decrease in the supply of nutrients to the spine, accelerating degenerative processes.
  7. Vegetative dystonia.
  8. Infectious diseases, including shingles.
  9. Mental disorders.

Other causes include physical stress and a sedentary lifestyle. An increased load with a weak muscular corset can cause an unexpected change in the vertebrae. Unreasonably large load even on the developed muscles leads to hypertonus and spasm. Tense muscles squeeze the nerve fibers.

An additional factor contributing to the occurrence of pinching is an older age. Elderly people weaken the muscular corset, there are natural processes of aging and destruction of bone tissue.


Pinching of the thoracic nerves is characterized by acute sudden or aching pain. It appears mainly between the shoulder blades along the spine, in the chest, along the ribs. May spread to the arm or shoulder. Lasts from several minutes to several days.

Features of the clinical picture:

  • The spread of pain on the left may indicate that the clamp resulted from a cardiovascular pathology. In such a case, pressing, compressive pain is noted.
  • If the nerve fibers are pinched due to the pathology of the spinal column, the pain is aggravated by coughing, laughing, breathing deeply, changing the position of the body.
  • Pain caused by mental disorders do not have a clear localization.
  • Depending on which vertebrae the nerve is pinched, a feeling of numbness, burning, pricking of the arms, ribs, under the scapulae may occur. Stiffness, muscle weakness, temporary paralysis may occur. Another group of symptoms includes pressure surges, arrhythmia, tachycardia. It can be difficult for the patient to breathe.
  • In mental disorders, rises. In contrast, with cardiovascular pathologies, it decreases.
  • Exacerbation of the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in pinching, causes diarrhea, belching, and heartburn.
  • If the pinching is caused by herpes zoster, a rash appears in the form of red blisters along the nerve.


Pinched nerves of the thoracic region may have similar symptoms with other diseases, so determining the correct diagnosis is an important factor in treatment. At detection of the first manifestations it is necessary to address the neurologist. The doctor will check the reflexes, the sensitivity of the affected areas. Usually, the following studies are prescribed to clarify the diagnosis:

  1. Radiography of the thoracic, including myelography. It will detect signs of degeneration of intervertebral discs, fractures, tumors, bone deformities.
  2. Magnetic resonance therapy. During this study, the doctor will see the condition of the disks, nerve roots and spinal cord.
  3. Computed tomography will provide a cross section of the vertebrae and discs.

These three methods can determine the location, extent and cause of pinching, as well as clarify the need for surgical intervention.

To exclude cardiovascular diseases, an electrocardiogram is prescribed. Studies of the gallbladder and the liver can remove suspicion of the pathology of the gastrointestinal tract.

Treatment methods

The first thing to do when pain occurs is to release and restore the function of the clamped nerve. To do this, remove the inflammatory process, swelling, pain, provide recovery of affected cartilage, bone tissue. Be sure to appoint therapy aimed at curing the underlying disease. You can be treated at home, with severe pain, hospitalization is indicated. In any case, you must comply with a gentle mode.

The main methods of treatment include drug therapy, surgery, physiotherapy, massage, therapeutic exercises.

It is impossible to treat the disorder on its own, it can only worsen the condition. Any actions are agreed with the doctor.

First aid

The pain often occurs unexpectedly. It affects a person, prevents his free movement and normal activities. Before a doctor arrives or an opportunity to visit him, you need to alleviate the condition of the patient. To do this, it is placed on a hard surface. The patient will choose the most suitable and convenient position for themselves. It is important to make sure that he moves as little as possible.

In the area of ​​the back and pain points apply an ointment that has an analgesic effect, for example, Ketanov. Sometimes they prepare a compress with ice cubes and put it on the neck for 5 minutes. If necessary, the procedure is repeated after 20 minutes.

To reduce the pain give painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs – Ibuprofen, Movalis. If you experience pain in the abdomen, you can take No-shpu. Sedatives, Novopassit, Persen, should be given with anxiety, excitement of the patient. If it is difficult for him to breathe, the rib cage is freed from squeezing clothing, the window is opened to ensure air flow.

In parallel, they measure blood pressure, check the temperature.

Drug therapy

The use of medicines due to their effects:

  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory analgesic drugs – Revoxicam and are used to relieve and pain syndromes;
  • to relax the muscles and remove them with tension helps Mydocalm;
  • Chondroitin and Teraflex contributes to the restoration of bone and cartilage structure;
  • normalization of metabolism in nerve tissues and their regeneration is stimulated by therapy, including vitamins of group B.

In especially severe cases, glucocorticoid drugs are prescribed – they relieve swelling and inflammation. Anesthetic solutions are also injected into the affected area, providing a blockade.


Regular gymnastics allows you to restore the mobility of the spine, forms a muscular corset. The complex is selected by a doctor for each person individually. When pain occurs, exercise is stopped. Simple exercises can be repeated several times a day. First, gymnastics is done under the control of a physiotherapist, then they continue it at home. This approach is due to the need to make sure that the person performs all the exercises correctly.

A few exercises that will help prevent pinching in the future:

  • Sitting on a chair, straighten your back, put your hands on the back of your head, bend over. Try to press the spine against the upper part of the chair, bend backwards as you inhale, and bend forward as you exhale. Repeat 4 times.
  • Standing on all fours and keeping his head straight, bend and arch his back smoothly. Do the exercise 5-8 times.
  • Lying on the stomach, arms should be placed vertically, lean on them and raise the upper part of the body, stretch the thoracic region. Run 5-8 times.
  • Lying on your back at the same time lift the legs, head, neck and upper torso. Repeat 8-10 times.
  • Lying on your back, bend your knees, lift your pelvis, clasp your knees with your hands and begin to roll smoothly from right to left. Perform for 1-2 minutes, rest and repeat.
  • Standing straight, bend your arms in elbows, strain the muscles of your body, make 10 turns left and right. Take a break and repeat the exercise.


After the removal of the acute symptoms, massage is prescribed. It effectively reduces muscle clamps, improves blood circulation, relieves a pinched nerve. Appointed 2 times a year for 10-15 sessions.


An indispensable method in the treatment of clamps are various types of physiotherapy: ultrasound, electrical stimulation, laser therapy. Actively use mud therapy. Acupuncture is indicated.

These methods are aimed at reducing inflammation, improving blood circulation, normalizing metabolism, restoring nervous tissue.


Often prescribed or dry stretching of the spine. It helps to restore the position of the vertebrae and eliminate the clamping of the nerves.

Operational methods

Basically, the symptoms of pinching can be managed with medicinal methods, physiotherapy and gymnastics. If the pain spreads to other parts of the spine, muscle atrophy is observed, serious pathology of the intervertebral discs, and conservative therapy does not help, surgical treatment is prescribed:

  1. Diskectomy This type of surgery involves the complete or partial removal of the intervertebral disc. Most often, to avoid recurrence of the hernia, it is removed completely.
  2. Laminectomy involves the removal of a vertebral arch or part of it.
  3. Spinal fusion is a splicing of the vertebrae to ensure their immobility. The intervertebral disk is removed, a transplant, plates, metal screws are installed.
  4. Removal of tumors.

Folk methods

Traditional medicine is used mainly to reduce pain. You can apply them after consulting a doctor:

  • Baths, prepared with special decoctions, help relax muscles and relieve their tension. For the preparation of a herbal bath for 20 minutes, 2 liters of water are boiled over low heat with 100 g of dry collection of sage leaves, nettle and oak bark. Broth is filtered and added to warm water. Take a bath for 20 minutes.
  • According to another recipe, they take one and a half kilograms of horse chestnut fruit, boil it in 5 liters of water, decant and pour out the bath.
  • From the collection, composed of an equal amount of juniper, tansy, nettle, couch grass, pine buds, hops, horsetail, violet, oregano, burdock, black elderberry, thyme, prepare a therapeutic bath. Take 8 tablespoons, add 2 liters of boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes, filter, poured into warm water.
  • To relieve pain symptoms, tension, improve blood circulation, use tincture of mullein flowers. Liter of vodka is poured 50 g of flowers, left for 2 weeks and then rubbed into the sore spot.
  • The affected area can be rubbed with an infusion of citrus wormwood. The inflorescences of the plant (1 tablespoon) pour 350 ml of boiling water and infuse for 2 hours.
  • Relieve pain and ease muscle tension by preparing an ointment from 1 part of juniper needles and 6 parts of bay leaf. Plants are ground to a powdery state, mixed with melted butter, and applied to the pain area.


In most cases, with properly selected therapy, pinched nerve in the thoracic region passes without any consequences. The pain goes away, mobility is restored, the muscles relax.

Lack of treatment or improperly chosen methods, especially in chronic form and frequent relapses, leads to weakening and muscle atrophy, constant back pain. Perhaps the appearance of intercostal neuralgia, impaired fine motor skills of the hands, reduced sensitivity in the limbs, immobilization, reduced performance.


Appearing once, a pinching of the chest nerve may occur again. In order for this not to happen, you need to follow the following recommendations:

  1. Eat right. Eat foods that provide vitamins and minerals in the right amount.
  2. Do not overeat. Excess weight increases the load on the spine, accelerating its degenerative changes.
  3. Carrying out work that requires a long stay in a fixed posture, arrange breaks. During the respite, you can do light gymnastics, walk.
  4. Be sure to do therapeutic exercises on a regular basis.
  5. Go to the pool, while trying to swim on the back breaststroke or crawl.
  6. If you have the opportunity to relax in spas or places of spa treatment, use any opportunity for massages, physiotherapy, mud therapy.
  7. Periodically consult with a neurologist, physical therapist and undergo massage or manual therapy courses.
  8. Try not to lift weights. Heavy bags to carry, changing the shoulder, properly lift them.
  9. Do not allow hypothermia.
  10. To control the posture.
  11. For sleep, use hard orthopedic mattresses.

Pinching of the nerve in the thoracic spine is accompanied by severe pain. If any symptoms of pathology should consult a doctor. The violation has a favorable prognosis if qualified assistance is provided on time. An important role in relieving pain and preventing its secondary appearance is played by adherence to a healthy lifestyle and regular gymnastics.

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