Thoracic disc herniations. They’re not very ordinary. They’re not mentioned 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. Lombardy Chiropractic Clinic welcomes unusual! Unusual warrants care and attention. Lombardy Chiropractic Clinic cares for unusual presentations like thoracic disc herniations, specifically those at the C7/T1 spinal level aka 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 have a habit of herniating laterally (out to the side) instead of centrally. What makes that unusual? The C7/T1 disc level does not typically have Luschka joints. These joints hold the intervertebral discs in place and lessen the risk of herniation. They allow flexion and extension and restrain the amount of lateral flexion in the neck. There is a report of a rare episode of a central C7/T1 disc herniation that triggered lower extremity numbness and weakness in addition to gait disturbance though in a patient who tells of no or very little hand pain or numbness that would otherwise be expected. (1) Be confident that your Augusta chiropractor will do a careful examination and uncover the root cause of your pain with familiarity of unusual incidences like this.
Symptoms of C8 Disc Herniation
C7/T1 disc herniations account for 3.5% to 4% of all herniated cervical discs. (2,3) They tend to be misdiagnosed due to their unusual neurological findings. C7/T1 disc herniations (aka herniations of the C8 disc) instigate 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 is telling of ulnar neuropathy). (3,4) It won’t be confusing to your Augusta chiropractor though! Lombardy Chiropractic Clinic is ready with the tests to do and questions to ask to determine the diagnosis.
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