Diffuse degenerative disk disease thoracic spine is not actually a disease at all, but rather it is a term that is used to describe completely normal changes that occur in the discs of your thoracic spine and lumbar spine as you age. The discs in your thoracic spine are both soft and compressible and they are responsible for separating the vertebrae, the bones that make up the entire length of your spine. These discs are designed to serve as shock absorbers for your spine, which allows for them to be bent and flexed and twisted.
Unfortunately, when diffuse degenerative disk disease thoracic spine exists; it means that the bones are no longer as strong as they used to be in the thoracic region. Degenerative disc can also occur in the lumbar region of your spine as well as your cervical region, which are located at the opposite ends of your spine; lower back and neck respectively.
These changes in the integrity of your spinal discs can result in pain in the back and neck, as well as spinal stenosis which involves narrowing of your spinal canal, a herniated disc which is an abnormal bulging or breaking open of the spinal disc and osteoarthritis, which is a breakdown of the cartilage and tissue that is responsible for protecting and cushioning the joints.
How is diffuse degenerative disk disease thoracic spine caused?
As we get older, the discs in our spine naturally break down, a process known as degeneration, and this might result in the presence of diffuse degenerative disk disease thoracic spine. There are a number of age related changes in this process including:
- The loss of fluid from your discs, reducing their ability to behave as a shock absorber while reducing their flexibility,
- The loss of fluid from the discs can also make the disc thinner, narrowing the distance present between each of the vertebrae,
- Tiny tears and cracks can occur in the disc’s outer layers, forcing out the jellylike material that is found inside, causing the damage disc to rupture or break open, bulge or break into pieces.
What are the symptoms of diffuse degenerative disk disease thoracic spine?
This degenerative disc condition may occur with back pain or neck pain, but it really depends on each individual person. Some people experience this condition without experiencing any back pain whatsoever, while others with the same level of damage to their discs experience severe pain that interrupts their quality of life. Where you are experiencing the pin will help you determine where the disc damage is. Affected discs can also cause nearby pain, such as an affected disc in the thoracic vertebra causing problems in the back as well as the legs, for instance.
In some cases, people suffering from diffuse degenerative disk disease thoracic spine also have numbness or tingling in the extremities located close to the affected area of the spine such as the arms, leg or neck as well.
Written By: Updated: June 28,2011