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Symptomatic Thoracic Radiculopathy is one of those conditions that you likely won’t ever hear it unless you or someone you know is diagnosed with it.  If that’s the case for you, the discussion of treatment options might be one you’ll have soon if you haven’t already. 

Does PT Treat Symptomatic Thoracic Radiculopathy? 

The short answer is yes, physical therapy can be an effective treatment for Symptomatic Thoracic Radiculopathy.  At press time, this was a rather new development, and the doctors involved in the documentation noted the need for more research to learn more.  

According to The Mayo Clinic, Overall, in completing this review, we learned that there is a lack of high-quality studies that have been performed looking at the efficacy of physical therapy in treating patients with symptomatic thoracic radiculopathy,” explains Dr. [Cara] Prideaux. “However, within the seven studies that met our criteria to be included, we found that a physical therapy program may help reduce symptoms related to thoracic radiculopathy. Thus, within clinical practice, if a patient is diagnosed with thoracic radiculopathy related to nerve compression confirmed on MRI, it would be reasonable to recommend physical therapy as a low-risk treatment before suggesting more-invasive treatments like injections or surgery.”

Dr. Prideaux notes that more research is needed to establish the efficacy of physical therapy as a treatment for symptomatic thoracic radiculopathy. “Studies with better-defined protocols for the physical therapy program would be helpful so that they can be easily reproduced and incorporated by others. Conducting randomized controlled trials would also strengthen the current literature in this area.

What is Symptomatic Thoracic Radiculopathy?

Johns Hopkins Medicine describes Thoracic Radiculopathy by saying it, “refers to a compressed nerve root in the thoracic area of the spine, which is your upper back. This is the least common location for radiculopathy. The symptoms often follow a dermatomal distribution, and can cause pain and numbness that wraps around to the front of your body.”

Symptoms of this condition are described as an inflamed root nerve that can be very uncomfortable. According to Johns Hopkins, symptoms can include, Sharp pain in the back, arms, legs or shoulders that may worsen with certain activities, even something as simple as coughing or sneezing, weakness or loss of reflexes in the arms or legs, numbness of the skin, ‘pins and needles,’ or other abnormal sensations (paresthesia) in the arms or legs. Your specific symptoms will depend on where in the spine the nerve root is pinched. However, it’s also possible that you don’t experience any symptoms or you go through periodic flare-ups of symptoms.

Physical Therapy for Symptomatic Thoracic Radiculopathy

If you or a loved one is experiencing what you think is Symptomatic Thoracic Radiculopathy or if you have been diagnosed with Symptomatic Thoracic Radiculopathy, your team here at Physical Therapy NOW can help.  Call today to set up your first appointment at (214) 225-0291.


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