The thoracic spine is the middle section of the spine, between the neck and bottom of the rib cage. Arthritis in the mid-back is not as common as arthritis in the neck or low back. Thoracic arthritis simply means wear and tear in the mid-back. This is also called degeneration or degenerative disc disease.
Arthritis in the mid-back usually presents as pain and stiffness. If the arthritis is extensive, bone spurs, ligament thickening and loss of the height of the intervertebral disc can be significant. When this occurs, it is possible to compress the spinal nerves or spinal cord. In this situation, neurological symptoms such as numbness, tingling and muscle weakness may occur.
Treatment for thoracic arthritis will depend on the severity of the condition. In most cases, chiropractic and physiotherapy will focus on improving stiffness and pain. At times, if the arthritis is advanced a surgical opinion may be necessary. Exercise therapy delivered by a chiropractor or physiotherapy is important to improve the symptoms of thoracic arthritis.