Thoracic Disc Herniation

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Thoracic disc herniation occurs when a thoracic disc bulges out from between your vertebrae. Thoracic discs are spongy cushions between the vertebrae in your spine. Thoracic discs are located between the base of your neck and your lower back. The herniated disc may press on your nerves or spinal cord.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Medicines:

  • NSAIDs decrease swelling and pain. This medicine is available without a doctor's order. Ask your primary healthcare provider (PHP) which medicine is right for you, and how much to take. Follow directions. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems if not taken correctly. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your PHP if NSAIDs are safe for you.

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.

  • Muscle relaxers and steroids may also be given. Muscle relaxers help decrease pain and muscle spasms. Steroids decrease inflammation.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your PHP if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your PHP as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Rest:

Your PHP may have you rest in bed for a few days. Ask how long you should rest and when you can return to your daily activities.

Back brace:

Your PHP may give you a back brace to provide support and decrease pain.

Physical therapy:

A physical therapist may teach you exercises and stretches that make your back muscles stronger and decrease your pain.

Walking aid:

You may need a walking aid if you have decreased movement in one or both legs. Ask your PHP which walking aid is right for you.

Contact your PHP if:

  • You begin leaking urine or bowel movement, and it is not normal for you.

  • Your pain worsens even after you take medicine.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You are unable to move one or both of your legs.

  • You have severe headaches when you hold your head in certain positions.

  • You have new and sudden chest pain.

  • You suddenly have trouble breathing.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Thoracic Disc Herniation (Aftercare Instructions)

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