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Thoracic Disc Herniation

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Thoracic disc herniation occurs when a thoracic disc bulges out from between your vertebrae. 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.

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Seek care immediately if:

  • You are not able 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.

Contact your healthcare provider 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.

Medicines:

You may need any of the following:

  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Muscle relaxers decrease pain and muscle spasms.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her 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.

Activity:

Your healthcare provider may have you rest in bed to prevent more injury to your back. Ask how long you should rest and when you can return to your daily activities.

Heat:

Apply heat on your back for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 hours for as many days as directed. Heat helps decrease pain and muscle spasms.

Ice:

Apply ice on your back for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel before you apply it to your skin. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.

Physical therapy:

A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain. A physical therapist can teach you safe ways to bend, lift, sit, and stand to help relieve back pain.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

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

© 2017 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.

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