Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve in the Thoracic Spine

The thoracic region of the spinal column is made up of 12 small bones called vertebrae that run from the middle of the back to the base of the neck. When these bones are abnormally compressed or damaged due to injury or degeneration, the nerves that run along the spinal cord can become pinched. If you develop symptoms of a pinched nerve in the thoracic spine, seek further evaluation and care from a medical professional.

A chiropractor working on a patient's neck in a medical office. Credit: Jovanmandic/iStock/Getty Images


Pain is the most common symptom associated with a pinched nerve in the thoracic spine. Painful sensations arise due to inflammation of the pinched thoracic spine nerve. Sensations of pain can be mild to severe and typically localize to the middle of the back. Thoracic back pain can be accompanied by uncomfortable muscle spasms in certain people. Mid-back pain can radiate from the spinal column into the front of the chest or abdomen in certain people, which can lead to difficulty sitting or standing normally. If you develop sudden, persistent or severe thoracic back pain, seek prompt medical care.

Numbness and Tingling

Compression of the nerves within the thoracic spine interferes with nerve signal transmission. You can experience unusual sensations of numbness or tingling that extend from the back into the upper chest. These sensations can be uncomfortable and are typically accompanied by thoracic spine pain.

Weakness or Paralysis

If you have a pinched nerve in the thoracic spine, you can develop neurological deficits as a symptom of this condition. Thoracic spine nerve compression can lead to muscle weakness within the legs, which can affect a person's ability to move normally. Certain people can also experience unusual muscle stiffness or spasticity within the legs. Depending upon the severity of the nerve injury, you can experience temporary paralysis of the body beneath the point of nerve compression. Consequently, you may be unable to feel sensation within the lower body. With treatment, these symptoms of a pinched nerve in the thoracic spine typically subside.

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