UC Irvine Pain Medicine Center

Thoracic Pain

Not all Chest Pain is due to your heart! Dysfunction of the muscles and nerves in your chest and upper back may be the cause of your pain. Your pain may be due to narrowing of the thoracic spine. Our experts provide a variety of cutting edge treatments for this type of pain. Contact one of our pain specialists today and start controlling your pain.

Common Causes of Thoracic Pain

Thoracic Vertebral Compression Fractures (VCF)

Thoracic Vertebral Compression Fractures are a common cause of middle to upper back pain as well as chest wall pain. They are often due to osteoporosis combined with trauma, falls or even sneezing. These fractures can be extremely painful and in some cases can cause nerve damage. This is a condition that is best treated early after its initial occurrence. There are a wide variety of medical and interventional treatment options for Vertebral Compression Fractures.

Post Herpetic Neuralgia (Shingles Pain)

Post Herpetic Neuralgia or Shingles is a painful disorder often seen in elderly patients that have had chicken pox or a shingles outbreak in the past. Often the pain is described as burning and constant and can last long after the initial shingles outbreak has healed. Typically, the pain is confined to areas of the body where shingles lesions erupt. There are several medical and interventional treatments available for shingles.

Post Thoracotomy Pain Syndrome

Post Thoracotomy Pain syndrome is common in patients after chest wall or lung surgery. Surgical irritation of the nerves running along the ribs can cause both electric shock-like pains to the chest wall as well as upper abdominal pain. This pain can originate at the site of incision or anywhere along the length of the ribs. There are many medical and interventional treatments for this syndrome.

Thoracic Radicular Pain

Thoracic Radicular Pain syndrome is due to irritation of the nerves exiting the spine along the upper and middle back. It is often described as a sharp pain that is associated with weakness or numbness along the distributions of these nerves. There are many causes, including: thoracic disk bulges, vertebral compression fractures, bone overgrowth, and narrowing of the spinal canal. This condition is amenable to a wide variety of medical and interventional treatment options.

Costochondritis

Costochondritis involves a weakening and inflammation of the connective tissue of the chest wall. This condition is often seen in smokers, people with arthritis, and inflammatory disease and may sometimes be preceded by viral and bacterial infections. Pain occurs with deep breathing and slight pressure. There are several medical and interventional treatments available for this condition.

Costosternal Syndrome

Costosternal Syndrome involves a weakening and inflammation of the connective tissue between the rib joints. This condition is often brought on by trauma to the chest. Pain occurs with deep breathing and slight pressure and can be easily reproduced on medical exam. There are many medical and interventional treatment options available for patients with this condition.