Thoracic disc herniation is not as common as a lumbar and cervical disc herniation. This is because the thoracic spine is the part of the spine which is connected to the rib cage. This gives the thoracic spine a more sturdy structure and therefore it is not as easy to injure. A thoracic disc herniation may cause pain around the chest and rib cage and sometimes patients are referred to the Chest Physicians as opposed to a Spinal Surgeon with suspected chest problems. Treatment depends on the severity of a patients symptoms but can include a combination of conservative management including physiotherapy and painkillers.
Not every herniated disc causes symptoms. In fact, many people discover they have a herniated disc after having an x-ray for an unrelated reason. If symptoms occur, they generally appear at the level of the damaged vertebrae, as shown here: