Age-related wear also affects the soft tissue of the thoracic spine. Ligaments and tendons (the tough bands of tissue that hold the neuromuscular structure together) can dry out and shrink, pulling bones out of alignment. Spinal stenosis, a condition in which the spinal canal narrows and causes nerve root compression and pain, can result from thoracic spondylosis. Protective cartilage can also wear away from joints, allowing bones to grind together and damage each other. Bone spurs can then form, placing pressure on spinal nerves and causing pain.
Dr. Tai is certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation with subspecialty certification in Pain Medicine. He is licensed as a Physician by the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners and as an acupuncturist by the New Jersey State Acupuncture Examining Board. He is currently practicing pain management at his office in Bridgewater New Jersey, at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital-Somerset, and at Somerset Ambulatory Surgical Center.
In many cases, vertebral fractures can be treated through conservative methods such as bed rest, a back brace or pain medication. However, patients with osteoporosis or whose fractures have caused severe, long-term pain may benefit from a minimally invasive procedure such as vertebroplasty to relieve symptoms. This procedure is also recommended for patients who are too weak to undergo spinal surgery, or have a malignant tumor within the spine that has caused vertebral damage. Vertebroplasty is most effective when performed on fractures that are less than six months old.