Detailed dissection of Thoracic Facets has found 62% of them hold and intra-joint mensicoid fold(s) – some with blood vessels. The addition of craggy clefts, cartilage damage, ulcers and hemmorhage all suggest they could be pain generators.
Pain in the Thoracic spine does not generate the same respect as lumbar spine because outright disc protrusions are much less frequent there. At least now, the facet pains seen in the thoracic spine appear to be more explainable.
Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2010 Feb 26. [Epub ahead of print]
Intra-Articular Meniscoid Folds in Thoracic Zygapophysial Joints.
Schulte TL, Filler TJ, Struwe P, Liem D, Bullmann V. abstract here
- 7 female, 5 male specimens
- Damage was most visable T1/T2, T4/T5, T10/11, and T12/L1
This fits with commonly seen syndromes – cervicothoracic junction pains, T4 syndrome, and the thoracolumbar syndromes.
Comments – this adds some structural credibility to commonly seen pain conditions in thoracic spine.