Thoracic hernia

A hernia is another word for protrusion. A protrusion of the intervertebral disc in the spine can pressure the spinal cord and can cause pain. Pressuring the spinal cord can cause several neurological symptoms in arms and/or legs, like weakness, numbness and incontinence. Hernias can occur in all parts of the spine, but are most frequent in the neck and lower back area. Hernias in the thoracic spine (upper back) are very rare, only 0,5% of all surgical removed hernias are thoracic hernias.


Symptoms may vary depending on the size and location of the hernia, but may include:

  • Pain below the shoulder blades, sometimes including radiation to the ribs
  • Numbness on one side of the chest
  • Numbness of the torso and/or legs
  • Weakness in the legs
  • Incontinence 


Many hernias are treated without surgery. Surgery is only indicated in the case of severe pain and/or severe neurological deficits. 

Within UNCH Haaglanden Medical Center is specialised in diagnosing and treating patients with a thoracic hernia. More information about thoracic hernias can be found on the NVvN website.

Ons advies