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Sept 11, 1967

Thoracic Spinal Origin of Pain From Cord Compression Due to Disk Prolapse

JAMA. 1967;201(11):893. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130110119046

To the Editor:—  The contribution of Drs. Langfitt and Elliott (200:382, 1967) emphasizes the clinical significance of low back and leg pain in cervical spinal cord compression. In this region of the spine, true disk prolapse, namely the "soft" sequestrated disk, is quite uncommon, and usually a spondylotic bar is the offending agent. Comparable peripheral symptoms are also prominent, and often misleading, when there is medullary involvement by posterior displacement of thoracic intervertebral disk tissue, which is also a relatively infrequent but important cause of spinal cord compression. Inasmuch as the pain patterns associated with thoracic disk prolapse received limited emphasis from Love and Schorn,1 it is appropriate to call attention to the diagnostic importance of low back and leg pain in disease involving vertebral disk prolapse.The pain patterns in 18 surgically treated patients with spinal cord compression due to prolapse of a thoracic intervertebral disk have