Osteochondrosis - dystrophic and degenerative changes in cartilage and bone tissue. Osteochondrosis of the spine can occur in the cervical, thoracic or lumbar spine. The progression of the disease leads to destruction of the ligaments, the structure of the joints, intervertebral discs.
Osteochondrosis of the spine in the thoracic region is not common. This is due to the peculiarities of its structure. Its mobility is lower than that of the cervical and lumbar regions. Part of the load is taken by the ribs and sternum. The danger of pathology in the difficulty of its diagnosis. The symptomatology is similar to other diseases, it is detected quite late, which complicates the treatment process.
The causes of the disease
The development of thoracic osteochondrosis is associated with metabolic disorders and increased load on the intervertebral discs. Inside the intervertebral disc is the nucleus pulposus, which is surrounded by the annulus fibrosus. If it is damaged, drying out and loss of the amortization qualities of the kernel occurs. As a result of degenerative processes, inflammation and clamping of the nerve fibers of the spinal cord occurs.
The causes of osteochondrosis can be:
- intervertebral hernia;
- the presence of osteophytes;
- poor blood supply to the spinal cord due to vascular clamping;
- violation of mineral metabolism (in particular, calcium deficiency);
- curvature of the spine, which creates an uneven load on the discs;
- trauma to the thoracic region due to a fall, bruise, impact;
- strength sports, regular weight lifting;
- passive lifestyle.
Symptoms and sensations with chest osteochondrosis
Several factors affect the clinical picture of pathology:
- the level of damage to the spine;
- the patient's age;
- stage of the pathological process (exacerbation or remission).
Symptoms of osteochondrosis of the chest are characterized by variety and nonspecificity, so the disease is often confused with other pathologies.
The main signs of breast osteochondrosis:
- Dorsago - a sharp, sudden pain in the chest and back ("chest lumbago"), the patient feels shortness of breath.
- Dorsalgia is minor pain in the affected vertebrae that develops gradually over several weeks. The pain can increase with a deep breath, bending to the side and forward, as well as prolonged stay in a static position.
The feeling of severe girdle pain and breathing problems are associated with intercostal neuralgia, in which the nerve roots are compressed. The intensity of pain usually increases in the afternoon and subsides after a night's sleep.
Among the neurological symptoms are:
- violation of the sensitivity of the limbs;
- numbness of the heart muscle;
- pulmonary syndrome;
- tingling, burning, numbness of the skin;
- twitching and muscle spasm;
- a feeling of the presence of a foreign object in the pharynx when osteochondrosis is localized in the upper thoracic segment.
Intercostal neuralgia is a concomitant symptom of degenerative-inflammatory pathologies of the spine (osteochondrosis, displacement of the vertebrae, scoliosis). But its appearance resembles signs of various diseases of the peritoneal organs and the thoracic region.
Note!Often, pain occurs in the upper zones of the thoracic region, gradually covering it completely, as well as in the area of the shoulder blades (reminiscent of angina pectoris). Pain in the right hypochondrium occurs with osteochondrosis of the middle thoracic region. They can be diagnosed as pancreatitis or cholecystitis. Soreness in the gastrointestinal tract occurs with lesions of the lower segment of the thoracic region of the spine, imitating bowel disease.
Stages of development of the disease
The degree of development of the disease is associated with pathological disorders of the spine, which are characterized by certain clinical symptoms.
There are 4 periods of the development of the disease:
- 1st degree- the appearance of cracks inside the fibrous ring, after which the liquid of the nucleus pulposus penetrates into it. A pain syndrome appears, localized only in the affected area. There may be pain in the area of the heart muscle, muscle cramps.
- 2nd degree- abnormal mobility appears between the vertebrae, subluxations are noticeable in the thoracic region. With prolonged static posture or during movement, discomfort and increased pain are felt.
- Grade 3- rupture of the annulus fibrosus, going beyond the nucleus pulposus. The formation of intervertebral hernias occurs. This causes severe girdle pain, impaired mobility and other symptoms.
- 4 degree- pathological processes extend beyond the spinal column. In degenerative-dystrophic changes, the paravertebral ligaments are involved, fibrosis develops.
Radiography is highly informative. The presence of pathology is indicated by:
- uneven disc edges;
- enlargement and sharpening of the uncinate processes;
- decrease in the height of the discs, deformation of their shape;
- the presence of osteophytes.
Sometimes an X-ray contrast study is performed. The contrast agent fills the destroyed disc, which makes it possible to determine the degree of neglect of the pathological process. MRI and computed tomography are considered no less informative.
How to treat osteochondrosis of the thoracic region? The approach to therapy must be comprehensive. It is necessary to take into account the stage of development of the disease, the degree of destructive processes, the general condition of the patient.
In the treatment of chest osteochondrosis, several groups of drugs are used.
- NSAIDs and muscle relaxants;
- Glucocorticosteroids. Their therapeutic effect is more pronounced than that of NSAIDs, but the risk of side effects is higher.
- Chondroprotectors. It is believed that chondroprotective agents contribute to the regulation of damaged cartilage tissue. But their effectiveness has not been conclusively confirmed.
- Diuretics are used for a short time to relieve swelling of strangulated nerve fibers during an exacerbation of osteochondrosis.
Folk remedies and recipes
It is used more often during the period of remission of the disease and only as an additional method of treatment.
Treatment of osteochondrosis at home using traditional medicine:
- Pour 30-40 g of chopped celery root with 1 liter of boiling water. Insist 8 hours. Drink 1 dessert spoon three times a day.
- Melt 150 g of pork fat with steam. Add 2 tablespoons of wax to it. Warm up for 15 minutes. Add 1 spoonful of ammonia. Rub problem areas twice a day. Store in a cool place.
Massage and exercise therapy
One of the most effective therapeutic measures for osteochondrosis is massage. It helps to eliminate muscle spasm, improve blood supply to the problem area, and normalize the functional state of the spinal column. With an exacerbation of the disease, vibration massage is recommended. After the clinical manifestations subside, you can take a course of classical massage.
Massage is not recommended for grade 3 thoracic osteochondrosis, when there is an intervertebral hernia. This can aggravate the patient's condition.
The goal of physical therapy and gymnastics for osteochondrosis is to improve the mobility of the intervertebral joints, to strengthen the muscular body. Exercise therapy allows you to relieve muscle spasms, remove stiffness in the spine. Classes should be carried out daily under the supervision of an experienced instructor. Their plan is made individually for each patient.
The main principles of proper nutrition in the treatment of chest osteochondrosis:
- a large amount of protein in the diet;
- exclusion of fatty and fried;
- food should be boiled or baked.
Salt should be excluded from the diet or it should be significantly limited. Avoid carbonated and caffeinated drinks. It is better to replace them with herbal teas, natural juices. To enhance the synthesis of cartilage tissue, it is useful to introduce jellies, jellies, jellies, which contain chondroitin, into the diet. To get enough calcium for bone health, you need to consume dairy products. Compliance with proper nutrition prevents the progression of the pathological process.
To prevent the development and exacerbation of destructive processes in the thoracic spine, it is recommended to take preventive measures as early as possible and follow them regularly.
- do special exercises for the back every day;
- give up addictions;
- eat right and balanced;
- normalize weight;
- with sedentary work 10 minutes every hour you need to do a warm-up;
- swimming, water aerobics;
Thoracic osteochondrosis is not very common in comparison with the cervical and lumbar. But it is no less dangerous in its consequences for the body. It is quite difficult to detect it in the early stages due to the similarity of symptoms with other pathologies. Therefore, it is important to monitor the health of the spine all the time, to take all measures to prevent pathological destruction.