Symptoms and treatment of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine

chest pain with osteochondrosis

One of the most "many-sided" diseases is osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine. Its symptoms are diverse, often disguised as other diseases, and examination and treatment require an integrated approach.

Thoracic osteochondrosis is a degenerative process that occurs in the spine. The changes that take place do not manifest themselves until it is too late and the disease flows into an advanced phase, in which treatment becomes very problematic.

Therefore, it is so important that at the first symptoms of the disease, close attention is paid to them and measures are taken to prevent the development of the disease.

Features of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine

The thoracic spine has significant differences from other parts. The vertebrae are wider and shorter here, the spinous processes are longer, superimposed on each other in the form of shingles, and the vertebrae themselves are fixed by means of the ribs and sternum into a rigid frame - the chest. All this leads to a much lower mobility of the vertebrae, a stronger position of the discs, and therefore a more rare development of protrusions and hernias.

On the other hand, the autonomic ganglia (nerve nodes) are located in the thoracic spinal cord. Autonomic nerve fibers depart from them through the intervertebral spaces to all internal organs and blood vessels, regulating their work. Compression of these fibers leads to symptoms from these organs and blood vessels. Therefore, osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine has more numerous symptoms, and its treatment is more problematic.

Symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis: vertebral and visceral

Due to the structural features of the thoracic spine in osteochondrosis, symptoms develop not only of vertebral origin associated with the spine itself, but also visceral manifestations associated with compression and irritation of autonomic nerve fibers going to the organs.

Vertebral symptoms

Vertebral (vertebral) manifestations are local in nature and include the following symptoms:

  • dorsalgia - pain in the area of the affected vertebrae and discs, it has a constant aching character, increases with movement;
  • pain in the chest, aggravated by turning the body;
  • restriction of movements - bending, turning the body.

Visceral symptoms

These symptoms will depend on which part (segment) of the spine is the compression of the nerve roots:

  • in the upper section (level 1-4 of the thoracic vertebrae) - there is a feeling of pressure behind the sternum, difficulty swallowing, a feeling of a foreign body in the pharynx, esophagus, pain in the region of the heart;
  • in the middle section (level 5-8 vertebrae) - there are pains in the epigastric region, as in gastritis or peptic ulcer disease, as well as in the right hypochondrium, as in cholecystitis;
  • in the lower thoracic region (level 10-12 vertebrae) - the most dramatic picture of symptoms develops, such as acute attacks of abdominal pain, as in intestinal colic, appendicitis, renal colic, often even tension of the muscles of the abdominal wall occurs, as in acute surgical pathology.

Important!Thoracic osteochondrosis not only simulates diseases of the internal organs, but can also cause their development. Timely examination and treatment of the spine can prevent these diseases.

Consequences and syndromes developing with breast osteochondrosis

The danger of thoracic osteochondrosis is that it is not limited to damage to the spine, but can lead to diseases of the internal organs.

Cardiac syndrome

Pains appear in the region of the heart, as with angina pectoris. Even shortness of breath is possible with osteochondrosis of the thoracic region, reminiscent of lack of air in heart failure. This occurs as a result of reflex spasm of the coronary vessels and the gradual development of degenerative changes in the myocardium.

pain in the thoracic spine with osteochondrosis

Gastroduodenal syndrome

As a result of frequent irritation of the roots going to the stomach and duodenum, not only pain in these organs arises, but their diseases develop. There is irritation of the gastric mucosa, gastritis develops. For the same reasons, duodenitis develops - inflammation of the duodenum, which can turn into an erosive form and even a peptic ulcer.

Biliary dyskinesia syndrome

Irritation of the vegetative roots going to the liver and bile ducts causes their spasm and dyskinesia, the outflow of bile is disturbed. This is manifested by cramping pains in the right hypochondrium, bitterness in the mouth can be felt periodically. At first, it has a functional character, later, as a result of stagnation of bile, chronic cholecystitis develops and conditions are created for the formation of stones in the gallbladder.

Principles of treatment of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine

Thoracic osteochondrosis is a systemic disease of the spine, therefore, treatment is always carried out in a comprehensive manner, and includes both local and general measures:

  • relieving exacerbation of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine - treatment is aimed at eliminating acute pain;
  • drug treatment - includes analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as chondroprotectors that help restore cartilage tissue;
  • physiotherapy treatment - electrical procedures, ultrasound, magnetic therapy, acupuncture, laser therapy - aimed at relieving pain and muscle spasm, improving blood circulation in the spine and tissue restoration;
  • physiotherapy exercises, massage and manual therapy - aimed at relieving muscle spasm, improving blood circulation and restoring the range of motion of the spine, strengthening the muscle corset;
  • surgical treatment - prescribed in case of the development of dangerous complications of osteochondrosis (laminectomy operation, laminoplasty - on the arches of the vertebrae, plastic discs, stabilizing operations - fixation of the vertebrae and other interventions).

Important!You cannot independently, without the knowledge of the doctor, decide on the treatment of osteochondrosis - visit a massage therapist or chiropractor, take any medications. Treatment is always prescribed by a doctor, and it is selected individually for each patient.

Preparations for the drug treatment of osteochondrosis

There are many different drugs recommended for osteochondrosis. Most of them can be bought without a doctor's prescription, and often in such cases, the patient harms his health, not knowing about the side effects and contraindications.

The main groups of drugs for osteochondrosis:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a very large group of drugs. They reduce the inflammatory process in the connective and nervous tissue, are prescribed for diseases of the joints, spine and nervous system. The list of them is very long.
  • Important!All of them, regardless of the name and manufacturer, have the same effect. In addition, most of them are irritating to the stomach or toxic to the liver.

  • Analgesics - pain relievers, these include non-narcotic drugs and narcotic drugs. You should know that these drugs do not cure osteochondrosis, but only reduce pain.
  • Muscle relaxants are drugs that relieve spasm of the back muscles. It should be remembered that they are taken for a short time and in small doses, and their uncontrolled intake can cause weakness of the respiratory muscles, shortness of breath and even respiratory arrest.
  • Means that improve blood circulation and metabolic processes - preparations of nicotinic acid and other means.
  • Chondroprotectors are a large group of drugs containing substances on the basis of which cartilage is formed. Medicines do not work immediately, but they promote the restoration of cartilage tissue with prolonged use.
  • Vitamins - must be included in the treatment complex, especially B vitamins, which contribute to the restoration of nerve fibers, but vitamins C, A, E, PP, D are also needed, which play an important role in the metabolic processes of the tissues of the spine.

Physiotherapy methods for the treatment of chest osteochondrosis

Physiotherapy helps relieve pain, relax muscles, improve blood circulation and metabolic recovery processes in the spine. The arsenal of physiotherapeutic procedures is very large, they are selected individually, depending on the stage of the disease and symptoms:

  • UFO therapy (quartz);
  • UHF (ultra high frequency electric field);
  • magnetotherapy (exposure to a magnetic field);
  • electrotherapy - electrophoresis, iontophoresis with medicines;
  • shock wave therapy - exposure to acoustic waves;
  • ultrasound (vibration therapy) - micromassage using high frequency sound waves, combined with drugs, increasing their penetration deep into the tissues of the spine;
  • laser therapy is an almost universal procedure that relieves pain, inflammation, spasm and stimulates the restoration of cartilage tissue.

The role of physiotherapy exercises and massage in the treatment of thoracic osteochondrosis

Every patient with chest osteochondrosis should know a very important circumstance. No matter how modern the treatment carried out, even in the best clinic, with the most "advanced" drugs, with a laser, no matter how skillfully the operation is performed, all these efforts can come to naught without special exercises.

The spine is elastic in itself, and it is the axis of the body only in combination with the muscular frame, which supports it in the desired, symmetrical position, protects it from displacement of discs, the formation of protrusions and hernias. That is why osteochondrosis is the lot of persons leading a sedentary lifestyle, far from sports, with a weakened muscular system.

The muscle frame that holds the spine includes the muscles of the neck and shoulder girdle, back, lower back, and abdominal muscles. Special exercises for these muscles are the most reliable "medicine" that does not work immediately, but is very effective. And this "medicine" is for permanent, lifelong use.

exercises for the treatment of chest osteochondrosis

Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine can become a serious health problem, or it may not interfere with your quality of life with the right approach to treatment. Appointment of a specialist plus your active participation is the key to success.