Osteochondrosis is a chronic disease of cartilage tissue where degenerative-dystrophic processes predominate. The disease can affect all joints of the body, but most cases occur in the intervertebral discs. Depending on the location, osteochondrosis of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine is distinguished. The highest incidence is observed at the age of 30-40 years, but recently this disease has become younger and occurs even in adolescents. Symptoms similar to osteochondrosis occur in 50-90% of the population. In the article you will find the main symptoms of osteochondrosis in the thoracic region, methods of treating this disease.
Specificity of osteochondrosis of the thoracic region
Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine is less common than other types. The anatomy of the thoracic spine has more discs than the lumbar and neck combined. However, these slices are inferior in size and thickness. Due to the redistribution of the load on the ribs and sternum, this part of the spine is less mobile.
While for intervertebral osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine, pain after excessive and incorrect physical exertion is a more characteristic symptom, pain is practically not typical of the thoracic spine. Most often, symptoms of complications of various diseases are observed in the cardiovascular system or respiratory system.
Reasons for development
The most common cause of the development of osteochondrosis is a sedentary lifestyle. Today, people increasingly have to work at the computer in the most uncomfortable positions of the back. Lack of physical activity also affects the condition of the muscles on which the condition of the intervertebral discs depends. Not only physical inactivity but also excessive physical activity can cause osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine and the following risk factors are also distinguished:
- various forms of curvature of the spine, such as scoliosis, postural disorders;
- sedentary lifestyle, sedentary work;
- excessive physical activity or abrupt cessation of active sports;
- spinal cord injury;
- bad habits, chronic stress, insomnia;
- overweight, obesity;
- flat feet, prolonged use of uncomfortable shoes;
- dystrophic changes associated with the body's normal aging process.
Recently, there has been a tendency for the disease to rejuvenate. Symptoms of osteochondrosis are diagnosed from adolescence. There is a hypothesis that this is due to the large amount of time spent at the computer.
The clinical picture of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine is quite bright, but it can hide behind other diseases or their complications: attacks can often resemble myocardial infarction, cholecystitis, pancreatitis, renal colic. Among the most common are:
- the occurrence of acute pain after a prolonged stay in one position, most often unpleasant. These pains also occur in response to sudden movements or by lifting heavy weights;
- it may not be pain, but a feeling of tightness in the chest or back. Difficulty breathing, deep inhalation or exhalation pain;
- due to damage by osteochondrosis of the nerve roots leaving the spinal canal, numbness or a tingling sensation may occur in certain parts of the body;
- there is also a dull pain in the shoulder blades or between them, as well as in the shoulder girdle and sternoclavicular junction;
- colds of the lower extremities due to complications of the blood supply.
Some general, non-specific symptoms can be observed:
- frequent attacks of intercostal neuralgia;
- from the gastrointestinal tract: nausea, heartburn, bloating, flatulence, constipation or diarrhea. Abdominal pain may occur due to lesions in the lower segment of the thoracic spine;
- peeling skin, thin and brittle nails and hair;
- violations of the reproductive system.
Symptoms often appear in the form of vertebral syndromes: dorsago and dorsalgi. These are the main markers of the disease, which often indicate with 100% probability the osteochondrosis of this department.
It is characterized by sudden acute pain in the thoracic spine. Patients associate it with "dagger" pain because in most cases it is of an acute intolerable nature. The most common cause of this type of pain is a long sitting position or prolonged uncomfortable posture. When trying to get up or take a more comfortable position, a person experiences acute pain or "lumbago", which can also cause restriction of movement for a while.
This type of pain is characterized by a gradual onset with a cumulative effect, it can develop in 2-3 weeks. With dorsal pain, pulling pain or discomfort is observed in the location of a specifically damaged area of the spine. With a change in body position or deep breathing, the pain increases sharply. There is a tendency for pain to intensify in the late afternoon or after physical exertion. In the morning, patients usually notice a weakening or even complete disappearance of pain. A short walk also helps.
A diagnosis of any pathology begins with a comprehensive examination of a person and an analysis of his complaints about his condition. For example, in advanced stages, a curvature of the spine is often observed, which is noticeable from the outside. On the contrary, in case of postural disturbances, one should carefully examine for the presence of osteochondrosis. It is recommended to carefully analyze the patient's hereditary preconditions for the development of this pathology. It is necessary to send the patient for general blood and urine tests.
One of the most necessary steps is X-ray of the thoracic spine in various projections, by means of which it is necessary to analyze osteophytes, their presence and size; assess the height of the discs and the presence of changes in it; the size and location of the hernia.
Another X-ray method is discography, which uses a contrast agent. This allows you to assess the condition of the nucleus pulposus. Computed tomography can also be used, but due to the patients' strong radiation, it is used in special cases.
A mandatory examination method is electrocardiography. The symptoms of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine are very similar to the symptoms of myocardial infarction and angina pectoris.
For a successful treatment of osteochondrosis of the spine, it is necessary to influence the cause of the disease, and not be limited to pain medication alone or immediately send for surgery. For example, patients with low mobility will receive completely different treatment methods as opposed to a patient with a previous spinal cord injury and its complications. It is also extremely effective to combine therapy methods to enhance and consolidate the effect.
In the acute period of the disease, in addition to drugs, strict bed rest is recommended. The main groups of drugs for osteochondrosis of the breast:
- analgesics for the relief of acute pain;
- for some patients the use of anticonvulsants is recommended;
- complex B vitamins;
- chondroprotectors that need individual selection for each patient, taking into account the characteristics of the development of the disease, as well as taking into account the specific conditions of the development of the body.
Drug treatment is only effective in the early stages of the disease course. In addition, medication in the chronic form of osteochondrosis can be prescribed for life or until complete recovery.
Exercise therapy is a remedial physical culture. Today, there are a lot of useful exercises for the prevention and treatment of osteochondrosis in the thoracic region. These also include breathing exercises.
The basis of exercise therapy for osteochondrosis in the thoracic region is the bar. It should start with the minimum time and increase it daily to the minimum level. The goal is 1, 5 minutes. In this position, it is also recommended to press the knees against the chest alternately and hold this position for 5-10 seconds. It will also be useful to try to hang on the horizontal bar with the same gradual increase in time.
The exercise therapy method is used outside the acute period of illness and is one of the most versatile methods that can be combined with the rest.
A manual method of affecting the musculoskeletal system to relieve both chronic and acute pain in the joints and spine. It also helps increase mobility in the joints and corrects posture disorders. It is also used to relieve muscle tension.
Manual therapy also helps to improve blood circulation in the intervertebral discs, improve oxygen transport from blood to tissues and vice versa. Thus, it is possible to eliminate the complications of osteochondrosis associated with damage or compression of blood vessels, as well as with a lack of oxygen in tissues and organs.
The advantage of traditional medicine is that its effect is tested over many years. There are many different ways to treat any disease at home without the risk of side effects. Infusion recipes used for illness:
- Marigold. Take 100 g of the product for 200 ml of ordinary men's cologne. Add a little camphor oil. Leave in a cool dark place for two weeks for infusion in a tightly closed bottle;
- Dandelion. Take dandelion roots, mint leaves, birch buds and coriander fruit 2 tbsp each. l. and pour 0, 5 cups of boiling water. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Then add 60-70 g of butter and cook for another 20 minutes, then cool.
It is extremely important to rub these decoctions strictly on the site of the breast lesion. Rubbing should be done with gentle massage movements for 5 minutes. The rubbing site is then insulated, for example with a sweater. All decoctions are stored in the refrigerator.
Some herbs are not approved for use in the presence of certain diseases, so it is better to consult a specialist here.
First aid for exacerbation
First of all, it is necessary to heat the painful area. But to do this only with medicinal ointments, you should not use decoction: there is a chance of getting a skin burn.
It is better to do this with a slightly warming cloth, such as a woolen product. Then it is recommended to lie on a hard surface to correct the uneven body position. In a pinch, even a floor will suffice. With an exacerbation of osteochondrosis in the thoracic region, a tight bandage is applied to the chest.
During a seizure, it is advisable to take an anesthetic, preferably intramuscularly. The NSAID is used for acute seizures.
If within 30-60 minutes there is no improvement in well-being, then it is necessary to call an ambulance and make sure to inform them about painkillers on arrival.
Prevention is the easiest and cheapest way to stay healthy. Every person exposes themselves to many negative environmental factors every day. If this effect is minimized, the chance of developing osteochondrosis is reduced to zero. Basic principles for the prevention of osteochondrosis in the thoracic region:
- To live an active lifestyle. It's easy to exaggerate this and expose the spine even more. It is better to listen to the needs of the body, start with minimal stress and gradually get used to it. Breakfast runs and swimming pools are best for this.
- Steer longer seated in one position. It is better to regularly knead the joints of the upper shoulder belt, try to maintain proper posture and relax the shoulders.
- You should not skimp on a chair for seated work. Let it be a special chair that supports the spine well.
- Use orthopedic mattresses and pillows. It is during sleep that the spine most often deforms, is in a curved position for a long time and then disappoints with pain and discomfort throughout the day. These are the initial prerequisites for osteochondrosis. It is better to warn them all.
- Avoid carrying heavy weights. Unfortunately, this is sometimes vital. In this case, it is better to keep an even weight distribution in relation to the body. And try to make everything smooth, without sudden movements. Otherwise, it can threaten not only osteochondrosis.
- Wear comfortable shoes. In everyday life, heels will bring only one health problem. Better to set them aside for an evening look.
- Strengthen the muscles. Abdominal muscles, lower back, back and muscles of the spine. It is the basic framework for a healthy back and proper posture.
We must not forget about proper nutrition. The daily menu must correspond to the needs of the individual organism, contain the maximum amount of vitamins, micro- and macro-elements.
- Osteochondrosis of the thoracic region is a dystrophic-degenerative disease in which deformation occurs, loss of performance of vertebral discs.
- Osteochondrosis of the breast is less common than other types of this pathology. Recently, the disease has been diagnosed not only in the elderly but also in adolescents.
- There are many factors in the development of the disease. As a rule, osteochondrosis starts against a background of several causes.
- Monotherapy is rarely effective. To eliminate the cause and symptoms of the disease, treatment tactics are developed, which include taking medication, exercise therapy, and other ancillary procedures.
- Simple prevention can reduce the development of breast osteochondrosis to a minimum.