It is recommended to start treatment of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine as early as possible, as the disease in a neglected condition leads to degenerative and dystrophic lesions of the intervertebral discs. The main danger of the disease is that the shape and structure of the discs subsequently gradually change, and intercostal nerves can be damaged. This disease adversely affects the patient's quality of life.
The mechanism of development of the disease
It is possible to avoid serious complications and start treatment on time if you know what osteochondrosis in the thoracic region is and what symptoms it causes. First, the disease affects the bone tissue, then cartilage, connective tissue and muscle tissue. On the background of osteochondrosis, atherosclerosis, prostatitis, pneumosclerosis and other pathologies may also develop.
According to statistics, there are about 30% of patients with spinal cord diseases in the world, and young people are getting sick more and more often. Osteochondrosis in the thoracic region is less common than in other parts of the spine and has characteristic symptoms. This is due to the difference in the structure of this section from others (there are more disks and the mobility is lower).
The ribs and sternum assume a certain strain, so the symptoms of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine can sometimes be confused with myocardial infarction. This type of osteochondrosis does not cause pain during exercise or movement, as with lumbar osteochondrosis (therefore, diagnosis can be difficult). Complications associated with angina pectoris or respiratory failure come to the fore.
The upper thoracic vertebrae are most often involved in the pathological process. Risk factors that contribute to the development of the disease include:
- reduced blood supply;
- damage to the intervertebral disc;
- age-related changes;
- excessive physical activity.
The disease occurs as a result of such causes:
- weakening of the muscular cross;
- congenital defect in the spine;
- infectious process;
- hormonal disorder.
In addition, osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine, which has characteristic symptoms and a complex treatment regimen, can occur for the following reasons: chronic stress, hypothermia, and difficult working conditions. Under the influence of degenerative changes, the pulpous nucleus of the vertebra gradually begins to lose fluid and the depreciation function deteriorates. Due to the fact that the fibrous ring becomes more vulnerable, it gradually begins to collapse.
How the disease manifests itself
Thoracic osteochondrosis can manifest itself in different ways, depending on the stage of the pathological process, the age of the patient and the degree of damage to the spine. Signs of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine may resemble the pathologies of the internal organs, so much importance is attached to the correct diagnosis.
Thorax osteochondrosis has the following symptoms:
- abdominal syndrome;
- pulmonary syndrome;
- changes in the heart muscle;
- neurological signs.
How does thoracic osteochondrosis manifest itself:
- pain in the intercostal spaces;
- chest pain;
- limitation of mobility;
- numbness in some parts of the body.
The patient usually complains of characteristic pain in the chest area, between the shoulder blades or the ribs. Pain may become more intense during physical exertion, by sharp bends of the upper body or after a prolonged stay in an uncomfortable position. Pain can be given to the anterior abdominal wall, liver or heart. Therefore, with a combination of other symptoms, you may often encounter a misdiagnosis and not recognize the disease in a timely manner.
The feeling of lack of air is due to the fact that the lung tissue does not expand enough and the respiratory rate increases. A vertebra that has undergone secondary changes is eventually covered by a bone outgrowth and disrupts the normal function of the intervertebral joints.
Somewhat less often, the patient may be disturbed by insomnia, numbness or crawling on the skin. Neurological symptoms may also include reflexes in the pectoral muscles and decreased function of the pelvic organs or a decrease in male strength. In addition, patients may complain of weakness in the hands, which is associated with decreased blood flow and tissue hypoxia. During an exacerbation of the disease, the patient may complain of severe pain or inability to perform usual activities.
Advice. With age, changes in the spine develop in each person, therefore osteochondrosis occurs at the age of 40 in many patients. Periodic medical examinations, which should be performed by people at risk for thoracic osteochondrosis, will help identify the disease and prevent complications.
With the defeat in the thoracic region, symptoms in the form of pain may occur dorsalgi or dorsago. Dorsago is considered one of the most important signs of the development of the pathological process in the spine and is manifested by acute pain. Occurs most often in a person when performing monotonous or monotonous work. The pain can be very severe and even interfere with normal breathing. Dorsalgi is a clinical syndrome with many causes. The nature of pain can be different: pulling pain, burning, aching, cutting. During palpation in the area of the thoracic spine, the pain usually intensifies.
Signs of thoracic osteochondrosis in women:
- pain in the area of the damaged disc;
- simulation of diseases of internal organs;
- pain and decreased sensitivity along the compressed nerve root.
Nerve root compression or compressive myelopathy is accompanied by the following symptoms:
- impaired motor function;
- decreased sensitivity;
- pain along the nerve.
Pulmonary syndrome is characterized by signs of hypoxia and congestion in the lungs. Thoracic osteochondrosis in women and men occurs without an increase in body temperature, and this can serve as a differential diagnostic sign.
How osteochondrosis manifests itself in children: pain occurs in the area with damage to the spine. Due to constant pain, the child may become irritable or capricious, refusing to eat. Over time, there is an exhaustion of the nervous system and the negative impact of osteochondrosis on the whole body of children.
Degrees of thoracic osteochondrosis
Depending on whether acute osteochondrosis or not, there are different degrees of this disease:
- first degree;
- second degree;
- third degree;
- fourth degree.
In the very first stage, in a sick person with thoracic osteochondrosis, cracks form inside the fibrous ring, pain in the spine and so on. Pain can be constant or shot-like. In addition, convulsions of muscles and pain in the heart can be observed.
With osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine of the second degree, pathological mobility is formed between the vertebrae. Therefore, the patient may experience subluxation in the thoracic region or develop discomfort with a prolonged posture.
Third, the characteristic features are fractures of the fibrous ring and the exit of the nucleus pulposus beyond. At this stage, the disease is accompanied by neurovascular signs, insufficient fixation of the spine and unusual limitation of mobility of the type kyphosis or scoliosis.
In the final stage, the symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis in women or the male half of the population will consist in the development of degenerative-dystrophic processes of the structures around the spine. Interspinous and yellow ligaments are involved in the pathological process that fibrosis forms.
Complications that sometimes occur with this disease include growth of bone osteophytes, inflammation of the nerve roots, narrowing of the spinal canal, and spondyloarthrosis. In addition, the patient may develop an intervertebral hernia or vegetovascular dystonia. The severity of complications depends directly on the progression of the disease and the effectiveness of the prescribed course of treatment.
To get rid of thoracic osteochondrosis and decide what to do, you should first undergo a high quality diagnosis. The most accessible and informative examination method is the X-ray method. It is possible to suspect osteochondrosis if the patient has uneven contours of the intervertebral disc, there is a change in the shape of the vertebral body, a decrease in the height of the intervertebral disc, the formation of osteophytes or hernia.
To make the correct diagnosis and find out how to treat osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine, X-ray contrast examination (discography) helps, which determines the uneven contours of the nucleus pulposus. In advanced cases, the contrast agent completely fills the intervertebral disc or enters the spinal canal.
Using such a diagnostic method as MRI, it is possible to identify changes in the soft tissues and determine the involvement of the spinal cord in the pathological process.
If necessary, an ultrasound examination of the heart or an electrocardiogram is also prescribed. After collection of anamnesis, medical treatment of osteochondrosis is carried out taking into account the severity of the disease, the age of the patient, the presence of concomitant diseases and the presence of certain clinical manifestations.
How the treatment takes place
Due to the fact that it is impossible to fully recover from thoracic osteochondrosis, treatment should be started as early as possible to stop the pathological process in the vertebrae. How to treat thoracic osteochondrosis, the attending physician should tell, but in general, complex therapy is as follows:
- drug treatment;
- manual therapy;
In most cases, medication is performed and conservative therapy is prescribed. The medical treatment method includes the use of anti-inflammatory non-steroidal drugs and glucocorticosteroids. Drug treatment for thoracic osteochondrosis also includes a medication to improve the condition of cartilage tissue.
Thoracic osteochondrosis involves treatment with antispasmodics and muscle relaxants to reduce muscle spasms. To keep the fluid inside the intervertebral disc will help the drug papain, and to get rid of pain, painkillers are prescribed. Thorax osteochondrosis, which has symptoms of cartilage damage, needs treatment with chondroprotectors.
Traditional medicine will tell you how to get rid of osteochondrosis at home. The most effective remedies for which there are positive reviews are celery root and sunflower root.
Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine during periods of exacerbations requires such treatment:
- strict bedding;
- balanced diet;
- limitation of mobility.
Advice. The attending physician decides how to cure osteochondrosis in the thoracic region, but the patient will be able to speed up the recovery process if he carefully follows all the recommendations, abandons bad habits and begins to adhere to a healthy lifestyle.
The main task in the case where a patient develops osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine is treatment aimed at stopping the destruction of the vertebrae and restoring the biomechanics of the spine. After getting rid of severe and constant pain, the patient will be able to live a normal life.