Thoracic osteochondrosis is the least common form of osteochondrosis of all existing ones. However, this form is the most dangerous, since signs of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine are often mistakenly attributed to other ailments, such as myocardial infarction or angina pectoris.
Many people who are faced with this disease ask the same questions: "What are the causes of thoracic osteochondrosis? What is the cause of this disease? What methods to use in its treatment? Let's sort it out in order.
The causes of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine are largely associated with the following factors:
- Age. As a rule, thoracic osteochondrosis and its symptoms are most often manifested in people over 40 years of age.
- The level of damage to the spine.
- advanced stage of the disease.
- Bad heredity.
- Damage to the intervertebral discs during falls, bumps, etc.
- Constant stress.
- Hypothermia and serious illnesses.
- Metabolic disease.
- Unfavorable working conditions.
- Hormonal problems.
- Violation of normal blood circulation in this area.
Features of the thoracic spine
The chest, due to its anatomical abilities, is less mobile than the neck. Because of this, it receives much less load than, for example, the same lower back. Therefore, the thoracic spine is much less prone to osteochondrosis than its other parts. Obvious signs of this disease appear quite late.
Degrees of the disease
Thoracic osteochondrosis manifests itself in different ways, its symptoms are different. Doctors distinguish 4 degrees of the disease.
- The first degree of osteochondrosis in the chest area most often appears due to a rupture of the intervertebral disc, provoked by a sudden movement or heavy load. The patient at this moment feels severe pain in the spine and tension in all muscle groups. People who have gone through the initial stage of this disease say that it feels like an electric shock released into the spine.
- The second degree is diagnosed with the appearance of symptoms of protrusion of the intervertebral discs (protrusion up to 5 mm) and the presence of an unstable intervertebral column. A thorough diagnostic check is necessary to detect this stage of the disease.
- Thoracic osteochondrosis of the third degree is manifested in more frequent pain, difficulty breathing, a slight disruption of the heart and headaches. There is also a high probability of the appearance of an intervertebral hernia.
- The fourth stage of this disease is considered the most dangerous for human health. With it, osteophytes appear, which compress the spinal cord and its nerve endings.
Typical symptoms of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine:
- Intercostal neuralgia. A person has a feeling of sharp pain in the chest. First, the pain appears in one area, and then spreads to the entire chest. Because of this, it becomes difficult for him to breathe and change position. During bending, moving, lifting limbs and other motor functions, the pain sensation described above becomes many times stronger.
- Painful spasms in the area of the back muscles manifest osteochondrosis of the thoracic region, and the symptoms are as follows: strong contractions in the muscles of the lower back, abdomen and shoulders. Such spasms are reflex in nature, that is, they are a reaction of other muscles to chest pain.
- The previously mentioned symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis often precede discomfort and pain in the chest or back during movement. These discomforts can last for days or even weeks. As a rule, they do not spread to other areas of the human body and fade over time.
- Symptoms of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine become very pronounced at night. In the morning, they weaken or completely disappear, but can significantly intensify at low air temperatures and sudden movements.
Atypical symptoms of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine:
- The appearance of pain in the region of the heart, which is more characteristic of diseases such as a heart attack or angina pectoris. Such unpleasant colic can last for weeks. Conventional drugs used to dilate the coronary arteries do not relieve the patient of pain in this area.
- With an exacerbation of the disease, many women may experience a pulling pain in the mammary glands. Therefore, it is necessary to visit a mammologist to exclude malignant tumors in the breast.
- Sharp cramps and pain in the upper abdomen. Many mistakenly take them for gastritis, pancreatitis or cholecystitis. Such symptoms often negatively affect the functioning of the digestive system. In this situation, it is necessary to immediately identify chest osteochondrosis as the main cause of the disorder in the digestive system.
- Pain can be concentrated in the abdomen and stimulate discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract. They are most pronounced during physical activity.
- Disturbed work of the bladder or organs of the reproductive system. As in the case of pain in the upper abdomen, here it is necessary to immediately determine the source of these problems, that is, to identify osteochondrosis of the thoracic region
- Injury to the upper chest, which can lead to pain in the throat or esophagus. With such symptoms, it may seem to the patient that he has some kind of foreign object in his throat.
These unusual symptoms usually appear in the evening or at night and are absent in the morning. They also occur in the presence of provoking factors.
Dorsago and dorsalgia
The topic "Osteochondrosis of the chest and its symptoms" is very broad and has many pitfalls. Particular attention should be paid to the Dorsago syndrome and dorsalgia.
Dorsago is a sharp pain in the chest area, which appears when standing up after a long stay in a lying or sitting position. The pain can be so strong that it becomes difficult for the patient to breathe. In addition, there may be severe muscle tension and stiffness in the neck, chest and lower back.
Dorsalgia - back pain - develops gradually. Key signs of dorsalgia:
- Unpleasant sensations can last for 2-3 weeks.
- Discomfort increases with deep breaths and tilts in different directions.
- The upper dorsalgia is characterized by stiffness of motor functions in the cervicothoracic region, while the lower dorsalgia is characterized by stiffness in the lumbothoracic region.
- The pain is most often manifested at night and disappears while walking.
- Taking a deep breath and staying in the same position for a long time can cause increased pain.
As a rule, thoracic osteochondrosis, symptoms, finally, treatment - all this frightens the patient, and he begins to delay the visit to the doctor, hoping for some kind of miraculous cure. But time passes, and complications appear. They may be as follows:
- sexual dysfunction in men;
- violations of the pelvic organs;
Diagnosis of the disease
To make sure the diagnosis is correct, the following examinations are carried out:
- Radiography. With its help, you can identify an increase in the intervertebral disc, changes in the damaged area, the difference in the location of the discs, as well as how the vertebra was deformed and moved.
- Tomography on a computer.
- Electromyography. This examination is prescribed for those who experience pressure surges, dizziness, severe headache attacks, as well as a violation of orientation in space.
- Laboratory research. They are carried out to calculate the amount of calcium in the patient's blood and determine the erythrocyte sedimentation rate.
Methods of treatment
People suffering from any stage of this disease are sure to be concerned about the question of how to treat thoracic osteochondrosis.
Please note that people who are sick with thoracic osteochondrosis are strictly forbidden to self-medicate! Only a doctor can correctly diagnose the disease and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
There are many methods of treatment of thoracic osteochondrosis:
- Ethnoscience. Most often, tincture of celery root, a decoction of sunflower root, as well as homemade ointments from pork fat, oil and ammonia are used for treatment.
- Acupuncture. This therapy originated in China and in a short period of time gained worldwide popularity. Acupuncture for osteochondrosis is a fairly common method of treatment, since it makes it possible to get rid of aching pain in a short time. This procedure is also popular because of the quick positive result and the almost complete absence of pain (if a professional master is engaged in acupuncture, of course). But there are also some contraindications. Acupuncture is strongly not recommended for cancer patients, people with mental disorders or acute inflammatory processes, as well as pregnant women.
- Manual therapy. A professional chiropractor is able to improve blood circulation in the painful area. Using this method of treatment, you can significantly reduce the level of pain, eliminate muscle spasms, restore the ligamentous apparatus, improve the functioning of the spine and slow down the development of the disease. At the moment, post-isometric muscle relaxation is especially in demand. This is a type of manual therapy in which the patient first tenses his muscles, and then the attending physician relaxes them.
- Physiotherapy. One of the most popular types of treatment for this disease. Such treatment improves the condition of the cartilaginous base of the intervertebral disc.
- Plastic or vibration massage. Plastic massage affects the muscles that are in a spastic state against the background of adverse changes in the intervertebral disc. Vibration massage is carried out with exacerbation of symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis. In no case should you massage a patient with a hernia, as this can only harm him.
Nutrition during illness
For a speedy recovery and improvement of health, it is worth adhering to a certain diet. The patient needs to give up food with excess cholesterol (it is strongly recommended to cook or bake foods), replace GMO foods with natural ones, try not to overeat and eat a large amount of plant foods.
To avoid such diseases, you should follow simple rules in everyday life. After all, preventing a disease is much easier than curing it.
- proper nutrition;
- giving up bad habits;
- performance of special exercises and sports;
- normalization of weight;
- lifestyle revision.
This article was created for people who would like to know what are the symptoms and treatment of this unusual type of osteochondrosis.
Quite rare osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine, its symptoms and treatment are varied and depend on many factors. Therefore, do not rush to conclusions if something hurts you. Be sure to see a doctor.
And in order not to get sick at all, follow the elementary rules of prevention that were described above, and this ailment will definitely bypass you! Remember that your health is only in your hands.