Thoracic osteochondrosis of the spine is called the progression of damage to the degenerative-dystrophic nature of the tissue structures of the vertebrae, due to which they, as well as the intervertebral discs and cartilage tissue, are gradually destroyed. There are other osteochondrosis, for example, cervical or lumbar. Compared to them, the manifestations of chest pathology are rarer, since the spine in this part has less mobility and is additionally fixed due to the ribs. However, in some cases the disease even ends in disability, this happens as a result of the formation of intervertebral hernias. The only effective treatment in this case will be surgery. Most often, the disease affects people over the age of 35-40.
Due to the peculiarities of the location, osteochondrosis of the chest has less pronounced symptoms and is less likely to appear due to external influences. The main risk of developing pathology is a sedentary lifestyle, which significantly weakens the muscular skeleton of the back. The main causes of the disease are:
- Back strain, which can occur both due to lifting heavy objects and wearing heels, and due to special physiological conditions, for example, pregnancy or congenital defects of the feet - flat feet;
- immobility, sedentary work, insufficient physical activity;
- Scoliosisand other types of curvature of the spine in the thoracic region;
- back injury;
- The presence of incorrect posture;
- Heredity factors;
- Strong stress.
Thoracic osteochondrosis ends with severe thinning of the intervertebral discs, formation of intervertebral hernias, formation of connective tissue growths, and wear and tear of the cartilaginous structures that form the vertebral joints.
The consequences of the pathology often bring additional symptoms when, for example, compression of the spinal canals or blood arteries occurs. As well as various other manifestations that require additional complex treatment.
Symptoms of osteochondrosis of the chest
In the case of the thoracic manifestation of the disease, the appearance of symptoms often occurs when the spine is loaded, and also due tosudden movements– when turning or tilting the body.
Most often, there is a feeling of painful dull pain, which is localized between the shoulder blades, accompanied by a feeling of pressure on the sternum. In the presence of a displacement of the lower ribs, we speak of posterior rib syndrome, in which the pain manifests itself in the lower part of the chest and shoulder blade. In addition, painful sensations often arise if you try to feel the spine where there is pathology.
Such painful manifestations are usually attributed to one of two types:
- Severe, penetrating and sharp pain in the interscapular area, as well as in the ribs. Is calledDorsagoand is characterized by increased turns and changes in body position. Usually, such pain is characteristic during exacerbations, symptomatic treatment is required for its relief.
- Dorsalgiacalled a gradually occurring pain syndrome that lasts 7-20 days. The nature of the pain in this case is dull and mild, the place of manifestation is in the spine at the level of the chest. An increase in intensity is noticed if you take a deep breath or bend over. In addition, shortness of breath may be felt, as well as muscle spasms around the affected area. The appearance of a symptom is usually provoked by a long stay in one position, for example after a night's sleep.
Additional pathological conditions that accompany thoracic osteochondrosis will depend on the depth of their manifestation. For example, in a situation where they are under a lot of pressurenerve endingspassing through the vertebrae, there will be a loss of sensation which may affect the tendon reflexes. In addition, with osteochondrosis of the thoracic region, pinching of the nerve endings responsible for the liver, heart, kidneys, lungs and gastrointestinal organs often occurs, as a result of which some loss of functionality of these organs and systems is likely with the appearanceof the corresponding symptoms of heaviness, tightness, pain.
Among the additional manifestations of the disease, there are often problems with normal breathing, localized sensations of pain:
- In the chest and on the left in the region of the heart;
- Under the ribs on the right or left, which may raise suspicions of cholecystitis and other diseases;
- In the cavity of the throat, esophagus, stomach and intestines.
Treatment of thoracic osteochondrosis
With osteochondrosis of the chest, symptomatic treatment is prescribed, in other words, it depends on which symptoms are most pronounced. For this purpose, the doctor prescribes the following drugs:
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs;
- Local anesthetics, which are creams, ointments, patches;
- Relaxing muscles with strong spasms;
In order to stop the development of the disease, various physiotherapy procedures are used, as well as diet correction and vitamin intake. Some doctors supplement the treatment with drugs calledchondroprotectors. They are credited with the properties to restore damaged cartilage and bones. However, the effectiveness of such funds does not have strong evidence, at the same time, their course lasts for 6 months and can be quite expensive. Based on this, the intake of these drugs should be agreed with the doctor, but it is better to get advice from several specialists.
As an additional treatment aimed at preventing pathology in the future, physiotherapy is used to promote the treatment of osteochondrosis of the thoracic region. Most commonly used:
- Shock wave, laser and magnetic therapy, as well as ultraviolet and electrophoresis.
- Complexes of physiotherapy exercises. Osteochondrosis is treated very effectively with the help of gymnastic exercises. Usually, the whole set of exercises is repeated several times a day, which helps to strengthen the muscles of the back and chest and restore the mobility of the vertebrae. Both treatment and prevention of the disease are carried out with the help of gymnastics, a specific complex is selected by the attending physician. It is worth remembering that you can start the exercises only after stopping the symptoms of pain, and if pain occurs during the procedure, its intensity should be reduced.
- Massages that help to stretch the spine, increase the exchange of substances in the vertebrae and the elements surrounding them.
- Special diets to compensate for the lack of substances necessary for the restoration of cartilage tissue structures.
What to do with an exacerbation?
Osteochondrosis of the chest is a chronic disease, so it is characterized by periods of exacerbation. Usually this happens after serious physical exertion in the gym or at work, severe stress, accumulated fatigue. At this point, additional symptoms are possible:
- Headache bordering on migraine;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- severe weakness;
- Difficulty breathing;
- Movement restrictions.
Severe pain in the spine associated with dorsago, with exacerbation, can hardly be stopped on its own. In addition, the independent choice of a strong pain reliever is fraught with serious side effects, additional complications and treatment. That is why it is important to seek medical help in such a period, if it is not possible to visit a neurologist yourself, then you should call an ambulance. Pain symptoms are well removed in a hospital by intramuscular injection of analgesics and the simultaneous use of local anesthesia.
If osteochondrosis of the chest is in an acute stage, the following treatment rules should be followed:
- It is necessary to stay in bed, maximally unloading the spine;
- Medicines for reception should be taken only prescribed by a doctor;
- You can go to physiotherapy only with the permission of the doctor;
- The diet must be adjusted.
In the presence of disc herniation, additional medical therapy is prescribed, as well as wearing a corset. If the hernia is large, then the only effective method of treatment will be to perform an operation, which is prescribed individually based on the results of the diagnosis.
Osteochondrosis of the chest often occurs in people with certain professions, therefore everyone who, on the one hand, is engaged in heavy work related to lifting weights, on the other hand, is very inactive during the work process, should beattentive to their posture, periodically strengthen the muscles of the back and give useful motor activity to the vertebrae. Thus, the prevention of osteochondrosis involves doing physical exercises several times a day. Do not be redundant and independent massages.
It is also important to changedietto exclude products whose components lead to degenerative processes and increased wear of cartilage and bones. The diet should minimize the amount of salty, sweet, spicy, spicy, fried foods. Food should be chosen natural, without preservatives and colorings. Priority is given to vegetables, fruits, cereals, lean meat and fish, dairy products. To speed up salt metabolism, adults should drink at least two liters of fluid per day. It is better to refuse alcohol and coffee. In addition, it is important to prevent the appearance of excess body weight, which increases the load on the vertebrae.
Another factor that helps prevent osteochondrosis of the chest area is sound sleep. By "healthy" in this case, we understand the position in which the body is located. To minimize discomfort during sleep, it is better to use an individually selectedpillow and orthopedic mattress.
The implementation of these measures will help to avoid the appearance of symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis and to avoid long-term treatment.