Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine: description, symptoms, treatment

Thoracic spine injuries in osteochondrosis

A sedentary lifestyle, injury, or excessive physical activity can lead to disorders of the musculoskeletal system. To avoid complications, it is important to start treatment early in the process. To do this, you need to understand the causes and symptoms of the pathology.

a description of the disease and what its dangers are

Thoracic vertebral osteochondrosis is a chronic disease in which the cartilage located in the intervertebral space begins to show dystrophic changes. Pathological manifestations are reduced disc height and compression of intercostal nerve endings.

Thoracic osteochondrosis goes through several stages of development.

The first characteristic is the drying of the intervertebral disc, the loss of hardness and elasticity, and the appearance of cracks. The pain is mild and goes away after a little rest.

In the second stage, the disc height is reduced and the niche within the vertebra is filled with the nucleus pulposus, but does not extend beyond its boundaries. Muscles experience constant tension. A person complains of severe pain that subsides with rest.

The third stage is characterized by the exit of the nucleus pulposus over the edge and the cleft reaching the edge of the vertebral body. As a result, an intervertebral hernia is formed. Pain becomes constant.

In stage four, an overgrowth of connective tissue is found, putting pressure on nearby vertebrae. To compensate for the reduced layer, bone tissue begins to grow. More and more growths (osteophytes) appear.

Types and complications of thoracic osteochondrosis

Depending on the nature of the pain, there are two types of thoracic osteochondrosis:

  • Back pain, characterized by acute severe pain in the form of low back pain, located in the thoracic spine. This condition is accompanied by muscle tension, movement problems in the neck and chest area;
  • Back pain, in which the pain increases slowly. Inhalation and rotation of the torso, as well as holding in one position for extended periods of time, can increase discomfort. The discomfort deepens at night and disappears while hiking.

In the absence of proper treatment, the nerve endings are increasingly compressed. Therefore, thoracic osteochondrosis can cause complications:

  • renal pathology;
  • Digestive system diseases;
  • Do not move;
  • persistent pain;
  • interruption of cardiac activity;
  • intervertebral hernia;
  • decreased ability to conceive;
  • The work of the lungs caused by the growth of connective tissue is violated.

Why does thoracic spine disease occur?

This part of the spine is subject to moderate loads and limited mobility. However, pathology is common. The disorder may be caused by one or more of these causes:

  • injury and damage;
  • Overburdened sectors, including in childhood;
  • Age-related changes associated with decreased nutrition of the disc tissue between the vertebrae;
  • endocrine disorders, especially menopause;
  • age-related calcium absorption disorders;
  • being overweight;
  • vascular problems, atherosclerotic deposits in the blood vessels of the chest;
  • Weak muscle corset.

how pathology manifests

Symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis are pain and increased muscle tone. The pain can be short-term low back pain or long-term pain. Recoil can be felt in the front chest, under the ribs, and in the shoulders. Holding one position for long periods of time can worsen the pain.

A characteristic hallmark of pathology is sensitivity to palpation of the spinous processes of the thoracic spine.

Symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis are similar to those of other conditions, including:

  • Discomfort in the heart area, pain reminiscent of angina;
  • Soreness and shortness of breath when breathing, also manifested as pneumonia, tuberculosis, obstructive pulmonary disease;
  • Pain in the upper abdomen below the ribs, similar to signs of gastrointestinal disease.

Treatment of thoracic osteochondrosis

If you complain, you should contact a neurologist. Treatment includes medication, physical therapy, exercise therapy, and massage.

Among these drugs, doctors prescribe:

  • Devices for eliminating inflammatory lesions of the spine;
  • Medications that reduce muscle tone and the risk of pinching the sensitive roots of the spinal cord;
  • A neuroprotective agent designed to help restore nerve fibers.

Selection and dosage are at the discretion of the physician, who will take into account drug tolerance, comorbidities, and patient weight.

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Physical therapy includes:

  • Bikinetic therapy, i. e. electric current therapy to relax muscles and reduce pain;
  • Painkillers electrophoresis;
  • Magnetic therapy relieves discomfort and swelling.

Massage should be done with care, using friction techniques. The area below the shoulder blades and between the ribs should be handled carefully. For the look of the effect, at least 10-15 sessions are required.

In physiotherapy exercises, the focus is on strengthening the muscles of the corset, neck and lower back.

Topical prescription creams and gels, warming patches, needle applicators with anti-inflammatory properties.