Osteochondrosis: dystrophic and degenerative changes in cartilage and bone tissue. Osteochondrosis of the spine can occur in the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar spine. The progression of the disease leads to the destruction of the ligaments, the structure of the joints, the intervertebral discs.
Osteochondrosis of the spine in the thoracic region is not common. This is due to the peculiarities of its structure. Its mobility is less than that of the cervical and lumbar regions. Part of the load is absorbed by the ribs and sternum. The danger of pathology in the difficulty of its diagnosis. The symptomatology is similar to other diseases, it is detected quite late, which complicates the treatment process.
The causes of the disease.
The development of thoracic osteochondrosis is associated with metabolic disorders and increased load on the intervertebral discs. Within the intervertebral disc is the nucleus pulposus, which is surrounded by the annulus fibrosus. If it is damaged, drying and loss of the amortizing qualities of the grain occurs. As a result of degenerative processes, inflammation and pinching of the nerve fibers of the spinal cord occurs.
The causes of osteochondrosis can be:
- intervertebral hernia;
- the presence of osteophytes;
- poor blood supply to the spinal cord due to vascular clamping;
- violation of mineral metabolism (in particular, calcium deficiency);
- curvature of the spine, which creates an uneven load on the discs;
- trauma to the thoracic region due to a fall, bruise, impact;
- strength sports, regular weight lifting;
- passive lifestyle.
Symptoms and sensations with thoracic osteochondrosis.
Several factors affect the clinical picture of the pathology:
- the level of damage to the spine;
- the age of the patient;
- stage of the pathological process (exacerbation or remission).
Symptoms of osteochondrosis of the chest are characterized by variety and non-specificity, which is why the disease is often confused with other pathologies.
The main signs of breast osteochondrosis:
- Dorsago - a sharp and sudden pain in the chest and back ("lumbago of the chest"), the patient feels shortness of breath.
- Back pain is mild pain in the affected vertebrae that develops gradually over several weeks. The pain may increase with a deep breath, leaning to the side and forward, as well as with a prolonged stay in a static position.
Severe pain sensation in the waist and breathing problems are associated with intercostal neuralgia, in which the nerve roots are compressed. The intensity of the pain usually increases in the afternoon and disappears after a night's sleep.
Neurological symptoms include:
- violation of the sensitivity of the extremities;
- numbness of the heart muscle;
- pulmonary syndrome;
- tingling, burning, numbness of the skin;
- muscle spasms and spasms;
- sensation of the presence of a foreign object in the pharynx when osteochondrosis is located in the upper thoracic segment.
Intercostal neuralgia is a concomitant symptom of degenerative-inflammatory pathologies of the spine (osteochondrosis, displacement of the vertebrae, scoliosis). But their appearance resembles the signs of various diseases of the peritoneal organs and the thoracic region.
Note!Often the pain occurs in the upper areas of the thoracic region, gradually covering it completely, as well as in the area of the shoulder blades (reminiscent of angina pectoris). Pain in the right hypochondrium occurs with osteochondrosis of the middle thoracic region. They can be diagnosed as pancreatitis or cholecystitis. Pain in the gastrointestinal tract occurs with lesions of the lower segment of the thoracic region of the spine, mimicking intestinal disease.
Stages of disease development.
The degree of development of the disease is associated with pathological disorders of the spine, which are characterized by certain clinical symptoms.
There are 4 periods of development of the disease:
- 1st grade- the appearance of cracks inside the fibrous ring, after which the fluid from the nucleus pulposus penetrates into it. A pain syndrome appears, located only in the affected area. There may be pain in the area of the heart muscle, muscle cramps.
- 2nd grade- An abnormal mobility appears between the vertebrae, subluxations are noted in the thoracic region. With prolonged static posture or during movement, discomfort and increased pain are felt.
- 3rd grade- Rupture of the annulus fibrosus, beyond the nucleus pulposus. The formation of intervertebral hernias occurs. This causes severe pain in the waist, mobility problems, and other symptoms.
- 4 degrees- Pathological processes extend beyond the spine. In degenerative-dystrophic changes, the paravertebral ligaments are involved, fibrosis develops.
Radiography is very informative. The presence of pathology is indicated by:
- uneven disc edges;
- enlargement and exacerbation of the anointed processes;
- decrease in the height of the discs, deformation of their shape;
- the presence of osteophytes.
Sometimes an X-ray contrast study is performed. The contrast agent fills the destroyed disc, which makes it possible to determine the degree of neglect of the pathological process. Magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography are not considered less informative.
How to treat osteochondrosis of the thoracic region? The approach to therapy must be comprehensive. It is necessary to take into account the stage of development of the disease, the degree of destructive processes, the general condition of the patient.
In the treatment of thoracic osteochondrosis, several groups of drugs are used.
- NSAIDs and muscle relaxants;
- Glucocorticosteroids. Its therapeutic effect is more pronounced than that of NSAIDs, but the risk of side effects is higher.
- Chondroprotectors. Chondroprotective agents are believed to contribute to the regulation of damaged cartilage tissue. But its effectiveness has not been conclusively confirmed.
- Diuretics are used for a short time to relieve swelling of strangulated nerve fibers during an exacerbation of osteochondrosis.
Recipes and folk remedies.
It is used most often during the remission period of the disease and only as an additional method of treatment.
Treatment of osteochondrosis at home using traditional medicine:
- Pour 30-40 g of chopped celery root with 1 liter of boiling water. Insist 8 hours. Drink 1 dessert spoon three times a day.
- Melt 150 g of steamed pork fat. Add 2 tablespoons of wax to it. Heat for 15 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of ammonia. Rub problem areas twice a day. Store in a cool place.
Massage and exercise therapy
One of the most effective therapeutic measures for osteochondrosis is massage. It helps to eliminate muscle spasms, improves blood supply to the problem area and normalizes the functional state of the spine. With an exacerbation of the disease, vibratory massage is recommended. After the clinical manifestations subside, you can take a classical massage course.
Massage is not recommended for grade 3 thoracic osteochondrosis, when there is an intervertebral hernia. This can aggravate the patient's condition.
The goal of physical therapy and gymnastics for osteochondrosis is to improve the mobility of the intervertebral joints, to strengthen the muscular body. Exercise therapy allows you to relieve muscle spasms, eliminate stiffness in the spine. Classes must be held daily under the supervision of an experienced instructor. Your plan is made individually for each patient.
The fundamental principles of proper nutrition in the treatment of thoracic osteochondrosis:
- a large amount of protein in the diet;
- exclusion of fatty and fried;
- food must be boiled or baked.
Salt should be excluded from the diet or significantly limited. Avoid carbonated and caffeinated drinks. It is better to replace them with herbal teas, natural juices. To improve the synthesis of cartilage tissue, it is useful to introduce jellies, jellies, jellies, containing chondroitin, into the diet. To get enough calcium for bone health, you need to consume dairy products. Compliance with adequate nutrition prevents the progression of the pathological process.
To prevent the development and exacerbation of destructive processes in the thoracic spine, it is recommended to take preventive measures as soon as possible and follow them regularly.
- do special exercises for the back every day;
- quit addictions;
- eat well and balanced;
- normalize weight;
- with sedentary work 10 minutes every hour you need to warm up;
- swimming, water aerobics;
Thoracic osteochondrosis is not very common compared to cervical and lumbar. But it is no less dangerous in its consequences for the body. It is quite difficult to detect it in the early stages due to the similarity of the symptoms with other pathologies. Therefore, it is important to monitor the health of the spine all the time, to take all measures to prevent pathological destruction.