Osteochondrosis of the chest is rare and is masked under other diseases, which makes diagnosis difficult. Degenerative-dystrophic changes were observed in the patient's intervertebral discs and vertebrae in the thoracic region. Pathology in this area of the spine is much less common than cervical or lumbar osteochondrosis. This is due to the specific structure of the chest area, its close connection with the spine and ribs.
Chest pain can signal various diseases, including osteochondrosis. If you feel discomfort in this area, see a doctor, start treatment. Prolonged lack of therapy leads to serious complications, sharp deterioration of the patient's well-being, up to and including death.
Etiology of the disease
The chest area is inactive, the load on it is small compared to other areas of the spine. For this reason, thoracic osteochondrosis in the early stages of development is almost asymptomatic, the pathology is diagnosed when it already has irreversible consequences in the bone tissue.
The main reason for the formation of disease in any area of the spine is metabolic disorders. Under the influence of a negative factor, the structure of the bone tissue of the vertebrae changes, the cartilage surfaces begin to collapse and the work of the ligamentous-muscular apparatus is disturbed. The set of pathological processes develops against the background of the aging of the human body, but the presence of osteochondrosis of the chest accelerates them, which leads to the development of complications and constant discomfort.
Among the negative factors affecting the development of thoracic osteochondrosis of the spine, doctors distinguish the most common:
- physical inactivity. Lack of physical activity in the area of the spine leads to deterioration of blood circulation, as a result of which pathological processes develop faster;
- scoliosis, prolonged stay in one position leads to muscle spasm;
- excessive physical activity or improper exercise adversely affects the chest;
- congenital abnormalities in the structure of the spine, nearby organs;
- obesity, presence of systemic diseases, various mechanical injuries of the spine (not necessarily in the chest area);
- frequent hypothermia, inflammatory processes in the body.
Genetic predisposition plays an important role in the formation of thoracic osteochondrosis. According to statistics, the presence of a family history of diseases of the musculoskeletal system increases the risk of developing similar diseases in a patient by 50%. If you are at risk, follow the preventive recommendations, try to prevent the development of the disease.
Clinical signs of osteochondrosis of the chest are easily confused with many other diseases. Listen carefully to your feelings, see a doctor to find out the exact cause of the discomfort.
Symptoms of osteochondrosis of the chest:
- discomfort in the chest area of varying severity (develops against the background of a person who is in one position, after sudden movements, when lifting weights);
- the pain syndrome intensifies when raising the arms up or moving them to the side;
- discomfort in the spine in the middle of the back makes it difficult to breathe normally, a deep breath is accompanied by pain;
- there is a constant dull pain in the area of the shoulder blades;
- patients complain of numbness in some parts of the body, "creeping" on the back;
- lower body temperature in the lower limbs, itching, burning in the legs;
- disorders of the vascular system are manifested by peeling, reddening of the skin in the area of damaged vertebrae, the nail plate is also destroyed;
- malfunctions of the gastrointestinal tract (diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, abdominal pain);
- the presence of problems with reproductive, sexual function;
- often victims complain of intercostal neuralgia.
It is important to seek help to exclude other dangerous diseases: myocardial infarction, pneumonia, angina pectoris, stomach diseases.
Pain in thoracic osteochondrosis is divided into two types:
- dorsalgia- prolonged painful sensations that constantly accompany the patient are localized in the area of the damaged intervertebral discs;
- dorsago- The pain manifests itself in the form of convulsions, makes it difficult to breathe, makes it difficult for a person to move.
A visual examination of the patient and diagnostic manipulations will help determine the cause of the discomfort.
The symptoms are similar to other diseases, confirm or refute suspicions of thoracic osteochondrosissome research will help:
- CT, MRI;
- Ultrasound of internal organs;
- clinical tests of urine, blood (indicators will show an inflammatory process in the body).
Try to cure yourself based on the resultsAbsolutely forbidden.The doctor will help decipher the tests, he will also prescribe the appropriate course of treatment.
General rules and methods of treatment
How to treat osteochondrosis of the chest?The main goal of therapy is pain relief.Discomfort is a catalyst that triggers the development of the disease with a new force: against the background of compression of the nerve roots, a pain syndrome is formed, leading to muscle spasm, which disrupts the biomechanics of the spine, aggravating the compression. A vicious circle is forming that must be broken.
The following groups of drugs are used to relieve pain:
- NSAIDs. This is the main group of drugs used to treat thoracic osteochondrosis. Medicines cope with pain, inflammation of the nerve roots, improve the well-being of the victim. Long-term use is prohibited due to the high probability of side effects;
- glucocorticosteroids. Medicines have a more pronounced effect compared to NSAIDs, but they adversely affect the functioning of the liver / kidneys / gastrointestinal tract, so they are used in extreme cases to stop acute attacks of osteochondrosis;
- diuretics. The means contribute to the elimination of swelling around the damaged vertebrae, they are used during periods of exacerbation of the disease as auxiliary drugs;
- B vitamins. They start the metabolism in the nervous tissue, have a positive effect on the nerve roots;
- chondroprotectors. Intended for the restoration of the cartilage tissue of the spinal disc, starting the natural processes of regeneration. There is no reliable evidence of the effectiveness of chondroprotectors, but they are actively used to treat diseases of bone and cartilage tissue.
Note!Various ointments, creams and gels are ineffective. The damaged disc is deeply hidden under the muscles, chest, so the active components of the means cannot penetrate into the focus of the inflammatory process. In relation to thoracic osteochondrosis, only NSAID-based ointments are effective.
Alternative therapy options
In addition to drugs, doctors recommend resorting to other therapeutic methods for the treatment of thoracic osteochondrosis of the spine:
- massage. The technique quickly copes with discomfort, helps to relax muscles, relieve spasms, partially restore the biomechanics of the spine. Every medical institution has at least one qualified massage therapist;
- physiotherapy. Exercises for osteochondrosis help reduce the load on the damaged vertebrae, strengthen the muscle corset and relax the muscles. This category includes swimming in a pool, self-massage;
- acupuncture(introduction of needles in special points of the body). Manipulations allow you to relieve muscle tension, relax the whole body and relieve discomfort.
Diet and medical nutrition
Any disease requires correction of the diet in order to normalize the work of all organs and systems, thoracic osteochondrosis is no exception.The main recommendation is to reduce salt intake,It is this aspect that has a significant impact on the metabolic processes in the body. It is impossible to completely refuse salt, but reduce its amount. Bet on fresh vegetables, fruits, lean meat, fish.
- alcoholic, carbonated drinks;
- fatty, salty, smoked dishes;
- flour products;
- keep spices to a minimum.
The drinking regime is important - at least 2 liters per day. It is not recommended to drink coffee, replace the drink with green tea, herbal decoctions (for osteochondrosis, medicines from rose hips, chamomile, calendula, oak bark are considered medicinal).
All non-drug treatments should be discussed with your doctor in advance.During periods of exacerbation, any mechanical impact on the damaged area of the spine is prohibited.Massage, gymnastics, physiotherapy are performed only during periods of remission.
Complications and prognosis
Lack of therapy leads to muscle tension, weakening of the ligament apparatus, which contributes to the formation of sciatica, scoliosis, disc herniation, spondylosis and other unpleasant diseases. Frequent acute attacks of exacerbation of diseases lead to the loss of the patient's ability to work, eventually the person becomes disabled. Advanced stages of osteochondrosis reduce the life expectancy of the victim by 5-10%, but in general the prognosis is favorable, provided timely treatment.
Preventing the development of a disease is always easier than treating it, and thoracic osteochondrosis is no exception.
Doctors emphasize universal preventive recommendations that will protect your spine from pathological changes:
- exercise regularly (swimming, fitness, pilates are suitable). Strength sports do not have the best effect on the state of bone tissue;
- put a special orthopedic chair in the car, which will help avoid heavy loads on all parts of the spine. Trips longer than 3 hours are not recommended. In case of a forced long stay behind the wheel, stop every hour, do a small five-minute warm-up;
- similar recommendations regarding table seating. Choose a chair with a high back that you can lean on;
- avoid hypothermia, traumatic injuries of the spine, excessive loading of the chest;
- if you feel chest discomfort, see a doctor. The sooner the disease is identified and treated, the better the prognosis.
Thoracic osteochondrosis is less common than a similar disease of other parts of the spine, but this does not mean that it is less dangerous. Take care of your health, assess the possible risks. If a disease is detected, start treatment, flawlessly follow the doctor's recommendations.