Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine, unlike cervical and lumbar osteochondrosis, is very rare.
It's all about the structure of the thoracic region: there are more discs than the cervical and lumbar, taken together, the discs are smaller and thinner. The mobility of this area is usually lower and part of the load is taken by the ribs and sternum.
In osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine, the symptoms can be confused, for example with a heart attack. The reason for this is the specificity of the disease.
Painful pain during movement and exercise, as in cervical or lumbar osteochondrosis, in this case are not present and complications related to suspected angina pectoris or myocardial infarction or impaired respiratory function come to the fore.
To a greater extent, the development of osteochondrosis is facilitated by hypodynamics - a deficiency of muscular loads, which forms the lack of training of the muscular corset, the weakening of its functions and increasing the load on the ligaments and intervertebral discs.
The following conditions can also cause osteochondrosis:
- Improper posture and lateral curvature of the spine;
- Bad habits;
- Nervous and physical exertion, stress;
- Overload of the back and spine when wearing high-heeled shoes, during pregnancy and flat feet;
- Back injuries;
- Physically hard work.
The intervertebral discs of the thoracic spine are equally severely affected by a sedentary lifestyle and physical activity, which increases the likelihood of injury.
What is the specifics of the thoracic spine?
Everyone knows that the chest area is functionally inactive, especially compared to the neck. And the load on it is not so great, relative, for example, to the lumbar spine. For this reason, the appearance of chest disease rarely manifests itself with any symptoms at an early stage of development.
The low mobility of the thoracic spine is related to its anatomical features - the connection of the vertebrae with the ribs and the sternum allows to create a sufficiently mobile and at the same time strong structure that is less susceptible toinjury and external influences.
The relatively small workload of this department contributes to the fact that the occurrence of any problems in it (eg vertebral displacement, intervertebral hernia, disc protrusion) are quite rare, this is confirmed by statistics. At the same time, their appearance cannot be called extraordinary, for example, poor posture and scoliosis can be a provoking factor leading to the appearance of diseases of the spine.
At the same time, the symptoms of such diseases appear quite late and are quite characteristic of osteochondrosis - they are usually compression of the nerve roots, in rare cases compression of the spinal cord itself or damage due to impaired blood supply, possibly narrowing as a resultof compression of the veins and arteries.
Symptoms of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine
Osteochondrosis of the chest, the symptoms can be completely different, similar to the manifestations of other diseases of the internal organs. Thoracic osteochondrosis is often confused with ischemic heart disease, cholecystitis, peptic ulcer and even myocardial infarction and pneumonia. That is why this disease is called "chameleon".
- The pain is localized under the shoulder blades, can radiate to the intercostal nerves. This leads to neuralgia. The pain increases when a person takes a breath, actively moves.
- Chest pain is most often localized on the left and may resemble ischemic heart disease. In this situation, it is important to identify in time the cause of the pain. It is necessary to fully examine the cardiovascular system.
- Numbness or "tingling" in the legs, upper chest and abdomen (depending on the affected disc);
- Reflex tension in the muscles of the chest or upper back;
- In particularly advanced cases, it is possible to impair the functioning of the pelvic organs, reducing potency in men.
Symptoms of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine, in addition to pain in the spine and back, near the site of osteochondrosis may be pain in the upper abdomen, heart, liver, gallbladder.
With the onset of such pain, it is sometimes possible to make a wrong diagnosis. Pain in the right side of the chest below the ribs can be confused with inflammation of the gallbladder, in the left side of the chest - can be confused with a heart attack. It is a mistake to confuse the pain in the relevant areas of the abdominal cavity for the manifestation of gastric ulcer or gastritis.
DorsagoDorsago is one of the symptoms of osteochondrosis of the chest, which manifests itself with acute pain. Usually this symptom occurs in people who sit for a long time in one position or in an awkward position, with a monotonous performance of monotonous work.
You may feel pain in the spine in the chest area, muscles are tense and it is often difficult to breathe. Intercostal neuralgia may occur.
The exacerbation period will last 2-3 weeks. In this case, the painful sensations gradually increase. Mild pain appears in the affected spine. As a rule, the pain is especially active when breathing deeply and leaning forward, backward, to the sides.
The nature of dorsalgia pain can be very different. The pain can be pulling, burning, aching, cutting, can give under the leg, arm, buttocks, shoulder blade. In terms of localization, the pain is no less varied. They can appear below, above, in the middle, on the right, on the left, between the shoulder blades.
Treatment of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine
Diagnostic data based on X-ray examination help in drawing up a treatment plan that determines how to treat osteochondrosis of the thoracic region. Such an examination gives a clear idea of how to treat thoracic osteochondrosis, as X-rays indicating the proliferation of the vertebral bodies and the presence of changes in the intervertebral space (reduction in height) are a characteristic symptom of this disease.
The treatment of osteochondrosis of the chest depends on the stage of the disease and is mainly limited to conservative therapy. Surgery is extremely rare in the case of a spinal hernia.
Drug therapy is based on the following principles:
- Using a special medicine that allows you to retain fluid in the intervertebral disc.
- Vitamins. Most often, complete vitamin complexes or preparations with B-group elements are prescribed
- Antispasmodics and muscle relaxants that reduce muscle spasm around the spine.
- Painkillers. NSAIDs and analgesics based on drug combinations.
- Chondroprotectors. Essential for catalyzing the repair process of damaged cartilage.
After the removal of acute events, massage the muscles of the back and lower limbs is applied. Manual therapy is indicated in 1-3 degrees of osteochondrosis in case of development of functional blockages. Includes various options for soft and rough effects on the back muscles.
The duration of treatment for osteochondrosis of the chest depends on the severity of the disease and the degree of age-related changes, as well as the diligence of the patient in following the prescriptions of the attending physician.
Gymnastics for thoracic osteochondrosis
In the case of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine, patients are prescribed therapeutic gymnastics, the main purpose of which is to increase the mobility of the costo-vertebral and intervertebral joints. Exercise therapy (with regular and proper exercise) allows you to eliminate even very strong muscle spasms. Moderate physical activity will help relieve the stiffness in the spine that occurs with a weak muscular corset.
Daily training, supervised by an experienced instructor, will have a beneficial effect on the whole body, and in particular on the bronchopulmonary system. Patients have improved lung ventilation and are able to do painless deep inhalation and exhalation.
Massage not only reduces the severity of the symptoms of the disease, but also helps a person to recover, the efforts are a positive effect of other elements of complex therapy.
Prescribed individually based on the clinical picture of osteochondrosis of the chest, the presence of chronic diseases and contraindications.
Manual therapy is used to eliminate muscle hypertension and spasms, as well as to restore back mobility. Manual therapy helps to release blood vessels, improve nutrition and oxygen supply to the tissues of the intervertebral discs.
Correct position at rest and during sleep
For the prevention of osteochondrosis and during the treatment period it is necessary to organize the correct position at rest and during sleep. It is best if you sleep on a flat and firm bed, but so that this is not fanatical, if the bed does not meet the requirements, it is not recommended to sleep on the floor, as you can catch a cold. This measure is very necessary for the spine to quickly return to its normal shape.
However, in the beginning, quite intense painful sensations can appear, which continue until the vertebrae take a physiological position. To relieve pain and discomfort, you can place a roller under the affected area.
The most effective treatment for muscle spasm is physiotherapy. Well-chosen exercises relax and at the same time strengthen and train the back muscles. As a result, the thoracic spine is stabilized and suffocated spinal nerves are released.
The set of exercises for thoracic osteochondrosis is performed as follows:
- Starting position - while inhaling, stand up straight, legs together, arms down. Extend your arms up - exhale, then lean back - take a deep breath. Lower your arms, lean forward, round your back and lower your shoulders and head - exhale. Perform 8 to 10 repetitions.
- Starting position - sitting on a chair. Slowly keep your hands behind your head - inhale, bend back 5 times, leaning on the back of a chair with your shoulders - exhale.
- Starting position - stand on all fours and bend your back as much as possible, hold for 3 seconds, keep your head upright three. Perform 5 - 7 repetitions.
- Starting position - it is comfortable to lie on your stomach and support your hands on the floor. At the same time, lean back with force and try to pull your body off the floor. Perform 5 - 8 repetitions.
- Starting position - lying on your stomach with your arms outstretched. Bend at the chest, trying to raise your head and legs as much as possible. Perform 5 - 8 repetitions.
If you follow all the doctor's prescriptions, then slowly but surely you can achieve significant improvement.
The health of the chest and other parts of the spine can be damaged by:
- long static loads (sitting in front of the TV, computer);
- weight lifting;
- sloppy habit;
- hypothermia and frequent colds.
Office workers who sit at work due to their duty of care need to change their body position more often, get up and exercise. Even a simple stretch is beneficial.