Causes of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine, symptoms and treatment

Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine

Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine is rare and disguises itself as other conditions, making it difficult to diagnose. Degenerative-dystrophic changes are 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 region, its close connection with the spine and ribs.

Chest pain can signal various diseases, including osteochondrosis. If you feel discomfort in this area, consult a doctor, start treatment. Prolonged absence of treatment leads to serious complications, a sharp deterioration in the patient's well-being, up to death.

Disease etiology

In thoracic osteochondrosis, the structure of the bone tissue of the vertebrae changes

The chest region is inactive, its load 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 there are already irreversible consequences in the bone tissue.

Metabolic disorders are the main reason for the formation of the disease in any area of the spine. Under the influence of a negative factor, the structure of the bone tissue of the vertebrae changes, the cartilaginous surfaces begin to collapse, and the work of the ligamento-muscular apparatus is disturbed. The totality of pathological processes develops against the background of the aging of the human body, but the presence of osteochondrosis of the chest region accelerates them, leading 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 region of the spine leads to deterioration of blood circulation, so pathological processes develop faster.
  • scoliosis, prolonged stay in one position leads to muscle spasms;
  • excessive physical activity or improper exercise negatively affects the thoracic spine;
  • congenital anomalies in the structure of the spine, neighboring organs;
  • obesity, the presence of systemic ailments, various mechanical injuries of the spine (not necessarily in the chest region);
  • 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 picture

Clinical signs of osteochondrosis of the chest region are easily confused with a host of other diseases. Listen carefully to your feelings, consult a doctor to find out the exact cause of discomfort.

Symptoms of osteochondrosis of the chest region:

Thoracic osteochondrosis accompanies pain and discomfort in the middle of the back
  • discomfort in the chest area of varying severity (develops against the background of a person being in one position, after sudden movements, when lifting weights);
  • the pain syndrome intensifies when raising the arms or moving them to the sides;
  • discomfort in the spine in the middle of the back makes normal breathing difficult, deep breathing is accompanied by pain;
  • there is a constant dull ache in the region of the shoulder blades;
  • patients complain of numbness of certain parts of the body, "crawling" on the back;
  • decrease in body temperature in the lower extremities, itching, burning in the legs;
  • violations of the vascular system are manifested by peeling, redness of the skin at the damaged vertebrae, the nail plate is also destroyed;
  • malfunctions of the gastrointestinal tract (diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, abdominal pain);
  • the presence of problems with reproductive and sexual function;
  • often victims complain of intercostal neuralgia.

It is important to seek help in order to exclude other dangerous diseases: myocardial infarction, pneumonia, angina, stomach diseases.

Pain in thoracic osteochondrosis is divided into two types:

  • back pain- prolonged painful sensations that constantly accompany the patient are localized in the area of damaged intervertebral discs;
  • Dorsago- The pain manifests itself in the form of convulsions, makes it difficult to breathe, hinders the movements of a person.


A visual examination of the patient and diagnostic manipulations will help establish the cause of the discomfort.

Symptoms are similar to other conditions, confirm or refute suspicion of thoracic osteochondrosisX-ray will help the doctor diagnose osteochondrosis of the thoracic spinesome research will help:

  • x-ray;
  • CT, MRI;
  • Ultrasound of internal organs;
  • clinical studies of urine, blood (indicators will indicate an inflammatory process in the body).

Try to treat yourself according to the resultsAbsolutely prohibited.The doctor will help to decipher the tests, he will also prescribe the appropriate treatment.

General rules and processing methods

How to treat osteochondrosis of the chest region?The main goal of therapy is to relieve pain.Discomfort is a catalyst that triggers the development of the disease with renewed vigor: 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.


To relieve pain, the following groups of drugs are used:

  • 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 against the background of a high probability of side effects;
  • glucocorticosteroids. Drugs have a more pronounced effect than NSAIDs, but they negatively affect the functioning of the liver / kidneys / gastrointestinal tract, therefore they are used in extreme cases to stop acute attacks of osteochondrosis;
  • diuretics. Means contribute to the elimination of edema around the damaged vertebrae, 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. Designed to restore the cartilaginous tissue of the spinal disc, start natural regeneration processes. There is no reliable evidence of the effectiveness of chondroprotectors, but they are actively used to treat bone and cartilage tissue diseases.

To note!Various ointments, creams and gels are ineffective. The damaged disc is hidden deep under the muscles, the rib cage, so the active components of the funds cannot penetrate into the focus of the inflammatory process. Regarding thoracic osteochondrosis, only ointments based on NSAIDs are effective.

Alternative therapy options

In addition to drugs, doctors recommend resorting to other therapeutic methods for the treatment of osteochondrosis of thoracic osteochondrosis of the spine:

Massage to relieve spasms and relax muscles in thoracic osteochondrosis
  • massage. The technique quickly copes with discomfort, helps to relax muscles, relieve spasms, partially restore the biomechanics of the spine. Every medical facility has at least one qualified massage therapist;
  • physiotherapy. Exercises for osteochondrosis help reduce the load on damaged vertebrae, strengthen muscle corset and relax muscles. This category includes swimming in the 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.

Dietetics and medical nutrition

Any disease requires dietary adjustments to normalize the work of all organs and systems, thoracic osteochondrosis is no exception.The main recommendation is to reduce your salt intake,It is this aspect that significantly affects metabolic processes in the body. It is impossible to completely refuse salt, but to reduce its amount. Eat fresh vegetables, fruits, lean meats, fish.

Disable :

  • alcoholic soft 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, drugs from rosehip, chamomile, calendula, bark ofoak are considered healing).

All non-drug treatments should be discussed with your doctor first.During periods of exacerbations, 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 ligamentous apparatus, which contributes to the formation of sciatica, scoliosis, herniated disc, spondylosis and other unpleasant diseases. Frequent acute attacks of exacerbation of diseases lead to the loss of working capacity of the patient, who eventually 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 is provided.

Preventive advice

It is always easier to prevent the development of a disease than to treat it, and thoracic osteochondrosis is no exception.

Doctors put forward universal preventive recommendations that will protect your spine from pathological changes:

If there is a suspicion of the development of thoracic osteochondrosis, it is necessary to consult a doctor
  • exercise regularly (swimming, fitness, Pilates are suitable). Power sports do not have the best effect on the state of bone tissue;
  • put a special orthopedic chair in the car, which will help to avoid heavy loads on all parts of the spine. Trips longer than 3 hours are not recommended. In the event of a long forced stay at the wheel, stop every hour, do a short five-minute warm-up;
  • similar recommendations regarding sitting at the table. Choose a chair with a high back that you can lean on;
  • avoid hypothermia, traumatic spinal injuries, excessive loads on the chest region;
  • if you experience chest discomfort, seek medical attention. The earlier the disease is identified and treated, the better the prognosis.

Thoracic osteochondrosis is less common than a similar condition of other parts of the spine, but this does not mean that it is less dangerous. Take care of your health, consider the possible risks. If a disease is detected, take treatment, strictly follow the doctor's recommendations.