Chest osteochondrosis

osteochondrosis of the thoracic region

Clinically, thoracic osteochondrosis (chondrosis) is manifested by acute, piercing or dull, aching pains, crunching and clicks when bending, stiffness.

For pathology, characteristic and numerous specific symptoms are a feeling of lack of air when inhaling, discomfort in the cardiac region and even a sore throat.

Treatment of pathology is predominantly conservative with pharmacological drugs. Physiotherapy procedures, massage sessions are also carried out, and chiropractors are used.

If such treatment is ineffective, the patient is shown surgical intervention.

Details of the symptoms

Symptoms of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine never appear all at once. At the initial stage of the development of this degenerative-dystrophic pathology, only mild discomfort in the back is noted. Patients take them for banal fatigue after a hard day's work, write off the muscles "numb" due to a long stay in one position of the body.

But the intensity of the discomfort is slowly, steadily increasing. Unpleasant sensations are replaced by severe soreness, complicated by limited range of motion, dizziness and headaches. In medicine, all symptoms of osteochondrosis of a given localization are divided into several groups. This helps to diagnose it faster and determine the treatment tactics.

On a note!Symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis in men and women do not differ in character, severity, or localization. But in the stronger sex, they may arise a little later due to the stronger musculoskeletal system. Also, some men have erectile dysfunction against the background of osteochondrosis.

Vertebral symptoms

Under the influence of unfavorable factors (hypothermia, increased physical activity), a long-term remission of chest osteochondrosis can be interrupted by a sudden attack of acute pain. Even more often, it is provoked by a long stay in one position of the body, for example, in a sitting position. If a person gets up abruptly, then there is such a sharp pain in the back that he loses the ability to move for several minutes.

In medicine, this condition is called dorsago. It differs from ordinary pain in concomitant symptoms:

  • a feeling of lack of air when inhaling;
  • severe stiffness.

The course of the pathology is often complicated by dorsalgia - pain in the thoracic spine, the intensity of which increases gradually. It increases with bending, turning the body to the sides. In order not to experience pain, a person takes a forced position. At the same time, he involuntarily strains the muscles of the back, involuntarily provoking their overstrain. Now they also start to hurt, especially when walking.

Extravertebral symptoms

As thoracic osteochondrosis develops, the intervertebral discs become thinner and destroyed. These cartilaginous pads can no longer distribute the arising loads, exclude the impact of the vertebrae against each other. A compensatory response of the body is triggered - bone structures begin to deform with the formation of growths. They press on sensitive nerve endings, infringe on the spinal canal. Therefore, there are specific symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis in women and men: loss of sensitivity of certain parts of the body, a burning sensation and creeping "goose bumps".

Important! Osteochondrosis of the thoracic localization is often manifested by a dry, unproductive cough, sore throat, a feeling of a coma in it, as well as urinary disorders.

But that is not all. The spinal roots are responsible not only for the innervation (transmission of nerve impulses) of the spine, but also for the internal organs. Therefore, when they are infringed, there are uncomfortable sensations from the liver, kidneys, digestive tract, myocardium. What are the signs uncharacteristic for back pathologies manifested by thoracic osteochondrosis:

  • pain in the cardiac region, identical to the recurrence of angina pectoris, shortness of breath, a feeling of "compression" of the heart;
  • panic attacks, psychoemotional instability, unreasonable fear, anxiety, sleep disorders;
  • discomfort in the epigastric region, bouts of nausea, sometimes leading to vomiting, sour belching, bloating, seething and rumbling in it;
  • peristalsis disorders - constipation or diarrhea;
  • lingering, labored breaths with sobbing.

Pain is not localized directly to the site of the destroyed intervertebral disc and (or) the formed intervertebral hernia. They radiate along the course of the nerve. Signs of osteochondrosis of the thoracic region can be disguised as renal colic, symptoms of gastritis, gastric ulcers, hepatitis, pancreatitis, cholecystitis and even gastroenteritis.

Compression myelopathy

This is the name of extravertebral syndrome, which is rarely found in clinical practice. It is observed at 3-4 stages of the disease, when, due to the loss of stability by the vertebral segment, the nucleus pulposus protrudes beyond the annulus fibrosus. An intervertebral hernia forms, which constantly presses on the spinal cord. At an appointment with a vertebrologist or neurologist, patients complain of frequent girdle pain radiating to the groin area. At the same time, there are feelings of weakness, numbness of the lower extremities.

Against the background of the infringement of the spinal cord, innervation is seriously disturbed. In the absence of treatment, the functional activity of the organs located in the small pelvis decreases. Compression myelopathy causes problems with bowel movements. And due to the pronounced narrowing of the diameter of the spinal canal, the sensitivity of the legs drops out. In severe cases, patients are diagnosed with paresis (partial or complete paralysis) of one or two lower extremities.

Symptoms of remission

Outside of relapses, osteochondrosis of the chest almost does not bother a person. Occasionally, there is a pulling, aching, dull back pain, which usually disappears after a long rest. But it is worth at least slightly increasing the load on the spine, lifting a heavy object or bending over, as follows the next relapse. It can be triggered by such factors:

  • stressful situations, depressive states;
  • hypothermia, sudden temperature changes;
  • prolonged stay in one position of the body;
  • alcohol abuse;
  • unbalanced diet, lack of foods high in calcium, phosphorus, manganese, molybdenum in the diet.

Sometimes the remission stage ends because a person tries to avoid another relapse. He visits a chiropractor or massage therapist with a dubious reputation or little practical experience. An attempt to stretch the spine leads to another exacerbation.

The main methods of treatment

It is not yet possible to completely cure the pathology, so all the doctors' efforts are aimed at improving the patient's well-being. Patients are recommended to wear orthopedic products (corsets, bandages), which fix the vertebral structures, prevent their displacement. Drugs of various clinical and pharmacological groups are prescribed, physiotherapeutic measures and physiotherapy exercises are carried out.

manual therapy for chest osteochondrosis

The movements of the hands of the chiropractor are aimed at increasing the gaps between the vertebrae, which decrease in thoracic osteochondrosis.

Important!With high-severity chest osteochondrosis, conservative treatment is useless. Patients are immediately offered surgical intervention - excision of an intervertebral hernia, arthrodesis, placement of implants in place of a damaged disc, bone grafting.

Drug therapy

Treatment of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine is aimed at eliminating all symptoms, inhibition of destructive and degenerative processes. During periods of exacerbation, solutions for parenteral administration are used, which show effects after 5-10 minutes. Then the result is consolidated by taking a course of tablet preparations, applying ointments and gels. At the stage of remission, mainly external agents are used, which have a more gentle effect on the body.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

This is the most commonly used group of drugs in the complex treatment of chest osteochondrosis. Their active ingredients block the biosynthesis of mediators of pain, inflammation, and fever from arachidonic acids. Even after a single use of NSAIDs, a person's well-being improves significantly:

  • the severity of pain syndrome decreases;
  • the unpleasant crunch that occurs when the body turns and tilts disappears;
  • inflammatory processes in soft tissues weaken, edema resolves;
  • the range of motion in the thoracic region increases.

To stop relapses, intramuscular solutions are used. Preparations in capsules or tablets can cope with moderate pain. And ointments and gels quickly eliminate mild discomfort.

Preparations with B vitamins

Preparations with vitamins of group B cope well with disorders of innervation. They improve the transmission of nerve impulses to the central and peripheral nervous systems, stimulate the restoration of damaged spinal roots. The composition of the funds is represented by thiamine, riboflavin, pyridoxine, cyanocobalamin.

In the first week of therapy, intramuscular administration of drugs is practiced, which, in addition to vitamins, contain lidocaine, which instantly eliminates pain. And then, for a month, patients are shown taking pills.


The use of these synthetic analogs of hormones, which are produced by the adrenal glands, is practiced when safer drugs are ineffective. Glucocorticosteroids are prescribed to patients with acute, piercing back pain, radiating to the internal organs. The drugs can be taken orally, but much more often they are administered parenterally, including in places of destroyed discs.

Glucocorticosteroids have a wide range of contraindications and potential side effects. Long-term treatment of chondrosis of the thoracic spine with hormones leads to damage to the tissues of the liver, kidneys, and stomach. So their use is prohibited in patients with cirrhosis, peptic ulcer disease, renal failure, and osteoporosis.

Muscle relaxants

Back pain is often attributed to increased skeletal muscle tone. To relax it, muscle relaxants are used - first in the form of solutions for parenteral administration, and then in tablets. The drugs relieve muscle spasm that causes compression of the spinal root. Which muscle relaxants are most effective:

  • blocking polysynaptic reflexes;
  • relaxing spasmodic muscles;
  • reducing the release of prostaglandins.

Drugs are rarely used for monotherapy. Treatment of chest chondrosis is carried out with muscle relaxants in combination with glucocorticosteroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Their significant drawback is the rather rapid formation of addiction, so it is forbidden to use them for more than a week.


Unlike drugs that eliminate the symptoms of chest osteochondrosis, such drugs are also used for pathogenetic therapy. This is the only group of medicines that can increase the production of chondrocytes, which are necessary for the partial restoration of cartilaginous intervertebral discs. All the therapeutic effects of chondroprotectors are due to the high content of glucosamine and / or chondroitin.

But not only for the ability to restore discs, chondroprotectors are valued. Their components glow in the area of the damaged vertebral segment. After 2-3 weeks, the maximum therapeutic concentration of glucosamine and chondroitin is created. Now the drugs are beginning to show pronounced analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-edematous activity.

Recommendation!It is advisable to treat osteochondrosis with chondroprotectors in the form of injection solutions or tablets. Despite all the assurances of manufacturers about the effectiveness of ointments and creams, they could not provide an evidence base for their therapeutic efficacy.

Non-drug treatment

Treatment of osteochondrosis of the thoracic region with pharmacological drugs must necessarily be combined with regular exercise. Exercise therapy is the most effective method of therapy to avoid disability. Thanks to daily training, the muscular frame of the back and the ligamentous-tendon apparatus of the thoracic region are strengthened, the production of synovial fluid that feeds the vertebral structures is improved. The set of exercises is determined by the exercise therapy doctor after studying the results of X-ray diagnostics. He is present at the first classes, monitors the dosage of loads.

Manual therapy of osteochondrosis is also practiced, aimed at increasing the gaps between the discs and vertebrae. Dry or underwater traction (traction) of the spine is performed, and at home - hanging on the bar. The effectiveness of manual therapy increases with the simultaneous carrying out of physiotherapy:

  • electrophoresis;
  • laser therapy;
  • magnetotherapy;
  • ultraviolet radiation;
  • diadynamic currents.

Patients are shown 10-15 sessions of classical, vacuum, Scandinavian, acupressure. Also useful are hirudotherapy, acupuncture, spa treatment with radon and hydrogen sulfide baths.

Only with the help of an integrated approach to the treatment of thoracic osteochondrosis is it possible to exclude further damage to the discs and deformity of the vertebrae. Compliance with the doctor's recommendations helps to get rid of all the symptoms of chronic pathology as soon as possible.