Thoracic osteochondrosis: signs, causes, diagnosis

Osteochondrosis– a set of dystrophic disorders in articular cartilage. Usually, this disease affects men and women over the age of 30. But recently it is found even in teenagers.

Depending on the location of joint damage, there are cervical, thoracic and lumbar. In most cases, osteochondrosis manifests itself as severe back pain, headaches and dizziness.Osteochondrosis of the thoracic regionIt is less common than the cervix, but no less dangerous due to various complications.

Thoracic spine with signs of osteochondrosis

Thoracic osteochondrosis: what is it?

With thoracic osteochondrosis, pathological changes in the spine occur in the thoracic region. Intervertebral discs are most commonly affected. The thoracic region does not move like the cervical region, therefore the characteristic symptoms of the disease cannot be seen immediately. The diagnosis is made already in the final stage of the disease.

Dystrophic disorders affect cartilage and muscle connective tissue, which causes complications and causes other serious diseases.

Patients are used to treating osteochondrosis lightly, but without timely treatment, thoracic osteochondrosis can be dangerous to health. Often this disease affects both the cervical and thoracic spine, which affects the quality of life.

What is a degree?

Disease treatment begins with making a diagnosis and determining its stage.

  1. In the first stagepeople usually do not notice any changes, pain does not appear, but the intervertebral disc begins to lose its elasticity, a characteristic protrusion appears when the disc protrudes into the spinal canal without breaking the fibrous ring.
  2. In the second stage– the disease progresses, pain, dizziness and other neurological symptoms appear. The intervertebral disc is even less elastic, there is a danger of bulging into the spinal canal with the rupture of the fibrous ring - a hernia is formed.
  3. In the third stagepain causes a lot of inconvenience and is aggravated by the appearance of a hernia.
  4. Osteochondrosis of the deep thoracic spinefourth levelcharacterized by progressive neurological symptoms, the intervertebral disc loses its firmness and elasticity completely. Vertebral destruction begins.
In the second stage of thoracic osteochondrosis, back pain appears

It is impossible to determine osteochondrosis by external signs, although it often accompanies another pathology of the spine - scoliosis, which can be seen on visual inspection.

What could be the reason

The cause of disorders that occur in the spine is insufficient nutrition in the cartilage and vertebrae. It is impossible to say exactly why such damage occurs in the body's functions.However, there are many factors that contribute to this:

  1. A sedentary lifestyle and, as a result, weak back muscles.
  2. Poor posture, uncomfortable posture.
  3. Various back injuries, improper weight lifting (jerking off the floor), heavy physical activity.
  4. Lifting weights is the cause of the development of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine
  5. Other spinal diseases.
  6. Inadequate nutrition, lack of important vitamins and minerals in the diet, especially calcium, which is necessary for the formation of healthy bone tissue.
  7. Pregnancy. Often women notice signs of osteochondrosis in the thoracic region during pregnancy, when the load on the spine becomes higher, in addition, due to the cost of additional resources, the body often lacks vitamins and minerals.
  8. Ancestry. If you have a relative with the disease, the chances of developing it increase. In this case, you need to worry about prevention.

Often, when making a diagnosis, doctors identify a combination of factors: sedentary work, frequent improper weight lifting, and poor posture.

Symptoms of osteochondrosis of the thoracic region

In the early stages, the disease does not manifest itself in any way. Often, even before the significant pain syndrome comes neurological disorders (dizziness, spots in the eyes, etc. ), which the patient does not associate with back problems. People begin to suspect problems with the spine when pain occurs. Let's consider the main signs of thoracic osteochondrosis:

  1. A sharp, reddening pain in the upper part of the thorax, which gets worse after exercise, hard work, or being in an awkward position. May be accompanied by shortness of breath, cough, and breathing problems.
  2. Feeling cold in hands and feetwithout reason, numbness of limbs.
  3. Headache, dizziness, fog in the eyes, blurred vision, feeling tired, shortness of breath. When the intervertebral disc is displaced, nerve endings and blood vessels are compressed, which is why neurological symptoms occur.

Thoracic osteochondrosis causes the patient to feel pain in the heart or stomach area, which greatly complicates the diagnosis of the disease.

These are the main signs that indicate intervertebral osteochondrosis. Some patients experience pain in the gastrointestinal tract and heart, which often leads to a wrong diagnosis. The nature of the pain also varies. For example, some patients experience long-term pain, not acute -dorsalgiaor, conversely, severe pain that stiffens the muscles and makes breathing difficult -dorsago.

This sensation can be felt in the abdominal area, the patient misinterprets it and is sent for examination of the liver, pancreas, etc. , not suspecting that the cause of the pain is osteochondrosis of the thoracic area. With a combination of several forms of chondrosis - cervical and thoracic - people complain about the sensation of a foreign body in the throat, which becomes noticeable after physical exercise or after being in an uncomfortable position.

Thoracic osteochondrosis is accompanied by dorsago - acute pain that constrains the muscles


  • During the development of the disease, accompanying diseases are added to the main disease. Therefore, prolonged compression of the blood vessels in the area of the spinal column leads toto cardiovascular system failure, which in serious cases can interfere with heart function.
  • Another common complication, especially when combining thoracic and cervical forms of osteochondrosis, isvegetative-vascular dystonia. Compression of blood vessels and nerve endings interferes with the proper nutrition of the brain, as a result of which the patient experiences severe long-term headaches, dizziness, a feeling of fog in the eyes, and blurred vision. In advanced cases, fainting may occur due to back disease.
  • From the nervous system maybepanic attack, which occurs during excessive mental or physical stress, severe fatigue. At these moments, the patient notes a rapid heartbeat and breathing problems: it is difficult to breathe, there is not enough air.
  • Another complication that causes difficulties not only for patients, but also for doctors isintercostal neuralgia.Pinching the nerve root in the thoracic spine produces a specific pain syndrome, reminiscent of the sensation associated with heart disease. The patient turned to the doctor with heart complaints, which complicated the diagnosis. This disease accompanies various spinal pathologies, but, as a rule, the symptoms disappear with the start of treatment.

If you do not pay attention to the development of osteochondrosis of the breast, then after some time it will begin to affect the quality of life, significantly limiting activities and range of motion.

Diagnosis of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine using CT


Doctors are prevented from making a correct diagnosis by the variety of symptoms, which causes them to often suspect disorders of the gastrointestinal tract or the nervous system. To avoid mistakes, orthopedists or neurologists send x-rays of the thoracic spine, and often MRI or CT scans are performed to clarify the diagnosis.

To rule out heart disease, the patient is given an ECG. Treatment is prescribed only after diagnosis.

Treatment of osteochondrosis of the thoracic region

Unfortunately, this disease cannot be cured. When pain occurs, the changes that occur in the spine cannot be corrected. However, modern medicine can relieve pain and thus improve the quality of life. Properly selected therapy and a healthy lifestyle can prevent exacerbations.

Treatment involves several factors working together. To relieve symptoms and prevent the condition from getting worse, medications and physical therapy are usually used. Surgery is only necessary if a herniated disc develops. There are dozens of home treatments, but each of them should be discussed with your doctor so as not to worsen the situation.

Treatment with drugs

Medicines to relieve inflammation and relieve pain in thoracic osteochondrosis

Medicines for osteochondrosis are used to relieve pain, for this purpose, anti-inflammatory painkillers are often used. At a later stage or in cases of severe exacerbation, the patient is given an anesthetic block. To relieve neurological symptoms, take medication to improve brain circulation.


Effective non-drug ways to relieve pain and tension in the back muscles: magnetic therapy, laser therapy, acupunctureetc. After just a few full procedures, positive results will be noticeable. Use only after consulting a doctor!


The most popular and affordable home method. Massage relieves muscle tension, which relieves pain. The best results can be obtained from a specialist, but massaging the collar area yourself will also bring benefits. The effect on the muscles helps to relieve the sore area. It is advisable to run the sequence in the course.

Exercise therapy

Complex treatment for osteochondrosis includes physical therapy. Simple exercises strengthen the back muscles, increase the flexibility and mobility of the spine. Regular physical exercise will help prevent the aggravation of the disease or delay the appearance of the first symptoms for decades. Many doctors recommend the doctor's method, which offers its own program to help fight the disease with the help of special exercise equipment.

Each treatment method hascontraindications, before use, consultation with a doctor is required. In addition, with a complex effect on the disease, vitamin and mineral complexes are used to restore the proper nutrition of cartilage tissue and joints.

What to do in case of exacerbation of osteochondrosis

Exacerbation of osteochondrosis surprises you: you have to go to work, but your back is not straight, it is difficult to turn your neck, and you feel dizzy. It usually occurs as a result of excessive physical exertion, being in an uncomfortable position for a long time (sitting in front of the computer, working in a garden bed, etc. ). Exacerbations are characterized by severe back pain or headache, limitation of movement, dizziness or fainting.

What actions should you take to relieve these symptoms? Gentle exercise, massage and sleeping in the fresh air will help. Severe pain is treated with medication. Only a doctor prescribes medicine! When using the drug, improvement occurs within two hours.

People's recovery

Despite their availability, folk remedies should also be used with caution. All of them are meant to relieve pain. To do this, use various compresses, for example, from raw grated potatoes with honey. The paste is applied to the sore spot and wrapped in a film. The compress should be left for several hours, preferably overnight, then rinsed.

Infusion based on chamomile flowers for symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis

To relieve neurological symptoms and manifestations of vegetative-vascular dystonia, soothing herbal infusions help: chamomile, lemon balm, sage, mint, lingonberry leaves.

There are contraindications, it is necessary to consult a specialist.

When fighting osteochondrosis, only one set of procedures will help: proper nutrition, physical therapy, massage, avoiding excessive physical activity, and an active lifestyle. If the disease has felt itself, then it is not possible to get rid of it completely, but it is possible to bring the disease into a state of long-term remission.