Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine: symptoms and treatment

Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine is a fairly common disease. Like other diseases of the musculoskeletal system, this disease has become younger in recent years - it is observed in middle-aged and sometimes young people. And although among all parts of the thoracic region it is the least susceptible to injury, due to the mobility of the position of the vertebrae, this disease becomes more common in men, women and even children. That is why osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine is a disease, the symptoms and treatment of which are of great interest.

What are the specificities of the thoracic spine?

The thoracic spine does not carry as much load as the lumbar spine and its mobility is less than that of the cervical spine. For this reason, in the thoracic spine, symptoms of osteochondrosis and other diseases appear later than in other parts of the spine. According to statistics, the thoracic spine is the least susceptible to injury, damage and disease, such as intervertebral hernia and vertebral displacement. However, there are a number of factors that increase the risk of developing diseases and injuries, for example scoliosis and poor posture. In thoracic osteochondrosis, as in any other disease, the disease can usually be detected only after significant development.

Symptoms and signs of thoracic osteochondrosis

Thoracic osteochondrosis is easily distinguished from other diseases by the symptoms characteristic of the disease. The following signs of osteochondrosis of the thoracic region are distinguished:

  • Due to prolonged stay in one position, chest pain occurs - it manifests itself with sharp movements or significant physical activity;
  • Deep inhalation and exhalation causes pain and tightness in the middle of the back;
  • When raising your arms and making sharp turns, a stable pain syndrome is noted;
  • Moderate pain is constantly observed in the shoulder blades;
  • Parts of the body go numb and become unresponsive;
  • Unreasonable tingling or shivering;
  • Itching or burning sensations in the legs, a decrease in their temperature compared to the rest of the body;
  • The disease causes side effects such as digestive disorders, intercostal neuralgia and reproductive problems.

Depending on the symptoms of osteochondrosis of the thoracic region that appear during the development of the disease, the disease can be confused with other, no less serious diseases, such as pneumonia, angina. Therefore, for any of the indicated signs of osteochondrosis, a comprehensive examination of the body is necessary.

Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine is accompanied by chest pain

The pain associated with this disease is divided into two types:

  • Dorsago - acute pain of significant intensity, accompanied by a feeling of stiffness and hindering normal breathing;
  • Back pain – pain in the intervertebral discs that lasts for a long time.

One of the most striking manifestations of the disease is pain in the epigastric region. Exacerbations of pain occur regardless of the season, most often caused by food.

Causes of thoracic osteochondrosis

The reasons for the development of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine may be different. Among the most common manifestations are the following:

  • Pathologies of the structure of the intervertebral discs, including a hereditary tendency to develop diseases of the spine;
  • Thinned, herniated intervertebral discs;
  • Decreased quality of cartilage tissue;
  • Circulatory disorders that prevent blood flow to the spinal cord;
  • Irrational loading on the spine, causing degeneration of muscle tissue, cartilage, or bone;
  • Lack of vitamins and microelements, mainly calcium;
  • Constant physical activity;
  • Sedentary lifestyle, computer work or driving;
  • Injuries and other damage to the spine.
Breathing with thoracic osteochondrosis causes pain and a feeling of constriction

Treatment of thoracic osteochondrosis

Treatment of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine should begin as early as possible. Even if no manifestations in the form of significant pain are detected, this does not mean that the disease does not require treatment. The sooner treatment is started, the easier and faster it will be. Modern medicine offers a wide range of methods for treating osteochondrosis, and in combination with traditional medicine methods, you can achieve quick and lasting results.

The first step in treatment is diagnosis. It is necessary to accurately determine the disease - for this the doctor carries out palpation, examination and collects anamnesis. To accurately determine the cause of the disease, it is necessary not only to take a blood and urine test, but also to undergo an x-ray or MRI.

When the diagnosis is confirmed, the doctor determines how to treat osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine. The usual course includes not only drug treatment, but also physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage.

Exercise therapy for thoracic osteochondrosis

Exercise therapy for this disease is obligatory, as is massage, but the basis of treatment in any case remains medication. The doctor treats osteochondrosis based on the patient's specific case.

Patients with thoracic osteochondrosis are prescribed physical therapy

Manual therapy

Treatment of thoracic osteochondrosis will be more complete if, in addition to regular massage and physical education, it includes manual therapy. It helps to eliminate increased muscle tone, eliminate spasms and restore the normal position of the back muscles. A chiropractor can relieve tension in the back, free blood vessels to improve blood supply, quality nutrition and restore intervertebral discs.


Drug therapy is usually combined with physiotherapeutic methods. Usually, patients are prescribed:

  • Shock wave treatment is the effect of sound waves on the chest region. Improves metabolism, blood supply to the affected area, improves tissue restoration and relieves pain;
  • Tension therapy – helps to unload the spine and relieve spasms under the influence of the patient's own weight;
  • Electrotherapy – heating tissues using electric fields, delivering pulses to improve blood circulation and stimulate metabolism. Under the influence of current, drugs intended for the treatment of osteochondrosis are absorbed more effectively;
  • Ultraviolet treatment – quartz treatment improves vitamin D production, also helps relieve pain and improve immune system function;
  • Magnetotherapy - a low-frequency electromagnetic field improves the supply of useful substances to the diseased area, accelerates healing and improves blood circulation;
  • Laser therapy – lasers can relieve spasms and pain, reduce inflammation, stimulate tissue repair processes;
  • Ultrasound – ultrasonic vibrations help relieve pain, inflammation and also promote better absorption of medications.
Physiotherapy is used to effectively get rid of thoracic osteochondrosis

Drug therapy

For this disease, drug treatment may include medications for internal use and topical application.

Tablets against osteochondrosis allow you to:

  • Reduce pain;
  • Relieve inflammation;
  • Relax your muscles;
  • Improve local blood circulation;
  • Restore metabolism;
  • Strengthens tissue regeneration.

Symptomatic treatment is very important for this disease. First, take painkillers. They help get rid of the pain that sometimes accompanies every movement. To ensure that the drug not only relieves pain, but also reduces inflammation, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs with an analgesic effect are recommended. Additionally, for osteochondrosis, it is recommended to take chondroprotective drugs, vitamin-mineral complexes and immunomodulatory agents.

Local drugs for the treatment of the disease are aimed at the same effect as internal drugs. Ointments, gels and creams for application to the affected area may contain painkillers and NSAIDs, as well as chondroprotectors and other necessary agents.

Folk remedies

Traditional medicine contributed to the treatment of osteochondrosis long before the invention of any modern drugs. Their effectiveness is not so high, but side effects are absent or minimal. Folk remedies are an excellent complement to the main treatment, and as part of complex therapy, they allow you to recover faster.

Folk remedies used in the treatment of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine

Among the folk remedies are:

  • Horseradish leaves, doused with boiling water, are applied to the diseased area - this relieves the symptoms of osteochondrosis, and regular procedures prevent exacerbation of the disease;
  • A homemade cottage cheese compress with a few drops of vinegar is applied at night to eliminate the symptoms of osteochondrosis of the chest or neck;
  • A tincture of coltsfoot leaves and flowers is used to rub the affected area;
  • Fresh rye flour cakes are slightly cooled and applied to sore spots to relieve inflammation and pain.

Offers traditional medicines and remedies for internal use. For thoracic osteochondrosis, you can use:

  • Four cloves of garlic and three crushed lemons poured with boiling water are taken on an empty stomach, one tablespoon at a time. Cannot be used for gastritis and peptic ulcers;
  • A decoction of lingonberry leaves at the rate of one tablespoon per liter of boiling water is taken instead of ordinary tea;
  • Horse sorrel, boiled for ten minutes. Leave for a few hours, after which you take a few lodges three times a day. It is an effective remedy for pain related to osteochondrosis;
  • Nettle juice. Mixed in equal parts with honey and ethyl alcohol, take one tablespoon three times a day for a week and a half.

What to do in case of exacerbation?

Exacerbations are the hardest part of this disease. They are accompanied by a sharp, sharp pain, called dorsago. It is very difficult to relieve such severe pain and it is not always possible to do it yourself. The cause of the exacerbation may be:

  • Hypothermia;
  • Physical exercise;
  • Overwork, constant hard work;
  • Training too active;
  • Stress and other tensions of the nervous system.
In case of exacerbation of thoracic osteochondrosis, diagnosis by a neurologist is necessary

What should a person do if he feels that an exacerbation is approaching? First of all, you need to make an appointment with a neurologist. He will diagnose your condition and prescribe the necessary treatment measures that will help eliminate the exacerbation and minimize its symptoms. Exacerbation of the disease is often accompanied by nausea, severe headache, limited mobility and general weakness.

Since this disease is closely related to breathing, an exacerbation can lead to difficulties - deep breaths and sharp exhalations become very painful. To minimize the number of muscle spasms, it is recommended to observe bed rest during an exacerbation.

Patients with an exacerbation of the disease are referred to hospital treatment, where they are transported by ambulance so that the patient does not have to move too much. During treatment, medications that relieve muscle spasms are first prescribed. To relieve pain, painkillers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy are prescribed.

One of the most serious consequences of an exacerbation of the disease can be intervertebral hernia. A slight protrusion of the thoracic spine can lead to pain in different parts of the back. If the protrusion is large, it can cause serious problems and put the patient's life in danger. In this case, the only way to get rid of an intervertebral hernia is surgery.

To avoid such complications during an exacerbation of the disease, it is recommended to follow the rules:

  • Maintain bed rest, a minimum of physical activity and unnecessary movements;
  • Maintain a healthy diet;
  • Compliance with all doctor's recommendations, taking prescribed medications;
  • Massage and rub the affected area;
  • On the recommendation of a doctor - exercise therapy;
  • Rubbing gels, ointments and creams prescribed by a doctor into the chest and spine;
  • Participation in physiotherapy procedures prescribed by your doctor.

Preventative measures

Thoracic osteochondrosis is an unpleasant disease that is best avoided. To reduce the risk of developing the disease, you should:

  • Avoid lifting weights beyond normal limits;
  • Protect the spine from hypothermia;
  • Rest regularly and avoid excessive fatigue;
  • Make sure your posture is correct.
  • Don't stay in the same position for a long time, especially if it's uncomfortable.
To prevent thoracic osteochondrosis, you need to perform physical exercises

If your professional activity inevitably involves staying in one position, you must adopt a rule regarding the conduct of physical exercises. Office workers, drivers and other professionals who sit in one place for a long time should get up regularly, change the position of the spine and stretch their legs. If possible, during these physical minutes, one of the sets of exercises specially developed for such cases is performed.

It is equally important to eat correctly and nutritiously. The main principle of a healthy diet for the musculoskeletal system is to avoid salty foods. Salt is deposited in bone and cartilage tissues, causing their destruction.

It is best to sleep on orthopedic mattresses. If this is not possible, it is better to sleep on a hard surface than on a surface that is too soft. You can place a special board on the bed or sofa.