Osteochondrosis is a chronically occurring pathological process in which the vertebrae and intervertebral discs between them undergo degenerative-dystrophic changes. Most often this disease affects the cervical and lumbar spine. The thoracic spine is affected much less often, however, this pathology causes certain difficulties in differential diagnosis, since it can be confused with heart, lung or other diseases. In this article we will look at thoracic osteochondrosis in relation to symptoms and treatment.
Clinical picture in osteochondrosis of the thoracic region
The leading clinical sign of degenerative-dystrophic changes in the thoracic spine is a pain syndrome localized between the shoulder blades, in the chest, along the ribs, etc.
Some patients report moderate pain, others extremely severe pain. The pain syndrome is aggravated by deep breathing, twisting or bending the upper body, raising the arms, as well as other types of physical activity. Due to the localization of pain, osteochondrosis can be confused with angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, pancreatitis and some other diseases. It is extremely important to conduct a thorough differential diagnosis.
Due to severe pain, the patient cannot take a deep breath, which makes him feel short of breath. At the same time, sensitive disorders of the upper extremities in the form of numbness, tingling and much more muscle tension in the back are often observed. In some cases, the clinical picture is complemented by disorders in the digestive system, for example, flatulence, epigastric pain, heartburn, and so on.
Treatment of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine
First of all, during the period of exacerbation of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine, it is recommended to adhere to bed rest, or at least semi-bed rest.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used to relieve pain.
In 2014, scientists from the Kazakh National Medical University published a work, the results of which proved the effectiveness of complex treatment of osteochondrosis with muscle relaxants.
Muscle relaxants aim to stop muscle spasms.
The treatment plan is necessarily supplemented with B vitamins and physiotherapeutic procedures. Of the physiotherapeutic procedures, electrophoresis, magnetotherapy, phonophoresis, etc. can be used.
After the end of the acute process, the patient can be prescribed massage courses and therapeutic exercises.
In some cases, the question of surgical intervention can be decided, for example, in the presence of an intervertebral hernia that compresses the spinal cord.