Osteochondrosis is a chronic pathological process in which the vertebrae and intervertebral discs located between them undergo degenerative-dystrophic changes. This disease most often affects the cervical and lumbar spine. The thoracic spine is much less commonly affected, however, this pathology presents certain difficulties in the differential diagnosis, as it can be confused with heart, lung, or any other disease. In this article, we will look at thoracic osteochondrosis in terms of symptoms and treatment.
Clinical picture of osteochondrosis of the thoracic region
The leading clinical sign of degenerative-dystrophic changes in the thoracic spine is the pain syndrome localized between the shoulder blades, in the chest, along the ribs, etc.
Some patients report moderate pain, others report severe pain. The pain syndrome is aggravated by deep breathing, turning or bending the torso, 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 make a detailed differential diagnosis.
Due to severe pain, the patient cannot breathe deeply, which is why he feels short of breath. At the same time, sensitive disorders of the upper extremities are often observed in the form of their numbness, tingling and much more, muscle tension in the back. In some cases, the clinical picture is supplemented by disorders in the digestive system, for example, bloating, epigastric pain, heartburn and so on.
Treatment of thoracic spine osteochondrosis
First of all, in the period of worsening osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine, it is recommended to adhere to the bed or at least half of the bed.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used to relieve pain.
Scientists from the Kazakhstan National Medical University published a paper in 2014, the results of which determined the effectiveness of complex treatment of osteochondrosis with the use of muscle relaxants.
As for muscle relaxants, they are aimed at stopping muscle spasm.
The treatment plan is necessarily supplemented with B vitamins, physiotherapy procedures. Electrophoresis, magnetotherapy, phonophoresis, etc. can be used as physiotherapeutic methods.
After stopping the acute process, the patient may be prescribed massage courses, therapeutic exercises.
In some cases, surgery may be decided, for example, in the presence of an intervertebral hernia that compresses the spinal cord.