Osteochondrosis is a chronic pathological process in which the vertebrae and the intervertebral discs located between them undergo degenerative-dystrophic changes. Most often, this disease affects the cervical and lumbar spine. The thoracic spine is affected much less frequently, however, this pathology presents certain difficulties in terms of differential diagnosis, since it can be confused with heart, lung or any other type of disease. In this article, we will discuss thoracic osteochondrosis in terms of symptoms and treatment.
Clinical picture in osteochondrosis of the thoracic region
The main clinical sign of degenerative-dystrophic changes in the thoracic spine is localized pain syndrome between the shoulder blades, in the chest, along the ribs, etc.
Some patients report moderate pain, others report extremely severe pain. The pain syndrome is aggravated by deep breathing, twisting or tilting 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 perform a complete differential diagnosis.
Due to the severe pain, the patient cannot take a deep breath, which makes him feel short of breath. In parallel, sensitive disorders of the upper extremities are often observed in the form of 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, etc.
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 the bed or at least half of bed rest.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used to relieve pain.
In 2014, scientists from the Kazakh National Medical University published an article, the results of which established the effectiveness of complex treatment of osteochondrosis with the use of muscle relaxants.
As for muscle relaxants, they are meant to stop muscle spasm.
The treatment plan is necessarily supplemented with B vitamins, physiotherapy procedures. Of the physiotherapeutic methods, electrophoresis, magnetotherapy, phonophoresis, etc. can be used.
After stopping the acute process, the patient may be prescribed massage courses, therapeutic exercises.
In some cases, the issue of surgical intervention can be decided, for example, in the presence of an intervertebral hernia that compresses the spinal cord.