Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine. Symptoms and treatment, drugs, gymnastics

Spinal osteochondrosis is one of the most common diseases of the musculoskeletal system. The root cause of the disease is considered to be destructive changes in the intervertebral discs. In terms of the frequency of occurrence, the thoracic region is less susceptible to damage than the cervical or lumbar, but the main symptoms of the disease and the principles of treatment apply to the entire spine.

Reasons for the development of thoracic osteochondrosis

Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine, the symptoms and treatment of which differ in the degree of development of the dystrophic process, refers to polyetiological diseases, that is, it occurs under the influence of various factors. This is due to genetic circumstances and complications from vascular and metabolic disorders.

The disease starts with dehydration of the nucleus pulposus. Gradually decreasing, it disappears. This leads to a loss of strength of the annulus fibrosus, squeezing to the side, it contributes to the beginning of the convergence of adjacent vertebrae.

The vertical size of the disc is reduced, its depreciation comes to naught. Loose disc tissue becomes super mobile, while the entire spine loses its elasticity.

Remaining constantly in a state of trauma, bone growths appear on the adjacent vertebrae. Intervertebral joints are affected by arthrosis, which leads to a decrease in the intervertebral foramen and compression of the nerve roots.

There are several reasons for the formation of such destructive changes. It can be any injury, heredity, hormonal disruption.

Risk factors

The disease begins to bother a person after 40 years.

The risks of occurrence are due to several factors:

  • congenital and acquired flat feet;
  • prolonged wearing of uncomfortable shoes;
  • physical activity associated with carrying loads;
  • Movers are most susceptible to osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine
  • overweight;
  • lifestyle associated with inactivity;
  • poor nutrition, the presence of stress;
  • sleeping on high pillows and soft mattresses.

The degree of development of the disease and their symptoms

A symptom of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine is, first of all, soreness in the chest after a night's sleep or numbness, tingling in the shoulder girdle. If you find the first signs, you should immediately visit a specialist and start treatment. The disease grows gradually as the vertebral discs are affected.

Compression of the first vertebra of the thoracic spine causes soreness under the scapula, extending under the arm to the elbow. There is an impression of the presence of a foreign body in the pharynx.

With the transition of destructive changes to the second - sixth vertebrae, the discomfort between the shoulder blades covers the entire sternum in a circle, is transmitted to the intercostal space. At night, aching pains occur in the stomach area.

The defeat of the 7-8 vertebral root causes pain in the direction of the scapula - epigastric region.

9-10 - covers the bottom of the chest from the back, and reaches the edge of the navel. It happens that the pain is felt in the right hypochondrium in the region of the gallbladder, with the beginning of movement it increases. Sometimes discomfort is felt in the middle abdomen, but this is not associated with food intake.
Compression of the 11-12 root transmits pain from the sternum to the groin.

Movement in the thoracic region is limited, which forms a special posture in the patient. Visceral symptoms manifest as pain in the heart, abdomen and right hypochondrium. This provokes erroneous diagnoses and incorrect surgical interventions in the abdominal cavity.

Diagnosis of pathology

An accurate diagnosis is made on the basis of radiography and computed tomography. At the initial stage of the disease (chondrosis), a decrease in the height of the disc with the adjacent ones is visible.

The protrusion of the discs in X-rays at the very beginning of the pathological process is not noticeable. Therefore, it is recommended to have an MRI scan. As the disease progresses in the images in another projection, you can see the depressions in the vertebrae from the hernial nodes.

Manifestations of thoracic osteochondrosis on an MRI scan

At the stage of osteochondrosis, bone growths in the interdisk space are clearly visible. They enlarge the dimensions of the surfaces of the vertebrae.

What to do with an exacerbation of osteochondrosis

A typical exacerbation in osteochondrosis is radicular syndrome or the more familiar name radiculitis. Pinching of the end of the spinal nerve is the root cause of this condition.

Exacerbation is manifested, first of all, by acute pain in the affected area. This may be due to excessive one-time exercise or hypothermia.

What to do if sudden pain penetrates the entire thoracic region. Before the obligatory, in such cases, visits to the doctor should be avoided overloading the spine. For severe pain, take any analgesic. The specialist will determine the cause of the relapse and develop a treatment regimen.

As a rule, they act in two directions:

  • Installation of a blockade to relieve muscle spasm and relieve pain. Complete rest and bed rest. The duration is 7-10 days.
  • Rehabilitation therapy. Therapeutic massage, physiotherapy, physical education. Rehabilitation lasts 3-4 months.

Treatment of osteochondrosis of the thoracic region

Treatment should be started only when you are absolutely sure that the pain is not caused by a heart attack, which requires urgent hospitalization. The therapy used for this disease is unacceptable in the acute phase of cardiac pathologies.

Treatment with drugs for external use

This type of therapy includes ointments, gels and patches that have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Drugs of the group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are in demand.

They are subdivided into derivatives:

  • salicylic acid;
  • pyrazolone;
  • propionic acid.

The main task of a drug for external use is an analgesic effect.

If the condition does not alleviate, a change in the drug or an increase in dose and concentration is allowed.

There is no unequivocal opinion about the usefulness of NSAIDs for cartilage. The drugs actively remove pain, but "age" the cartilage. Most often, after the elimination of the pain syndrome, they resort to regenerative disc therapy with the help of chondroprotectors. The latter includes an ointment containing a substance that provides the hardness of the cartilaginous disc.

For immediate relief of acute pain, a blockade is prescribed. The point where the nerve was pinched is determined, an anesthetic drug with a hormone is injected. The pain goes away after a few minutes and does not appear for about 2-3 weeks. This type of therapy does not pass without consequences. The anesthetic in combination with corticosteroids has a strong effect on the organs.

Oral drug therapy

Oral drugs are also aimed at relieving pain. Usually drugs of the group of analgesics are prescribed. Or indole derivatives.

Propionic acid tablets are intended for short-term pain relief. They are rapidly eliminated from the body and are recommended for the elderly.

It should be remembered that drug therapy has a number of contraindications. Tablets should not be used for gastric ulcer, colitis and gastritis. For patients suffering from hemorrhoids or polyps of the anus, it is necessary to exclude the use of drugs in the form of suppositories.


Physiotherapy cannot be considered a fundamental method of treating osteochondrosis, but it is used very widely as an adjunct to rehabilitation therapy.

The main techniques include:

  • Laser therapy- acts by analogy with a stimulus, the depth of penetration is no more than a few millimeters. The beam is directed to the focus of the disease and to individual points.
  • Electrophoresis- with the help of a direct current of low strength through the skin, the medicine is injected directly to the pain point.
  • Pulse electrotherapy- the method is based on the supply of energy to the body in small portions to stimulate metabolic processes. Superficial electrical irritation excites the nerve cells in the skin, relieving the uncomfortable syndrome from the destroyed part of the vertebra. There is no muscle contraction, which is beneficial for osteochondrosis.
  • Cryotherapy- the use of ultra-low temperatures, which enhances blood circulation and metabolism.
  • Ultrasound- penetration of waves to a depth of 5 cm in order to stimulate metabolic processes.
  • Mud treatment- application of therapeutic mud heated to 60 degrees in the form of a compress.
  • Spinal traction for osteochondrosis
  • Traction (traction)- relieving tension of the intervertebrae, resulting in stretching of the ligaments and muscles. This helps to eliminate the compression of the nerve root.

Traction is carried out using special equipment or manually. The procedure is performed on an inclined surface with a raised head. The patient is placed on his back, secured with belts for the armpits and stretched. In the prone position, pull from the side of the legs, fixing them with soft loops for the ankles.

Stretching is possible with corsets placed in the thoracic region and in the pelvic area. The devices are fixed on specific brackets with a block system. The course lasts 3-4 hours. The point of these activities is to reduce pain. If this does not happen within 4 days, the spinal traction stops.


Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine, the symptoms and treatment of which have been studied in detail by oriental medicine for a long time, lends itself well to therapy in the form of therapeutic massage.

Osteochondrosis of the thoracic region lends itself to therapy in the form of therapeutic massage

It improves metabolism, relieves inflammation, pain and muscle tension. Allows you to recover from a long restriction in movement. The massage technique includes many different techniques. These include tapping, rubbing, beating.

Gymnastics: a set of exercises

Physiotherapy exercises allow you to evenly distribute the load on the spinal column, strengthen muscles, and correct poor posture. Restoration of nutrition and blood supply to the intervertebral discs contribute to the normalization of the spine in relation to physical activity.

The complex aimed at strengthening the skeletal system includes exercises:

  • with load;
  • optimal intensity;
  • power;
  • balance and flexibility.

Exercises aimed at strengthening bone tissue include the use of a gymnastic step. Step climbing is most effective for bones and joints. Strength training with dumbbells weighing up to 1. 5 kg will be useful. Flexion and extension of the arms at the elbow joints, slowly raising them in front of the head together with the load to shoulder level, help to strengthen the muscles of the thoracic region.

It is necessary to perform a set of exercises daily for 20-25 minutes:

  • flexion and extension of the chest while sitting;
  • reduction of the shoulder blades on the back;
  • rowing movement with hands using a dumbbell or gymnastic tape.

You can not use physical activity during an exacerbation of the disease and with a feeling of persistent discomfort.

Folk remedies

The most common folk remedies for osteochondrosis are bath and edit.This will help restore your back to its previous mobility.

Push-ups from the floor - exercises necessary for osteochondrosis of the thoracic region

It is recommended to do at least 100 squats a day, up to 20 push-upsfrom the floor and mandatory hanging on the horizontal bar with pulling the knees to the chin up to 10-15 times.

Stretching the spine from a kneeling and elbow position with a variable arching of the back up and down, allows the discs to be adjusted in a natural way.

Multicomponent harvests of plants can replace some synthetic preparations. The most affordable herbal tea recommended for osteochondrosis consists of 2 tsp. oregano, yarrow, linden flowers. All components are poured with boiling water and infused for an hour. They are taken before meals for pain in the spine.

A mixture for compresses of 1. 5 cups of radish juice, 1 cup of honey and 0. 5 cups of alcohol with the addition of salt is applied to the place where the pain is concentrated and left for several hours. . .

Manual therapy

This type of therapy is used to restore the health of the spine as a whole. The goal is to minimize the load on the discs and to bring the vertebrae back to their normal position.

Manual procedures should be carried out by physicians who have passed special courses and are proficient in all types of manual impact on the spine. Massage techniques with pressure and stretching of subcutaneous tissues, manipulations in the form of jolts can be harmful in inept hands.

The procedures are prescribed only during the initial stage of the disease, after examination by X-ray or MRI.If osteochondrosis is aggravated by the formation of a vertebral hernia, this type of therapy should be carried out with great caution.

The use of manual techniques has a number of limitations:

  • oncology;
  • pregnancy;
  • The use of manual techniques is prohibited during pregnancy
  • congenital pathology of the spine;
  • polyarthritis;
  • arthrosis;
  • general inflammation of the body;
  • exacerbation of a hernia;
  • hypertension.

For patients undergoing this procedure for the first time, the techniques used by the doctor can be quite painful in the beginning. The duration of the course is determined by the doctor depending on the degree of vertebral lesion.

Typically, this is 5 to 15 visits. The session itself lasts about 30 minutes. During the first visit, the specialist develops an individual treatment regimen based on research data.


Acupuncture came from China. It is impossible to explain scientifically how an injection into the skin in a predetermined place affects an organ in any way unrelated to this place.

There is an opinion that the theory is based on the flow of biocurrents in the body. From the brain, biocurrents are transmitted to the spinal cord and further along the smallest nerve endings throughout the body. Human cells are 95% water, an excellent conductor.


They read through the nerve endings the information intended for them and respond to it. At the end of the data transfer, the flow of electricity is no longer needed and needs to be removed. The needle, installed at a certain point, acts as a regulator of energy passing throughout the body.

Acupuncture performed by a specialist gives excellent results.
They can easily relieve pain and muscle spasm, so this type of therapy is used for exacerbation of osteochondrosis.

Like any therapy, acupuncture has limitations:

  • pregnancy;
  • skin pathologies;
  • age (over 70);
  • headaches;
  • stroke;
  • muscular dystrophy;
  • multiple sclerosis;
  • chronic diseases.

Undesirable consequences after the procedure can manifest itself in the form of dizziness, nausea, chills. Treatment is prescribed as a course for 10-15 days. The duration of the session is determined by the specialist individually. The size of the needle and the depth of penetration are selected depending on the weight and height of the patient.

Correct back position during sleep

Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine (symptoms and treatment of the disease are individual for each patient), in any case, lends itself only to complex therapy.

Since the disease causes acute pain in the chest and organs located in this zone, simple rules should be followed. For restful sleep, the patient needs to fall asleep on a mattress of medium hardness, and also choose a pillow with similar characteristics.

The correct position during sleep involves a position on the side, because the position on the back leads to squeezing of internal organs and to compression of the thoracic spine, which contributes to increased pain. To stay in the correct position, a pillow is placed under the side to prevent leaning back.

How to sit properly with osteochondrosis

For patients with a sedentary lifestyle, it is preferable to provide a comfortable workplace. Do not forget that you should monitor the correct position of the back while sitting. Doctors do not recommend sitting on overly upholstered furniture. Rigid furniture evenly distributes body weight between the ischial tubercles.

The height of the chair should be level with the shins.Feet flat on the floor. The chair or armchair should not be deep. The back fits snugly against the back of the chair. If necessary, a small roller is placed at the lumbar level for better contact of the back with the surface of the back of the chair.

Correct and incorrect back position while sitting

The head should not be tilted too much, as the muscles of the cervical spine are overextended. Be sure to exercise between prolonged sedentary activities. Postures when watching TV programs or movies should be changed as often as possible.

Motorists are advised to adjust the seating position to prevent osteochondrosis during prolonged driving, vibrations and road irregularities.

Nutrition for chest osteochondrosis

Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine, the symptoms and treatment associated with them, have been studied quite well these days. Rehabilitation therapy for this disease should be accompanied by a healthy diet rich in calcium and minerals.

In the diet of patients, the presence of fermented milk products of all varieties, vegetables, fruits and protein foods is desirable. A diet aimed at reducing excess weight plays an important role, since the latter has a significant effect on posture.

Norms of consumption of trace elements per day for patients with osteochondrosis:

Element Quantity in mg
Calcium 800-1500
Magnesium 400
Iron eighteen
Zinc 15
Iodine 0. 15

The first quarter of life, our body concentrates bone mass. If you eat properly and exercise regularly, you can build up enough bone tissue. Until the age of 35, a balance is maintained between destruction and tissue formation.

Absence of osteochondrosis at a young age with proper nutrition

Closer to older age, this process shifts towards destruction.Therefore, nutrition for maintaining bone mass should be balanced in the direction of increasing the intake of calcium, vitamins D, C, K. Greens and citrus fruits contain a lot of essential substances for bones. Drinking more than four cups of coffee a day increases the risk of fractures.

Prognosis and complication

For the conservative treatment of osteochondrosis, the entire arsenal of types of therapy is used. Sometimes patients may have difficulty breathing and unstable heart activity. Diseases diagnosed on time have a fairly high percentage of recovery and do not affect the patient's quality of life.

If conservative treatment does not bring positive results, they resort to surgical intervention. The degenerated disc is removed, and spinal fusion is implanted into the spine. Not all patients after the operation can become able to work, therefore it is much more important to prevent the disease.

Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine may symptomatically not be associated with other organs located nearby. But it happens that they are involved in the inflammatory process. Treatment for the latter is prescribed only after confirmation of the main diagnosis.