Osteochondrosis is a pathological process of chronic occurrence 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 some difficulties in terms of differential diagnosis, as it can be confused with heart, lung or other diseases. In this article, we will look at 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 pain syndrome located between the shoulder blades, in the chest, along the ribs, and so on.
Some patients report moderate pain, others report extremely severe pain. The pain syndrome is aggravated by deep breathing, trunk rotation or tilt, arm lifting, and other types of physical activity. Due to the location of the 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 intense pain, the patient is unable to 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 complemented by disorders in the digestive system, for example, bloating, 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 the bed or at least half a bed.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used to relieve pain.
In 2014, scientists from the National Medical University of Kazakhstan published an article, the results of which established the effectiveness of the complex treatment of osteochondrosis with the use of muscle relaxants.
As for muscle relaxants, they aim to stop the muscle spasm.
The treatment plan is necessarily supplemented with B vitamins, physiotherapy procedures. Of the physiotherapeutic methods, electrophoresis, magnetotherapy, phonophoresis and so on can be used.
After stopping the acute process, the patient can receive massage courses, 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.