Symptoms and signs of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine. How is the disease treated?

Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine

Thoracic osteochondrosis is a disease of the spine, as a result of which the intervertebral discs, joints and ligaments of the vertebrae are damaged. The main reason for its occurrence is the uneven distribution of the load on the spine (carrying a bag on one shoulder, improper sitting posture and impaired posture).

Other risk factors:

  • sedentary lifestyle or specific physical activity;
  • Malnutrition, obesity and subsequent metabolic disorders;
  • lack of water in the body;
  • Flat feet and other diseases of the musculoskeletal system;
  • age-related changes;
  • smoke - the small capillaries of smokers are clogged with tobacco smoke products, blocking the blood supply to the spine;
  • Pregnancy.
Compression of the spinal cord in thoracic osteochondrosis

Why is this disease dangerous?

At the initial stage, this disease is asymptomatic.Therefore, when pain appears and a person goes to the doctor, the pathological process is in full swing. If you do not start treatment, a herniated disc can occur - a herniated disc and other deformities.

From the spinal cord through the thoracic vertebrae, nerves go to the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Compression (squeezing) of the spinal cord and neuralgia of the intercostal nerves lead to disruption in the work of these organs.


With osteochondrosis of the chest region, the patient experiences constant discomfort and severe attacks of pain in the chest area. The pain usually gets worse with inhaling or sudden movements. It can gird and cover the entire back, in an uncomfortable position and strengthen in the evening.

Thanks to the ribs, the thoracic spine is less mobile than other departments. For this reasonHOH is less common than other types of osteochondrosis.


An accurate clinical diagnosis is made based on at least three sources - patient complaints, MRI and CT results, and analysis of symptoms.

How to understand what and where it hurts, how to identify the syndrome?

Thoracic osteochondrosis is called "chameleon disease" because it masquerades as a variety of other diseases. It is characterized by typical and atypical (characteristic of other diseases) symptoms. How to detect and determine the presence of HOC?

Thoracic osteochondrosis causes chest pain when breathing in and moving

Typical symptoms of HOH:

  • Pain in chest, back, shoulder blades. Intensify on inhale, raise arms, rotate upper body.
  • The pain appears in one spot and then spreads to the entire chest. You need to choose a comfortable position of the body.
  • Weakness in the shoulder muscles, tension, numbness, cramps.
  • At night and with hypothermia, the pain syndrome intensifies.

Atypical symptoms:

  • Pain in the left side of the chest resembles disturbances in the work of the heart. But taking medication doesn't get better.
  • pain in the mammary glands. You need to consult a mammologist.
  • Cutting, burning sensations in epigastric region, as in gastritis and ulcers. But they increase during exercise and not during meals.
  • Disorders in the work of the urinary and reproductive systems.
  • Difficulty swallowing, "lump in throat".

When to the clinic?

If the pain in the chest does not go away with painkillers, two or three days do not pass, but, on the contrary, intensify, an urgent need to contact a therapist or a neurologist.

The disease progresses quickly. When confirming the disease, it makes sense to consult a nutritionist, a specialist in physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage.

Symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis can resemble the manifestations of a heart attack

What can chondrosis be confused with?

Because of the similarity in symptoms, HOH in the chest can be mistaken for angina or a heart attack. In this case, the cardiogram shows no changes.From the gastrointestinal tract, the sensations are similar:

  • Appendicitis;
  • cholecystitis;
  • Renal colic;
  • Gastritis;
  • Ulcer.

Pain in the lungs is sometimes mistaken for pneumonia. But pneumonia is also accompanied by cough, shortness of breath and high fever.

GOH grades

Modern medicine distinguishes 4 degrees or stages of development of osteochondrosis of the thoracic region.Each of them is characterized by its clinical symptoms.

  • First Degree- Fissures appear in the fibrous ring, which are then penetrated by the nucleus pulposus. Weak but already noticeable pain in the chest or back occurs. Pain localization occurs during movement. There are areas of loss of sensitivity, tingling in the chest.

    Such symptoms should no longer be ignored, after 40 years this disease occurs in most people. If the doctor is consulted in good time, first-degree HOH can be completely cured on an outpatient basis.

  • second degree- pathological changes occur. Subluxations appear in the spine, the pain intensifies with movement, a long stay in one position causes discomfort. The consequences of the second stage are no longer completely eliminated, but timely complex therapy will help to stop pathological processes.
  • third degree- The annulus fibrosus ruptures exposing the nucleus pulposus. At this stage, intervertebral hernias appear, causing complications in the work of nerves and blood vessels. The thoracic spine becomes less mobile, resulting in kyphosis or scoliosis.
  • fourth degree- The degenerative process affects all structures around the spine. Fibrosis occurs - the proliferation of connective tissue to isolate the focus of inflammation from surrounding tissues and systemic blood flow.

    Concomitant complications appear: inflammation of the nerve endings of the spinal cord, vegetative-vascular dystonia, proliferation of bone outgrowths and a decrease in the spinal canal. All this affects the work of internal organs.

Treatment of the third and fourth stages is possible only with the help of surgical intervention.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Now that you know what kind of disease it is, we suggest examining all the typical symptoms and signs that appear when a person has HOX.

Difficulty breathing and coughing, shortness of breath

Cough - a possible symptom of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine

Breathing difficulties are usually associated with colds or diseases of the cardiovascular system. But they are often accompanied by thoracic osteochondrosis. Degenerative processes in HOH lead to thinning of the discs, pinched nerves and poor circulation. The saturation of the organs with oxygen becomes insufficient.

The body tries to compensate for the lack of air by clearing the airways with a cough.and rapid breathing. All this is accompanied by painful sensations in the chest, breaths become short, shortness of breath appears.

The manifestation of this symptom is facilitated by physical exertion, a long stay in one position, poor posture and excess weight.

nausea and vomiting

The defeat of the nerve endings of the middle thoracic region is reflected in the work of the gastrointestinal tract. Due to the deterioration of blood supply, there is a lack of glucose and oxygen, swelling appears. The function of the secretion and peristalsis of the esophagus, stomach and intestines is disturbed. This prevents the normal movement and digestion of food. Nausea, belching, and even vomiting occur. These alarming symptoms require immediate medical attention.


Osteochondrosis of the thoracic region can cause burning in the arms, legs and back.

The displacement of the vertebrae, the inflammation of the soft tissues, the proliferation of the cartilage disturb the tone of the blood vessels, the normal functioning of the capillaries and lead to irritation of the nerve roots. Paresthesia appears - one of the types of sensitivity disorders, in which there is a burning sensation, tingling and crawling.

Throat sensation caused by compression of nerve roots

lump in the throat

With compression of the nerve roots in the upper segments of the thoracic region (at the level of the fourth pair of ribs), dysphagia occurs - a violation of the function of swallowing. There is a feeling of a lump in the throat.Swallowing food and even saliva is uncomfortable.

These symptoms are not eliminated by drugs used to treat colds, since most often the cause of this condition lies in a violation of innervation - the connection of organs and tissues with the central nervous system through nerves. The pharyngeal muscles tighten, the patient feels discomfort in the larynx. Depending on the location of the pinching, the symptom of a lump in the throat may be predominant on one side of the larynx.

How does thoracalgia manifest itself and where is it given against the background of HOH?

Thoracalgia is a pain syndrome localized in the chest.Vertebral thoracic pain (intercostal neuralgia) occurs against the background of HOH due to morphological disorders in the structure of the spine (stretching, compression or rupture of nerve fibers). Can the pain radiate into the chest and press on the back?

How does thoracalgia manifest itself:

  • pain in the chest and back;
  • increase in body temperature;
  • decreased sensitivity at the site of injury;
  • crunching in the spine;
  • hair loss

The pain can be dull or sharp, with piercings, shooting. With thoracic osteochondrosis, it can manifest itself far from the site of the injury: it is localized between the shoulder blades or ribs, giving in to the shoulder or arm.

Prolonged chest pain in the chest area provokes the development of scoliosis, as the patient begins to bend over to avoid pain. An ambulance should be called immediately if thoracic pain causes weakness in the arms, spontaneous urination, and defecation.

Dorsalgia and Dorsago

In medical practice, pain is of two types:

  1. dorsalgia- The pain is mild at first, but increases over several weeks. Accompanied by cutting, pulling, stinging, burning sensations. It can cause numbness of the hand and "give" the leg.
  2. Dorsago- The pain is sharp, intense, paroxysmal. Difficulty breathing and limited mobility. Strengthens when turning the body.

A photo

Further on the photo you can see where it can hurt with GOH.

Pain localization between the shoulder blades in thoracic osteochondrosisChest pain in osteochondrosis of the thoracic spineBack pain with thoracic osteochondrosis radiating to the shoulder

How to treat chondrosis of the sternum?

This disease affects various organs and systems, so treatment should be comprehensive. Achieving positive dynamics is possible only through a combination of different treatment methods.

Medical treatment


Drugs are used during an exacerbation of the disease to reduce the inflammatory process and improve metabolic processes. The following categories of drugs are used:

  • analgesic and anti-inflammatory agents;
  • vasodilators;
  • muscle relaxants;
  • chondroprotectors;
  • tranquilizers;
  • Vitamins and vitamin-mineral complexes.

Medication must be prescribed by a doctor.

Massage is an effective treatment for thoracic osteochondrosis


Massage is an integral part of the full treatment of thoracic osteochondrosis, is he:

  • helps eliminate pain;
  • accelerates metabolism;
  • strengthens muscles;
  • calms the nervous system.

This can only be done after eliminating acute pain. The effect of the massage is temporary. Therapy is carried out in courses, usually in the spring and autumn periods.


Exercise therapy helps to strengthen the muscular corset, increase joint mobility and prevent recurrence of the disease. It also improves lung ventilation, allowing you to breathe more deeply.Gymnastics should not be neglected, they significantly improve condition.


  1. Lie on your back, press your legs to your chest, bent at the knees. Pull them towards you so that the sacrum is slightly off the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Hold the position for 5 seconds and then slowly return to the PI. Repeat 2 times.
  2. Lying on your back, stretch your arms over your head, legs straight. Slowly straighten your right arm and left leg, feeling the stretch in your spine. Then repeat with the left arm and right leg. 3 times on each side.
  3. Lie on your stomach, arms at your sides. Raise your head and arms and hold the position for 3 seconds. Leave it, relax. 5 repetitions.
  4. Lying on your back, raise your hands behind your head and stretch. With your legs straight, try to touch the ground behind your head. Slowly return to IP. Repeat 2-3 times.
  5. Lie on your right side, bend your knees. Raise your bent left leg as high as you can. Tighten your muscles. The same on the left. 4 times with each leg.
  6. Get on all fours: knees under hips, hands under shoulder joints. As you inhale, raise your head, bend down. As you exhale, lower your head and round your back. Movements are synchronous and smooth. Repeat 5 times.
  7. Get on your knees, hands by your sides. Raise your hands up through your sides - inhale, lower your hands forward and pull them back as far as possible, lean forward slightly and sit on your heels - exhale. 3 repetitions.
Conducting physical therapy for thoracic osteochondrosis reduces pain and inflammation

physical therapy

With osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine are used:

  • electrophoresis;
  • treatment with magnets;
  • vibrotherapy;
  • detensor therapy.

The effect of the procedures is diverse: elimination of spasms, inflammation and swelling, pain and stiffness. After the procedures, a lower dosage of drugs is required, as they penetrate the tissue better.Physiotherapy is used both during treatment and in rehabilitation after operations.The types of procedures and their sequence are prescribed by a physical therapist.


With this method, biologically active points of the body are stimulated with the help of special needles. The work of the cerebral cortex is stimulated - the body produces nutrients and hormones, inflammation and pain are reduced.

The needles are inserted at various angles to a depth of 3-15 mm and left for 20-30 minutes or rotated periodically. The course is 10-15 procedures. Acupuncture is prescribed for severe pain and stiffness of the spine.It can be used with any type of osteochondrosis.In addition to the elimination of typical symptoms, patients notice the return of mobility and performance, an increase in overall tone.

Manual therapy

A common cause of HOC is scoliosis. Manual therapy is considered the main method of treatment for thoracic osteochondrosis, as it allows you to correct the curvature of the spine. By directly influencing the chiropractor relieves tension and tension in the muscles. This helps restore nutrition to the intervertebral discs.

home remedies

Traditional medicine can reduce pain and inflammation.They should be taken over a longer period of time. It is necessary to check the allergic reaction to the components of the recipe.


Used to relieve pain. You can squeeze the juice out of a fresh root and take it, or you can make an infusion out of a dry root and steep it in warm water overnight. Take one tablespoon 3 times a day before meals.

sunflower root

A decoction of sunflower root removes salts from articular cartilage in thoracic osteochondrosis

Infusions and decoctions of sunflower roots help remove toxins and salts from articular cartilage tissue. Their reception is optimally combined with the use of chondroprotectors. 1 cup of dry chopped root is poured into 3 liters of water and boiled for about 3 minutes. Tea is drunk for 2-3 days. The root of the tea can be reused: boil the second brew for 5 minutes, the third - 10 minutes. Duration of admission - one month.

The salts begin to move away in 2-3 weeks, the urine becomes rusty.You have to wait until the urine is clear. At the time of taking tea, exclude from the diet spicy and salty foods.

house ointment

It is made from natural ingredients, but has a less pronounced therapeutic effect. Rubbing the ointment improves the microcirculation of the skin. In this way, the useful components of the ointment are absorbed more quickly and have a pain-relieving effect.

There are many different recipes.For example: Dilute the clay to a creamy state with warm water, adding 1 tsp at a time. honey and aloe juice. Apply to the painful area and wrap. It is important to remember that it is strictly forbidden to heat during an exacerbation.

complications and consequences

Non-compliance with treatment contributes to the progression of the disease and causes complications:

  • bulging and hernia of intervertebral discs;
  • spinal cord compression;
  • muscle atrophy;
  • intercostal neuralgia;
  • salt deposits;
  • paralysis of the limbs.

The consequences of the disease are a curvature of the body, a violation of the sensitivity of the upper limbs, problems with the heart, intestines, liver, kidneys and pancreas.


Diseases are the consequences of malnutrition and lifestyle.You have to be careful with your own body.

With osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine shows a healthy diet


The diet for osteochondrosis is based on improving metabolic processes. Food should be rich in minerals and vitamins, antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids, and contain compounds that promote the regeneration of cartilage tissue.

It is very important to drink at least 1. 5 liters of fluids per day and eat fractionally., 5-6 times a day. Control your weight.

way of life

It is necessary to create comfortable conditions for sleeping and working. Be physically active and warm up after a long stay in one position. Quit smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

expert advice

Experts advise not to waste time and not to self-medicate. It is not known at what stage HOH will manifest. In any case, complex therapy is required. Only a specialist can properly diagnose the condition and prescribe treatment.

A well-known doctor in his book gives a very sharp, but not pointless conclusion: "Osteochondrosis of the spine is not a disease! This is punishment for an ugly attitude towards your body - the temple of the Holy Spirit!

Osteochondrosis of the chest region has become much younger, but you should pay attention not to statistics and not to age, but to the condition of your own body. This is the only way to delay the "encounter" with this disease as much as possible.