Breast osteochondrosis – symptoms that not everyone knows

A characteristic symptom of thoracic osteochondrosis is back pain

Recently, doctors have been receiving an increasing number of complaints about back pain, and young women often suffer from it. If the discomfort is localized in the thoracic spine, it may be a disease such as thoracic osteochondrosis, the symptoms of which are described in detail below.

Breast osteochondrosis – causes

Spinal osteochondrosis is a pathology in which negative changes occur in the tissues of the intervertebral discs - elements of the spine located between the two vertebral bodies. The intervertebral disc is a type of flat, round pad that consists of a gel-like collagen core, connective tissue and vitreous cartilage tissue. The main functions of these structures are:

  • connection and retention of adjacent vertebral bone bodies;
  • shock-absorbing protection of the spine, protects against injuries caused by body gravity and stress;
  • Ensuring the mobility of adjacent vertebrae relative to each other.

When the intervertebral discs are in a satisfactory functional state, the spine acquires elasticity, mobility and the ability to withstand various mechanical loads. When the cartilage structure changes shape and texture and loses strength and elasticity, these functions cannot be fully performed. Basically, this happens against the background of metabolic disorders.

Breast osteochondrosis, accompanied by damage to the intervertebral discs

Pathological changes in the intervertebral discs that cause thoracic osteochondrosis are partly explained by the fact that with increasing age, nutrition via one's own blood vessels ceases and the supply of nutrients is only possible through neighboring structures (ligaments, vertebral bodies). The exact causes of poor nutrition of the intervertebral structures and the mechanism of their destruction are unknown, however, doctors identify a number of predisposing factors:

  • systemic metabolic disorders in the body;
  • excessive body weight;
  • poor diet, drinking habits;
  • Inactivity;
  • sedentary activity;
  • bad posture;
  • Flat feet;
  • injury to the back, spine;
  • intensive physical work or sports training;
  • Pregnancy;
  • Wearing uncomfortable shoes and high heels.

Degrees of thoracic osteochondrosis

A disease such as thoracic osteochondrosis does not show symptoms immediately, becauseit develops gradually and over a long period of time. In addition, due to the low mobility of the spine in this area, osteochondrosis of the thoracic region manifests itself in later stages in the presence of significant pathological changes. In total, four degrees of pathology are distinguished depending on the deviations developed.

First degree breast osteochondrosis

The preclinical stage is grade 1 osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine. At this stage, partial drying and compaction of the central part of the intervertebral discs occurs, their height decreases, which leads to a decrease in their elasticity and strength. The ability of the spine to withstand normal stress is still preserved. Disc protrusions begin to form.

Second degree breast osteochondrosis

When thoracic osteochondrosis grade 2 develops, the disease is characterized by the appearance of cracks in the fibrous ring. The sinking (thinning) of the intervertebral discs continues, the amount of intervertebral fluid decreases significantly and the vertebrae begin to rub against each other as the strain on the back increases. This stage is sometimes called discogenic radiculitis.

Sedentary work is one of the causes of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine

Third degree breast osteochondrosis

Osteochondrosis of the 3rd degree thoracic spine is accompanied by destruction and rupture of the fibrous tissue of the intervertebral disc, release of the core part, i. e. H. a herniated protrusion of the intervertebral disc occurs. As a result, nerve roots begin to become pinched, adjacent vessels become compressed, and veins and arteries become pinched.

Breast osteochondrosis 4 degrees

The last, most severe stage of the disease is characterized by displacement, twisting, deformation of the vertebral bodies, further increase in area and proliferation. The affected disc tissue begins to be replaced by bone tissue in the form of specific growths - osteophytes - which compress the spinal cord. This significantly limits the mobility of the spine.

Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine - symptoms

Due to the peculiarities of localization of pathological processes, osteochondrosis of the thoracic region has both typical and atypical symptoms and repeats the manifestations of other diseases. This is because the compression of blood vessels and nerve fibers causes structural changes in the spine and disrupts the functions of neighboring internal organs.

Let's list what symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis are characteristic and most common:

  • pain in the back and chest;
  • chest tightness;
  • tingling in the limbs;
  • Numbness in arms, legs, neck, shoulders;
  • stiffness, pain in the back and limbs;
  • muscle spasms in the upper and middle back;
  • limited mobility of the spine in this area (difficulty bending the body).

Pain due to osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine

When diagnosing "thoracic osteochondrosis", along with other complaints, pain-related symptoms come to the fore. Their intensity and duration depend on the stage of the pathological process. The localization of pain can change rapidly at regular intervals, for example, moving from one area of the chest tomoves another and covers the entire chest. Pain often occurs in the area between the shoulder blades. The nature of the pain in thoracic osteochondrosis is dull, compressing and sharp. Increased pain is observed at night and in:

  • raise your hands;
  • neck twists;
  • carrying heavy objects;
  • sudden movements;
  • increased physical activity;
  • heavy breathing, coughing, sneezing;
  • Hypothermia.

Can thoracic osteochondrosis cause shortness of breath?

Due to displacement of the vertebral bodies, pathological changes in the structure of the chest, pinching of nerve fibers and blood vessels of the lungs, shortness of breath often occurs in thoracic osteochondrosis. In addition, because in the thoracic region there are structures responsible for the innervation of the heart, intestines, liver, kidneys and some other organs; In many cases the disease is accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • headache, dizziness;
  • pain in the heart area;
  • pain in the mammary glands;
  • Pain in the hypochondrium (similar to the occurrence of pancreatitis, cholecystitis);
  • Upper abdominal pain not related to eating;
  • Discomfort in the throat, esophagus, foreign body sensation;
  • sexual dysfunctions.

Pain in the heart in thoracic osteochondrosis, often pressing, squeezing, can be misleading in the diagnosis, because similar to the manifestations of angina pectoris, myocardial infarction. A feature of these sensations is their long duration and lack of effect when taking drugs to dilate the heart vessels. There are no changes in the cardiogram.

Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine can manifest itself as pain in the heart area

Syndromes with thoracic osteochondrosis

Symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis in women, associated with a single mechanism of origin, in many cases appear in a complex manner. There are two syndromes with a number of specific pathological conditions caused by thoracic osteochondrosis:

  • dorsalgia;
  • dorsago.

Dorsalgia of the thoracic spine

Persistent, not very pronounced pain in thoracic osteochondrosis in women, often characterized as aching and pulling, is inherent in dorsalgia. The symptoms may last for 2-3 weeks, with the discomfort either easing slightly (particularly when walking) or increasing (often at night, when bending over or when breathing deeply). In the presence of this syndrome, thoracic osteochondrosis may also present with symptoms associated with difficulty breathing and muscle stiffness.

Dorsago of the thoracic spine

Paroxysmal manifestations of the disease are called "dorsago" or "thoracic lumbago". In this case, the pain is sudden and acute and often resembles the signs of a heart attack. An attack of thoracic osteochondrosis has the following symptoms:

  • sharp, dagger-like pain;
  • Pain is felt in the area between the ribs, the interscapular area;
  • often an attack occurs after a long stay in one position;
  • the pain increases when turning the trunk;
  • there are difficulties breathing, severe muscle tension.

Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine – consequences

If treatment of the pathology is not started in a timely manner, osteochondrosis of the thoracic region can cause the following consequences:

  • vegetative-vascular dystonia;
  • Migraine;
  • Dysfunction of internal organs (liver, kidneys, etc. );
  • decreased hearing, decreased vision;
  • epicondylitis of the elbow joint;
  • paresis and paralysis of the arms;
  • rachiocampsis;
  • loss of sensitivity of skin tissue;
  • disability etc.
A neurologist examines the back to diagnose thoracic osteochondrosis.

How to treat thoracic osteochondrosis?

If symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis appear, it is recommended to consult a neurologist who can make a primary diagnosis after examining the back and examining the spine in several positions of the patient. To determine the extent of the damage, x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging or computer tomography are prescribed. Treatment tactics depend on the results achieved.

Often the painful symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis of the spine are eliminated by taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. In case of exacerbation accompanied by severe pain, paravertebral blocks can be performed with an anesthetic solution. In addition, the following medications can be prescribed as part of conservative therapy:

  • muscle relaxants;
  • chondroprotectors;
  • corticosteroids etc.

To improve metabolic processes, eliminate muscle hypertension and prevent various complications, the following treatment methods are used:

  • Physical therapy;
  • Massage;
  • manual therapy;
  • traction of the spine;
  • physiotherapeutic procedures (laser, ultrasound, etc. ).

If the spinal cord is compressed by a disc fragment, surgical treatment is required. In this case, either a laminotomy - removal of the vertebral arches - or a discectomy - removal of part of the intervertebral disc or its complete removal with the insertion of a transplant - can be performed. In clinics with modern equipment, surgical procedures are carried out using small incisions using less traumatic methods.