Osteochondrosis of the chest: causes, symptoms, methods of treatment

Osteochondrosis of the cervical and thoracic spine is diagnosed less often than other forms of this pathology. This is due to the anatomical features of the structure of the middle part of the human back. The intervertebral discs in this area move quite a bit. However, this anomaly still occurs occasionally and requires adequate therapy.

Features of the disease

This term is understood as dystrophic and degenerative changes in the spine that lead to abnormalities in the structure of cartilage and bone tissue. According to ICD-10, the pathology is coded as follows: M42. Osteochondritis of the spine.

If you do not start treating the disease immediately, there is a risk of disrupting the structure of the ligament apparatus, joints and intervertebral discs. Osteochondrosis often leads to atherosclerosis, malignant tumors, infertility and other diseases.


Depending on the degree of destruction of the vertebrae, several stages of the development of the disease are distinguished:

  1. In first-degree disease, the discs lose their elasticity, their height decreases. Sometimes bumps or ridges form.
  2. Osteochondrosis of the second degree is accompanied by a further decrease in the height of the discs and loss of their elasticity. At this stage, chest instability occurs. This worsens the condition of a person and can provoke a crack in the disc ring. This violation is fraught with the appearance of a hernia. Pain occurs at this stage. There may also be neurological manifestations.
  3. For osteochondrosis of the third degree, the appearance of intervertebral hernias is characteristic. Symptoms of the pathology depend on the size and localization of this formation.
  4. The disease of the fourth degree is accompanied by a loss of the cushioning characteristics of the discs. At this stage, convergence of the vertebrae, loss of mobility of the spine, pinching of blood vessels and nerves is observed. This form of the disease is characterized by destruction of the bones of the spine.

The reasons

Thoracic osteochondrosis is most often caused by a lack of physical activity. This leads to a weakening of the muscle tissue and leads to an increase in the load on the intervertebral discs.

In addition, the causes of the pathology include the following:

  • bad habits;
  • posture disorders;
  • genetic predisposition;
  • hypodynamia;
  • increased physical activity;
  • spine injuries;
  • stressful situations.


displacement of vertebrae in thoracic osteochondrosis

This form of osteochondrosis has less pronounced manifestations compared to other types of this disease. The characteristic symptoms of the pathology include the following:

  • chest pains that increase at night due to a long stay in an uncomfortable position, with hypothermia and increased stress;
  • discomfort between the shoulder blades, which occurs when lifting the limbs or bending;
  • increased discomfort during deep inhalations and exhalations;
  • pain between the ribs, which occurs when moving;
  • tightness in the chest area.

When the pathology is aggravated, the pain syndrome lasts for several weeks. In addition, there are additional manifestations of the thoracic form of the disease:

  • loss of sensitivity of some areas of the skin, the appearance of goose feet;
  • burning and itching sensation, coldness in the lower limbs;
  • brittle nails and peeling skin;
  • pain in the esophagus and pharynx;
  • disorders of the functions of the digestive organs.

How to treat thoracic osteochondrosis

To deal with this violation, you need to ensure an integrated approach. Specific treatment methods should be chosen by the doctor, taking into account the clinical picture of the disease.


In the thoracic form of the disease, the following categories of drugs are most often used:

  1. Anti-inflammatory drugs. They help to cope with pain and eliminate swelling of soft tissues. For intercostal neuralgia, local medicinal forms in the form of ointments and creams are prescribed.
  2. Anesthetics. They are injected into the spine to relieve pain and muscle spasm.
  3. Muscle relaxants. Such means eliminate the painful muscle spasm.
  4. Antidepressants. These drugs eliminate the psycho-emotional stress that often accompanies osteochondrosis.
  5. Vitamins of group B. Such drugs provide nutrition to nerve fibers. This helps in dealing with neurological abnormalities. Means containing vitamins B1, B6 and B12 are used in the treatment of osteochondrosis.
  6. Chondroprotectors. Such means help stop the destruction of discs and normalize bone metabolism. It is recommended to inject them directly into the paravertebral tissues.

exercise therapy and physical therapy

exercises for thoracic osteochondrosis

With the help of therapeutic exercises and gymnastics, you can reduce the frequency of exacerbations. To do this, it is recommended to perform the following movements:

  1. Sit in a chair, put your hands behind your head, inhale. As you exhale, contract your shoulder blades. Do 10-15 repetitions.
  2. Get on all fours, arch your back slightly and stay in this position. After a few seconds, bend down and fix in this position again. Do 15-20 repetitions.
  3. Lie on your back, raise your straight leg 20-30 cm. Stay in this position for 20 seconds. Do 10 reps.

Physiotherapy is an effective method of treatment. They have a local effect on the focus of the pathology.

Thanks to exercises, it is possible to cope with pain and spasms, improve tissue nutrition and normalize blood circulation. Magnetic therapy, laser exposure and electrophoresis are indicated for the thoracic form of pathology.

Folk recipes

When choosing home remedies, do not forget to take into account the extent of the disease and the symptoms present. If the disease has an acute course and is accompanied by severe pain, therapy begins with anti-inflammatory and analgesic preparations.

The following plants have this effect:

  • chamomile;
  • sage;
  • viburnum;
  • elecampan;
  • Birch.

These plants can be brewed like regular tea. To do this, take 1 tablespoon per 250 ml of boiling water. Take the composition of 1 cup 2-3 times a day. To improve the taste of the drink, you can add a little honey to it.

What to do during a flare-up

In case of exacerbation of thoracic osteochondrosis, the following recommendations should be followed:

  • reduce physical activity - it is best to observe bed rest;
  • eat right;
  • take medicines prescribed by a doctor;
  • do a gentle self-massage and rub the problem areas;
  • engage in therapeutic exercise if indicated;
  • rub the creams and ointments recommended by the doctor;
  • use physical therapy.

Complications and consequences

If you do not start therapy on time, there is a risk of developing dangerous consequences. These include the following:

  • protrusion and intervertebral hernia;
  • spinal cord compression;
  • deviations in the work of internal organs - the heart, liver, intestines, kidneys, pancreas;
  • duodenal lesions, intestinal motility disorders, gallbladder dyskinesia;
  • intercostal neuralgia - irritation or compression of nerve fibers.

Prevention and prognosis

To avoid the occurrence of thoracic osteochondrosis, you should follow the following recommendations:

  • avoid static position of the body - periodically warm up;
  • choose a comfortable work chair;
  • sleep on an orthopedic mattress;
  • refuse to carry heavy objects;
  • body weight control;
  • do physical therapy.

It is impossible to completely cure the disease, but you can stop its development. With timely initiation of therapy, the pathology has a favorable prognosis.

Thoracic osteochondrosis is a serious disease that is accompanied by severe pain and can lead to dangerous health consequences. To deal with this disorder, it is necessary to consult a doctor in time.