Thoracic osteochondrosis is represented by a degenerative dystrophic change in the intervertebral discs. This pathology affects the thoracic spine discs, which includes 12 vertebrae. This area has a strong muscular corset and is considered less mobile, so osteochondrosis is very rare in it.
The development of osteochondrosis in the chest region is associated with spinal cord compression. This complication is due to the narrowness of the spinal canal in this area of the spine. Spinal cord compression is a very dangerous condition that can provoke the development of diseases of the kidneys, heart, pancreas, liver. To avoid such complications, it is necessary to start treatment of the disease in a timely manner.
The cause of osteochondrosis of the chest and cervix lies in:
- dystrophic changes in tissues;
- metabolic process disorders;
- irrational loads on disks;
- being in an uncomfortable position for a long period (when working at the desk, when driving a car).
Characteristic pain of a pathological condition
The pathology has symptoms similar to other diseases. For this reason, it is often called "chameleon disease". The pain in osteochondrosis of this spine is almost the same as the following diseases:
- renal colic;
- peptic ulcer;
- cardiovascular diseases;
Therefore, for the differentiation of thoracic osteochondrosis, a complete diagnosis is necessary.
The main symptoms are the presence of pain, discomfort. They cover areas such as:
- upper abdomen.
During breathing, exhalation, as well as during movement, an increase in pain is observed in thoracic osteochondrosis. The patient may feel numbness in the left arm, the area between the edges of the shoulders.
There is also pain radiating to the shoulder blade. These painful sensations are similar to intercostal neuralgia. The pain caused by thoracic osteochondrosis worsens at night.
For this reason, patients often confuse such conditions with a symptom of a heart attack, angina pectoris. Pain in thoracic osteochondrosis from an attack of angina pectoris is distinguished by the inability to stop with nitroglycerin, the absence of any pathological signs on the ECG indicating a disease of the cardiovascular system.
The pathology causes symptoms similar to diseases of the cardiovascular system. Therefore, patients often start self-medication with cardiac drugs, which bring no relief.
Symptoms of pathology in the intervertebral discs depend on the mechanism caused by the pathological process, the localization of the disease. Compression of the spinal roots has a significant effect. Sometimes, compression of the spinal cord with the characteristic sensations of pain acts as a complication of this pathology.
Symptoms of a pathology that develops in the neck, chest
The cervical region consists of 7 vertebrae, and the thoracic region consists of 12. With the development of osteochondrosis of the cervical region, the patient manifests a range of symptoms. This disease, due to its manifestations, can be confused with such pathologies:
- myocardial infarction;
- cerebral circulation disorders;
- tooth decay;
- vegetative vascular dystonia;
Osteochondrosis of the cervicothoracic region is manifested by pain in:
- upper limbs;
- shoulder girdle;
- areas of the heart.
In addition to pain, osteochondrosis of the cervicothoracic region is manifested in:
- numbness of the neck, abdomen, chest;
- reduction of work capacity;
- "Goosegung" in front of the eyes;
- sleep disturbance;
- power disorder (in men);
- jumps in blood pressure.
Symptoms that appear during the compression of radicular structures
Cervical-thoracic osteochondrosis with radicular syndrome is manifested by severe pain, which has a different character depending on the affected segment.
It often manifests itself in the form of radiculopathy, which appears mainly with a disc herniation. The patient feels symptoms of radiculopathy after physical exercise. Their slow growth is observed for several weeks.
When there is a link between thoracic osteochondrosis and herniation, disc herniation, the patient will have pronounced pain in the following areas:
- shoulder joint;
- chest cage;
- shoulder blades.
The symptoms of the disease also depend on the direction of the hernia (lateral, secondary). If there is a complication of a lateral hernia, unilateral pain in the hernia area, local loss of sensation will appear. Coughing increases the pain as well as the movement of the spine.
If osteochondrosis is accompanied by a moderate hernia, the patient will be bothered by prolonged pain that can last for weeks. The main risk of this condition is spinal cord compression.
If thoracic osteochondrosis is associated with spinal cord compression, the patient will experience:
- disorder of the pelvic organs;
- local pain, belt;
- weakness in the legs;
- pain in the space between the ribs, abdomen, groin;
Radicular syndrome with localization of pathology in the chest area
With osteochondrosis of the chest region, patients suffer from radicular syndrome. It appears in painful sensations that increase with movement, appear sharply and are reflected in other organs.
Radicular syndrome in this area has different manifestations:
- numbness of the epithelium of the armpits, shoulder blades, hands, dryness in the pharynx (with loss of segment 1);
- pain in armpits, shoulders, sternum, dry throat, slight scapular descent, pain in stomach, esophagus (2-6 segments);
- paresthesia, muscle tension in the shoulder area, ribs, epigastric region. There is also pain in the heart, stomach (7-8 segments);
- girdle pain, paresthesia from ribs to navel. Muscle tone also increases, abdominal pain appears in stomach, intestines (9-10 segments);
- paresthesia from the navel to the groin. There may be a feeling of heaviness in the intestines, stomach (11-12 segments).
Radicular syndrome with localization of pathology in the neck
With cervical spine radicular syndrome, the following symptoms appear:
- paraesthesia in the crown, occiput (with loss of segment 1);
- paresthesia in the crown, in the back of the head + decrease in chin muscle tone, manifested in their hanging (segment 2);
- linguistic paresthesia, speech defects (segment 3);
- pain in the heart, liver (segment 4);
- weakness, pain in the shoulder joint, arm (segment 5);
- the pain reaches the thumb in the hand. There are weaknesses when raising the arm. Its cause is a decrease in biceps tone (segment 6);
- weakness in neck, shoulder, blade, forearm, arm, second and third toe (segment 7);
- the pain reaches the little finger (segment 8).
Characteristics of symptoms in women
The symptoms of the disease depend mainly on the sensitivity of the patient, his individual characteristics. The symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis in women are more pronounced than in men.
This is due to the fact that a woman's body is an order of magnitude more sensitive than that of a man.
The parts of the female spine are much thinner, smaller, which contributes to the rapid onset of symptoms of degenerative-dystrophic processes. Let's see how chest osteochondrosis manifests itself in women.
The vertebral symptoms of the disease are:
- pain when raising the arms;
- chest pain;
- Feeling of tightness in the chest;
- pain localized between the shoulder blades;
- accompanying a deep breath with severe pain;
- accompanying turns, tilting with a feeling of pain.
Each of these symptoms is accompanied by an inflammatory process within the spine. If the disease is associated with the development of intervertebral hernias, other signs of the disease that are characteristic of neurological and vascular disorders are also associated with the above signs of the disease:
- itching, cold, burning in the lower extremities;
- skin numbness, a "goosebumps" feeling;
- brittle nails;
- heart pain;
- disorders of the gastrointestinal tract;
- peeling of the epithelium.
The signs in women resemble diseases of the mammary glands. For this reason, the disease in question requires additional diagnostic methods.
In men, thoracic osteochondrosis occurs less frequently than in women. This is due to the anatomical features, which consist in the strength of the elements of the spine. In men, the symptoms are complemented only by a power disorder.