Symptoms and signs of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine. How to treat the disease?

Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine

Thoracic osteochondrosis is a disease of the spinal column, 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, incorrect sitting posture and impaired posture).

Other risk factors:

  • sedentary lifestyle or specific physical activity;
  • malnutrition, overweight and, as a result, metabolic disorders;
  • lack of water in the body;
  • flat feet and other disorders of the musculoskeletal system;
  • age-related changes;
  • smoking - the small capillaries of smokers are clogged with tobacco smoke products, blocking the blood supply to the spine;
  • pregnancy.
Spinal cord compression in thoracic osteochondrosis

Why is this disease dangerous?

In the initial stage, this disease is asymptomatic., therefore, when pains appear and a person goes to the doctor, the pathological process is in full swing. If you do not start treatment, a protrusion of the disc may appear - an intervertebral hernia and other deformities.

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


With osteochondrosis of the thoracic region, the patient experiences constant discomfort and sharp attacks of pain in the chest area. The pain usually worsens with inhalation or sudden movements. It can girdle and cover the entire back, intensify in an uncomfortable position and in the evening.

Thanks to the ribs, the thoracic spine is less mobile than other departments. That's whyHOH is less common than other types of osteochondrosis.


An accurate clinical diagnosis is made on the basis of 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 a "chameleon disease" because it masquerades as a number of other diseases. It is characterized by typical and atypical (peculiar to other diseases) symptoms. How to recognize and determine the presence of HOC?

Thoracic osteochondrosis causes pain in the chest when inhaling and moving

Typical symptoms of HOH:

  • Pain in the chest, back, shoulder blades. Intensify when inhaling, raising arms up, turning the torso.
  • Pain occurs in one place, then spreads to the entire chest. You have to choose a comfortable position of the body.
  • Weakness in the shoulder muscles, tension, numbness, spasms.
  • The pain syndrome intensifies at night and during hypothermia.

Atypical symptoms:

  • Pain in the left side of the chest is similar to disorders in the work of the heart. But taking medication will not improve.
  • Pain in the mammary glands. You need to consult a mammologist.
  • Cutting, burning sensations in the region of the stomach, as in gastritis and ulcers. But they increase during power loads, and not during meals.
  • Disorders in the work of the urinary and reproductive systems.
  • Difficulty swallowing reflex, "lump in the throat. "

When to go to the clinic?

If pain in the chest is not eliminated by painkillers, two or three days do not pass, but, on the contrary, begin to intensify, it is urgent to contact a therapist or neurologist.

The disease progresses rapidly. When confirming the disease, it will be useful to consult a nutritionist, a specialist in physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage.

Symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis may be similar to manifestations of a heart attack

What can chondrosis be confused with?

Due to the similarity of symptoms, HOH in the chest can be mistaken for angina pectoris or a heart attack. In this case, the cardiogram will not show any changes.From the gastrointestinal tract, sensations will resemble:

  • appendicitis;
  • cholecystitis;
  • renal colic;
  • gastritis;
  • ulcer.

Pain in the lungs is sometimes confused with pneumonia. But pneumonia is additionally accompanied by cough, shortness of breath and high fever.

GOH degrees

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

  • First degree- cracks appear inside the fibrous ring, into which, subsequently, the nucleus pulposus penetrates. Weak, but already quite noticeable pains in the chest or back begin to appear. Localization of pain occurs during movement. There are areas with loss of sensitivity, tingling in the chest.

    Such symptoms should no longer be ignored; after 40 years, this disease occurs in most people. With a timely visit to a doctor, HOH of the 1st degree is completely curable 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 helps to stop pathological processes.
  • Third degree- the annulus fibrosus ruptures, releasing 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, kyphosis or scoliosis appears.
  • fourth degree- the degenerative process affects all structures in the environment of 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, vegetovascular dystonia, proliferation of bone growths, 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 have learned what kind of disease this is, we suggest that you study all the typical symptoms and signs that happen if a person has GOH.

Difficulty breathing and coughing, shortness of breath

Cough - a possible symptom of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine

Difficulty breathing is 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 intervertebral discs, pinched nerves and poor blood circulation. Saturation of organs with oxygen becomes inadequate.

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 overweight.

Nausea and vomiting

The defeat of the nerve endings of the midthoracic 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 secretion and peristalsis of the esophagus, stomach and intestines is disrupted. This prevents the normal movement and digestion of food. Nausea, belching and even vomiting appear. These alarming symptoms require immediate medical attention.


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

Displacement of the vertebrae, inflammation of the soft tissues, growth of cartilage disrupt the tone of the vessels, the normal functioning of the capillaries, and lead to irritation of the nerve roots. Paresthesia occurs - one of the types of sensitivity disorder, in which there is a burning sensation, tingling, crawling.

Sensation of a lump in the throat caused by compression of the nerve roots

Feeling of a 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 swallowing function. There is a sensation of a lump in the throat.Swallowing food and even saliva is uncomfortable.

These symptoms are not eliminated by drugs for the treatment of colds, since the cause of this condition is most often in a violation of innervation - the connection of organs and tissues with the central nervous system through nerves. The pharyngeal muscles tense up, the patient feels discomfort in the larynx. Depending on the place of pinching, the symptom of a lump in the throat may prevail on one side of the larynx.

How does thoracalgia manifest itself and where does it give off against the background of HOH?

Thoracalgia is a pain syndrome localized in the chest.Vertebral thoracalgia (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 to 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;
  • crunch in the spine;
  • hair loss.

The pain may be dull or sharp, with piercings, shootings. With thoracic osteochondrosis, it can manifest itself far from the place of infringement: it is localized between the shoulder blades or ribs, gives to the shoulder or arm.

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

Dorsalgia and dorsago

In medical practice, there are two types of pain:

  1. Dorsalgia- the pain is initially mild, intensifies over several weeks. Accompanied by cutting, pulling, stabbing, burning sensations. It can cause numbness of the hand and "give" to the leg.
  2. Dorsago- the pain is sharp, intense, paroxysmal. Difficulty breathing and restricting movement. Strengthens when rotating the body.

A photo

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

Localization of pain 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 with a combination of various methods of treatment.

Medical treatment


Medicines are used during an exacerbation of the disease to relieve the inflammatory process and enhance metabolic processes.The following categories of drugs are used:

  • painkillers and anti-inflammatory;
  • vasodilators;
  • muscle relaxants;
  • chondroprotectors;
  • sedatives;
  • vitamins and vitamin-mineral complexes.

The prescription of medications must be carried out 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 to eliminate pain;
  • speeds up metabolism;
  • strengthens muscles;
  • calms the nervous system.

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


Exercise therapy will help strengthen the muscle corset, increase joint mobility and avoid recurrence of the disease. It also improves pulmonary ventilation, allowing you to take deeper breaths. Gymnastics should not be neglected, it significantly improves the condition.


  1. Lie on your back, press your legs bent at the knees to your chest. Pull them towards you so that the sacrum is slightly off the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Hold the position for 5 seconds, then slowly return to the PI. Repeat 2 times.
  2. Lying on your back, stretch your arms above your head, legs straightened. Slowly stretch your right arm and left leg, feel 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. Drop it, relax. 5 repetitions.
  4. Lying on your back, raise your hands behind your head, stretch. With straight legs, try to touch the floor 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 up as far as possible. Tighten your muscles. The same on the left side. 4 times with each leg.
  6. Get on all fours: knees under the hips, hands under the shoulder joints. As you inhale, raise your head, bend. As you exhale, lower your head, round your back. Movements are synchronous and smooth. Repeat 5 times.
  7. Get on your knees, hands at your sides. Through the sides, raise your hands up - inhale, lower your hands forward and pull back as much as possible, lean forward slightly and sit on your heels - exhale. 3 repetitions.
Carrying out physiotherapy for thoracic osteochondrosis will relieve pain and inflammation


For osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine, the following are used:

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

The effect of the procedures is multiple: elimination of spasms, inflammation and swelling, pain and stiffness. After the procedures, a lower dosage of drugs is required, as they penetrate better into the tissues.Physiotherapy is used both during treatment and during rehabilitation after operations.The types of procedures and their order are prescribed by a physiotherapist.


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

The needles are set at different angles, to a depth of 3-15 mm and left for 20-30 minutes or periodically rotated. The course is 10-15 procedures. Acupuncture is prescribed for severe pain and stiffness of the spine.Application is possible with any type of osteochondrosis.Along with the elimination of typical symptoms, patients note 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. Influencing directly, the chiropractor relieves clamps and tension from the muscles. This helps restore nutrition to the intervertebral discs.

Folk remedies

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

Celery root

Used to relieve pain. You can squeeze and take juice from a fresh root, or make an infusion from a dry root, pouring it with warm water overnight. Take a tablespoon 3 times a day before meals.

sunflower root

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

Infusions and decoctions of sunflower root help to remove toxins and salts from articular cartilage tissues. 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 decoction for 5 minutes, the third - 10 minutes. Duration of admission - a month.

The salts will begin to move away in 2-3 weeks, the urine will become rusty in color.You need to wait for the urine to clear. At the time of taking tea, exclude spicy and salty foods from the diet.

home ointment

It is prepared from natural ingredients, but has a less pronounced therapeutic effect. Rubbing the ointment improves the microcirculation of the skin. So the useful components from the ointment are absorbed faster and create the effect of pain relief.

There are many different recipes.For example: dilute the clay with warm water to a creamy state and add 1 tsp each. honey and aloe juice. Apply to painful area and wrap. It is important to remember that it is strictly forbidden to use heating during an exacerbation.

Complications and consequences

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

  • protrusion 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 posture, 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, a healthy diet is shown


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

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


It is necessary to create comfortable conditions for sleep and work. Be physically active and do a 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 self-medicate. It is not known at what stage HOH will manifest itself. In any case, complex therapy is required. Only a specialist is able to conduct an adequate diagnosis of the condition and prescribe treatment.

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

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