Osteochondrosis of the thoracic region: causes, symptoms, treatment methods

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 a lot. However, this anomaly still occurs occasionally and requires adequate therapy.

Characteristics of the disease

This term is understood as dystrophic and degenerative changes in the spine, which 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 immediately start treatment of the disease, there is a risk of violation of the structure of the ligamentous apparatus, joints and intervertebral discs. Osteochondrosis often leads to atherosclerosis, malignant tumors, infertility and other disorders.


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

  1. In the disease of the first degree, the discs lose their elasticity, the height decreases. Sometimes protrusions or protrusions are formed.
  2. Osteochondrosis of the second degree is associated with a further decrease in the height of the discs and loss of their elasticity. At this stage, the instability of the chest region appears. This worsens a person's condition and can provoke a tear in the disc ring. This violation is fraught with the appearance of a hernia. At this stage, pain appears. 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 associated with a loss of the absorbent characteristics of the discs. At this stage, a convergence of the vertebrae, loss of mobility of the spine, constriction of blood vessels and nerves is observed. This form of the disease is characterized by the destruction of the bones of the spine.


Thoracic osteochondrosis is most often caused by 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 pathology include the following:

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


displacement of vertebrae in thoracic osteochondrosis

This form of osteochondrosis has less pronounced manifestations than 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 that occurs when you lift your limbs or bend;
  • increased discomfort with deep inhalations and exhalations;
  • pain between the ribs that occurs when you move;
  • tightness in the chest area.

With an exacerbation of the pathology, the pain syndrome is present for several weeks. In addition, there are additional manifestations of the chest form of the disease:

  • loss of sensitivity of some areas of the skin, the appearance of goose bumps;
  • burning sensation and itching, coldness in the lower extremities;
  • fragility of nails and skin;
  • pain in the esophagus and pharynx;
  • violation of the functions of the digestive organs.

How to treat thoracic osteochondrosis

To cope with this breach, you need to provide an integrated approach. Specific methods of therapy should be chosen by the doctor, taking into account the clinical picture of the disease.


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

  1. Anti-inflammatory medications. They help to cope with pain and eliminate swelling of soft tissues. With intercostal neuralgia, local dosage forms are prescribed in the form of ointments and creams.
  2. Anesthetics. They are injected into the spine to eliminate pain and muscle spasm.
  3. Muscle relaxants. Such tools eliminate painful muscle spasm.
  4. Antidepressants. These drugs eliminate the psycho-emotional stress that often accompanies osteochondrosis.
  5. B vitamins. Such drugs provide nourishment for nerve fibers. It helps to cope with neurological abnormalities. In the treatment of osteochondrosis, agents containing vitamins B1, B6 and B12 are used.
  6. Chondroprotectors. Such funds help stop the destruction of discs and normalize bone metabolism. They are recommended to be injected directly into the paravertebral tissues.

exercise therapy and physiotherapy

exercises for thoracic osteochondrosis

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

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

Physiotherapy is an effective method of therapy. 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. In the thoracic form of the pathology, magnetic therapy, laser exposure and electrophoresis are indicated.

Popular recipe

When choosing home remedies, be sure to consider the extent of the disease and the symptoms present. If the disease has progressed acutely and is accompanied by severe pain, therapy begins with anti-inflammatory and analgesic preparations.

The following herbs have this effect:

  • chamomile;
  • wise;
  • grapevine;
  • elecampane;
  • 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 glass 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 tantrum

With an exacerbation of thoracic osteochondrosis, the following recommendations should be observed:

  • reduce physical activity - it is good to observe bed rest;
  • eat properly;
  • take medicines prescribed by a doctor;
  • do a gentle self-massage and rub the problem areas;
  • engage in therapeutic exercises if indicated;
  • rub 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:

  • intervertebral protrusion and hernia;
  • spinal cord compression;
  • deviations in the work of internal organs - heart, liver, intestines, kidneys, pancreas;
  • lesions of the duodenum, 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 these recommendations:

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

It is impossible to completely cure the disease, but you can stop its development. With the 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 cope with this violation, it is necessary to consult a doctor in time.