Osteochondrosis of the thoracic region - description, causes, symptoms and treatment

Thoracic osteochondrosis is a degenerative-dystrophic disorder that affects the thoracic spine. The disease of this section is not common, like the cervical and lumbar, this is due to the fact that the thoracic region is not as mobile and more protected than the rest of the spine. People after 30 years are more susceptible to this pathology.

Osteochondrosis is a degenerative change that occurs in different parts of the spine. Statistics show that this disease is getting younger, if earlier people of old age suffered from this pathology, then today more and more the disease is diagnosed in the younger generation. This disease became the third most common one after cardiovascular and oncological pathologies.


  • Injury;
  • Excessive physical activity;
  • Age-related changes in the spine;
  • Hereditary predisposition to degenerative changes;
  • metabolic disorders;
  • Excessive completeness;
  • A lifestyle in which a person moves little;
  • Scoliosis - curvature of the spine;
  • Severe concomitant diseases.

As a result of changes in the thoracic spine, nerve roots are pinched and the function of internal organs is disturbed.

Osteochondrosis is capable of disguising itself as many cardiovascular diseases, therefore, a person may experience shortness of breath and tachycardia and cannot immediately recognize this ailment.

The disease can be confused with various pathologies of the respiratory system and pathologies of the abdominal cavity. None of the signs is specific and depends on the severity and localization of the process.


The main symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis are:

  • Pain in the sternum, aggravated by hypothermia, turning, bending, at night;
  • Interscapular pain;
  • Numbness of the arm and interscapular region;
  • Pain on strong exhalation and inhalation;
  • Feeling of tightness in the chest;
  • Tightness of the muscles of the upper half of the back and in the chest region;
  • In severe cases, pelvic dysfunction.

In the case when chest osteochondrosis occurs in combination with cervical, dizziness and nausea are added to the symptoms.

There are three types of pain:

  1. Dorsagois ​​a very severe, sudden pain that constrains movement. Such pain can occur when straightening the back after being in one position for a long time and can last up to several weeks.
  2. Dorsalgiais ​​moderate pain that does not go away for a long time, it is often accompanied by stiffness of movements. Such pain can not be recognized immediately, since it develops over time and can rarely appear with mild pain.
  3. Pectalgiais ​​moderate pain in the front of the chest.


The most common method for diagnosing thoracic osteochondrosis is radiography. This method is less costly financially, but it cannot always reveal the full picture of the disease, and X-ray also has ionizing radiation on the human body.

It is advisable to perform X-ray on an empty stomach and follow a diet for some time before the examination (do not consume gas-forming foods).

Contraindications to X-ray are: pregnancy (radiation negatively affects the development of the fetus), conditions in which the patient cannot be motionless in one position, with obesity, diagnosis is also difficult, since the images are blurry. X-rays are taken while lying on your back or on your side.

However, medicine does not stand still and specialists are increasingly using newer technologies for diagnosing osteochondrosis, such as:

  • CT (computed tomography)
  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

Computed tomography

diagnostic options for chest osteochondrosis

This is a type of diagnostics using X-rays, whereby scans are performed at different depths, and the results are processed using a computer. If a CT scan is done without a contrast agent, no preparation is required, but if a CT scan is performed with the introduction of a contrast agent, you should refuse to eat 4 hours before the examination. All jewelry and hairpins must be removed before the examination.

CT scan contraindications:

  • Pregnancy;
  • Mental disorders;
  • Allergy to a substance that is injected as a contrast (if CT is performed using it);

Magnetic resonance imaging

A highly informative diagnostic method that uses a magnetic field and radio frequency radiation. This is a relatively new diagnostic method, but it has taken its rightful place in medicine, as it is harmless and very informative.

Such an examination does not require any preparation, however, a specialist must be warned about the characteristics of the body, allergies, if the examination is carried out with the use of contrast agents. All metal objects are removed before diagnostics.

The procedure is carried out lying on the back, does not cause any painful sensations, except for a slight discomfort from the sound of the apparatus.

Contraindications for MRI:

  • Chronic renal failure;
  • Allergy to a substance used as a contrast;
  • Pregnancy;
  • The presence of metal elements in the human body (pacemaker, etc. );
  • Claustrophobia.


The methods used in the treatment of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine are complex and are prescribed by the doctor individually, depending on the medical history and concomitant diseases.

These include:

  • Medicines;
  • Physiotherapy exercises;
  • Massage and manual therapy;
  • Physiotherapy;
  • Traditional methods of treatment.


Treatment is aimed at eliminating inflammation and reducing pain. Specialists prescribe special ointments, analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs to the patient.

After using medicines aimed at eliminating pain, doctors prescribe a medicine to the patient that helps to normalize microcirculation and blood circulation, as well as vitamin complexes.

exercise therapy

Physiotherapy exercises can help reduce muscle spasms and pain. Exercise helps to increase muscle tone and improve blood circulation. All exercises must be performed smoothly so that they do not cause severe pain. With thoracic osteochondrosis, the complex also includes exercises that help support the back muscles.


Used in combination with other treatment methods. The massage gives a quick effect during treatment, relieves pain, improves blood circulation, tones up muscles, eliminates spasms. Massage courses can be started only when the stage of exacerbation has subsided.

It is best to entrust the massage to a qualified massage therapist and combine it with manual therapy and physiotherapy exercises.

Manual therapy

Treatment is the effect of the therapist's hands on the spine.

Contraindications for manual therapy:

  • pregnancy;
  • hernia;
  • arthrosis;
  • spinal injuries;
  • increased blood pressure;
  • tumors;
  • severe stage of scoliosis;
  • inflammatory processes.

Manual therapy should be carried out only at the initial stages of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine, as prescribed by a doctor and strictly by a qualified specialist, otherwise this procedure can lead to serious complications.


The advantage of physiotherapy treatment is the minimum of side reactions and the achievement of a quick effect. During treatment, magnetotherapy, amplipulse, ultrasound, electrophoresis, iontophoresis, diadynamic currents are used.

In each case, the doctor individually selects the procedure. Contraindications: oncology, pregnancy, skin diseases, severe cardiovascular diseases.

Traditional medicine

Consists of tinctures, rubbing, ointments, baths.

Before starting treatment with folk remedies, you should consult your doctor and remember about the possibility of allergic reactions to various herbal ingredients.


The main component of the prevention of thoracic osteochondrosis of the spine is an active lifestyle, which contributes to maintaining the spine in good shape and maintaining correct posture. It is also important that the sleeping area is not too soft or hard. It is advisable to eat foods with a high content of calcium and magnesium, to use vitamin complexes.