Spondylosis of the thoracic spine: symptoms and treatment
Spondylosis (spondylarthrosis) is considered one of the varieties of dystrophic changes in the spine. There are three types of this disease: cervical, lumbar and thoracic. In today's article, we will elaborate on the latest version of the disease. It should be understood that this diagnosis means a progressive pathology of the basic supporting structure of the body. Changes are irreversible. However, the correct lifestyle and competent treatment can achieve significant improvements.
The essence of the pathological process
Spondylosis (spondyloarthrosis) of the thoracic spine is a chronic disease in which bone proliferation is observed. Over time, growths are formed on the anterior and lateral edges of the vertebrae. In appearance, they resemble spikes. Gradually the growths (osteophytes) increase in size, leading to a restriction of spinal mobility. The compression of the nerve endings leads to the appearance of severe pain in the thoracic region.
The process of formation of growths should be perceived as a compensatory reaction of the body to dystrophic changes occurring in the tissues. Thus, he is trying to restore the lost depreciation functions of the structural elements. Osteophytes for some time create additional support for the vertebrae.
The growth of bone tissue inevitably entails the fusion of adjacent elements. Deforming features of spondylosis due to an increase in the size of growths, calcification of the ligaments of the vertebrae. As a result of the action of these factors, irreversible changes occur in the spinal column, it is bent.
Many people are familiar with another disease of the support apparatus, osteochondrosis. Spondylosis of the thoracic spine is considered to be one of its components. What is the difference? Osteochondrosis is a process of degeneration of intervertebral discs, and spondylosis implies a change in the vertebral bodies of a pathological nature. Very often, two diseases combine. The diagnosis of osteochondrosis becomes the generalized name of the changes occurring in the spinal column.
Pathological process is usually detected in people over the age of 50 years. As scientific studies show, it begins to progress from 30-35 years, while practically not showing itself. This is the whole danger of the disease. If the patient does not complain, the chances of timely diagnosis of the disease are negligible.
Deforming spondylosis of the thoracic spine is usually diagnosed in the elderly. With age, there is a gradual wear of the main systems, collagen fibers lose their former elasticity, and the amount of water in the body decreases. Ligaments are weakened, skeletal muscle tone decreases, turgor of intervertebral discs decreases.
The listed changes are necessarily reflected in the state of the support apparatus. Its main structures begin to take on excessive load. As a result, degenerative processes extend not only to the vertebrae, but also to the discs between them.
Spondylosis of the thoracic spine does not spare even young people. The development of pathology contribute to the state, leading to increased pressure on the corresponding region of the musculoskeletal system. Among them are:
- wrong posture;
- neurological diseases accompanied by impaired muscle tone;
- spinal injuries;
- violation of mineral metabolism.
A contributing factor to the disease is a change in the natural curvature of the spinal column.
Deforming spondylosis of the thoracic spine is not a rare disease. It can be identified in almost every second pensioner. The development of pathology among young people is especially alarming for physicians. They managed to identify the so-called risk group. In its patients, the likelihood of developing the disease increases several times. What factors contribute to the occurrence of the disease?
- Genetic predisposition.
- Hard physical labor.
- Long emotional overload.
The thoracic spine is more protected from stress than the cervical or lumbar. Given the location in this place of many vital organs, the effects of spondylosis can be quite serious.
Spondylosis of the thoracic spine is characterized by an almost asymptomatic course.This fact is directly related to the low mobility of this part of the supporting system, thanks to which it is protected from dynamic and static overloads.
The growth of bone formations occurs gradually. They practically do not limit movement. The first signs of disorder occur due to compression of the roots. A trigger for discomfort can be a deep breath, hypothermia, or physical exertion.
What are the symptoms of spondylosis of the thoracic spine?
- Chest pain.
- Constant tension in the muscle frame.
- Numbness of the skin in the arms, shoulders and chest.
- Sleep disturbance.
- Rapid and shallow breathing.
As the disease progresses, the symptoms increase, become more pronounced. Unpleasant sensations do not leave the patient when walking or working. Improvement in condition is usually observed only in the prone position.
Patients with a diagnosis of spondylosis of the thoracic spine can be treated only by a doctor. If you suspect a disease, you need to consult a neurologist.
After collecting anamnesis, examining the patient's complaints, the specialist should conduct a physical examination. Then go to the instrumental methods of diagnosis.Standard examination includes verification of changes in the spinal column and exclusion of pathologies of the cardiac system. To determine the severity of the disease can be using several methods:
- X-ray of the affected department in two projections.
- CT and MRI of the corresponding region of the spinal column.
Based on the results of the examination, the doctor confirms or refutes the preliminary diagnosis, makes recommendations on how to combat the ailment.
Features of therapeutic effects
How to treat spondylosis of the thoracic spine? In order for therapy to be effective, it is necessary to identify the pathological links and symptoms that form the ailment. Each person has it individually, therefore doctors cannot offer universal treatment regimens.
However, therapy always has the following objectives:
- slow the formation of osteophytes;
- reduce pain;
- relieve muscle spasms;
- restore normal spinal motility;
- slow the progression of dystrophic changes.
To achieve these goals, various drugs, methods of physiotherapy, exercise therapy and physiotherapy are used.To the aid of surgical intervention resort in exceptional cases, when there is a pronounced compression of the nervous structures. Let us consider in more detail what each of the methods of therapeutic effects on spondylosis of the thoracic spine represents.
The use of drugs
Drug therapy in the early stages of the development of the disease allows you to stop the pain, improve blood circulation and metabolism. The following groups of drugs can be used as a conservative treatment:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Used to relieve pain and eliminate signs of inflammation. Such drugs are available in the form of ointments ("Indomethacin", "Voltaren"), tablets ("Nimesulide", "Paracetamol") or solutions for injection ("Dikloberl").
- Muscle relaxants ("Tolperisone", "Muskofleks"). Medicaments of this group allow to relieve the tension of the muscle frame, eliminating spasms in the thoracic region.
- Multivitamin complexes. Especially often patients prescribed vitamin B12. Once in the body, its active components significantly improve the conduction of impulses along neurons.They also protect nerve cells from dystrophic damage.
- Cytostatics ("Azathioprine", "Cyclophosphamide"). These are the so-called reserve drugs. Their help is resorted to in the case when the basic therapy is ineffective.
Pick up the dosage of drugs and the duration of their admission must doctor. Self-medication is not recommended.
The effectiveness of exercise therapy
In acute radicular pain, a sparing regimen is recommended. After improving well-being appointed exercise therapy. Therapeutic gymnastics for spondylosis of the thoracic spine is considered to be the basis of home therapy for pathology. At first, classes are conducted under the supervision of a rehabilitation therapist or instructor. This approach allows you to learn the correct technique of execution and choose a set of exercises. After normalization of the state of health, physical therapy should be practiced on a regular basis. Basic exercises help strengthen the muscular system and relieve local spasms.
Ossification of tissues does not always indicate the development of well-known osteochondrosis, a disease characterized by a decrease in the height of intervertebral disks.Most often, this pathology and spondyloarthrosis develop simultaneously. Their occurrence is associated with similar dystrophic changes. The blood supply disorder provokes osteochondrosis and spondylosis of the thoracic spine. Treatment always involves taking medication.
An excellent addition to the drug treatment options are physiotherapy procedures: electrophoresis, diadynamic currents and ultrasound procedures. They improve blood circulation in the spinal tissues, eliminate their swelling and restore the conductivity of nerve fibers. Introduction by electrophoresis of vitamin preparations contributes to the normalization of metabolic processes.
High efficiency is characterized by course manual therapy. With its help, the patient gets rid of pain, restores the broken posture. Acupuncture procedures eliminate hypertonicity of the muscles, normalize blood circulation. Hirudotherapy sessions can reduce puffiness.
For the entire period of the illness, the patient is issued a sheet of temporary disability.In the case of a prolonged and pronounced pain syndrome, problems with movement and professional activities, the issue of disability is resolved. The deterioration of the condition can be observed when a brain lesion with paresis of the extremities and the overwhelm of a large part of the roots are attached to the pathological process.
Spondylosis of the thoracic spine is an expression of degenerative processes occurring in the body. The disease is considered irreversible. Over the past few years, it has become much younger. Today, at risk, patients are increasingly being identified whose age has barely exceeded 30 years.
Sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical fitness, spinal curvature - these factors contribute to the occurrence of spondylosis. The treatment started in the early stages gives excellent results. Full recovery never comes. In order to consolidate the positive dynamics, it is necessary to undergo regular medical examinations, to eat right and engage in feasible sports.