Symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis in women and men

Osteochondrosis of the spine is characterized by deformation of the intervertebral discs, which affects the state of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system. Similar degenerative changes appear in the thoracic spine and manifest with certain symptoms.

thoracic osteochondrosis symptoms

Features of the disease

According to medical statistics, more than 30% of the world's population suffers from osteochondrosis. And every year the patients get younger. But compared to cervical and lumbar osteochondrosis, thoracic osteochondrosis occurs much less frequently.This fact is explained by the structure of this department:

  • has a natural curvature, due to which part of the load from upright walking is removed;
  • the other part falls on the ribs and sternum, which play the role of a physiological structure;
  • this is the longest section of the spine (12 vertebrae), but the spinal canal is the narrowest;
  • the thoracic vertebrae are small, but equipped with long spinous processes;
  • he is inactive.

If deformation of the intervertebral disc appears in the thoracic region, it gradually disappears. But this manifests itself in painful ways.

damaged spinal disc

Symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis

The clarity with which the disease manifests itself depends on the stage, lifestyle and age of the patient.It is characterized by the following symptoms:

  1. Pain. It is felt in the upper back, between the shoulder blades and involves the intercostal spaces with neuralgia. It worsens with coughing, deep breathing and body rotation. As there are many nerve fibers in the chest, pain appears in the chest (back), as if it were a heart attack.
  2. Radiculitis. In addition to pain, there is loss of sensitivity. Typically, the limbs, upper abdomen, and area under the collarbone are numb.
  3. Paresthesia. There is a feeling that goosebumps are running through your entire body.
  4. radiculitis symptoms
  5. cardiac syndrome. Severe pain in the heart persists, which does not disappear after taking the medicine.
  6. pulmonary syndrome. Manifested by suffocation and congestion in the lungs.
  7. Abdominal syndrome. Characterized by persistent pain in the digestive organs.
  8. Muscle tension. It occurs reflexively in the upper back and chest.
abdominal pain syndrome

In men and women, the clinical picture is approximately the same. But signs of thoracic osteochondrosis in women often appear at the onset of menopause. Before that, the spine is protected by estrogens.

In men, complications of the disease can affect potency.

The symptoms of osteochondrosis are much more disturbing at night than during the day. They intensify with hypothermia, movement and stress. It is believed that women suffer from back pain much more intensely.

stages of osteochondrosis

Location of pain syndrome

Diagnosis of the disease is complicated by symptomatic similarity with other diseases: myocardial infarction, angina pectoris and gastrointestinal disorders. This phenomenon occurs because the innervation of the nerves is interrupted and the pain radiates to different parts of the body:

  1. In thoracic osteochondrosis, symptoms with a feeling of pain in the heart appear when the first to sixth thoracic nerves are affected. In women, the mammary glands may become painful.
  2. If thoracic nerves 6 to 9 are affected, stomach pain will occur. The sensations are the same as colitis and gastritis. There may be a sensation of the presence of a foreign body in the esophagus.
  3. In the small intestine, kidneys and genital organs, if pathological processes affect the 11th and 12th discs.
parts of the spine

To make an accurate diagnosis, an orthopedic surgeon prescribes an examination for the patient.

An x-ray, computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging, ECG and mammogram are required for women.

The results will help determine the stage of the disease and treatment options.

Computed tomography for diagnosing osteochondrosis

Stages of the disease

Depending on the ongoing pathological processes, there are 4 stages of development of thoracic osteochondrosis:

Internship Changes Symptoms
First Dehydration of the discs, which causes loss of elasticity. Its height decreases, but its width increases - the intervertebral disc gradually flattens. The pain appears directly from the damaged ring. It can be pulling or throwing.
Second The fibrous ring begins to disintegrate. The nerve roots are compressed, causing pain. There is pain when moving. When maintaining a posture for a long time, discomfort arises.
Third The fibrous ring ruptures, causing a herniated disc to form. Scoliosis or pathological kyphosis develops. There is pain when moving. When maintaining a posture for a long time, discomfort arises.
Room Friction of the vertebrae appears against each other, which causes displacement of the intervertebral joints. The tissue around the vertebrae becomes inflamed. Cartilaginous tissue is replaced by bone tissue, which reduces motor functions. Fibrosis appears. There is pain when moving. When maintaining a posture for a long time, discomfort arises.

Exacerbation and remission stages may be observed. The latter is often observed in stage 4.

degree of spinal damage

Degrees of the disease

This is a more modern classification of the symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis, used by specialists.

Degrees Changes and symptoms
First Intervertebral disc rupture caused by sudden movement or excessive exertion. Sharp pain, similar to the passage of electrical current along the spine. Muscle tension.
Second Characterized by spinal instability. Pain when moving. Protrusion.
Third The pain becomes constant. Loss of sensation. Change in gear. Severe headaches. Difficulty breathing. Tachycardia.
Room The spine is unstable: the vertebrae slip and twist. Osteophytes grow, compressing spinal nerves and putting pressure on the spinal cord.

Thoracic osteochondrosis can cause serious illnesses that are difficult to cure.

Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine

Symptoms in women practically do not differ from the clinical picture in men. The main difference in this case is that in the female half of humanity, osteochondrosis develops at older ages. The female body has a peculiarity - estrogens effectively protect the intervertebral discs from destruction, therefore, signs of osteochondrosis in women begin to appear more often during the period of menopause or with hormonal imbalance. In addition, as already noted, signs of thoracic osteochondrosis can be similar to symptoms of dangerous diseases of the mammary glands.

Therefore, women are required to undergo an examination such as a mammogram to clarify the diagnosis.

Thoracic osteochondrosis in women can manifest itself in different ways. The clinical picture will depend on age, the stage of the pathology, as well as which vertebra is affected and how much it is affected. One of the signs of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine in women is burning and itching between the shoulder blades.The main symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis in women are as follows:

  • Dorsago ("low back pain in the chest", "dagger pain") is a sharp and sudden pain in the chest (between the shoulder blades), most often occurring after a long stay in the same uncomfortable position. With low back pain in the chest, the muscles tense sharply and strongly - the person feels as if they are having difficulty breathing. Back pain may intensify if you rotate your upper body.
  • Thoracalgia is a mild chronic pain in the sternum. Thoracalgia can manifest itself not only in osteochondrosis, but also in diseases of internal organs located in this area (lungs, heart, stomach). The main difference between these pains in osteochondrosis is their superficiality and segmental manifestation along the intercostal spaces. Chest pain with osteochondrosis intensifies with movement and deep breathing and disappears with rest.

The following manifestations may indicate that osteochondrosis is progressing:

  • numbness, goosebumps in some areas of the skin;
  • burning and itching between the shoulder blades;
  • feeling of cold in the legs;
  • pain in the pharynx and esophagus;
  • stomach and intestinal dysfunctions.

Treatment of pathology in women

It is virtually impossible to completely get rid of already progressing thoracic osteochondrosis, but it is quite possible to slow down or even stop the formation of a pathological degenerative-dystrophic process in the tissues of the motor segments of the spine using the means and methods of modern medicine. . The optimal therapeutic effect can only be achieved with an integrated approach to the treatment of this pathology with medications, various physiotherapeutic techniques and targeted techniques of exercise therapy (physiotherapy).

Symptoms and treatment of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine in women are not much different from those in men. In the acute period of osteochondrosis of the thoracic segment of the spine, the patient needs intensive exacerbation treatment, during which various medications and physical procedures are used that help eliminate, first of all, the pain syndrome and, in parallel, other negative manifestations of illness.

During remission, the patient must receive maintenance treatment, based mainly on the use of medications that restore the osteochondral structure and physiotherapy. In especially severe cases, they sometimes resort to surgical intervention to stabilize the position of the spine.

Sensation in women with osteochondrosis

Symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis, in addition to the typical ones, indicating the presence of pathology of the thoracic region, in medical practice there are also atypical signs of the disease:

  • Painful manifestations in the heart area. In this case, the symptoms are more similar to heart disease, such as a heart attack or angina. The pain feels dull or achy and may last for months. However, no vascular medication brings improvement and ECG results do not reveal any abnormalities.
  • Discomfort in the mammary glands. Most often, it manifests itself in women, characterized by uncomfortable painful sensations. It can often be confused with diseases of the mammary glands. In this case, a more detailed diagnosis is required.
  • Pinpoint spasms and pain in the abdominal cavity. It is distinguished by typical signs of various pathological processes in the organs of the gastrointestinal tract, which are often confused with gastritis, ulcers or cholecystitis. Intensifies with physical movements.

Experts also identified two signs of thoracic osteochondrosis that, if detected, can immediately indicate the development of the disease - the so-called dorsago and dorsalgia.

Complications of the disease

Thoracic osteochondrosis is a painful disease that greatly reduces the patient's quality of life.

Often, osteochondrosis affects gradually or several departments at once.

If not treated in a timely manner, vessel compression can lead to:

  • to disorders of the cardiovascular system;
  • vegetative system;
  • digestive;
  • respiratory;
  • complications of osteochondrosis
  • fainting;
  • dizziness;
  • panic attacks and fear that occur with rapid heartbeat and suffocation;
  • chronic fatigue;
  • Copper.

Therefore, treatment of the disease must be comprehensive, aimed at eliminating all symptoms. When diagnosed early and correctly, treatment has a favorable prognosis.