Osteoarthritis of the chest: signs, causes, diagnosis

Osteoarthritis– a collection of dystrophic disorders of articular cartilage. Usually, this disease affects men and women over 30 years old. But recently it is found even in adolescents.

Depending on the location of joint damage, there are cervical, thoracic and lumbar. In most cases, osteoarthritis manifests itself with severe back pain, headaches and dizziness.Osteonecrosis of the chest areaIt is less common than cervical, but no less dangerous due to many complications.

The thoracic spine shows signs of bone and cartilage degeneration

Thoracic osteonecrosis: what is it?

With thoracic osteochondrosis, pathological changes in the spine occur in the thoracic region. The intervertebral discs are most commonly affected. The chest area is not as mobile as the neck area, so typical symptoms of the disease are not immediately noticeable. The diagnosis was made at a later stage of the disease.

Dystrophic disorders affect the cartilage and connective tissue of muscles, causing complications and giving rise to other serious diseases.

Patients are accustomed to gently treating osteoarthritis, but if not treated promptly, thoracic osteoarthritis can be dangerous to their health. The disease often affects both the cervical spine and the thoracic spine, affecting quality of life.

What is a degree?

Treatment begins with diagnosis and determining the stage of the disease.

  1. In the first stagePeople usually do not notice any changes, no pain occurs, but the discs begin to lose elasticity, characteristic protrusions appear when the disc protrudes into the spinal canal without breaking the annulus fibrosus.
  2. In the second stage– The disease progresses, pain, dizziness and other neurological symptoms appear. The intervertebral discs are even less elastic, with the risk of bulging into the spinal canal, leading to rupture of the annulus fibrosus - forming a hernia.
  3. In the third stagethe pain causes much inconvenience and is aggravated by the appearance of a hernia.
  4. Osteoarthritis of the thoracic spinefourth stageCharacterized by progressive neurological symptoms, the intervertebral discs completely lose their firmness and elasticity. Vertebral destruction begins.
In the second stage of thoracic osteoarthritis, back pain appears

It is impossible to determine osteoarthritis by external signs, although it is often accompanied by another pathology of the spine - scoliosis, which can be noticed during visual inspection.

What could be the reason?

The cause of spinal disorders is that the cartilage and vertebrae are not provided with enough nutrition. It is impossible to say exactly why such malfunctions in the body's functioning occur.However, there are many factors that contribute to this:

  1. A sedentary lifestyle and the result is weak back muscles.
  2. Bad posture, uncomfortable posture.
  3. Various back injuries, improper lifting of weights (jerks from the floor), heavy physical activity.
  4. Lifting weights is the cause of thoracic spine cartilage degeneration
  5. Other diseases of the spine.
  6. Inadequate nutrition, lack of essential vitamins and minerals in the diet, especially calcium, necessary for the formation of healthy bone tissue.
  7. Pregnancy. Usually women notice signs of osteoarthritis in the thoracic region during pregnancy, when the load on the spine becomes higher. In addition, due to the expenditure of additional resources, the body often lacks vitamins and minerals.
  8. Genetic. If you have a relative with this disease, your chances of getting it increase. In this case, you need to worry about prevention.

Usually, when making a diagnosis, doctors identify a combination of factors: sedentary work, frequent improper weight lifting and poor posture.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis in the thoracic region

In the early stages, the disease does not manifest itself in any way. Often, even before the obvious pain syndrome appears neurological disorders (dizziness, spots in the eyes, etc. ) that the patient does not associate with back problems. People begin to suspect a problem with the spine when pain occurs. Let's look at the main signs of thoracic osteonecrosis:

  1. Sharp, squeezing pain in the upper chest area, this condition gets worse after exercise, hard work, or being in an awkward position. May be accompanied by shortness of breath, cough and shortness of breath.
  2. Cold feeling in hands and feetUnknown cause, numbness in limbs.
  3. Headache, dizziness, fog in the eyes, blurred vision, feeling tired, lacking air. When the discs are displaced, the nerve endings and blood vessels are compressed, which is why neurological symptoms occur.

Thoracic osteoarthritis makes the patient feel pain in the heart or stomach area, which greatly complicates the diagnosis of the disease.

These are the main signs of osteoarthritis. Some patients have pain in the gastrointestinal tract and heart, which often leads to misdiagnosis. The nature of the pain is also different. For example, some patients experience persistent, non-acute pain -back-acheor conversely, the intense pain stiffens the muscles and causes difficulty breathing -Dorago.

These sensations can be felt in the stomach area, the patient misunderstands and is sent to have the liver, pancreas, etc. examined. v. without suspecting that the cause of the pain was osteoarthritis in the thoracic region. With a combination of some forms of cartilage disease - cervical and thoracic - people complain of a feeling of a foreign body in the throat, this feeling becomes pronounced after physical exertion or after being in an uncomfortable position. comfortable.

Thoracic osteoarthritis is accompanied by dorsago - acute pain that limits the muscles


  • During the development of the disease, comorbidities are added to the main disease. Thus, prolonged compression of blood vessels in the spine will resultto the failure of the cardiovascular system, in especially severe cases can disrupt the functioning of the heart.
  • Another common complication, especially when combined with thoracic and cervical forms of osteoarthritis, isvegetative-vascular dystonia. Compression of blood vessels and nerve endings disrupts the brain's proper nutrition, causing patients to suffer from persistent severe headaches, dizziness, a feeling of fog in the eyes, and blurred vision. In severe cases, fainting may occur due to back disease.
  • From the nervous system possiblypanic attack, occurs when there is excessive mental or physical stress, severe fatigue. At these times, the patient notices tachycardia and respiratory problems: difficulty breathing, not enough air.
  • Another complication that causes difficulty not only for the patient but also for the doctor isintercostal neuralgia.Compression of nerve roots in the thoracic spine produces a specific pain syndrome, reminiscent of sensations associated with heart disease. Patients turn to doctors for heart complaints, which complicate diagnosis. This disease is accompanied by various pathologies of the spine, but, as a rule, its symptoms disappear when treatment begins.

If you do not pay attention to the development of osteonecrosis of the breast, then after a while it will begin to significantly affect the quality of life, limiting activity and range of motion.

Diagnosis of thoracic spine cartilage degeneration by CT


Doctors cannot make an exact diagnosis due to the wide variety of symptoms, so they often suspect a disorder in the digestive tract or nervous system. To avoid errors, an orthopedist or neurologist will take X-rays of the thoracic spine and often an MRI or CT scan to clarify the diagnosis.

To rule out heart disease, the patient has an electrocardiogram. Treatment is prescribed only after diagnosis.

Treatment of osteoarthritis in the thoracic region

Unfortunately, this disease cannot be cured. When pain occurs, changes have occurred in the spine that cannot be repaired. However, modern medicine can reduce pain and thereby improve quality of life. Correctly selected therapy and a healthy lifestyle can avoid exacerbation of the condition.

Treatment involves several factors working together. To relieve symptoms and prevent the condition from getting worse, medications and physical therapy are often used. Surgery is only necessary if a herniated disc develops. There are dozens of home treatments, but each treatment needs to be discussed with a doctor so as not to make the situation worse.

Treatment with medication

Medicines to reduce inflammation and pain in breast cartilage degeneration

Medications for osteoarthritis are used to relieve pain; for this purpose, anti-inflammatory painkillers are often used. In later stages or in severe cases, the patient is given anesthesia. To reduce neurological symptoms, take medications to improve cerebral circulation.

Physical therapy

Effective drug-free ways to relieve back pain and muscle tension:Magnetic therapy, laser therapy, acupunctureand such. Only after a few formal procedures will a positive result be noticed. Use only after consulting your doctor!


The most popular and affordable family method. Massage reduces muscle tension and pain. The best results can be obtained from a specialist, but self-massage of the neck area will also be beneficial. Impact on muscles helps the painful area relax. It is advisable to carry out massage during courses.

Exercise therapy

The complexity of osteochondrosis treatment includes physiotherapy. Moderate exercise helps strengthen back muscles and improve flexibility and mobility of the spine. Regular exercise will help avoid exacerbation of the disease or even delay the appearance of the first symptoms for decades. Many doctors recommend the method of doctors who offer their own programs to help fight diseases with the help of specialized exercise equipment.

Every treatment method is availablecontraindicated, before use, a doctor's consultation is required. In addition, with a complex effect on the disease, vitamin and mineral complexes are used to restore proper nutrition to cartilage and joint tissue.

What to do in case of exacerbation of osteoarthritis

The worsening of osteoarthritis will surprise you: you need to go to work but your back is not straight, it is difficult to turn your neck and you feel dizzy. It often occurs due to overexertion, being in an uncomfortable position for a long time (sitting in front of a computer, working on a garden bed, etc. ). Severe conditions are characterized by severe back pain or headaches, limited movement, dizziness or even fainting.

What should you do to alleviate these symptoms? Gentle exercise, massage and sleeping in fresh air will help. Severe pain is treated with medication. Only doctors prescribe medicine! When using the drug, improvement occurs within two hours.

Folk remedies

Although available, folk remedies should be used with caution. It's all about getting rid of the pain. To do this, use various compresses, for example, from raw mashed potatoes with honey. The patch is applied to the painful area and wrapped in a film. The compress should be left on for several hours, preferably overnight, then rinsed.

Infusion based on chamomile for symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis

To relieve neurological symptoms and manifestations of vegetative-vascular dystonia, infusions of soothing herbs will help: chamomile, lemon balm, sage, mint, lingonberry leaves.

If there are contraindications, consult a specialist.

When fighting osteoarthritis, only a few procedures will help: proper nutrition, physiotherapy, massage, avoidance of excessive physical activity and an active lifestyle. If the disease has developed, it cannot be completely cured, but it can be put into a state of long-term remission.