Osteochondrosis is a common disease of the spine that causes a lot of discomfort. The main sign of an exacerbation of the disease is the appearance of specific pain behind the ribs of the chest.
Pain in the heart with osteochondrosis is a specific symptom of joint disease. It occurs against the background of vertebral lesions in the thoracic or cervical spine. The factor does not pose a direct threat to the life and health of the patient, but can provoke the development of quite dangerous cardiac pathologies if timely measures are not taken to eliminate it.
Differences of heartaches from other diseases
Pain in the heart caused by negative processes in the myocardium and osteochondrosis have significant differences. First of all, these are the consequences of a dangerous symptom, regularity and progress.
With lesions of the aorta and blood vessels of the heart, pain is an undeniable sign of an exacerbation of the patient’s condition, which can result in a heart attack. It has a constant, growing character.
Osteochondrosis is manifested by pain in the heart as follows:
- Pain arises against the backdrop of performing natural physical movements – running, walking, waved hands, turning your head. It can also provoke a strong cough, hiccups or laughter.
- Discomfort lasts from a few days to a month. During this period, the patient feels moderate tingling behind the sternum, mistaking him for cardiac anomalies.
- In the morning hours the pain intensifies. This is due to improper body position during sleep or an uncomfortable sleeping place, which provoke muscle spasm.
- If the diagnosis of osteochondrosis has already been made, then pain behind the sternum is always the first sign of an exacerbation of the disease. Taking the main drugs – NSAIDs, painkillers, corticosteroids, quickly eliminates the manifestation of pathology.
- The pain occurs immediately after a deep breath, sneezing, due to the effect on the spine, and, consequently, the nerve roots.
- Unlike heart attacks, which are accompanied by panic attacks, pain in osteochondrosis does not affect the patient’s emotional state.
In general, heart pain in osteochondrosis is characterized by low intensity, regularity, and much lesser consequences than with cardiovascular diseases.
Heart pain, they occur against the background of cervical and thoracic lesions of the spinal column, much less often – with lumbosacral localization. Pain behind the sternum is not a direct threat to the heart, but in a constant form can become a secondary cause for the development of arrhythmia, tachycardia. Therefore, therapeutic measures should be taken already at the onset of the first symptoms:
- The occurrence of pain in the neck, lower back, shoulder girdle with subsequent localization behind the ribs;
- Aching, drawing pain in the bones of the sternum – ribs;
- Discomfort is characterized by inconstancy – a sharp, sharp pain gives way to burning or quickly disappears without the use of drugs;
- Numbness, tingling of fingers and toes appears, limbs acquire a pale shade;
- Burning sensation in the chest; a feeling of stuffiness, lack of air;
- Hardware studies of the cardiovascular system do not show deviations, for example, a cardiogram can record only a slight arrhythmia;
- Pain in the heart is relieved by available painkillers, cardiac drugs have no effect;
- Discomfort appears during active physical exertion, during sleep, during the body’s natural reactions – yawning, sneezing, hiccups, laughter, crying, etc.
These signs, provided that the patient does not have various heart diseases, may indicate a rapid course or exacerbation of osteochondrosis.
It is necessary to determine the causes of the unpleasant condition and begin immediate treatment.
The causes of heart pain are the etiological processes of the underlying disease. Bone tissues of the joints of the spine become thinner, replaced by inferior growths – osteophytes. As a result, there is a narrowing of the interdisc space, abnormal friction of bone tissue, pinching of the anterior nerve roots of the spinal column.
Pain behind the sternum occurs with the following manifestations of osteochondrosis and its complications:
- Spinal disc displacement;
- Osteophyte presses on connective tissue and nerve fibers;
- A bone growth damages the surrounding muscles, thereby provoking the onset of the inflammatory process;
- Muscle spasms;
- The occurrence of intervertebral hernia.
Pain behind the sternum, as a rule, occurs in the area of the ribs, less often the cervical region. Therefore, pinching of nerves in this zone is perceived by the central nervous system as pain in the heart, due to the proximity of pathological processes to the central organ.
Many nerve endings, both in the spine and myocardium, are closely related. The occurrence of pain in joints that are in the same plane with the heart inevitably affects the thoracic sympathetic ganglion – impulses are instantly transmitted through the fibers.
There are reflected or false pains that are perceived by patients as the first sign of disturbances in the heart.
Do not forget that the spine is the main focal point of the entire musculoskeletal system. Squeezing of the spinal cord, nerve endings with bone tissue leads to pain in those parts of the skeleton that are closest to the site of the lesion.
In the case of thoracic (cervical) osteochondrosis, it is the neck, back of the head, left arm – intense pain is reflected from the affected area precisely to those places that are usually associated with cardiac activity. Although in the spine itself, discomfort may be absent or be minor.
The treatment of heart pain can be divided into two areas:
- Therapy of the underlying disease.
- Prevention of complications on the cardiovascular system, such as tachycardia, arrhythmia, hypertension.
The elimination of symptoms of osteochondrosis is carried out by several methods:
- Drug treatment. Only a doctor can prescribe drugs, be sure to consult before buying. Includes several groups of drugs: NSAIDs to relieve inflammatory processes in the joints and surrounding tissue – Voltaren, Diclofenac, Ibuprofen, Meloxicam; Anesthetics for the rapid endowment of pain – “Analgin”, “Ketonov”, “Baralgin”, “Butadion”; Corticosteroids to block the abnormal activity of the immune system against your own body – most often, Hydrocortisone is prescribed. It is available in various forms – tablets, injections, ointments. Chondroprotectors to accelerate the regeneration of cartilage tissue – “Don”, “Chondroxide”, “Structum”, “Teraflex”.
- Physiotherapy. Electrophoresis with novocaine, magnetotherapy, ultraviolet exposure, treatment with alternating currents – there are many types of physiotherapy procedures for osteochondrosis. Based on the patient’s condition, his motor activity, age, gender, individual contraindications, the most effective procedure is prescribed.
- Manual therapy, acupressure. Methods of manual exposure to osteochondrosis-affected vertebrae are very effective in combating pathology. With sufficient experience with the manual therapist, several tasks are achieved at once – stabilization of the vertebral discs (reduction), improvement of blood circulation and nutrition in bone, cartilage, connective tissue, prevention of new osteophyte growths.
- Acupuncture. Refers to alternative Chinese medicine. In most cases, several sessions are enough to eliminate the primary symptoms and significantly improve well-being. The essence of the technique is the effect on the nerve endings in the area affected by osteochondrosis by injection with ultra-thin needles. As a result, not only pain and inflammation are removed, but also muscles are strengthened, blood supply in the affected area improves.
- Exercise therapy. Physiotherapy exercises are indicated for all patients with a diagnosis of osteochondrosis. Feasible exercises for the back and neck, swimming, walking very quickly relieve muscle cramps, strengthen the spine, promote its flexibility and prevent stagnation. Water treatments are especially recommended. After a month of active swimming, visible improvements begin – the body strengthens, the motor function is fully restored, the emotional state is stabilized.
The treatment of heart pain and related complications, such as hypertension, is based on the following principles:
- Vasodilation, to normalize blood circulation. For these purposes, vasodilators are prescribed – Pentoxifylline, Actovegin, Berlition.
- Eliminate spasm in the muscles surrounding the spine. Effectively remove the increased tone of muscle relaxants – “Sirdalud”, “Midokalm” or “Baclofen.”
- Removing puffiness from inflamed tissues. Diuretics quickly remove excess fluid from tissues – “Torasemide”, “Triamteren”, “Furosemide”.
- Elimination of stress due to persistent pain. Sedative tinctures and tablets based on valerian, motherwort, mint. In severe cases, antidepressants are prescribed.
- Strengthening the immune system to prevent infectious diseases that can have an extremely negative effect on joints. Vitamin complex – Milgamma, Neuromultivit, Complivit, Multi-Tabs.
After a full course of treatment, a long illness will be in regression. But without maintenance therapy and preventive measures, osteochondrosis will regularly remind of itself. Therefore, to preserve motor activity until old age, you should reconsider the lifestyle and follow the recommendations of leading experts in the field of rheumatology.
In order for the pain in the heart with the diagnosis of “osteochondrosis” not to become permanent or chronic, efforts should be made to prevent the progress of articular pathology. Rheumatologists recommend the following rules:
- Revise the diet, refusing junk food in favor of vegetables, fruits, cereals, dairy products. First of all, this applies to fatty, fried, butter food, which negatively affects cholesterol – the main culprit for atherosclerotic plaques in blood vessels.
- Organize feasible physical activity. It can be swimming, morning exercises or a daily walk. The main thing is constancy and regularity. Skipping classes means creating favorable conditions for the growth of bone growths (osteophytes), which provoke not only pain in the heart, but also become the main cause of loss of motor function.
- In a short time to get rid of bad habits – smoking, alcohol, the use of illegal drugs lead to the rapid development of osteochondrosis, diseases of the cardiovascular and nervous system.
- Timely treat all infectious diseases, including seasonal SARS, ARI. It should be remembered that it is with viruses that the inflammatory process in the joints and surrounding tissues begins.
- If the work involves a long static position, be sure to take short breaks every 50-60 minutes. A five-minute warm-up will relieve tension, increase blood circulation and promote mental activity.
The rules are simple at first glance, but at first it will be difficult for the patient to cope with long-term addictions. Therefore, it is worth asking loved ones to provide all possible support in the difficult struggle for their own health. If for any reason this is difficult to do, you can take a course of psychotherapy. After 20-30 days, the quality of life will improve significantly and heart pain with osteochondrosis will never return.
Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews.
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