The main signs of cervicothoracic osteochondrosis and treatment options for pathology

Cervico-thoracic osteochondrosis, the symptoms of which can be confused with heart disease or with pathologies in the neurocirculatory function of the body, a serious disease related directly to two areas of the spinal column – the neck and chest. What symptoms should make a person visit a clinic immediately, you can find out from the article.

Why cervical thoracic osteochondrosis is confused with other diseases

Osteochondrosis is a general designation of a pathology affecting the spine. Under certain conditions, the intervertebral discs change their structure, which immediately affects the elasticity, shape and even the length of the spine. The destruction of the disc is transmitted to the vertebrae, the muscles that support the entire spinal column.

Changes can occur both in individual zones of the spine, and along the entire length. Osteochondrosis in the neck and chest is considered a more frequent pathology, when the deformation affected this particular area of ​​the spinal column. The signs of the disease are such that patients often confuse them with pain in the heart muscle or speak of general overwork, loss of strength.

  • Deformed vertebrae compress the nerves of the neck or chest, and the brain receives a signal about a failure in the heart muscle, in the shoulders, in the hands;
  • In addition to nerve roots, displaced vertebrae can block the lumen in the blood artery, which causes a violation of blood flow to the brain and a deficiency of oxygen and nutrients (then patients complain of headaches, visual impairment, hearing loss).

At an early stage of cervicothoracic osteochondrosis, the symptoms are similar to the above diseases, but an experienced neurologist or narrow specialist in chondrosis, a vertebrologist, based on a specific diagnosis, will understand that the patient has an acute form of cervicothoracic osteochondrosis.

Symptoms of osteochondrosis in the cervical and thoracic vertebrae

There are two stages of osteochondrosis in the cervical and thoracic, which are distinguished by a vivid expressiveness of symptoms:

  • Initial – symptoms do not indicate changes in the spine, but pathologies in the heart, in the hearing aid, in vision, or in general depression of the body. The functions of the spine are partially impaired, but there is every chance of a full recovery, because the posture and structure of the vertebral tissues are not changed.
  • Acute – symptoms indicate failure in the functionality of the constituent elements of the spine. At this stage, the disease is more difficult to treat, some patients need surgical care.

What body signals should be heard by a person at the initial and chronic stages of cervicothoracic osteochondrosis?

Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologistShishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews.

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Symptoms of the initial stage of pathology

The patient feels the first processes of degenerative changes in the intervertebral discs of the cervical or thoracic spine as a general weakness of the body and a malfunction in the lungs and heart. Therefore, at the doctor’s appointment, patients complain of the following problems:

  • Violation of the respiratory rhythm, especially when walking fast or climbing to a hill or floor;
  • The pulse becomes quicker and for a long time comes within normal limits;
  • Slight dizziness;
  • Rare, but paroxysmal headaches, often extending to the neck or shoulder girdle;
  • Blurred eyes with a sharp turn or raising the head;
  • Tinnitus, hearing loss;
  • Heart rhythm disturbance;
  • Pain in the heart or chest;
  • Gray skin and bruises under the eyes;
  • Low blood pressure;
  • Prostration;
  • The desire to lie down.

Sometimes patients cannot accurately describe what specifically bothers them, because discomfort is felt throughout the body, and vomiting may occur. If a person with such symptoms consults a general practitioner, the doctor can diagnose vegetovascular dystonia and propose a specific treatment until the clinical picture is clarified.

Visual examination of the patient and laboratory tests together with an ECG or ultrasound of the heart cannot determine that changes have begun in the intervertebral discs of the cervical and thoracic spine. The destruction can be long, but after a few years the patient will experience additional symptoms of osteochondrosis.

Symptoms of a chronic form of osteochondrosis in the cervical and thoracic spine

If at the initial stage osteochondrosis was not diagnosed and the patient was not prescribed treatment, the deformation of the vertebrae reaches such a state that the doctor can already claim the chronic stage of cervicothoracic osteochondrosis by the appearance of a person and certain symptoms:

  • The coordination of movement is disturbed. The patient complains of dizziness, in which every step threatens to fall. The gait is uncertain and a person cannot go straight along the line.
  • Headaches are permanent and do not even stop with analgesics or antispasmodics.
  • Blood pressure is now high, then low. It is difficult to determine the rate at which the patient is comfortable.
  • Asthenia syndrome, when a person gets tired even from moving his body from one plane to another. For example, getting out of bed in the morning after 8 hours of sleep, it seems to him that he did not go to bed at all. It’s hard for hands to raise a spoon, a cup.
  • Dizziness takes on a more serious form and the patient speaks of a fainting condition.
  • Tinnitus, incomprehensible sounds due to compression of the blood artery and nutritional deficiency of the cells of the hearing aid. At the same time, blood stagnates in the occipital part due to the impossibility of its outflow through the vein.
  • There is severe pain in the neck, shoulder girdle, especially with tension in the muscles of the neck due to a prolonged stay in the same position or carrying heavy loads.
  • Numbness, tingling in the hands. Cold fingers. These symptoms are due to poor blood supply to the neck, shoulders and upper limbs.
  • Pain in the ribs both during movement and at rest.
  • Curvature of posture, impaired gait, the formation of cones in the cervical vertebrae due to stagnation of salts and fats. Sometimes this is caused by bone growths, which tend to replace deformed vertebrae or fill the appeared cracks.
  • Pain in the heart, heart rhythm disturbance, increased heart rate.

How does the cervical and thoracic spine deform?

Despite the fact that the human spine is naturally designed for heavy loads and should be a shock absorber for the whole body, under the influence of external and internal factors, its deformation occurs.

  • Carrying heavy loads without special training for the spine is stressful for intervertebral discs. If this happens systematically, then the discs do not have time to recover, they lose part of the fluid that the body cannot compensate for due to a deficiency in nutrients. The gradual destruction of the bone tissue of the disc begins.
  • Some viral diseases give complications to various organs, including the spine. Inflammatory processes adversely affect the state of intervertebral discs, vertebrae, cartilage, joints, muscle fibers.
  • Injuries to the spine cause severe damage to the entire structure of the skeleton and lead to deformation of certain departments, for example, the cervical and thoracic.
  • Excess weight is also stress for the spine. Although nature provided for force majeure circumstances, but when extra pounds put pressure on the vertebrae from month to month, they begin to collapse.
  • Improper nutrition is the reason for the lack of nutrients that the tissues of the spine need to regenerate. If food is not supplied, bone tissue becomes thinner, cracks and fractures in the vertebrae appear. This leads to displacement of the discs, to a loss of elasticity in the muscles and ligaments, which are the skeleton of the spinal column.

There are many reasons, and each patient has their own, but the processes of degenerative changes in the spine are the same.

Deformation stages

Osteochondrosis is formed gradually and at the initial stage it is impossible to notice the destructive processes, if you do not acc />

    First, the intervertebral discs lose flu >To confirm the diagnosis of osteochondrosis of the cervical and thoracic spine, the doctor must perform the following procedures:

  1. Conduct a patient survey, specifying the symptoms of the disease;
  2. Measure pressure, pulse, listen to the patient’s breathing and heartbeat;
  3. Inspect the condition of the spine by performing specific manipulations in the neck and chest;
  4. Check patient posture and gait;
  5. Assess auditory and visual reflexes;
  6. Assign general blood and urine tests;
  7. Carry out a hardware examination of the heart to exclude pathology (ECG, ultrasound);
  8. Direct the patient to an x-ray of the cervical spine in two projections;
  9. If there is insufficient information, a CT scan or MRI scan is recommended (it is preferable because changes are visible not only in the vertebrae and discs, but also in the cartilage, muscles, ligaments).

After collecting all the tests, the doctor gives the patient a conclusion and prescribes therapy, taking into account the severity of the pathology in the spine and in nearby tissues.

How and how to treat cervicothoracic osteochondrosis

Therapy of cervicothoracic osteochondrosis depends on the degree of deformation in these departments. At the initial stage, it is enough to change the habits of malnutrition, excessive stress, add physiotherapy exercises to strengthen the muscular skeleton and be systematically observed by a doctor.

In the chronic form, you need to be patient and following the doctor’s recommendation to go to the intended goal. Treatment of osteochondrosis in the cervical and thoracic regions depends on how running the situation is and whether there is acute pain or inflammation:

    To relieve pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are prescribed from the following drugs – Nimesil, Nimesulide, Ibuprofen, Ibuklin, Meloxicam. One remedy can not be taken for longer than 7 days. If the pain persists, an analogue is selected from the NSAID group. Tablets can be alternated with ointments or gels that are applied locally to the skin.

After the acute condition is relieved, the patient is prescribed physiotherapeutic procedures, exercise therapy, massage, acupuncture. With a decrease in the distance between the disks, an extract of the spine can be prescribed. Intervertebral hernia, osteophytes, vertebral fractures require surgical intervention, if all the proposed methods for the treatment of cervicothoracic osteochondrosis did not give positive dynamics.

In conclusion

Cervico-thoracic osteochondrosis, the symptoms of which were considered in the article, is a serious pathology of the spine and requires timely diagnosis in order to cure the patient and prevent serious complications. Shortness of breath, tingling in the heart, discomfort in the neck or shoulders are calls that must be heard in a timely manner and correctly classified by a neurologist.

Shishkevich Vladimir

Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews. It specializes in the treatment of diseases in orthopedic, traumatological, vertebrological profiles