Osteochondrosis is a degenerative-dystrophic lesion of the spine, which leads to the destruction of intervertebral discs with corresponding consequences. Osteochondrosis "infects" the whole spine, but most of all the symptoms of the disease are manifested when the cervical region is affected, as the most mobile, and lumbar. The thoracic department suffers the least.
Symptoms of osteochondrosis of the neck are very diverse, and often they resemble other diseases, which makes it difficult to conduct differential diagnosis and early recognition of pathology. In this article, we will consider in detail how osteochondrosis of the cervical spine manifests itself and what will help you to suspect this disease.
Degrees of osteochondrosis
Osteochondrosis is a chronic progressive disease that occurs with periods of remissions and exacerbations. Expressed clinical symptoms appear not immediately, but after a while, when the degenerative process passes into the second or even the third stage.
Allocate only 4 degrees of pathology:
- The initial stage is characterized by pathological changes within the intervertebral disc. It loses moisture, which leads to dystrophic changes, a decrease in disc height, a cracking of the fibrous capsule. As a rule, there are no signs at this stage. Diagnosis is possible only with the help of MRI of the spine. This is the most favorable stage for starting treatment, since in this case it is possible to completely repair damaged discs, which can not be done in the future.
- Osteochondrosis of the 2nd degree is characterized by aggravation of intervertebral disc damage. Their height decreases significantly, which leads to sagging of vertebral muscles and ligaments. All this causes instability of the damaged segment of the spinal column, increased mobility of the vertebrae, their displacement and slipping relative to each other and the axis of the spine. As a rule, it is at this stage that the first signs of the disease appear in the form of a pain syndrome and other signs specific to the cervical region.
- In the third stage protrusions and hernias of intervertebral discs develop. Symptoms of the disease are expressed in full.
- The 4th stage is the final stage. This leads to the formation of osteophytes, deformations of the spine. The body tries to somehow stabilize the damaged segment of the spine, which causes the development of osteophytes, ossification of ligaments and other processes that lead to stabilization of the vertebrae, but, unfortunately, this process is accompanied by subluxations of the vertebrae and various types and degrees of deformation of the spine.
Healthy and affected by osteochondrosis of the spine
Nature of symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis
Manifestations of osteochondrosis in the cervical spine are associated with 3 mechanisms of the negative influence of this pathology:
- Direct compression of the spinal cord that passes in the canal of the spine. It should be noted that this happens very rarely when the degenerative process is far gone and its complications. The compression of the nervous tissue of the spinal cord can result in a large intervertebral hernia, which protrudes directly into the lumen of the canal of the spine;stenosis of the canal of the spinal cord( its narrowing) due to degenerative changes;dislocations, subluxations, fractures of damaged vertebrae.
- Negative influence on the structures of the peripheral nervous system( roots of the spinal cord and nerve fibers) that come out of the cervical spine. They can be squeezed between adjacent vertebrae or hernial bulges, can become inflamed and irritated. All this leads to a number of severe symptoms. This is the most frequent group of signs of cervical osteochondrosis.
- Negative effect on blood vessels that pass near the damaged area of the spine. In particular, 1 very important arterial vessel - the vertebral artery, which passes through the holes of the transverse processes of the cervical vertebrae into the cranial cavity and which feeds the back third of the brain and the cerebellum - is of clinical importance.
Let's consider in detail each group of mechanisms and what symptoms they cause.
Symptoms associated with spinal cord injury
As already mentioned, compression of the spinal cord with cervical osteochondrosis is very rare. This is a very difficult condition that can cost a person not only health but also life.
Damage to the upper cervical region is life-threatening. The cardiovascular and respiratory center suffers, which leads to an immediate lethal outcome. At compression at level 3-4 of the segment of the spinal cord, tetraplegia develops( paralysis of all limbs and muscles below damage).Suffer and respiratory muscles, diaphragm, which can lead to a halt in breathing and death.
If the lesion at the 4-5 level of the spinal cord develops tetraplegia, but without disrupting breathing. In the compression of 5-8 segments of the spinal cord, various groups of muscles of the upper limbs suffer and paraparesis of the legs occurs, disruption of the pelvic organs.
Symptoms associated with nerve fiber damage
In the first place, it should be noted pain syndrome, which can be chronic( cervicalgia) and acute in the form of lumbago( cervicago).Pain occurs in the neck, the back of the head and the shoulder girdle. It is usually caused by irritation, compression and inflammation of the nerve roots of the cervical spine, as well as pathological spasm of the muscles of this area, which are innervated by these nerves.
Pain in cervicalgia is almost constant, aching, the intensity is different. As a rule, pain syndrome can be tolerated. It appears or increases with sharp movements, turns and inclinations of the head. Movement in the neck is accompanied by a characteristic crunch.
Pain in cervikago arises suddenly in the form of a lumbago or electric shock. It is very intense, it gives into one of the hands. It lasts a few seconds or minutes, then it is replaced by cervicalgia. It is caused, as a rule, by a sharp movement and compression of the nerve.
Neck pain - the main sign of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine
All the major nerves of the upper limb( middle, elbow and shoulder) are formed from nerve fibers that come out of the cervical spine. Thus, in the presence of cervico-brachial osteochondrosis, these nerve structures may suffer. All these nerves are mixed, that is, they have a sensitive and motor function. Depending on which root is affected, the symptoms will also differ. For example, the sensitivity of the 2nd or 3rd fingers may be lost, the paralysis of one or several muscles may occur. All these signs of nerve damage are isolated in separate syndromes, which only a neurologist can determine.
Neuralgia of the occipital nerveRelated article: Treatment of cervical dorsopathy
Neuralgia of the occipital nerve develops when the large and small occipital nerves are damaged, which are formed by 2, 3 and 4 pairs of cervical spinal nerves. In the compression, irritation or inflammation of these structures due to degenerative-dystrophic process in the spine, there is a headache in the back of the head, which women often complain about.
This pain is so typical that only its description allows to establish the correct diagnosis in 90% of cases. It is also called a firing cranialgia. The attack of pain arises suddenly, has a one-sided localization( rarely it hurts from two sides), the nature of the pain patients are compared to the impact of electric current. The attack lasts several minutes, but can be repeated several times a day. The pain occurs on the posterolateral surface of the neck and extends upwards to the occipital tubercle( repeats the anatomical course of the occipital nerve).At the same time, a violation of the sensitivity of the nape of the occiput( numbness, a sensation of crawling crawling) may develop.
This name is due to the fact that this manifestation of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is very similar to angina and other heart diseases. The reason for this phenomenon is the damage to the nerve fiber that innervates the large pectoral muscle and the diaphragmatic nerve, the fibers of which are woven into the pericardium of the heart.
Cervical osteochondrosis may manifest as pain in the region of the heart
The cause of the pain is a spasm of the large pectoral muscle due to pathological impulses along the damaged nerve fiber. In this case, patients very often confuse such pain with the heart. Unlike coronary pain, pain syndrome with cervical osteochondrosis has a long duration( sometimes several hours or days), which is not the case with angina pectoris, is not associated with physical exertion, but there is a relationship with the position of the body. The pain is aggravated by sharp movements, turns of the head, coughing, sneezing, which does not happen with angina pectoris. Antianginal drugs( nitroglycerin, etc.) will not be effective.
Important! In any case, this symptomatology requires a thorough differential diagnosis, because there are atypical variants of angina and infarction. In order not to miss a serious disease, first of all you need to make an ECG.With osteochondrosis, pathological changes will not be recorded.
Symptoms associated with damage to the vertebral artery
The compression of the vertebral artery in cervical osteochondrosis can cause a large number of unpleasant manifestations, which are associated mainly with a decrease in blood flow and hypoxia of the part of the brain that feeds due to this vessel( posterior third of the brain and cerebellum).
Vertebral artery provides blood to the posterior third of the brain and the cerebellum
Symptoms of vertebral artery syndrome:
- Headache of diffuse or pulsating nature in the occiput, temples and parietal region;
- nausea and vomiting;
- visual impairment;
- ringing in the ears, decreased hearing acuity;
- impaired coordination and balance;
- development of drop-attacks( sudden falls without losing consciousness with sharp turns of the head);
- memory impairment, reduced efficiency, the ability to concentrate attention.
It's important to remember! With pronounced changes in the spine, the artery can be compressed so much that it leads to the development of an ischemic stroke in the vertebrobasilar basin of the brain. Therefore, it is important to suspect pathology on time and take all the necessary measures to improve the spine and prevent further pathological changes.
Symptoms of thoracic and cervicothoracic osteochondrosis
Osteochondrosis is one of the most common diseases of people of different ages. This unpleasant disease brings tremendous suffering and pain. Untimely treatment of osteochondrosis can affect negatively the whole health of a sick person. But before you start treating the disease, you need to accurately determine the diagnosis of the disease. The diagnosis is made by the doctor after the person passes the appropriate tests and after a complete examination of his body. Independently, the disease can be determined by symptoms. If chest osteochondrosis is detected, what kind of symptoms will develop?
Breast type of disorders in articular cartilageOsteochondrosis of the thoracic region most often appears in people who have a low-activity lifestyle. Also, this disease manifests itself in those who, by virtue of their work or life situation, have a greater burden on the spine or those who have a lot of time and a lot to sit in the same place. Diseases of the chest often accompanied by a discomfort patient, he constantly observed pain of a different nature. What are the main signs of breast osteochondrosis?
- Often in a normal position, a person develops pain and burning sensation in the chest.
- With severe breathing or sharp tilt, a sharp pain develops in the chest area.
- Often in the chest area there is numbness, which gradually passes into the left arm.
- Pain in the chest is accompanied by pain in the liver, heart, kidneys or in the stomach. This is due to the fact that the osteochondrosis of the thoracic region "masks" its symptoms for other types of diseases.
- The peak of pain occurs at night, this makes a person fear of an imminent death, which further increases pain in the chest and heart.
Treatment of a disease
If it is suspected that a person has had chest osteochondrosis, symptoms and treatment can only be determined by a specialist.
If all symptoms indicate chest osteochondrosis, how to treat this ailment? It is important to remember that self-treatment often leads a person to manifest side effects. As a rule, if there is pain in the chest, treatment is prescribed only by a specialist and only after the delivery of all relevant tests. Currently, treatment of osteochondrosis of the thoracic region is subjected to the following effective procedures: acupuncture, which is carried out in medical institutions with special medications. The course of acupuncture has an excellent effect on the efficiency of blood vessels, from this all the cardiovascular system of the patient is adjusted. Together with this procedure of recovery from osteochondrosis, manual therapy, physical procedures and massage are performed. All these procedures have a positive effect on the condition of the intervertebral discs, perfectly regenerate the tissues of the internal organs, thereby removing all the symptoms of the disease.
Thoracic osteochondrosis: the main symptoms and treatment of the disease
Most often, breast osteochondrosis develops in those who lead a sedentary lifestyle, who work at a table or at a computer. It is possible to defeat the neighboring department, most often the cervical. Gradually, as the cartilaginous tissue of intervertebral discs disintegrates, there are signs of cervical and thoracic osteochondrosis or symptoms of the development of the disease only in the thoracic region.
Degrees of chest osteochondrosis
This disease is classified into 4 degrees, depending on the degree of destruction in intervertebral disks and the damage to the vertebrae themselves.
- For osteochondrosis of 1 degree, the discs become less elastic, their height decreases, protrusions( protrusions) may appear.
- Thoracic osteochondrosis of the 2nd degree is characterized by a further decrease in the height of intervertebral discs and their elasticity, the thoracic spine becomes unstable, which worsens the situation and can cause a fracture of the fibrous ring of the disc, which threatens the development of a hernia. At this stage of the disease there are painful sensations, neurological symptoms can also be indicated.
- At 3 degrees the intervertebral hernia is formed. Depending on the size and location of the symptoms of chest osteochondrosis.
- 4 degree means stopping the performance of the disk damping properties. Vertebrae approach, the spine loses mobility in this place, it becomes possible to infringe the vessels and nerves. There is destruction of the bone tissue of the vertebrae.
disease manifests Thoracic osteochondrosis symptoms can have quite a variety. Some of them are similar to manifestations of vegetative-vascular dystonia, pathologies of the digestive system, heart problems. That is why there are often difficulties in diagnosing this disease, and incorrectly prescribed treatment does not bring relief.
The main symptom is pain. Pain in chest osteochondrosis can be felt in the chest, in the back, give into the hand, pain can be manifested in the stomach. How it hurts chest osteochondrosis? Everything depends on the degree of the problem, on the location of the hernia or protrusion, that is, on what nerves or blood vessels there is pressure. The pain can be acute if the nerve endings are infringed or the muscles are spasmodic. Often the patient feels weak, but constant aching pain in the spine in the thoracic region.
Manifestations of the disease can depend on the individual characteristics of the patient, his sensitivity. Signs of breast osteochondrosis in women are usually more pronounced, because the female body is more sensitive, and all parts of the spine are smaller and thinner than in the male body, therefore degenerative-dystrophic processes more quickly cause negative effects.
- Tenderness in the chest, which increases with load or long stay in one pose,
- Pain between the shoulder blades,
- Pain arising when the arms are raised,
- Sensations of soreness when swiveling the body or inclines,
- Increased pain with deep inspiration,
- A feeling of squeezing in the chest.
These symptoms are directly related to the processes in the spine itself, these are the so-called vertebral symptoms. However, with the development of intervertebral hernias, the symptoms that arise due to neurological and vascular disorders also join in.
Possible signs of chest osteochondrosis
- Numbness of individual skin areas or sensation of "goosebumps",
- Feeling of cold, itching or burning sensation in the legs,
- Skin peeling and increased nail brittleness,
- Unexpected disruptions in the gastrointestinal tract: nausea, flatulence, constipation or diarrhea,
- Pain in the heart.
Diagnosis of chest osteochondrosis should be carried out very carefully, as it can be similar in manifestations to pneumonia, angina pectoris and even myocardial infarction.
In some cases, pain for this disease is taken for heart problems. Admission of cardiac drugs, which does not have a positive effect, is a serious reason for examination for osteochondrosis. Symptoms of breast osteochondrosis in women may seem like problems of breast pathology, so they need additional methods of examination.
Most often, the osteochondrosis of the thoracic region is chronic, and the person pays little attention to problems with the spine. The onset of exacerbation of chest osteochondrosis symptoms is very vivid. The pain syndrome with exacerbation is called dorsago and represents a sharp "dagger" pain. It's painful for a man to breathe. The pain can be directed along the nerves in one direction of the chest, give to the scapula. Then differentiation with myocardial infarction is necessary. The cardiogram puts everything in its place, as in the case of a dorsal fit it corresponds to the patient's age standard.
Methods of treatment of thoracic osteochondrosis
In the diagnosis of chest osteochondrosis, symptoms and treatment should be determined by a physician. Most likely, that consultations of the neurologist and the therapist, also depending on displays of the cardiologist, the gastroenterologist, at women of the gynecologist or mammologist are necessary.
Symptoms and signs of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine
Thoracic osteochondrosis does not develop as often as other types of this disease. Since, in contrast to lumbar and cervical osteochondrosis, this part has more vertebrae, anatomically thinner and smaller than others. The mobility of the thoracic vertebrae is small, and the sternum and rib take the share of the load.
It is very important that the thoracic section has a slight bending - kyphosis, due to this, the vertebrae are practically not subjected to the load, and the growth of osteophytes and the prolapsed discs are carried out outside the spine, without affecting the functioning of the brain located in the spinal canal.
Manifestations of the disease
The most common signs of breast osteochondrosis are pain and discomfort. They are noted in the zone of the chest, back, epigastrium and on the sides. Pain becomes sharper with increased activity and breathing. Sometimes there is a loss of sensitivity in the left and between the shoulder blades, to exclude myocardial infarction and angina pectoris, an ECG is necessary. Differential diagnosis with cardiac diseases is also performed with increased pain at night. The difference between osteochondrosis is that pain is not stopped by nitroglycerin, and no changes are seen on the ECG.Symptoms of breast osteochondrosis are often similar to manifestations of radiculitis.
Dorsago and dorsalgia
Osteochondrosis of the chest often occurs in the form of two vertebral syndromes:
- Dorsago - sharp sharp pain in the thoracic spine. More common in people with sedentary work. And the attack just the same usually begins during the rise from the workplace after a long stay in the unchanged position. There is a restriction of breathing in the neighboring parts of the spine, and pain causes any movement, even breathing.
- Dorsalgia - formed slowly and hidden from the patient for 2-3 weeks. For her, acute pain and discomfort are uncommon. Aching pain occurs when the body tilts, deep breathing, prolonged forced position, passes by itself, if you move. There is a muscular tension at the top or bottom of the chest.
As a rule, it is the radiculopathy that expresses the chest osteochondrosis, the symptoms are caused by the lesion of the nerve roots. A pathology can develop in any thoracic vertebra, but the lower part usually suffers. Signs of the disease appear immediately after physical activity and for a month the symptoms of osteochondrosis gradually progress.
If the thoracic part forms a hernia or protrusion, the signs of the disease will depend on lateral or median localization. Pain appears on one side of the pathology itself in the region of the chest, shoulder girdle, scapula, abdomen, and regional paresthesia also appears. If osteochondrosis forms a hernia on the side of the spine, then the symptoms of compression appear looser and can be easily eliminated. And with the location of the hernia in the middle, the manifestations are long and difficult to treat, sometimes lasting for months. Perhaps the compression of any part of the spinal cord. Symptoms of osteochondrosis become more pronounced when sneezing, during movement and breathing "full chest".
Myelopathy of the thoracic region is formed in rare cases due to the specificity of the structure. Symptoms are caused by weakness in the lower extremities, pain radiating to the extremities, chest, abdominal cavity, impaired pelvic organs, paresthesia.
Clinical signs of
Thoracic osteochondrosis itself or in combination with other types of osteochondrosis is noted in many people. When the disease adjacent vertebrae are not displaced. When arthrosis develops at the bottom or at the top of the thoracic segments of the spine, then symptoms of lumbar or cervical osteochondrosis appear, respectively. Clinically, the disease can take the form of arthrosis and intercostal neuralgia, which are expressed by pain syndrome of various strengths. With intercostal neuralgia pain concentrates between the ribs. In costal-vertebral or transverse arthrosis, discomfort increases with pressure on the ribs and are located in the vicinity of the near-vertebral line.
Thoracic osteochondrosis symptoms are static, visceral and neurological. Pseudoangiogenic syndrome develops as a reflex response to the excitation of sensitive nerve endings of the spine in the chest region. The pain is not suppressed by nitroglycerin, in contrast to cardiac diseases. Also the location and duration of pain attacks differ. They are facilitated by turns of the head and trunk, physical stress on the pectoral muscles, but not food intake, general physical and emotional stress, as in cardiac diseases.
If in the osteochondrosis the upper thoracic part of the spine is affected in the region of the esophagus and pharynx, then an unnatural feeling of the foreign body in the pharynx arises. When the disorders occur in the mid-thoracic segment, sometimes an incorrect diagnosis is made: pancreatitis, colitis or cholecystitis, and in the lower thoracic - intestinal disorders.
In this case, the main thing to take into account is that osteochondrosis, in contrast to these diseases, does not have a direct connection between the intensification of symptoms with eating and changing the diet. In addition, pain is not related to the time of year. Possible complications of the disease: pathology of the cardiovascular and digestive system, dystrophic disorders of the heart muscle.