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Osteochondrosis of the cervicothoracic spine
Osteochondrosis of the cervicothoracic spine

Cervicothoracic osteochondrosis is a pathology that occurs when metabolic processes in the vertebral discs of polymorphic etiology are disturbed, associated with negative changes, both in the spine itself and in the surrounding tissues.

Since the intervertebral cartilage performs the function of a shock absorber, and loads of a static and dynamic type act on it, then when it breaks down, these loads are redistributed. Cartilage tissue wears out, and in a healthy state, the body itself stimulates the regeneration processes.

Due to pathologies or age-related changes, recovery slows down, and the intervertebral disc begins to collapse.

This is called protrusion. If there is a destruction of the fibrous ring of the vertebral disc, the gelatinous contents come out of the cavity, a herniated disc is formed.

It presses on the blood vessels near the spine, and the nerve roots are pinched. The spinal canal narrows, causing damage to segments of the spinal cord.

Cervicothoracic degenerative disc disease - signs and symptoms

Due to the peculiarity of the anatomical structure, osteochondrosis of the cervical and thoracic region develops more often than ailments of other parts of the spine. The cervical region is very mobile, it is connected to the skull by the atlantooccipital joint, and consists of 7 vertebrae - the first 2 have a special structure: the first vertebra is a ring that includes the tooth of the second vertebra.

Seven vertebrae of the cervical spine correspond to 8 segments of the spinal cord - the “extra” segment appeared due to the root of the atlantooccipital articulation. A large artery that feeds the brain passes through the holes of the vertebrae in the cervical spine.

The thoracic region is more static, its strength is provided by the muscle and rib cage. It consists of 12 vertebrae - they correspond to 12 segments of the spinal cord.

Each segment is 2 pairs of nerve roots.

If the discs of the spine become thinner, these roots are compressed and symptoms of osteochondrosis appear:

  • painful sensations of varying severity
  • violations of the amplitude of movement;
  • sometimes loss of sensation in the limbs.

With damage to the cervical spine, a very dangerous symptom arises - pinching of the artery that feeds the brain.

The causes of osteochondrosis of the spine in the cervicothoracic region can be:

  • age-related changes;
  • genetic predisposition;
  • unbalanced diet;
  • increased loads or forced to be in an uncomfortable position;
  • frequent hypothermia;
  • decreased immunity due to intoxication of the body, chronic diseases and the introduction of pathogenic microorganisms;
  • endocrine disorders;
  • heart or vascular problems.

There are no characteristic symptoms of osteochondrosis.

There is a joke among neurologists that when doctors of other specialties cannot make a correct diagnosis, they blame everything on osteochondrosis.

Against the background of a degenerative-dystrophic process, the following may appear:

  • vegetative-vascular dystonia;
  • angina pectoris;
  • dizziness;
  • disorders of coordination and consciousness;
  • nausea…

For osteochondrosis, surgical pathologies, dental problems, vegetative-vascular dystonia, myocardial infarction, stomach ulcers …

This is because the symptoms of spinal osteochondrosis can be:

  • pain - radiating to the head, abdomen, shoulder girdle, upper limbs, back, under the shoulder blade, in the back of the head and jaw;
  • Difficulty breathing, causing pain
  • "Goosebumps" and a veil before the eyes;
  • change in blood pressure.

Patients may complain of unnecessary fatigue, decreased performance, increased tearfulness, irritability. Men may experience another symptom - a decrease in potency.

Narrowing of the spinal canal and malnutrition of the brain can cause ischemic disorders, for the treatment of which the patient requires inpatient conditions.

If you see a doctor right away when you have pain in the spine when you move your neck or change the position of the thoracic region, you can treat yourself at home. In this case, the degenerative-dystrophic process can be slowed down and lead to a state of remission - unfortunately, it is impossible to completely cure osteochondrosis.

Treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical and thoracic spine

Before starting treatment for a disease of the spine, it is necessary to differentiate pathologies from other organic organs and systems that cause similar symptoms. Hypertension, disorders of cerebral circulation are treated according to a different therapeutic scheme, therefore, the diagnosis should be carried out very carefully.

In many cases, mandatory hardware and instrumental studies - X-ray, electrocardiogram, electroencephalogram, MRI, CT and others complement FGS - fibrogastroscopy. It is important to do this - many drugs used to treat osteochondrosis are contraindicated in erosive and inflammatory processes of the digestive system.

Treatment begins with pain relief. Most often, non-steroidal drugs are used. The course of treatment is limited - up to 5 days. Drugs in this group cause irritation of the gastrointestinal tract mucosa, and if taken for a long time, gastric bleeding may occur. With degenerative changes in the cervical vertebrae in an acute process, immobilization is necessary.

In case of acute pain, a block can be made - injections of "Lidocaine", "Ultracaine" or "Novocaine" are placed in the spine; prescribed drugs with codeine or opium analgesics; corticosteroids are injected into the spine - they quickly relieve pain.

For treatment, muscle relaxants and angioprotectors are used - drugs that relieve spasms in the surrounding muscles and blood vessels, and restore blood circulation in the affected vertebrae.

The treatment necessarily includes drugs from the group of chondroprotectors - "Artrin", "Mucosat", "Chondroxide". The main component of these drugs - chondroitin sulfate - restores metabolic disorders in the affected vertebrae and stimulates the regeneration of cartilage tissue.

Phytopreparations are also included in the therapeutic regimen. They can be purchased at the pharmacy, or made by yourself at home. Homemade rubbing for the spine based on hot pepper, grated horseradish or nettle is no less effective than external remedies with snake or bee venom.

Treatment of the spine must be complemented by massage and exercise therapy, if possible, physiotherapy is prescribed - electromagnetic and electroresonant effects, UHF, electrophoresis with hydrocortisone or novocaine.

The purpose of such influences is to normalize blood supply in the area surrounding the spine and restore motor function.

Spine massage in the cervical spine can only be entrusted to an experienced specialist. In this area, there is no strong muscle corset and there are supersensitive nerve roots, which can pinch with any careless movement.

Osteochondrosis of the cervicothoracic region - prevention

After the treatment of osteochondrosis of the spine in the cervicothoracic region, it is necessary to direct efforts to bring the disease into a state of long-term remission. It is necessary to avoid sudden movements, constantly engage in physiotherapy exercises, take breaks, if you have to stay in the same position for a long time, eat rationally - make sure that the diet contains foods containing calcium.

When prescribing medications and auxiliary procedures for the treatment of degenerative-dystrophic changes in the vertebral discs, the peculiarities of the course of the disease itself and chronic diseases in the patient's history should be taken into account.

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