Treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, symptoms.

osteochondrosis of the cervical spine

A certain therapist with 50 years of experience once commented: "When I started working, there was not a single young patient with osteochondrosis on the site. And today, almost every second of 30-year-olds has this problem. "

Osteochondrosis - a disease caused by the deposition of salts in the spine

Wrong. The intervertebral disc consists of the nucleus pulposus, the annulus fibrosus, and the hyaline cartilage that covers it above and below.

With the destruction of these elements, the balance between the load on the spine and the ability to carry it is disturbed. As a result, the vertebrae begin to compress the adjacent nerve and muscle tissues, grow along the edges and form the so-called. osteophytes, which make a characteristic crackling sound when moving (misexplained by patients as "salt deposition").

If the back and neck hurt, then this is exclusively osteochondrosis

Osteochondrosis is not the only cause of back pain. This diagnosis is often made by the patients themselves. However, in addition to this pathology, which is part of the group of degenerative-dystrophic changes in the spine, there is also osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and it is possible to differentiate it only after a full examination.

  • Degenerative-dystrophic changes occur in 30-50% of cases in people 30-40 years old, in 75-100% of people over 40 years old.
  • These pathological processes account for 20. 4% of total disability due to diseases of the osteoarticular system.
  • Long walks are bad for the spine

Vice versa. Motor activity has a beneficial effect on the functioning of the spine: it maintains muscle tone, preserves intervertebral mobility, stimulates blood circulation and metabolism. In the progression of the disease, hypodynamia and a long stay in a particularly uncomfortable position are "culprits".

Another thing is that if an overweight person walks a lot, wears heavy things, then the spine experiences an increased load.

Flat feet contribute to the development of osteochondrosis

Right. The arches of the foot, as well as the physiological curves of the spine, are designed to absorb shock loads when walking, running, jumping. If the foot does not provide adequate protection when interacting with the support, then the spine receives an additional load, which significantly impairs the nutrition and functioning of its structures and accelerates the development of the disease.

Back pain is the only symptom of the disease.

Certainly not in that way. As a rule, patients complain of constant back pain, often accompanied by numbness and pain in the extremities. Over time, if left untreated, limb muscles atrophy, spinal joints become less mobile, and muscle spasms develop.

Such an acute condition occurs due to arterial spasm as a response to the effects of bone growths, as well as disc herniation, arthrosis of the intervertebral joint, as a reflex reaction to irritation of the spinal receptors.

  1. If a person suffers from coronary or cardiovascular pathology, then the vertebral artery syndrome will aggravate the course.
  2. With osteochondrosis of the thoracic region, the pain in the chest is disturbing (it feels as if a stake is driven there), in the area of the heart and other internal organs; with lumbosacral lesions - in the lower back (irradiation to the sacrum, lower limbs, sometimes to the pelvic organs).
  3. If complications of osteochondrosis develop (herniated intervertebral discs, bone growths, spondylolisthesis, spondyloarthrosis), then nerve root damage is observed: the pain becomes throbbing, sensitivity worsens, weakness appears in the innervated muscles, and the severity of reflexes decrease.
  4. Osteochondrosis can cause dysfunction of various organs and tissues.

With osteochondrosis, the risk of circulatory disorders in the cerebellar, stem and occipital regions of the brain increases.

A constant headache appears, first in the back of the head, then spreads to the region of the crown and temples, aggravated by movements of the neck (more often in the morning).

Older people with a sharp turn of the head can lose consciousness. This is preceded by dizziness, tinnitus, blurred vision and hearing, nausea, vomiting.

Sometimes there is pain in the region of the heart - long, pressing, dull. With osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, especially in older and senile people, soft tissues often change, become denser.

Degenerative processes in the spine can cause congestion in the gastrointestinal tract, disruption of the bronchopulmonary system, which is fraught with inflammatory and other ailments.

Vegetovascular dystonia, intercostal neuralgia - consequences of osteochondrosis

Certainly not in that way. Osteochondrosis can be one of the causes (not the only one) of the development of these diseases.

When the intervertebral discs are "erased" and osteophytes grow, the intervertebral foramina - the channel of the vertebral artery - narrow and deform, and this leads to infringement of various structures.

In particular, when the nerve roots are compressed, signs of intercostal neuralgia appear, and when the vertebral artery is compressed, the same symptoms appear as with vegetative-vascular dystonia.

It is impossible to cure osteochondrosis.

In fact, spinal structures that have undergone degenerative changes cannot be fully restored. However, proper complex treatment can eliminate the symptoms of the disease, stop the development of pathology and prevent complications.

In case of problems with intervertebral discs, it is useful to warm sore spots.

Wrong. Temperature fluctuations, especially extreme ones (for example, a beginner's trip to the bathroom), can cause a serious exacerbation. Mild thermal procedures are used in complex treatments, but they must be prescribed by a doctor.

If you make circular movements of the head with osteochondrosis of the cervical region, your health will worsen

Right. These exercises are best done for prevention - they help maintain the range of motion in the intervertebral joints. With severe osteochondrosis, careless circular movements can aggravate vertebral artery syndrome, radiculopathy, etc.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are essential for the treatment

Not really. During the remission period or when the pain is not strong, conservative therapy (physio, reflex and manual) is carried out; physical therapy, traction techniques are used. Drug treatment is indicated during an exacerbation and is aimed at relieving pain, relieving the inflammatory process and accelerating metabolic processes (intramuscular or intravenous injections).

Among the most effective agents are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are prescribed to relieve inflammation and pain; with severe pain, novocaine locks are used; steroid drugs (epidural, intramuscular injections); NSAIDs in the form of ointments, gels and creams with analgesic and irritant effects; muscle relaxants - to relieve muscle spasms; B vitamins - to improve metabolic processes in the spine (B1, B6, B12).

Osteochondrosis can have serious consequences

Yes. Due to compression of the spinal cord or nerve roots, osteochondrosis can cause paralysis and, if the vertebral artery is injured, can lead to loss of consciousness.

Exercises to "stretch" the spine help improve the condition

Traction, or traction, allows you to increase the intervertebral space, relieve pain and restore the anatomically correct shape of the spine. However, the individual load must be calculated correctly. "Popping" can lead to reflex contraction of the paraspinal muscles and worsen the condition.

Only a traumatologist-orthopedist has the right to treat osteochondrosis.

Wrong. Most patients are seen by a neurologist, with a significant severity of the pathology - by a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic vertebrologist.

A local therapist may also prescribe drug therapy to relieve an exacerbation.

Spinal osteochondrosis: causes and treatment.

Up to 76% of people experience back pain each year. This statistic affects people of all ages and professions. The causes of pain can be different, one of them is osteochondrosis of the spine.

Due to a sedentary lifestyle, osteochondrosis of the spine is becoming more common, and it is not always possible to overcome it on your own. Let's talk about why it happens and how to treat it.

What is spinal osteochondrosis?

There are several different views on the definition. Some experts believe that it is more correct to use the general name - dorsalgia or non-specific back pain.

Difficulties in definition are also associated with the fact that a variety of specialists work with this disease: neurologists, orthopedists, neurosurgeons, and general practitioners.

Sometimes a person diagnosed with osteochondrosis of the spine turns to a cardiologist, since the manifestations of the disease are very similar to pain in the heart.

The term "osteochondrosis of the spine" was proposed by Hildebrandt in 1933 as a multifactorial degenerative disease of the movement segment of the spine (as defined by Popelyansky). What is the spinal motion segment? These are two vertebrae located one above the other, and between them there is an intervertebral disc.

Thanks to this joint, the human spine can bend and unbend, bend and twist. But as a result of various reasons, the intervertebral discs lose their properties, degenerate, and then gradually the changes affect the vertebrae themselves.

That is, the essence of osteochondrosis of the spine is the gradual destruction of the intervertebral discs.

Osteochondrosis can develop in any part of the spine.

Due to the large load, osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine is the most common. The symptoms are:

  • low back pain, which can be sharp or dull, constant, may increase with movement;
  • pain can be given to the legs, pelvic organs, the sacrum;
  • in severe cases, there may be a violation of sensitivity or mobility, atrophy of the muscles of the lower extremities.

The second most common is cervical osteochondrosis, which is most often associated with a prolonged uncomfortable position of the head, for example, when working at a computer or with documents. Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is manifested by the following symptoms:

  • headaches and dizziness, migraines;
  • visual or hearing disturbances, flashing "flies" before the eyes;
  • pain can radiate to the back of the head, shoulders, collarbone;
  • possible violation of sensitivity in the hands.

Less often, osteochondrosis affects the thoracic spine, since the vertebrae are inactively connected to each other. An injury to this area can masquerade as heart or lung disease. Symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis of the spine:

  • pain in the back at the level of the shoulder blades, in the chest, which may increase when bending, turning, during inhalation or exhalation;
  • skin sensitivity disorders.

Regardless of the level of damage, pain in osteochondrosis of the spine can increase with pressure on the vertebrae that are involved in the process.

With the defeat of various departments, we can immediately talk about generalized osteochondrosis of the spine.

Risk factors and causes of the disease.

The spine has great resistance, and the development of the disease requires the action of several provoking factors at once. It is important to understand that most, if not all, of these factors can be influenced by the patient and therefore reduce the likelihood of developing the disease.

  • lack of movement - this worsens the blood supply, and therefore the nutrition of all elements of the spine;
  • excessive physical activity is also harmful and can damage the intervertebral discs;
  • prolonged stay in the wrong, non-physiological position - the improper height of the desk or chair leads to the fact that a person is forced to constantly tilt his head, slouch;
  • stress - excessive tension in the muscles can lead to compression of the vessels that feed the spine;
  • over weight;
  • smoking impairs microcirculation in all body tissues;
  • insufficient intake of water and protein affects, among other things, the state of the intervertebral discs.

The immediate causes of osteochondrosis of the spine are not always obvious, but the following options can be distinguished:

  • hereditary predisposition - genetically programmed features of cartilage and bone tissue, in which the wear process is faster;
  • Spinal injuries: A variety of complications can develop at the site of the injury, including osteochondrosis;
  • occupational risks, such as vibrations;
  • exposure to infections or chemicals;
  • natural aging of the body.

People of various professions are at risk of developing osteochondrosis of the spine. These are builders and athletes, surgeons and office workers.

Stages of osteochondrosis and possible complications

The description of the four stages of osteochondrosis of the spine was proposed by Osna in 1971. They are not used to make a diagnosis, but allow you to understand how the disease progresses.

  1. The intervertebral discs become less elastic. The disc may be slightly deformed, there is a displacement of the internal nucleus pulposus within the disc. This stage does not manifest itself in any way or there are minor pains.
  2. In the second stage, cracks may appear in the disc and the surrounding ligaments may weaken. The connection of the vertebrae becomes unstable. There are attacks of acute pain with disability.
  3. The third stage is characterized by complete damage to the intervertebral disc. When the nucleus pulposus pushes out of the disc, a herniated disc occurs. Spinal deformity or nerve root entrapment may occur.
  4. In the fourth stage, the surrounding tissues are affected: vertebrae, ligaments, spinal membranes. As a result, the vertebral segment can completely lose mobility.

As a result of spinal osteochondrosis, in some cases various complications occur. Problems with the intervertebral discs, herniation, and protrusion can lead to narrowing of the spinal canal, compression of the spinal cord, and disability.

Depending on the level of the injury, various problems with the involvement of the nerve roots are possible. These are intercostal neuralgia, violations of sensitivity and motor function of the upper and lower extremities, disturbances in the functioning of internal organs. Inflammation of the sciatic nerve, or sciatica, not only causes severe pain, but can also lead to pelvic organ disease and infertility.

In addition to the nerve roots, osteochondrosis can compress the vertebral vessels. If the blood flow in the vertebral arteries that pass in the cervical region and feed the brain is disturbed, brain disorders, problems with vision or hearing, breathing or heart activity can develop.

Approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of osteochondrosis: conventional and alternative methods

Within the framework of official medicine, the diagnosis of osteochondrosis includes an examination by a neurologist to determine the degree of damage to the nerve roots, check reflexes and sensitivity.

Of the instrumental methods, the following can be used:

  • Ultrasound of the vessels allows you to identify the degree of circulatory disorders, for example, in the vertebral arteries;
  • spinal radiography;
  • CT also uses radiological methods, but allows you to build a three-dimensional image of the area under study, to identify even small displacements of the vertebrae;
  • MRI specializes in the study of soft tissues, allows you to assess the state of the spinal cord, visualize the internal structure of the intervertebral disc.

For differential diagnosis, laboratory tests, a general blood and urine test, and indicators of calcium metabolism are used.

The therapy of osteochondrosis is complex.

  • The first and very important tool in the treatment of osteochondrosis is lifestyle. Normalization of working conditions, moderate and regular exercise, as well as healthy sleep significantly improve the condition of patients.
  • For drug treatment of osteochondrosis of the spine, a neurologist or general practitioner may prescribe medication. In most cases, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed; this is the standard treatment for spinal osteochondrosis. They reduce pain and reduce inflammation. Muscle relaxants help reduce muscle spasms. Vitamins and antioxidants are prescribed to protect nerve tissue from damage. However, any medication has side effects, for example, NSAIDs can negatively affect the stomach.
  • In addition to drugs, physiotherapy is used, for example, massage for osteochondrosis of the spine, as well as manual therapy. In severe complications of osteochondrosis, surgery may be required, but it is prescribed only if long-term conservative treatment has no effect.

Treatment of osteochondrosis in classical medicine in most cases is a long process and can have negative effects on human health.

Therefore, various drugs, in particular pain relievers and muscle relaxants (especially with a sedative effect), can be addictive, and some drugs negatively affect the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.

Alternatively, you can consider methods that are used, for example, in traditional Chinese medicine.

Traditional Chinese medicine is very popular all over the world, in many countries there are special centers and training courses. The approaches and methods of therapy in the Celestial Empire differ from the usual European view of the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

All diseases are considered a violation of the balance and movement of Qi energy in the body, and therapeutic measures are aimed at restoring this balance. In China, various medicinal herbs, animal components, minerals, as well as various methods of external influence, such as acupuncture and acupressure, are used.

These techniques have a wide range of indications and a minimal number of side effects.


Synonymous names for this method are acupuncture, reflexology. The principle of treatment through acupuncture is to place needles on bioactive points. Each point is associated with the organ on which the impact is made.

Reflexology allows you to relieve tension and muscle spasms, has an anesthetic effect and helps reduce pain. The method is safe, as most doctors use disposable sterile needles.

And in the case of using gold or silver plated needles, they must be sterilized without fail. Feelings during the procedure depend on individual susceptibility, the patient may experience tingling or numbness.

It is important that the procedure is performed by a highly qualified and experienced specialist. Incorrect needle placement will be useless or even harmful. In some cases, acupuncture is combined with exposure to weak doses of electrical current.


This is a specific way to influence active points with the help of special wormwood cigars. The principle of action is similar to that of acupuncture and is often used in combination. A smoking cigar is installed on the body in a special wooden house, while the active points are heated. Wormwood has a disinfectant, calming and relaxing effect.

This method is safe because the incandescent part of the cigarette does not come into contact with the skin, although direct methods that act on the skin are used in some parts of China.


Massage therapy in China is practiced by several different schools. They use rotation techniques, pressing with a finger, manual therapy methods. Traditional massage techniques allow muscles and joints to work, as well as indirectly affecting other organs and tissues, and help increase the body's defenses.


Traditional Chinese gymnastics, like massage, has several schools. Qigong movements - gentle, stretching and twisting - are excellent as exercises for the spine with osteochondrosis.

Qigong techniques do not require special equipment and can be performed at home.

However, before that, it is better to choose the right exercises with your doctor, as well as work out the correct execution technique under the guidance of a qualified specialist.

The level of science and medicine in China is very high, the combination of tradition and innovation gives surprising results. An example of the achievements of Chinese science are the methods of DNA therapy and DNA vaccines: these are the methods currently used to develop cancer treatments and combat HIV.

Spinal osteochondrosis in the elderly. Characteristics of the rehabilitation.

People age differently: some remain clear-headed, optimistic about life situations, and cheerful. Others, having crossed retirement age, lose interest in life.

  • The rate of aging of the body depends on many factors, these are:
  • 1) the genetic program for the development and decline of the organism;
  • 2) the impact on a person of various adverse life events.
  • An adverse effect on a person is produced by poor housing conditions, harmful working conditions, living in an unfavorable climate, the inability to receive full medical and social assistance on time, an unhealthy lifestyle (malnutrition, bad habits and stress prolonged emotional
  • When organizing treatment and rehabilitation measures for the elderly, it is necessary to take into account age-related and functional changes in this period of life.
  • With aging, the volume of muscle mass decreases, the contractility of the muscles weakens, and changes occur in all parts of the spine.

Cervical osteochondrosis. The primary stage of the disease does not require special treatment. Standard preventive measures can cope with pathology at this stage.

The greatest danger is the violation of the blood circulation of the brain, which leads to a general disorder of functions and the formation of numerous foci of necrosis of brain tissues.


Regardless of the chosen treatment methods, the prevention of osteochondrosis plays an equally important role. What can be done for spinal health:

  • drink enough water;
  • control weight, do not overeat;
  • choose the right shoes, if necessary - orthopedic insoles;
  • choose a good mattress to sleep on, not too soft and that gives enough support to the spine;
  • eat foods rich in collagen (fish, turkey, gelatin, various jellies);
  • exercise regularly;
  • adjust the height of the desk and chair, taking into account growth.

When it comes to alternative prevention methods, massage, qigong, and acupuncture have all worked well, for reasons that are quite understandable and described above.

It is important to remember that back pain can and should be treated. To change your lifestyle, it is not necessary to wait for the first signs of illness.

Now you can get up from the computer, stretch your neck, include walks or massages on your to-do list.

And if osteochondrosis of the spine has become a problem that prevents you from living in peace, the joint efforts of science and traditional medicine will help restore health and joy of movement.