Symptoms and treatment of cervical osteochondrosis

A man with osteochondrosis of the neck in an appointment with a manual masseuse

The cervical spine is the narrowest part of it, however, the daily load supporting the head, ensuring its turns and the mobility of the shoulder joints is incomparably greater than the performance of other parts of it.Due to the incorrect lifestyle caused by eating habits, sedentary work and smoking, the chance of developing cervical osteochondrosis in middle-aged people quadruples.

Despite such prevalence of the disease, it is very difficult to identify cervical osteochondrosis in the early stages, as its symptoms are so varied and, at first glance, unrelated to the spinal problem, that a person can go years without going to the doctor, considering the cause of your impaired health completely different from the disease.

Causes of the disease

To guarantee the mobility of the vertebrae, there are intervertebral discs, consisting of cartilage tissue, between them. They provide cushioning during movement and give flexibility to the spine. The life span of intervertebral discs, predicted by nature, is over 120 years, but changes in the chemical composition of the blood lead to rapid dehydration of the cartilaginous tissue, deposition of salts, which, in turn, contributes to rapid weardisks and leads to their degenerative-dystrophic changes.

The reason for the change in blood composition is inadequate nutrition, a sedentary lifestyle in which the body's cells do not need this amount of salt and it is deposited in bone tissue, liver and kidneys.In a forced sedentary lifestyle, the largest amount of salt is deposited in the neck.

Cervical osteochondrosis can also occur as a result of microtrauma caused by vibration, for example, in drivers, as well as in the forced incorrect position of the head or neck caused by the working conditions and specificities of the profession.

What is the danger of cervical osteochondrosis

In the neck area, namely in the vicinity of the cervical spine, there are nerve roots, as well as the vertebral artery, whose function is to supply oxygen to the brain. With dehydration of the intervertebral discs in the neck, deformation occurs, which reduces the space between the vertebrae and leads to injury during movement.In addition, the deposition of salts promotes the formation of bone spines - osteophytes, which can act on nerve roots, as well as on the artery.

In development, the disease leads to a violation of the sensitivity of the neck, scapula, limbs, nape or, on the contrary, causes pain in these parts, depending on which nerve roots have been pinched.

Compression of the vertebral artery is replete with an insufficient supply of oxygen to the brain, which leads to the development of various disorders of its activity. Among the most dangerous consequences of cerebral hypoxia are hearing disorders, impaired vision, stroke, partial and complete paralysis, mental disorders.

Cervical osteochondrosis is the most dangerous form of the disease, as it has many irreversible consequences, while people in the advanced stages of the disease usually seek help.


The cervical spine consists of 6 segments through which several nerve roots pass, its infraction is expressed by several symptoms. Depending on which neck vertebrae are susceptible to osteochondrosis, the disease can manifest itself in several symptoms. Therefore, the root syndrome is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Violation of the sensitivity of the neck, scapula, fingertips, mainly unilateral. Acute pain in the neck, radiating to the back or neck.
  • Burning pain in the chest, in the shoulder and also in one of the fingers, depending on the affected nerve.
  • Pain in the heart regioncharacterized by its duration and intensification during sudden movements.

The result of compression of an artery, as well as small vessels, can lead to brain disorders, the symptoms of which can be listed as follows:

  • Visual impairment, appearance of "flies" before the eyes, blurred images.
  • In case of insufficient nutrition of the cerebellum, dizziness, nausea, disturbances of consciousness can appear, the dirt disappears under the feet.
  • Manual neck massage
  • If the blood supply to the brain is disturbed, there is a threat of hypoxia and the body's reaction is to increase the pressure necessary to increase blood flow.
  • Oxygen deficiency also leads to a strong and irrational fear of causing bouts of nausea.
  • Possible impairment of coordination and hearing.
  • When lymph circulation is disturbed, intracranial pressure occurs, expressed in the headache of the parietal and occipital parts, pressure in the eyeballs, tinnitus.

These varied symptoms and several unique manifestations of the disease often do not immediately suggest back problems, especially since in the early stages, pain and stiffness of movement may be absent. And only a good specialist, having made differential diagnoses, excluding other diseases that are characterized by the same symptoms, can identify cervical osteochondrosis.


The treatment of osteochondrosis is a very long process and includes several methods of traditional and popular medicine. The main tasks defined by the doctor when choosing a therapy are to relieve pain, restore the mobility of vertebrae and metabolic processes, reload cartilage tissue, as well as remove swelling and inflammation of the soft tissues of the neck. The methods by which the goals described above are achieved are different, including taking medications, scrubbing with ointments, physical therapy and special gymnastics. Hirudotherapy, acupuncture and traditional medicine recipes are used as an additional treatment.

The main component in the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis is the patient's initiative and strict adherence to medical prescriptions.

Let's take a closer look at how to treat cervical osteochondrosis, as well as the characteristics of the techniques:


Make a distinction between the treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine during exacerbation and remission. Therefore, in case of acute pain, the doctor may prescribe:

  • Painkillersin the form of pills, injections, whose task is to relieve the symptoms of acute pain.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugsin the form of injections that relieve the inflammatory process. However, the side effects that accompany the use of NSAIDs do not allow its use for a long period.
  • Muscle relaxantsrelieve muscle spasms and release compressed vessels, nerves and arteries.
  • Novocaine block.This method is used for an acute attack accompanied by stiffness and pain in the neck. Treatment is carried out under the supervision of a doctor.

During the remission period, the main treatment is the ingestion of chondroprotectors produced in the form of powders and capsules, suspensions and ointments. Chondroprotectors, based on glycosaminoglycans and chondroitin sulfates, have several positive effects on the cartilaginous tissue of the spine, namely, restoration of the pulpous nucleus of the intervertebral disc, elimination of the pain syndrome and interruption of the development of the disease.

Ointments for osteochondrosis of the cervical spine are prescribed at the discretion of the physician and have several effects, including:

  • analgesic;
  • restoring the structure of the cartilage;
  • anti-inflammatory
  • ;
  • heating;
  • complex.

In addition, cervical osteochondrosis is characterized by compression of the nerve roots and arteries, which leads to a series of symptoms, for which appropriate medications are prescribed.


In addition to the main treatment, physiotherapy procedures are prescribed, which aim to eliminate pain, improve the soft tissue microcirculation and restore metabolic processes. Some procedures, for example, electrophoresis, are used in conjunction with medicinal ointments, while achieving the maximum effect of the drug.

In addition to electrophoresis, shockwave therapy, laser treatment, ultraviolet radiation and magnetotherapy are also used.

A similar effect is achieved with manual massage or acupuncture. A prerequisite for such treatment is high qualification and medical education of specialists in these areas.

Cervical osteochondrosis in remission can be treated with physical therapy exercises. Correctly selected exercises eliminate pain symptoms and contribute to the elimination of salt deposits.

Folk remedies

Among the methods of treating cervical spine osteochondrosis recognized by official medicine, there are many popular recipes based on the healing properties of plants that have anti-inflammatory, warming and restorative metabolic processes.

The most common active ingredients in various interpretations are horseradish, adam root, aloe, ginger, garlic, hops, pine nuts, honey and lemon. They are used for the preparation of rubs, ointments, tinctures, compresses, mixtures for oral administration, as well as medicinal baths. Traditional methods relieve symptoms perfectly and also restore mobility of the neck.