Vertebral osteochondrosis is the most common disease of the human musculoskeletal system. In the cervical spine, degenerative processes develop with special frequency: in about 30-40% of all cases of osteochondrosis, the disease affects that specific area of the back.
Even with an inactive lifestyle, daily stress falls on the cervical region, leading to the gradual destruction of the cartilaginous tissues of the intervertebral discs. The cervical vertebrae support the head, provide lateral movement and curve back and forth. Both a sedentary lifestyle and excessive spinal stress are equally harmful to cartilage tissue.
Osteochondrosis develops slowly, but it almost always leads to painful manifestations and serious consequences. This article will discuss in detail how to treat cervical osteochondrosis at home, where it is reasonable and advisable, what procedures should be practiced to reduce painful symptoms and eliminate the primary causes of the disease.
When osteochondrosis can be treated at home
Osteochondrosis rarely occurs suddenly - usually the disease is preceded by an early stage, characterized by back fatigue, rapid fatigue and decreased performance. It is important to take therapeutic measures at the first signs of the disease, while degenerative and dystrophic processes do not spread from cartilage tissues to nearby structures.
The task of treatment in the early stage of the disease is to stop pathological changes in the intervertebral discs. No therapy can reverse destructive processes, but there is a chance to prevent dangerous and painful consequences.
You can practice treatment at home in the following cases:
- When the diagnosis is known accurately and clinically confirmed;
- When the manifestations of the disease are mild or moderate;
- When home treatment and self-treatment are approved or sanctioned by a doctor;
- In the form of relapse prevention during the recovery phase after complete clinical therapy.
Diagnosis at the clinic and consultation with a specialist (orthopedist, vertebrologist or traumatologist) is a mandatory step in the treatment of osteochondrosis. Starting treatment without an accurate diagnosis can cause irreparable damage to the spine. Even if you are absolutely sure that you have osteochondrosis, it is necessary to find out its stage, determine the degree of tissue destruction and identify concomitant diseases.
The danger of cervical osteochondrosis lies in the variety of manifestations of this disease. Once the most important nerve pathways and blood vessels pass through this section, any dislocation of the cartilaginous and bony structures from their anatomical position, as well as the transformation of the vertebral discs and bodies, are loaded with compression of the nerve endings and arteries.
Compression leads to headaches, deterioration of the blood supply to the brain and decreased intellectual abilities. The most dangerous complication of compression is stroke: a severe deterioration in the oxygen supply to the brain, leading to the death of its parts.
It is irresponsible and dangerous to treat cervical osteochondrosis at home in the presence of compression. Massage, manual therapy and exercise therapy procedures must be performed under strict medical supervision. Only professional massage therapists and therapists should perform manual and hardware impact on the vertebrae in case of progressive degenerative changes.
General rules for autotherapy
Some people believe that cervical osteochondrosis is a temporary disease that occurs after sleeping in an uncomfortable position or working for a long time at a computer. People often ignore the symptoms of neck pain, believing that they are caused by overwork, "salt deposits", colds.
The factors listed may actually trigger the development of an osteochondrosis attack, but they are not the causes, but the predisposing factors of the pathology. Eliminating them may relieve symptoms, but it will not cure the disease itself.
The treatment of osteochondrosis must be approached in a scientific and pragmatic way. The sooner you start therapy, the more likely you are to restore cervical spine functionality. If you want to regain neck mobility, get rid of clicks and back fatigue, start treatment immediately when the first signs of degenerative changes appear.
The home treatment of osteochondrosis of the collar area is a necessary and useful measure of influence, if carried out correctly and authorized by specialists.
At home, you can do:
- Drug therapy;
- Hardware massage using mechanical and electrical devices;
- Physiotherapy procedures;
Basically, any type of conservative treatment can be practiced at home. Traditional methods of influence are popular with the population - a variety of lotions, compresses and applications in the affected department. These treatment options are sometimes quite effective and really help with the symptoms of pain and other unpleasant manifestations of osteochondrosis.
The basic rules for self-treatment are as follows:
- Painkillers and other drugs should only be taken after being prescribed by a doctor;
- You should not practice massage and physiotherapy exercises during acute pain and dislocation of the disc;
- Traditional doubtful and unapproved medicine should not be used;
- At the slightest sign of worsening health, you should stop therapy at home and go to the clinic.
In general, specialists even recommend self-treatment, since only procedures that require the presence of a specialist or complex equipment are performed in the clinic. It is only necessary to strictly follow medical recommendations on home therapeutic techniques.
A good doctor, before recommending or prescribing any medicine, will always tell you how it should be applied, what the expected results are, when and for how long you should carry out the treatment procedures. The ultimate goal of any practice is not just to stop the symptoms, but to block or completely eliminate the causes of the disease.
Home treatment methods
There are many home treatments for cervical osteochondrosis. Let's consider the most basic of them - the most effective and affordable. Let us remember again: only the full implementation of medical recommendations gives a chance of recovery.
Qualified doctors take into account all the influencing factors - from the position you take during sleep, ending with the nature of the diet. The osteochondrosis diet is based on the exclusion of fatty, refined and highly seasoned foods and the mandatory inclusion of mucopolysaccharides in the diet - compounds that feed cartilage tissue.
Almost all aspects of life must be aligned with the principles of competent and correct treatment.
A complete regimen of physical activity is the basis of effective therapy. The set of exercises is selected individually, taking into account the stage of the disease, the age and the physical condition of the patient. Physical education is not an aid, but the most important therapeutic method for osteochondrosis of the collar region.
Gym exercises solve several problems at once:
- Develop and strengthen the muscular corset of the neck and shoulder girdle;
- Stimulates local blood flow, improving the nutrition of intervertebral discs and other tissues in the affected area;
- Accelerates metabolic processes, contributing to the restoration of physical activity;
- Eliminate muscle blockages and spasmodic phenomena.
In the early stage of therapy, it is best to conduct several exercise therapy sessions under the guidance of an experienced instructor. Then you can practice physical education at home. Wear comfortable clothing when exercising and make sure the area is regularly ventilated.
The indicative criteria for the usefulness of exercise therapy are absence of pain, improvement in well-being, increased range of motion. If symptoms of acute and regular pain are present, exercise should be stopped until the causes of this phenomenon are cleared up. Pain usually occurs when the disc is displaced and the nerve is compressed. To prevent this from happening, you need to perform the movements smoothly, avoiding jumping and twisting the spine.
Manual and hardware massage
Self-massage reduces pain and stimulates local circulation. Self-massage techniques (rubbing, stroking, kneading) will be taught by your doctor or professional massage therapist. Strong pressure, shock, pinches should be avoided.
Proper self-massage often outperforms even drugs in effectiveness. A gentle manual effect not only relieves pain, it also relaxes your muscles, speeds up blood flow and metabolism. Massage is recommended to be performed in a sitting position, using only the fingers and directing the movements of the spine to the peripheral parts of the back.
A separate method is hardware massage using mechanical devices and modern electronic devices. The use of massage products in the absence of severe pain and dislocation of the discs is recommended. Cheap hand massagers and expensive computer-controlled devices are available at medical supply stores.
Another effective tool is the applicators for static impact on the affected areas. Devices such as the Lyapko applicator or the Kuznetsov applicator are proven and effective ways to treat pain symptoms and eliminate the causes of the disease. The main rule in the use of such devices is regularity. It is necessary to practice exposure sessions constantly - only then is it possible to achieve a result of steady and pronounced health improvement.
The applicators are based on the principles of reflexology - the impact on the active parts of the body and the launch of the body's self-healing mechanism. Home acupuncture with Lyapko devices and exposure to devices with Kuznetsov devices literally raised some patients.
Other orthopedic appliances are also useful - special sleeping pillows, ensuring the correct positioning of the body at night, mattresses, car pillows and office chairs.
Exposure to a magnetic field, ultrasound, light of a certain spectrum - these are all very effective methods of treating mild and moderate osteochondrosis. Physiotherapy is generally practiced on an outpatient basis in clinics, but it is perfectly possible to use these methods at home.
Devices for magnetotherapy, electrical and ultrasonic neurostimulation and other devices for the treatment of spinal structures are sold in pharmacies and specialized stores. These devices eliminate pain, stimulate metabolism and blood flow and eliminate muscle spasms. These devices can only be used after being prescribed by a physical therapist.
Compresses, rubbing, other procedures of traditional medicine
The following alternative treatments are acceptable:
- Applications with healing clay;
- Compresses of honey, vodka, agave;
- Honey and mustard compresses;
- Propolis lotions, aloe juice and vodka;
- Treatment with bee venom;
- Rub with herbal preparations (the most popular option is a mixture of 2 pods of pepper with vegetable oil).
Phytopreparations can be used in the absence of allergies and after the method has been approved by the doctor.
Modern medicine offers many very effective and safe remedies on a natural basis to eliminate the signs of cervical osteochondrosis. Creams, ointments and plasters of herbal and combined composition are applied externally in the first manifestations of pain and in the rehabilitation therapy phase.