Osteochondrosis is a degenerative disease of the spine, which manifests itself in the deformation of bone tissue and intervertebral discs.
The first symptoms may appear around 20-30 years, but more often the disease becomes noticeable around 40 years. It is divided into three categories - lumbar, thoracic and cervical spine osteochondrosis.
Reasons for development
The causes of the onset and development of cervical osteochondrosis are divided into the following factors:
- hereditary predisposition to the disease;
- impaired metabolism, intoxication of the body, infectious diseases;
- overweight and increased stress on all parts of the spine, including the cervical;
- lack of fluids, vitamins or microelements, poor quality nutrition;
- spinal injuries, bruises, fractures;
- climatic or environmental conditions that adversely affect the body;
- incorrect posture, curvature of the spine;
- flat feet, wearing high-heeled shoes;
- sedentary, sedentary lifestyle;
- high activity, requiring frequent changes in body position;
- frequent physical activity in the spine;
- being in an uncomfortable position for a long time;
- stressful situations, nervous overload.
The appearance of osteochondrosis is often associated with professional activities. Constant physical activity, high level of mobility, as well as sedentary work are the main risk group.
Another category of people prone to cervical osteochondrosis is formed due to objective and external conditions of exposure. Heredity, climate, frequent hypothermia - all contribute to an additional load on the spine. It also includes malnutrition and a lack of necessary substances that can prevent osteochondrosis in the cervical spine.
Incorrect sleep position, prolonged immobility, especially in an uncomfortable position, wearing uncomfortable shoes - all of this is another risk group. This also includes pregnant women, especially when carrying several children or an underdeveloped musculoskeletal system.
Stages of development of osteochondrosis
The development of osteochondrosis is divided into four stages. The initial is characterized by the development of the pathology of the nucleus pulposus. Lack of moisture and stress in the cervical spine lead to deformation of the vertebrae and intervertebral discs, and fibrous cracks appear.
Symptoms are usually absent at this stage. Its manifestation is reduced to a small pain during the prolonged uncomfortable position of the body, as well as some discomfort during active movement.
At the beginning of the second stage of cervical osteochondrosis, the height of the intervertebral discs decreases. This leads to a decrease in the distance between the vertebrae, sagging muscles and ligaments.
At this stage, the mobility of the affected vertebrae increases. This is expressed in expressive painful sensations with certain movements and positions. The discomfort can also manifest itself under certain loads.
In the third stage of development of cervical osteochondrosis, prolapses and protrusions of the intervertebral discs are formed. Often, the disease is accompanied by dislocations and arthrosis of the corresponding joints.
This stage of cervical osteochondrosis is usually accompanied by stiffness in some movements. Lack of mobility also manifests itself, tingling and numbness are felt in the limbs. The neck pain becomes distinct.
The fourth stage of cervical osteochondrosis is characterized by an attempt by the body to independently correct the increased mobility of the vertebrae. In the places of their contacts, osteophytes are formed, with the aim of trying to fix the desired position of the spine.
These bone formations usually lead to nerve compression. Fibrous ankylosis begins to develop in the intervertebral discs and joints. When the nerve endings are pinched, the symptoms of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine intensify. However, if there are no tweezers, the signs of the disease may disappear completely.
The symptoms of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine at different stages manifest themselves in different ways. Many patients in the early stages do not seek medical help.
Cases in which consultation with a specialist is required include the following signs:
- obsessive, not disappearing at night, pain in the neck, in the eyes and ears, in the neck and in the shoulder girdle;
- frequent pain in the arms, aggravated by physical effort, muscle weakness;
- Difficulty moving hands, decreased sensitivity and mobility of hands and fingers;
- numbness, burning, tingling in the hands and feet;
- in the morning, there is tension in the neck muscles, a feeling of "laziness" and little mobility of the neck;
- pain when turning and tilting the head, periodically there is a throbbing pain in the neck and neck;
- headache appears, located in the occiput and spreading to the crown and temples;
- frequent dizziness, darkening of the eyes, fainting can occur with a sudden turn of the head;
- tinnitus, appearance of "flies" before the eyes, decreased visual and auditory acuity, numbness of the tongue;
- heart pain, the intensity of which depends on posture and is not relieved by nitroglycerin;
- connective tissue growth in the cervical spine.
The intensity of the symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis can manifest in different ways. Much depends on the location of the complications - depending on which vertebrae the nerve endings are compressed in, the symptoms will also be different.
If symptoms of osteochondrosis do not allow you to live and work fully, consult a doctor.
If pronounced symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis are found, they seek a local therapist. It can help determine the source of the pain and provide referral to a neurologist for further evaluation. A neurologist, depending on the diagnosis, is referred to more restricted specializations.
The vertebroneurologist deals with all problems in the treatment of the spine. A chiropractor can also help determine the diagnosis. In case of acute pain, they are referred to a trauma surgeon.
The osteochondrosis diagnostic process can be performed manually.
However, one of the following special procedures is used for the final diagnosis:
- x-ray of the cervical spine; myelography;
- neurological examination for limb sensitivity and reflexes;
- computed tomography of the cervical spine (CT);
- nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR);
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Doppler ultrasound or duplex scan can be prescribed to identify the state of the vessels in osteochondrosis of the cervical spine. It should be noted that only a suitable specialist can diagnose the disease.
Self-diagnosis and treatment of cervical osteochondrosis are not allowed.
How to treat cervical spine osteochondrosis?
The treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is prescribed in the form of complex therapy.
The following methods are included in the general procedure:
- taking drugs that eliminate symptoms and promote recovery;
- physiotherapy - procedures with water, electrophoresis and other methods allow you to influence the spine in the right way;
- Therapeutic gymnastics is considered an integral way to treat osteochondrosis of the cervical spine.
During the treatment, highly specialized alternative techniques can also be used - reflexotherapy, massage and manual therapy, osteopathy, hirudo and apitherapy.
The main aspect of the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis is the integrated approach. Depending on the stage of the disease, the main course can last from 1 to 3 months. In addition, restorative and strengthening therapy is prescribed, which can last for another year.
In the event of an exacerbation of osteochondrosis, first aid is usually reduced to medication. For severe pain, use standard painkillers.
If the effect of these drugs is absent, they turn to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs, however, can have a negative effect on the gastrointestinal tract. Without consulting a doctor, its use is allowed only in extreme cases.
The intensity of pain in osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is also relieved with anti-inflammatory analgesics.
In case of osteochondrosis exacerbation, physiotherapy exercises are not used - the load can lead to an even greater complication. If the disease has already been diagnosed and treatment prescribed, follow your doctor's recommendations. Therapy usually includes a number of tools used to eliminate symptoms urgently.
If this is the first manifestation of the disease - do not postpone the visit to the doctor. Medications can relieve pain, but a thorough diagnosis and treatment will be needed to prevent relapse.
The main cause of cervical osteochondrosis is stress in that part of the spine. They can be expressed both in prolonged immobility with an uncomfortable posture, and in very intense mobility with a poorly developed musculoskeletal system.
Given this aspect, gymnastics and physical exercises are the key therapy in the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis. You can do them in the morning and during the day, some can be done at work.
The whole complex of actions aims to strengthen the musculoskeletal system, improve blood circulation and restore mobility of the vertebrae. Gymnastics can be used not only for treatment, but also for the prevention of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine.
Sitting and standing exercises
Gymnastics for the treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine in a sitting and standing position includes the following actions:
- the palm of the hand is placed on the forehead, pressed against it with the head, opposing the resistance of the hand to the pressure, the procedure is repeated 3-4 times for 7-10 seconds;
- a similar process is done with the back of the head - the head is pressed into the opposite palm, tightening the neck muscles;
- then the procedure is performed in the same way with the right and left sides of the head, placing the hand on the temple;
- as an alternative to the hand for the same exercises, you can use a wall, in this case lean against it with your forehead or neck and press for a few seconds;
- the head is thrown backwards, overcoming the tension in the neck muscles, slowly bending forward until reaching the sternum with the chin, repeat 5-6 times;
- stand (sit) erect, rotating the shoulders, slowly turning the head as far as possible to the right and to the left, repeat 5-6 times;
- the chin is lowered to the neck, in this position the head is also rotated slowly to the left and to the right 5-6 times;
- the head is tilted slightly backwards, tilted to the left and right, trying to reach the corresponding shoulder with the ear, perform 5 times.
The exercises for the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis are repeated regularly. It is especially relevant for a sedentary lifestyle or for a long time in an uncomfortable position.
The circular movements of the head are not suitable for carrying; such exercises can cause neck injuries.
The supine exercises for cervical osteochondrosis consist of the following actions:
- lie on your back, stretching your legs, then pull them up to your chest, holding them with your hands, slowly lift your head, touching your knees with your forehead, and then slowly return to your original position;
- the arms are wide open to the sides and, lifting the body, reaches with the right palm with the left and vice versa;
- lying on your stomach with your legs and arms extended, lift your head and shoulders, leaning on your lower body;
- in the same position, the head is rotated left and right, each time returning to the original position.
The lying exercises for the treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine are performed 4-5 times, the last - 8-10. In the course of carrying out any action, they monitor the sensations; if pain occurs, the intensity of the load is reduced.
In the treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, the use of medications aims to eliminate the symptoms of the disease. Its supporting role is focused on reducing pain, replacing vitamins and increasing tissue regeneration.
The drugs used to treat cervical osteochondrosis are divided into the following categories:
- anti-inflammatory; antispasmodic
- medications to improve blood supply;
- increased regeneration of cartilage tissues.
In the treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, the general list of prescription drugs includes pills, ointments, creams, in some cases, injections are also prescribed. In case of significant pain, drugs are used to relieve pain and block nerve endings.
In the absence of pain and destructive changes, taking medication can be completely unnecessary.
In the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis, traditional medicine also offers an integrated approach. In addition to decoctions and tinctures, ointments based on herbs and products are used. Compresses are also made.
The main objective of treatment with folk remedies is to warm the affected area, in addition to providing the body with the necessary vitamins for recovery.
The use of prescriptions should be coordinated with the doctor - some may interfere with the prescribed drugs or procedures.
Decoctions and tinctures
The following decoctions are prepared for oral administration in the treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine:
- celery root is chopped on a grater, 3 grams are poured with a liter of boiling water, insisted for 8 hours, filtered, consumed before meals three times a day, one teaspoon;
- The sunflower root is finely ground, a glass of raw material is poured with three liters of water, boiled for half an hour, taken after meals in small quantities, helps to remove salts from the body;
- 2 tablespoons of milleft are poured into boiling water, infused for 30-40 minutes, drinks a tablespoon three times a day, used as anesthetic, anti-inflammatory and sedative;
- 3 tablespoons of burdock are crushed, poured with 250 grams of boiling water, pressed for two hours, a spoonful of honey is filtered and added, a quarter of a glass is drunk 4 times a day before meals;
- with a meat grinder, grind 3 large pitted lemons, 4 cloves of garlic, pour the mixture with two liters of boiling water, drink on an empty stomach, previously shaking the bottle.
Lotions and compresses are actively used in the treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine:
- sprinkle cottage cheese with vinegar, mix and compress the wound, wrap it in a warm tissue, you can leave it overnight;
- add one gram of propolis, 50 grams of aloe extract, powdered mustard to half a liter of vodka, soak the sauce with a solution, fix and leave overnight;
- a potato is passed through a grater, mixed with two tablespoons of honey, rubbed in a wound and wrapped in a warm scarf for the night;
- a tablespoon of eucalyptus is poured with a glass of water, boiled for 5 minutes, a tablespoon of honey is added, the mixture is applied to the wound for two hours.
The following recipes are used to rub sore spots with osteochondrosis of the cervical spine:
- the mother and stepmother's flowers, along with the stems, are poured with ammonia, can remain in a dark place for a month, are used to lubricate the wound;
- preparing a mixture of ginger juice and pharmacy marigold tincture, for sensitive skin is diluted in water in the proportion of 1: 1, used to rub before loading, helps to relieve inflammation and improve blood circulation;
- half a packet of butter is mixed with a tablespoon of flour and an egg, then a spoonful of vinegar is added, the mixture is infused for several days in a dark place, the resulting film is thrown away, thesolution is used to grind in case of acute pain.
In the case of cervical osteochondrosis, massage can be an integral part of a complex therapy. In this case, referral to a specialist is prescribed by the neurologist himself. In the case of an independent decision about massage, it is recommended to first consult a doctor.
In view of the specificity of the disease, massage with osteochondrosis of the cervical spine should be treated with caution. The procedure is prescribed only with diagnosed disease, as indicated by the doctor and the presence of pain in the neck.
Massage contraindications for cervical osteochondrosis:
- there are tumors in the body, regardless of location;
- active tuberculosis;
- unhealed venereal diseases;
- skin diseases at the site of inflammation, including blemishes, warts, cracks, abrasions;
- for diseases of the circulatory system, massage is included in therapy at the discretion of the physician;
- aneurysms, ostiomyelitis.
If the procedure is assigned by an expert, no action is necessary.
Self-massage for osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is performed taking into account clear instructions and rules:
- capture area - from the hair growth zone to the level below the shoulders;
- you can act with one or two hands simultaneously, depending on the convenience;
- a certain sequence of actions must be followed.
The massage procedure for osteochondrosis of the cervical spine includes the following steps:
- for half a minute, with your palm firmly pressed, caress the skin in the area of inflammation;
- the movements are continued with pressure with the tip of the palm or with the tips of the fingers;
- the fingers continue to rub, pulling the skin from the sides to the spine;
- the skin is already wrinkled with the capture of the muscles, the movements are maintained at an intense level, but without painful sensations;
- To conclude, repeat the first action by gently rubbing your palm.
It is recommended to repeat each action 6 to 7 times, over time, it takes half a minute of movements without haste. With osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, self-massage can be difficult, so they turn to friends or relatives for help. However, an expert remains recommended.
The complex treatment of cervical osteochondrosis includes dietary nutrition. It is focused on improving metabolism, in addition to saturating the body with the necessary minerals and vitamins that contribute to the restoration and regeneration of tissues.
The basis of the cervical spine osteochondrosis diet includes:
- dairy products and fermented dairy products;
- low-fat poultry meat, fish;
- fresh vegetables and fruits;
- nuts and seeds; cereals
Recommended recipes for osteochondrosis of the cervical spine include fish and meat jellies, meat with gel, aspic dishes. Pay attention to the use of virgin olive oil. Apply without heat treatment. The food itself is preferable to boiling, baking or steaming.
Meals should be divided 5-6 times. For adequate absorption, it is recommended to drink half a liter of liquid per day. Preference is given to pure and mineral water, dried fruit jams, unsweetened fruit juices and herbal teas.
For osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, limit consumption of the following products:
- flour and confectionery;
- fatty foods, strong meat broths;
- spicy and salty foods or condiments;
- sugar and fruits with a high sugar content;
- canned foods, smoked products;
In osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, consumption of strong black tea, coffee, alcoholic and carbonated beverages is also limited.
Complications and dangers
Advanced cervical osteochondrosis can lead to the following complications:
- herniated intervertebral discs;
- protrusion and kyphosis;
- radiculite, salt deposits in the column;
- effusion of the spinal cord;
- atrophy of the limb due to insufficient blood supply, paralysis.
The risk of complications in cervical osteochondrosis arises in the absence of treatment for the disease. Lack of medical care, non-compliance with the prescribed course of treatment, disregard for recommendations - all of this causes new pathologies and can culminate in the patient's total disability.
Contraindications for osteochondrosis
If cervical osteochondrosis is suspected of developing or if the disease has already been diagnosed, the following actions are not allowed:
- to lift and carry weights - loads on the spine do not contribute in any way to the treatment;
- to be actively involved in sports - running, walking, swimming are useful, however, excessive loads with simulators will only make the situation worse;
- leading an immobile lifestyle - a prolonged absence of movement, heating, walking outdoors has a detrimental effect on the general state;
- overeating - often osteochondrosis of the cervical spine develops due to excess weight, it is not worth contributing to the worsening of the condition;
- consume too much salt and alcohol - salty and spicy foods, as well as alcoholic products, should be totally excluded from the diet;
- careless movements and crushing of the joints - such actions usually bring relief, however, they wear and deform the contact surfaces of the vertebrae;
- sleeping on a high pillow - in this position, the muscles are tense all night, which only complicates the disease;
- sleeping in a soft bed - with osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, it is recommended to rest on the floor or on boards;
- wear uncomfortable shoes, wear high heels - the lack of total support increases the tension of the spine, often causing it to become deformed.
In addition, with osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, self-diagnosis of the disease and self-medication are not allowed. The course of therapy must be prescribed and monitored by a specialist. Without it, recovery is not worth waiting for, in most cases there will be complications.
Folk healers should be avoided, there is no need to define and lengthen the spine. These actions can result in serious injuries and complications. Popular recipes are also used only after consultation with an expert.
The causes of cervical osteochondrosis, in most cases, are associated with an incorrect lifestyle.
To prevent and prevent such a disease, attention is paid to the following aspects:
- exclude hypodynamics - many sports are suitable for this, including walking, running, skiing, swimming, cycling, as well as gymnastics and regular exercise;
- during “seated” work, attention is paid to posture (straight back, relaxed shoulders), standard arm and leg position, as well as spine support on the side of the seat;
- while holding the stationary position for a long time, pause every 45 minutes to warm up and restore blood circulation;
- an elastic mattress, preferably orthopedic, and a pillow not too high is chosen for sleeping;
- when lifting weights, the load is distributed to the legs and arms, it is preferable to lift the weight from a half squat, avoid shaking;
- follow the diet - a correct diet and fluid intake support metabolism and provide the body with the necessary trace elements.
Relaxation is also referred to as preventing cervical osteochondrosis. Stress and nervous tension must be avoided, often the development of the disease is associated with psychosomatics. Regular visits to the masseuse are recommended.