Timely treatment of a disease can increase the chances of a quick and successful recovery. But in any case, it is better not to allow the development of an ailment, especially such a serious one as cervical osteochondrosis.
Definition of cervical osteochondrosis
Cervical osteochondrosis is a fairly common disease that recently increasingly affects younger people. The disease affects the intervertebral discs in the cervical spine. Often, the development of the pathological process of degenerative-dystrophic changes is facilitated by an incorrect body position, for example, due to long work at the computer.
Among other things, the problem can be triggered due to genetic predisposition, poor posture, uncomfortable sleeping place and a sedentary lifestyle. Despite the fact that this type of osteochondrosis develops rather slowly, it tends to progress.
In elderly patients, this disease is mainly combined with other degenerative processes, for example:
- interspinous arthrosis;
- uncovertebral arthrosis and so on.
As for the most characteristic symptoms, first of all, one can note the appearance of acute pains that arise from pinching of nerve endings. Pain is often focused in the lumbar, cervical and back regions. In addition, you can find other syndromes:
- cardiac syndrome- consists of several symptoms that are similar in manifestation to angina pectoris. This syndrome develops during irritation of the roots of the pectoralis major muscle or phrenic nerve. Because of this, a person experiences painful sensations of a pressing nature in the area of the heart muscle, which can periodically arise and continue for several hours. Sneezing or sudden head movements often make the pain worse. Moreover, during painful attacks, no changes in the cardiogram can be detected;
- radicular syndrome- occurs in case of pinching of nerve endings in the cervical spine. At this moment, pain is felt, which can radiate not only to the forearm, shoulder or shoulder blade, but also to the lumbar region. The patient may feel light tingling or more pronounced sensations, depending on how much osteochondrosis is started;
- irritative-reflex syndrome- is manifested by a burning pain sensation in the occiput and neck. Such symptoms often appear after waking up from sleep, during sharp turns of the head, coughing and sneezing. Moreover, pain can manifest itself not only in the shoulder area, but also in the chest area;
- vertebral artery syndromeis one of the typical manifestations of the disease, which is characterized by the occurrence of a burning or throbbing headache, which is more localized in the temporal or occipital region. Often with this syndrome, it is the constant pain that occurs, but sometimes it can arise and subside.
Pay attention!In the presence of symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis, experts note in a person increased fatigue, which can cause hearing and vision impairment.
As for the other main symptoms of the disease, these include:
- Compression of blood vessels, which causes an increase in blood pressure;
- severe headaches that occur due to impaired blood circulation in the brain. This kind of pain can cause the patient to regularly use pain relievers;
- problems with vision and hearing;
- aching, rather severe pain in the neck and shoulders, which can sometimes be exacerbated by sharp and very unpleasant "lumbago";
- grinding and crunching when tilting the head or turning to the sides;
- decrease in muscle strength in the arms due to pain in the chest area;
Important!As soon as the first symptoms of this disease have been noted, it is necessary to seek help from a neurologist as soon as possible.
The main causes of osteochondrosis are the following:
- Metabolic disorders that negatively affect the normal condition of the cartilage in the intervertebral discs.
- Insufficient mobility of the cervical vertebrae, due to which fluid loss occurs, which, in turn, negatively affects the elasticity of the cartilage.
- Microtrauma of the cervical spine, during head tilts, turns and so on.
- Poor heredity, due to which the safety margin of the discs is very small.
The therapy process directly depends on the stage of the disease and is based on an integrated approach. On average, treatment lasts from 1 to 3 months, after which it is necessary to support the elimination of symptoms with preventive measures for another 1 year.
The main treatment is carried out in 2 directions, depending on the patient's state of health and the level of neglect of the disease. As for conservative treatment, this includes taking medications and doing some exercise. Treatment using surgery is carried out only if the conservative did not give any effect.
It is importantto follow a diet and be sure to adhere to the recommendations regarding therapeutic exercises.
Conservative treatment is aimed at relieving pain, restoring and normalizing the functioning of the spine, and preventing adverse changes. In such therapy, a whole range of therapeutic measures is used:
- spinal traction (traction). With the use of special medical equipment, the spine is stretched in order to increase the distance between the vertebrae;
- drug therapy. The use of medicines during this disease is mainly aimed at relieving pain, relieving inflammation and general normalization of metabolic processes in the body;
- physiotherapy. Thanks to such procedures, it is possible not only to reduce pain, but also to improve the effect of taking medications. Such methods are also used during the rehabilitation period. In this case, laser beams, ultrasonic waves, low-frequency current, work with magnetic fields, and so on are often used;
- kinesitherapyand exercise based exercise therapy;
- manual therapy. Such treatment is selected individually for each patient;
- massage. Thanks to massage, you can accelerate blood circulation in tissues, remove clamps and muscle spasms, in general, improve blood supply to tissues of the whole body.
Despite the fact that drugs alone cannot cure osteochondrosis, they can help restore tissue blood supply. Therapy should be comprehensive, only in this case we can talk about the effectiveness of treatment. In addition to taking medications, it is imperative to engage in physical therapy, follow a diet, and give up bad habits.
In the absence of pain or pronounced dystrophic changes, taking medications without a doctor's prescription is inappropriate. The following types of medicines are used to treat this disease and relieve pain:
- means for regeneration, as well as for the prevention of cartilage tissue degeneration: hyaluronic acid and analogues;
- to relieve inflammation;
- preparations for improving tissue blood supply: B vitamins;
- antioxidants: vitamins N, E and C.
Medicines can be prescribed not only as tablets and capsules for oral administration, but also as injections or topical ointments / creams. If there are acute complications, drugs are used to block the nerve endings.
Together with drug therapy, it is very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition. Drink at least 1. 5 liters of water per day.
One and a half liters of water a day is the recommended norm for the health of joints and the whole body.
Naturally, you can also use herbal teas, fruit drinks, dried fruit compotes or mineral water. Coffee, strong black tea, alcohol and carbonated drinks should be eliminated from the daily diet.
The main causes of osteochondrosis are ignoring the requirements of the body, heavy loads and improper nutrition. That is why prevention should be based on the complete elimination of negative effects on the spine and prevention of the onset of pathological changes. For these purposes, it is enough to adhere to the usual rules of a healthy lifestyle (healthy lifestyle):
- only moderate physical activity during sports: exercise in the morning, gymnastics, athletics, if the types of wrestling, then contactless, swimming is an excellent option;
- in the case of a long stay in one position, for example, when sedentary work, it is very important to take breaks, at least once every 45-60 minutes. During this period, you need to give your body 5-15 minutes for a little warm-up, which will restore normal blood circulation. Also, it is very important to pay attention to the correct choice of office chairs or armchairs, giving preference to those that will support the spine, control the correct position of the hands at the table and feet on the floor. Try to independently monitor your posture (your shoulders should be in a relaxed position and your back should be straight);
- it is important to try to control your emotionality in the event that a spasmodic reaction occurs during stress. For these purposes, you need to learn methods of relaxation and systematically attend massage for general strengthening of the body;
- For sleeping, it is best to choose an orthopedic mattress with a flat surface. Of course, it will not be as soft as a feather bed, but its elasticity will ensure the correct position of the body;
- drinking plenty of fluids and proper nutrition helps not only to maintain metabolism, but also to strengthen the overall body:
The mental state also has a negative effect on the condition of the joints.
- in case of need to move or lift heavy things, it is very important to do it as smoothly as possible, without sudden lunges and jerks from the half-squat position. It will not be superfluous to use a special supporting belt;
- an important point is the choice of high-quality orthopedic shoes without high heels, with sufficient foot width. It is also possible to reduce the load on the spine through the timely replacement of worn-out shoes, which is especially important for women. In the summer, at the dacha, the sea, if possible, you need to walk barefoot on different surfaces, thereby strengthening the muscles of the foot.
It is important to rememberthat prevention is much better and easier than subsequent treatment of the disease.
In no case should you start doing physical activities and exercises without a doctor's prescription or before the pain syndrome is relieved. The specialist must first relieve any acute symptoms. In the presence of pain symptoms, gymnastics will be painful.
There are some really effective and simple exercises. They can be performed not only at home, but also anywhere, including work or even on the road.
When starting to perform the exercises, in all cases the initial posture is sitting on a chair, hands folded on the knees:
It's worth starting with a warm-up:
- In the starting position, you need to slowly turn your head to one side until it stops, and then to the other. At this moment, you need to feel how the muscles of the neck stretch. As soon as the neck is turned to one side all the way, you need to turn it a few more degrees as carefully as possible, avoiding sudden movements and fix it in this state for 5 seconds. Experts recommend starting any exercise with a warm-up to strengthen the neck muscles. In each direction, it is enough to perform 5 turns to develop the strength and flexibility of the neck.
- Next, you need to tilt the head so that the ear approaches the shoulder. It is worth noting that at this point, the shoulder must remain motionless. At maximum approach, you need to fix the position. Be careful not to cause discomfort or pain in the actions. It is enough to perform such inclinations 5 times for each side.
Next, move on to the main exercises:
- Now after the end of the warm-up, you can move on to specific exercises that can give a good result. In the starting position, you need to rest your hand on the right temple. Now you need to try to tilt your head to the right side, and the hand at this moment should prevent this. The effort should be such that it was heavy, but the head still gradually tilted in this direction. For each side, 10 slopes will be enough. Naturally, the hand also needs to be changed.
- Next, you need to grasp the occipital region of the head, and creating resistance, try to tilt the head back 5 times.
- Exactly the same exercise must be done in the case of resting the palms on the forehead. Through resistance, you need to pull the chin to the chest. It will be enough for 5 forward bends.
- The conclusion of the workout can be the warm-up of the traps, which is carried out by lowering and raising the shoulders. At the highest point, you need to lock in for a couple of seconds, then lower them and completely relax. Enough for 10 repetitions.
- Finish the exercise by stretching the neck in different directions. This set of exercises must be performed every day. This is a great option for warming up the neck with osteochondrosis.
In addition to strength training, neck flexibility exercises can be included. They will help not only strengthen the muscles of the neck, but also the tendons. Warming up will make your neck more mobile.
The exercises are recommended by specialists not only for osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, but also for all people over 30 years old. The problem is that at this age, muscle fibers lose their flexibility, so it is important to maintain them, along with the overall health of the body.
- The chin must be pulled to the chest and at this moment help the head with your hands.
- Very carefully, with your hands you need to tilt your head to the side to touch the shoulder with your ear.
Only the correct treatment at the first symptoms of osteochondrosis will allow you to cope with this problem as quickly as possible and return to normal life, without pain and discomfort.
Next, you need to perform several circular movements of the head in one direction and then in the other direction. Enough will be 8 turns for each side. The exercise must be done very carefully. For safety reasons, you can hold your head with your hands.