Dystrophic changes in the intervertebral discs are called osteochondrosis. This problem can occur in a person at any age; dysfunction of the intervertebral discs leads to the development of many serious concomitant problems. How to prevent the development of cervical osteochondrosis? What medications and alternative therapies are used in treatment?
Cervical osteochondrosis - what is it
The cervical spine consists of 7 vertebrae and 8 paired nerve nodes. Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine develops against the background of the degeneration of the intervertebral pulp into glassy tissue. In this case, pathological changes affect the endings of nerve fibers and important vessels. Most often, pathology affects the 7th and 8th vertebra.
The disease is carefully disguised as other pathologies, manifested by attacks of headache and discomfort in the neck. Patients may complain of dizziness, nausea, and pressure problems. Most often, the disease is confused with problems of the heart and blood vessels.
Important! Often, against the background of problems with the vertebrae, a person begins to suddenly lose consciousness, feels a lack of air, and the tongue may become numb.
Cervical osteochondrosis is most often diagnosed in people after 30 years of age, which is caused by the peculiarities of the location of the human skeleton, constant statistical and dynamic loads. The disease is rapidly growing younger, recently, osteochondrosis occurs even in adolescents.
Causes of the disease
The development of osteochondrosis is influenced by physiological and pathological processes. They are closely related to each other, in medical practice they are always considered together.
Physiological changes are caused by irreversible age-related processes in the cartilage of the spine. They are localized in the central part of the intervertebral disc, manifest as pinching of the pulp by fibrous tissues. Discomfort occurs during irritation of the nerve endings.
Pathological changes - in this case, the area of inflammation extends beyond the cartilaginous tissue, causing severe irritation of the nerve endings, pinching of blood vessels. They arise against the background of improper nutrition, a sedentary lifestyle, appears in adolescents and people of the middle age category.
Important! In rare cases, osteochondrosis of the cervical spine can disappear on its own, or manifest itself in the form of short-term episodes. The human body has many compensatory and protective functions, which for some time can neutralize pathological changes in cartilage.
- sedentary work, lack of regular physical activity;
- frequent forced stay in an uncomfortable position;
- nervous overload, stressful conditions;
- neck and occiput injuries;
The cause of osteochondrosis can be congenital anomalies, autoimmune diseases.
Cervical osteochondrosis is not always manifested by pain in a specific part of the spine, often the disease has a blurred clinical picture.
The main symptoms are dizziness, migraine, sudden changes in blood pressure.
When urgent hospitalization is needed:
- numbness, loss of mobility of the muscles of the face or shoulder girdle;
- increasing headache, which is accompanied by a deterioration in overall well-being;
- lack of coordination;
- loss of consciousness.
Pain in the cervical spine often radiates to the shoulder girdle and upper limbs. A distinctive feature is that the pain syndrome is paroxysmal, most often after waking up, sudden movements, during laughter, coughing and sneezing.
If osteochondrosis is in the initial stage, the pain quickly subsides, almost always accompanied by a crunch in the neck, the muscles become weak, the skin loses sensitivity.
Important! With pathological changes in the 6th vertebra, pain syndrome can be observed in the thumb of the hand, with damage to the 7th vertebra, it affects the middle finger.
Symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis in women appear later than in men - the average age is 50–55 years.
How osteochondrosis is associated with other diseases
Cervical osteochondrosis and blood pressure - the connection between these pathologies has long been established. For osteochondrosis, it is precisely the sharp drops in pressure during the day that are characteristic, persistent hypertension is not inherent in this disease.
Increased pressure in osteochondrosis is accompanied by migraine, noise in the head, pain in the arms, legs, chest. At the same time, the sensitivity of the skin in the collar region is noticeably reduced, stress can provoke a jump in pressure, prolonged stay in an uncomfortable position.
Cervical osteochondrosis and dizziness - occurs against a background of severe pain syndrome, impaired cerebral circulation and transmission of nerve signals, problems with the vestibular apparatus.
With osteochondrosis, non-systemic dizziness is most often manifested - there is no feeling of rotating objects, but the person is very sick, it is difficult for him to stay upright.
Important! With frequent attacks of dizziness, it is necessary to visit not only a neuropathologist, but also an ENT, in order to exclude the presence of pathological changes in the nasopharynx.
Headache accompanies osteochondrosis in almost 90% of cases. It occurs against the background of vascular spasms, pinched nerve endings, increased intracranial pressure. It manifests itself in different ways - pulsating, dull.
Headache attacks in osteochondrosis are similar to sensations in high blood pressure, angina pectoris, heart attack, stroke.
Panic attacks occur with osteochondrosis on the background of cerebral circulation disorders. At the same time, a person experiences unreasonable fear, physical discomfort. The duration of the attack is from 2-3 minutes to an hour, they can be repeated several times a day. Panic attacks are accompanied by a feeling of a heavy head, incessant tears, lethargy, and lethargy. With severe attacks, it is required to take tranquilizers, regularly visit a psychiatrist.
Fears and depression occur with osteochondrosis against the background of constant pain, a forced change in the usual way of life.
People with osteochondrosis may experience pain in the back of the head, chest, arms - such a blurred picture of the disease significantly complicates the initial diagnosis.
Hinders timely diagnosis and uncontrolled intake of painkillers by people. A person feels healthy without pain. Seeking medical help late, when irreversible processes develop in the tissues of the cervical joints.
Important! Only a neurologist deals with the treatment of osteochondrosis.
External examination is to identify mobility and soreness in the neck. After that, the doctor prescribes X-rays in several projections and computed tomography. If a hernia is suspected, a magnetic resonance imaging scan should be done. Doppler ultrasound is done to assess the condition of the arteries and blood vessels.
Principles of Drug Treatment
Drug treatment is aimed at eliminating pain, inflammation, returning normal mobility and blood circulation.
Main drug groups:
- analgesics in the form of tablets and injections are intended to eliminate pain syndrome;
- non-steroidal and steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs;
- chondroprotectors help restore cartilage tissue;
- muscle relaxants relax muscles, are used as auxiliary agents to relieve pain - they contain glycerin, benzimidazole, have a large list of contraindications;
- vitamin complexes - must contain all vitamins of group B, D, E, retinol, ascorbic acid;
- artificial analogs of histamine - help to eliminate problems with the vestibular apparatus;
- means for external use in the form of gels, ointments - help to improve blood circulation, relieve spasms and pain, warm, relieve pain.
Important! Vitamins contained in food are not enough to treat osteochondrosis.
Drugs that improve cerebral circulation in cervical osteochondrosis are a mandatory component of therapy, they dilate blood vessels, improve blood flow. Nootropic drugs that improve metabolic processes in the brain, restore memory and thinking.
Surgery for osteochondrosis is rarely used. An operation is indispensable for signs of paralysis of the upper extremities, acute disturbance of blood supply and cerebral edema.
Additional treatments include massage, push and pull manual therapy, dosed traction, relaxation techniques and acupuncture.
How to treat osteochondrosis at home
Home treatment involves the regular implementation of special exercises, the use of special orthopedic devices. As a supportive therapy, you can use traditional medicine recipes.
The Shants collar is designed to eliminate tension in the spine, reduce stress, strengthen the neck muscles. The head and neck are fixed in the correct position, which allows you to get rid of insomnia, prevent the progression of pathological changes. You need to wear a collar not all day, but 2-3 hours before bedtime.
Self-massage will help eliminate pain and cramps, while rubbing in ointments that improve blood flow. The procedure should be done while sitting, the posture is comfortable, relaxed. It is necessary to do stroking, circular rubbing, to touch not only the neck, but also the shoulder girdle.
Important! With cervical osteochondrosis, any kind of heating is prohibited, except for a bath and a sauna.
Healing baths relieve pain and inflammation well, they allow the spine to relax. Water procedures should be carried out every other day, the course consists of 15–20 procedures.
- Mix 150 g of chamomile and mint, the mixture brew 5 liters of boiling water. Leave the infusion for 2 hours, filter.
- Take 20 g each mint, lemon balm and birch leaves. Brew the collection in 6 liters of boiling water, filter after 2 hours.
- To prepare sage infusion, you need 300 g of herbs and 5 liters of boiling water. The healing solution will be ready in 2 hours.
For oral administration, you can prepare an infusion of yarrow - this will help quickly eliminate inflammation, cramps and pain. Brew 230 ml of boiling water 6 g of grass, leave in a closed container for an hour. Take 15 ml 3 times a day.
A solution of 15 g of sea salt and 1 liter of water helps to cope well with osteochondrosis. Bring the mixture to a boil, cool completely. In the composition, moisten natural fabric, apply on the back of the neck.
With timely diagnosis and proper treatment, cervical osteochondrosis proceeds without any particular complications. Otherwise, severe pathological changes develop that can cause disability.
Why is cervical osteochondrosis dangerous?
- vertebral artery syndrome - functional and organic changes that are caused by impaired blood circulation in the brain;
- high blood pressure, arrhythmia;
- numbness, weakness, muscle atrophy of the upper limbs;
- protrusion, hernia;
- neurological disorders.
Physiotherapy exercises for osteochondrosis
Exercise therapy for osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is able to restore nutrition in damaged tissues, restore blood circulation.
During remedial gymnastics, it is forbidden to strongly rotate the head, make sharp bends. Only imitation of such movements is allowed. You can do a set of exercises for no more than 2 minutes - prolonged loads can lead to a complication of osteochondrosis.
An effective set of exercises for cervical osteochondrosis was developed by Shishonin. The principle is that all movements must be done smoothly, each position must be fixed for 15-30 seconds. During gymnastics there should be no painful sensations, each exercise should be repeated 5 times.
Description of exercises:
- Sit up straight, tilt your head to the right. When muscle tension appears, fix the position. Make 5 slopes on each side.
- Bending the head forward and backward is done by analogy with the previous exercise.
- Stretch the chin alternately to the left and right shoulder. The back is straight, you cannot round it.
- Turns of the head to the left and to the right, in each position to linger for 30 seconds.
- Continue to make side turns, but use additional arms. When turning to the right, the right hand should be on the left shoulder, and vice versa.
- Close your palms, raise your arms above your head, make turns to the sides.
- Straighten your arms, take them to the sides and slightly back, stretch your chin forward.
Prevention of osteochondrosis consists of simple steps, if done regularly, serious health problems can be avoided. Especially prevention is necessary for the elderly and those who spend a lot of time sitting.
How to prevent osteochondrosis:
- take a hot shower every day for at least 10 minutes;
- regularly visit the bathhouse, sauna to eliminate spasms and tightness in the neck;
- sleep on an orthopedic pillow and a special mattress;
- do a small five-minute warm-up every hour while seated.
The best sports for the prevention of osteochondrosis are swimming, yoga, aerobic exercises, special gymnastics to strengthen the cervical muscles.
People at risk are prohibited from running, jumping, or bodybuilding. The critical weight is 10 kg, weights should be carried on two hands. Additionally, you can use a corset that protects the spine.
Sergei Bubnovsky describes well the preventive measures for osteochondrosis. In his book, you can find out which back pains are dangerous, how to restore health without injections and corsets, and find a set of special exercises.
Cervical osteochondrosis is a disease that can affect everyone. Timely diagnosis and prevention, a healthy and active lifestyle will help to avoid the development of serious pathological changes in the spine, will give you good health and excellent mood.