With osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine, the symptoms and treatment of the disease will be discussed further, the person's mobility is limited, the ability to lead a normal life. Almost half of all patients have complaints of pain in this part of the back. According to the results of Poll Options Are, lumbar osteochondrosis is in second place after respiratory diseases.
If until recently the age-related degenerative processes were considered the main cause of pathology, now many more factors causing the disease have been clarified. Before starting therapy, you need to understand what osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine is.
The disease is a pathological change in the intervertebral discs, accompanied by dystrophy of the ligaments, destruction of the bodies of the vertebrae themselves. It is the lumbar region that suffers most of all, since it experiences a tremendous load when lifting weights in a sitting position.
Signs of osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine are increasingly manifested in young people who are barely 30 years old. It is impossible to start the disease, since complications are fraught with disability, paralysis of the lower extremities.
Lumbar osteochondrosis main symptoms
Lumbar osteochondrosis is a deforming pathology, which in most cases is a natural aging process. But high physical activity on the spine, metabolic disorders, abuse of harmful products and alcohol accelerate this process.
The first signs of pathology do not appear immediately, so therapy does not always start on time. With osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine, the symptoms are as follows:
- pain is more often aching in the first stages and acute at 2-3 stages of the development of the disease (with any sudden movements, discomfort becomes stronger, and during bed rest it goes away);
- with osteochondrosis, sensations of weakness appear in the legs (tendon reflexes are lost in the lower extremities, which is clearly visible during neurological tests);
- curvature of the lumbar part;
- violation of urination and defecation (depending on where the spinal cord was pinched).
Additional symptoms of lumbar osteochondrosis can also be identified: a feeling of numbness in the lower back, dryness and peeling of the skin, a change in its shade (it turns blue). Sweating increases in the area of the buttocks. One of the signs of osteochondrosis in men in the lumbar spine is considered to be an erectile dysfunction.
With osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine, symptoms vary in severity. Some manifestations can be combined into syndromes.
|Ischemic||Here, signs of lumbar osteochondrosis appear due to damage to the blood vessels. The arteries begin to spasm (the process becomes permanent over time). This condition is characterized by pain in the muscles of the lower leg and thighs while walking. If the blood vessels are pinched and spasmed for a long time, then the nutrition of the pelvic organs is disturbed, as is their functionality. In women, the pathology causes problems with the menstrual cycle, the ability to conceive a child, urination|
|Vertebral||It is characterized by pain of varying intensity and localization. It arises after the load on the lumbar spine: tilting, lifting heavy objects. If a herniated disc occurs, then the person may lose sensitivity in the legs. In this case, changes in the spine occur: posture changes, the person slouches, gait becomes problematic|
|Radicular||The vertebrae become unstable, compressing not only the nerve roots, but also the blood vessels. A symptom of the syndrome is pain at the site of pinching of the endings. Unpleasant sensations spread to the buttocks and legs. A person has an increase in muscle tone, he is forced to change his gait. In the absence of treatment for osteochondrosis, the nerve roots become inflamed. This condition is accompanied by edema of the body tissues surrounding the spine. The blood begins to stagnate, the process of intoxication begins. With radicular syndrome, pain is observed in other joints. In addition to these symptoms, a feeling of "goose bumps" appears in the lower back (lower back). In especially difficult cases, patients can no longer move independently|
People suffering from osteochondrosis of the lumbar part of the back must undergo a full examination to find out how severe the disease is, and to determine the therapy regimen.
Degrees of lumbar osteochondrosis
Lumbar osteochondrosis develops gradually. There are such stages of pathology progression:
- First. In this case, the nucleus pulposus, which is located inside the disk, begins to move and change. Cracks appear on the fibrous ring. The nerve roots become irritated, which is signaled by back pain. At this stage of osteochondrosis, discomfort is still local in nature, that is, symptoms are felt only in the area of the damaged disc. Sometimes it is a lumbago, but at the first stage of development, there is often a constant dull pain. The discomfort in osteochondrosis increases after the load on the lumbar spine.
- Second. Here the destruction of the fibrous ring occurs. The mobility of the damaged vertebrae increases, while the muscle tissue becomes tense. The distance between them decreases, they can move relative to each other. It becomes more difficult for a person to move, as he quickly gets tired, feels severe discomfort in the lumbar part. The pain spreads to the thighs, legs, buttocks. The person sweats more.
- Third. At this stage of the disease, the pain intensifies many times, because the fibrous ring ruptures. In this case, the nucleus pulposus leaves its place and a hernia forms. The patient feels acute pain and lumbago when the tissues and nerve roots are compressed. The discomfort becomes constant and unbearable. The work of internal organs is disrupted.
- Fourth. Deformation of the spinal column occurs. It is very difficult for a person to move, but the pain symptom becomes less pronounced. This does not mean at all that the pathology is no longer developing. This state is a signal that a person will soon sit in a wheelchair. In addition, in the area of the damaged disc, osteophytes grow, aggravating the condition even more, the muscles atrophy.
If the development of the disease is not controlled and therapy is not started on time, the vertebrae will simply collapse and restore them without a risky and difficult operation will not work.
What to do in case of an exacerbation of the disease
Lumbar osteochondrosis is a difficult disease that is better not to be brought to the last stage. It quickly becomes chronic, since even the most effective treatment can only stop the development of pathology or slow it down.
If there is severe pain in the back area, and a person cannot move normally, this indicates an exacerbation of the pathological process. Most often it occurs in those patients who do not follow the recommendations of doctors. If an exacerbation has occurred, a person should follow these rules:
- It is better to completely abandon physical activity for the time it takes to restore normal body functionality. It is better to lie in a comfortable position that does not cause discomfort. It is good if the patient uses a hard mattress, since the body in this case (the lumbar region in particular) does not sag.
- A semi-rigid corset can be used to minimize the load on the back. It will restrict sudden movements.
- To reduce the severity of pain in osteochondrosis, you need to slowly bend the leg at the knee on the affected side. This will help relieve muscle tension and relieve pinched nerve tissue.
- In difficult cases the applicator can be used, but it must be used with care. The procedure is carried out twice a day for 30 minutes.
- After a massage that gradually restores normal blood circulation and muscle tone, you should use an anti-inflammatory ointment.
Warm up the affected area on the first day after the onset of an exacerbation. Dry heat is applied only on the second day, when the peak of pain has passed. Otherwise, tissue edema will increase, and the condition of the patient with osteochondrosis will worsen.
Lumbar osteochondrosis requires a serious approach and complex therapy. It becomes easier for the patient if he takes the right drugs, performs the exercises prescribed by the doctor. To choose a therapy regimen, the patient needs to be examined. The following diagnostic methods stand out:
- X-ray. If the lumbar joints are affected, assessment by x-ray is considered the main one. The picture is taken in several projections. On it you can see the damage to the discs, the state of the spinal canal. Each projection must be perpendicular to the previous one.
- MRI or CT. The presented procedures help to more accurately identify what factors triggered the development of osteochondrosis, in what condition are not only the vertebrae, but also soft tissues, blood vessels, nerve endings. At the same time, the person does not feel any discomfort.
- External examination with palpation of the damaged area and neurological tests.
Only a thorough diagnosis will determine whether a person really develops osteochondrosis.
Treatment of lumbar osteochondrosis
If the therapy of lumbar osteochondrosis is not carried out, the patient develops such complications as protrusion, spondyloarthrosis, hernia, inflammation of the sciatic nerve, narrowing of the spinal canal, and dysfunction of the pelvic organs. The person also begins to limp, he has paresis and paralysis of the legs.
Treatment of osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine sets itself several tasks. First, you need to eliminate the inflammation that causes pain in this disease. Naturally, it is necessary to stop the unpleasant symptoms themselves, as well as strengthen the muscle corset in the lumbar region, lower extremities.
The therapy should relieve swelling and soft tissue spasm. The patient is prescribed means and procedures designed to improve the functionality of organs, regulate blood circulation, restore metabolic processes in the body, and also expand the range of motion. Since osteochondrosis of the lumbar regions of patients will be treated for a long time, you need to choose those methods that will give a good effect and cause a minimum of harm. Medication, alternative treatment, physiotherapy, LF and other methods are used.
In advanced cases, when the development of the disease has reached the last stage, lumbar osteochondrosis requires surgical intervention. The help of a surgeon is necessary in the presence of complications that impair the functionality of organs, a vertebral hernia. An emergency operation is performed if there is a threat of developing paralysis of the lower extremities.
The most effective intervention is to remove the damaged disk. Also widespread is the microsurgical method of treating osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine using an endoscope. This procedure is less traumatic for the patient and allows him to recover in the shortest possible time.
With lumbar osteochondrosis, symptoms (they are treated in different ways) can be eliminated with the help of physiotherapy procedures. Useful:
- diadynamic currents;
- electrophoresis and phonophoresis;
- magnetic therapy;
- laser treatment.
Physiotherapy procedures will give the maximum benefit in combination therapy, in combination with medications.
Treatment of lumbar osteochondrosis will not be effective without performing a complex of exercise therapy prescribed by a doctor. All exercises are aimed at improving the mobility of the lower back, strengthening the muscle corset, and increasing the stability of the spine. The complex must be performed regularly.
The doctor usually prescribes the following exercises: bending in different directions, in a standing position, walking on all fours back and forth, tension of the abdominal muscles in the supine position.
It can be carried out only after the exacerbation has been eliminated or during remission. Thanks to the procedure, you can achieve not only relaxation of spasmodic muscles, but also their strengthening. The massage is more effective after the bath. It should be carried out by a specialist, applying the correct techniques: stroking, rubbing. The procedure cannot be carried out if there are open wounds on the back, a person has been diagnosed with dermatological diseases or problems with blood circulation.
Manual therapy solves the same tasks as massage, but uses slightly different techniques. You can't trust your spine to an amateur. An experienced specialist is required for the procedure, who will not harm.
In the treatment of osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine, drugs cannot be dispensed with. When choosing them, the general condition of the body, the stage of development of the disease, matters. To combat osteochondrosis, there are the following most effective groups of drugs:
- NSAIDs-These drugs eliminate the inflammation itself and the pain that accompanies it. They relieve swelling, normalize body temperature.
- Muscle relaxants-These medications are prescribed by a doctor and are used only when NSAIDs have failed. Muscle relaxants help relieve muscle spasms.
- Chondroprotectors-They keep the cartilage in good condition without allowing it to break down. But they are effective only if this layer is not completely erased.
- Steroid anti-inflammatory drugs. They are appointed last in the most advanced cases.
- Multivitamins and B vitamins - The presented preparations help to improve the functionality of the NS.
- Antidepressants (to restore the patient's emotional background).
- Novocaine blockade with Hydrocortisone. They are placed directly inside the part of the back where the pain comes from. Blockades are done infrequently, as they are capable of provoking muscle atrophy.
- Preparations for improving blood circulation and microcirculation.
Topical medications - ointments - have good efficiency and a minimum of side effects. If the patient uses folk remedies for therapy, the drugs must continue to be taken.
Prevention of osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine
Osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine can be prevented if you follow the simple rules of prevention:
- avoid hypothermia and infection;
- do not lift heavy objects;
- bags to be worn alternately on both shoulders;
- observe the drinking regime and eat properly;
- keep body weight within normal limits;
- timely treat congenital or acquired skeletal pathologies;
- go in for swimming, move more, do a complex of gymnastics for the lumbar region every day;
- undergo regular medical examinations.
Basic care of your own health will help to avoid complications of lumbar osteochondrosis, and there are many of them, and it is difficult to cope with them.