Osteochondrosis and its effect on the blood supply to the causes and manifestations of the disease

Osteochondrosis of the spine has a long pathogenesis of development (from several months to decades). It depends on factors influencing the development of the disease.

  1. Age. At this risk are people of advanced age (over 60). In people under 35 years old, the disease is rare. Due to age-related changes, disturbances in the hormonal background of a person occur, which makes muscle tissue and the walls of blood vessels more porous, and therefore more vulnerable. This provokes metabolic disorders, overloads the intervertebral discs.
  2. Autoimmune diseases that can perceive cartilage as foreign and begin to destroy it.
  3. Spinal injuries. This is one of the main reasons for the development of osteochondrosis in young people. It is believed that more than half of people with spinal injuries at a young age suffer from spinal osteochondrosis in old age.
  4. Overweight, reducing the wear of the intervertebral discs. Cartilage discs serve as a kind of shock absorbers of the spine, which provide its mobility during physical activity, walking, running, etc., and protect bone tissue from destruction and the appearance of microcracks. The severity of excess weight makes the load even stronger, which speeds up the process of destruction of cartilage discs.
  5. Flat feet.
  6. Genetic predisposition.
  7. Diseases of the endocrine system, which provoke metabolic disorders, which in turn negatively affects the state of cartilage.

Osteochondrosis can be in a “sleeping state” for a long time. Many patients learn about the disease in the presence of severe pain, when the dystrophic process in the cartilage tissue has already damaged the nerve roots.

There are such stages of the pathogenesis of osteochondrosis of the spine:

  1. Circulatory disorders in the intervertebral discs and adjacent structures.
  2. Disruption of the hormonal background and metabolism in the body and intervertebral discs, in particular.
  3. Degradation processes of the pulpous nucleus. At this stage, a change in the structure of the intervertebral disc occurs — the core decreases, the disc itself becomes thinner, the load on the fibrous ring increases, which entails various delamination, microcracks, and sometimes ruptures.
  4. Protrusion of the intervertebral discs – protrusion of the tissue of the intervertebral disc, often towards the spinal canal, infringing it, causing severe pain.
  5. Intervertebral hernia. Progression of protrusion leads to the destruction of ligaments, a change in the height and shape of the disk, which in turn provokes the formation of hernias.
  6. Compression of the radicular arteries.
  7. Chronic insufficiency of blood supply to the spinal cord.

As osteochondrosis develops in the intervertebral discs and in the cartilage itself, pathologies arise that subsequently overlap and can provoke the appearance of an intervertebral hernia.

Symptoms can be either general or specific, characteristic of pathological changes in cartilage, intervertebral discs, adjacent tissues.

The very first sign of osteochondrosis should be called aching back pain, numbness of the vertebral sections, limited movement, increased pain during physical exertion.

Specific symptoms of osteochondrosis:

  1. Cervical osteochondrosis is characterized by circulatory disorders, which causes dizziness, pain and tinnitus, and headache. The brain is poorly enriched with oxygen and nutrients, as a result of which a person experiences a stressful state.
  2. Thoracic osteochondrosis, often accompanied by intercostal neuralgia. Pain in the chest and ribs is observed.
  3. Osteochondrosis of the lumbar region provokes the development of diseases of lumbago, lumbosacral (sciatica) and lumbar radiculitis. With sciatica, the sciatic nerve is affected, there is pain and hypotension in the buttocks, as well as hypotension in the calves.

Symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis:

  1. Cervicalgia – pain in the cervical spine. The nature of the pain is varied (dull, sharp, aggravated by tilting the head and body, with coughing), depending on the factor of influence on this part of the spine.
  2. Cervicobrachialgia – pain in the cervical spine, giving into the hand, numbness.
  3. Shoulder-scapular rearthrosis and re-arthritis – pain in the shoulder joint, in the collarbone, limiting the movement of the arm from top to bottom.
  4. Epicondylosis – pain in the elbow joint, limited movement.
  5. Vertebral artery syndrome – the so-called cervical migraine, aching headaches and neck pains, nausea, occasionally vomiting, impaired coordination of movements – staggering when walking, tinnitus.

One of the most common signs of cervical osteochondrosis is a violation of blood circulation, which leads to frequent dizziness, fainting, and headaches.

Symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis:

  1. Thoracalgia – pain in the chest, pain associated with immobility (manifested with prolonged sitting, at night), aggravated by physical activity, deep breath, cough.
  2. Cardial Syndrome.
  3. Syndrome of the posterior chest wall – pain in the area of ​​the shoulder blades, pain sensations depend on the position of the body.
  4. Syndrome of the anterior scalene muscle.
  5. Truncalgic syndrome – pain in the half of the chest.
  6. The aggravation of intercostal neuralgia.

Symptoms of lumbar osteochondrosis:

  1. Lumbalgia – pain in the lower back, backache. The patient feels discomfort when trying to sit or stand up. The pain intensifies with physical activity, cough, deep breath, bends.
  2. Lumbar ischialgia – pain in the lower back, giving in the leg. Paresthesia, numbness of the legs, muscle cramps, joint pain can be observed.
  3. Vascular syndromes – debut with vascular compression, are not accompanied by pain, muscle weakness is observed, cone syndrome is weakness in both feet, pelvic organ dysfunctions.

The symptoms of osteochondrosis in the lumbar region are diverse. This part of the spine is loaded more than others.

At the first back pain, it is necessary to conduct an examination to establish the source of pain. Osteochondrosis is a difficult to diagnose disease, since pain can be caused by other pathologies that are not related to the spine. The patient will need the advice of several specialists: a neurologist, primarily an orthopedist, vertebrologist.

Diagnostic methods for osteochondrosis:

  1. Roentgenography. It is carried out to accurately determine the height of the intervertebral discs or changes in the structure of the vertebrae, changes in the diameter of the holes between the vertebrae. Radiography is most often done in two positions – lying on your back and on your side. Two different projection images allow you to more accurately determine the presence of pathology. Sometimes an x-ray is taken with the lower jaw dropped.
  2. MRI and CT. MRI results are considered more accurate and help to quickly determine the localization of segments that were affected by pathology, the presence or absence of intervertebral hernias, and compression of the roots.
  3. Laboratory tests: a blood test to determine the level of calcium in the blood and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Laboratory studies are prescribed as the very first, longer, already on the basis of these results, the doctor directs to hardware diagnosis.

It is important to differentiate osteochondrosis of the spine in a number of other diseases with a similar clinical picture, for example: neoplasms on the spine of an oncological nature, impaired integrity of cartilage, inflammatory processes, intermittent claudication, cyst formation on internal organs, urolithiasis, gastritis, pyelonephritis, stomach ulcer, angina pectoris, disorders of the nervous system.

The treatment process for any kind of osteochondrosis has one goal – to anesthetize, prevent the destruction and deformation of spinal tissues. Treatment may be conservative or surgical. The type and method of treatment is assigned individually for each patient, based on the diagnosis (stage, type of disease, general well-being of the patient).

In the acute period of the pain syndrome, relaxation and rest are recommended, anti-inflammatory drugs (dicloberl, voltaren), injections of antispasmodic mixtures, vitamin B, grind preparations – diprilif, livestock, etc. are recommended as the pain syndrome weakens, a course of physiotherapy and physiotherapy can be prescribed (diadynamic currents, electrophoresis, magnetotherapy).

The use of conservative treatments lasts about two months. In addition to the listed treatment methods, massages, manual therapy, reflexology, and exhaustion can also be used. The result of conservative treatment directly depends on the persistence and diligence of the patient himself.

There is also a surgical method of treatment, which is used in the presence of intervertebral hernias for more than six months, squeezing the roots of the spinal cord due to a decrease in the gap between the vertebrae. The principle of surgical treatment is to remove the deformed disc. The rehabilitation period after surgery is approximately six months. Rehabilitation includes exercise therapy, physiotherapy, vitamins.

Prevention of osteochondrosis of the spine consists in combating risk factors – maintaining an active way of life, playing sports, eating right, using corsets and special belts for loads on the back, sleeping on orthopedic mattresses and pillows, and avoiding hypothermia and injuries.

Osteochondrosis is accompanied by characteristic symptoms, which include the following:

severe pain syndrome (all, without exception, patients complain of unbearable cutting, acute or lumbar pain in the spine, which are stopped by special medications);

numbness of the lower and upper limbs;

headaches (migraines) that begin in the neck and extend to the temporal and parietal regions;

neck pain, aggravated by any movement;

vertebral artery syndrome;

dizziness, loss of consciousness;

the appearance of flies or colored spots in front of the eyes;

pain in the heart and other nearby organs;

chilliness of the lower extremities;

goosebumps, tingling in the spine;

dryness and peeling of the skin;

increased or decreased sweating;

spasm of the arteries of the feet;

lowering the temperature of the skin of the lower extremities, etc.

Treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine

This means that a person who feels pain in the neck, shoulders, arms, sternum and in the sternum region complains not only to a neurologist, but also to doctors of other medical specialties (cardiologist, therapist, orthopedist), which seriously complicates the initial diagnosis of the disease .

Dystrophic changes in the tissues of the cervical spine are widespread among middle-aged and older people. This is due to the vertical location of the human skeleton and the distribution of static and dynamic loads.

The widespread cervical osteochondrosis is due to the peculiarities of the output of the roots of the nerve endings in the upper part of the spinal column and the mobility of the joints of the neck, bearing the burden of holding the cranium in an upright position.

In modern society, osteochondrosis of the neck is rejuvenated. When examining representatives of different generations with a tendency to this disease, it was reliably established that today’s youth begin to experience difficulties with the spine much earlier in comparison with representatives of the older generation of the family, sometimes even in the teenage period.

People born 60-70 years ago first go to a medical institution for osteochondrosis of the cervical spine in adulthood or even in old age, but people born 20-40 years ago often develop osteochondrosis at a young age. This indicates a significant deterioration in the health of the younger generation, which is associated with a sedentary lifestyle and a decrease in the quality of food.

Osteochondrosis is usually considered in two ways, always in the relationship of physiological (natural aging of the body) and pathological (dystrophic and inflammatory processes) factors:

The physiological process is the inevitable aging of the cartilage of the spinal column, regulated by the neuro-endocrine mechanisms of the body as a result of natural irreversible phenomena;

The pathological process – the destruction of the intervertebral structures and the surrounding vertebrae of the nerve nodes and blood vessels – the less healthy the way of life, the faster the disease develops.

From the point of view of localization of the pathological process:

Physiological changes are located in the center of the intervertebral disc, are accompanied by the replacement of the pulp of the disc with fibrous tissue, are part of the aging process of the body, are not clinically manifested or appear only with irritation of nerve endings;

Pathological changes spread outside the cartilage, always cause irritation of the nerve endings and compression of the blood vessels, which is manifested by local and reflected pain reactions (dyscalgia).

The pathological form of osteochondrosis is a replacement for physiological aging by a pathological process.

The disease can independently be eliminated, compensated and manifested occasionally. This feature is associated with the ability of the body of higher mammals and humans to develop compensatory and protective mechanisms that level pathology. Meanwhile, it is impractical to test the body for strength.

The pathological form of the disease is always associated with the aging of the body, even in young people. Further destruction of the tissues of the fibrous ring without replacing the pulp with fibrous tissue leads to the formation of microcracks, impaired fixation of the vertebrae and the development of symptoms of spinal instability.

Impregnation of the pulpous nucleus with calcium salts;

Injection of vertebral structures into the body of an adjacent vertebra (as a hernia);

Gradual wear of the vertebrae (spondylosis);

Ossification of ligaments (ossifying ligamentoses).

Important symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis are dizziness, headaches, jumps in blood pressure.

This condition does not always clearly indicate osteochondrosis of the cervical spine.

There are no clear criteria for dizziness in osteochondrosis. However, there are systemic and extra-systemic dizziness, they have clear differences.

It is recommended to know the differences between systemic and non-systemic dizziness, this will help to independently determine the causes of an unusual condition:

Systemic dizziness is a feeling of circular movement of surrounding objects or the body, which is a consequence of a malfunction of the vestibular apparatus, visual analyzers and receptors in the joints, muscles and epidermis (osteochondrosis of various etiologies);

Irregular dizziness is a feeling of lightheadedness, a feeling of stunning, insecure state in an upright position. With non-systemic dizziness, there is no sense of circular rotation, and this is an important difference between the compared signs.

A person who feels dizzy of one of these types should be examined by an experienced doctor, first of all, by a neurologist or (if there is a suspicion of an ear and nasopharynx disease) by an otolaryngologist.

The reason for emergency hospitalization, not associated with osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, is the identification of the patient (except dizziness) such signs as:

Paralysis of the facial muscles and numbness of the shoulder girdle;

Severe headache amid deterioration in well-being;

Impaired coordination of movements;

Loss or fading of consciousness.

This is one of the most common non-specific signs of many human diseases. Headaches are especially widespread in the female population. It can be difficult to determine the cause of headaches, and even more so, to connect it with lesions of the spine. About 14 different causes of headaches in humans have been identified.

The most common causes of headache in the pathology we describe:

Cramping of cerebral vessels;

Pinched nerve roots;

Reflex increase in intracranial pressure.

Headache with cervical osteochondrosis may resemble sensations with arterial hypertension, angina pectoris or stroke. Moreover, middle-aged and older people, as a rule, have risks of developing strokes or heart attacks.

Feels like the pain can be paroxysmal, constant, throbbing and dull.

With heart pathologies, patients complain of discomfort in the chest area, accompanied by a violation of the rhythm of cardiac activity. Only a qualified doctor can determine the cause. In case of headaches, combined with nausea, dizziness and chest pain, an ECG is required.

Not always the pain is localized precisely in the area of ​​the head and neck. Other cases of pain localization are known.

Pain in the neck (cervicalgia) can radiate to the shoulder and to various parts of the hands. A distinctive feature of such sensations is the suddenness of attacks after sleep, sudden movements, tensions hardly noticeable to a person, for example, when laughing or sneezing. The pain associated with osteochondrosis, if the process has not become chronic, usually subsides after some short time and is combined with a crunch in the cervical vertebrae.

Without a preliminary examination, pain should not be relieved with the help of manual therapy (massage). In some cases, inept manipulation can only exacerbate pathology, disrupt innervation and lead to disability of the patient.

In intensity, the pain can be moderate or sharp. By duration – both short and long.

Typical sensations described by patients:

Localization of pain deep in the neck;

Sensation of crunching and cracking when trying to turn his head;

Muscle weakness or decreased sensitivity in different parts of the body.

In the cervical region of all mammals, including humans, seven vertebrae and eight pairs of nerve nodes. SCHO can also develop at the border of the cervical and thoracic vertebrae.

It is noted that osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is most often associated with damage to the sixth and seventh cervical vertebrae.

There are tests to determine the localization of the focus of pain impulse. The defeat in the sixth vertebra is supplemented by pain in the thumb, and the defeat in the seventh vertebra is accompanied by pain in the middle finger.

The connection of cervical osteochondrosis with jumps in blood pressure has long been established. The cervical vertebrae have important nerve endings and blood vessels.

Pressure surges during the day are characteristic. Hypertension for a long time is not characteristic of this disease. Reflex irritation of nerve endings and short-term spasms of blood vessels cause a spasmodic diurnal dynamics of arterial hypertension.

A distinctive feature of high blood pressure in cervical osteochondrosis is a combination with the following symptoms:

Pain in the limbs and chest;

Decreased sensitivity in the collar area;

The occurrence of pressure surges after stress, muscle tension, prolonged exposure to an uncomfortable position and other similar situations.

These signs should be taken into account when self-differentiating hypertension of various origins.

Sharp jumps Blood pressure and rapid deterioration of well-being are the basis for seeking emergency medical care.

Numerous observations have found that cervical osteochondrosis has provoking factors, including:

Forced postures in the process of work;

Excessive nervous tension and prolonged stress;

Previous injuries in the neck and neck;

Autoimmune diseases that lead to cartilage degeneration;

Congenital malformations of the spine.

Moderate physical activity, a healthy diet and a good lifestyle significantly reduce the risk of osteochondrosis, or minimize its effect on well-being in old age.

Pain during movement and at rest begins to annoy a person much earlier than the natural period of aging, sometimes it ends with disability or a significant decrease in the quality of life.

Inadequate treatment is just as dangerous as inaction, since in the first case pathology without high-quality treatment is aggravated, in the second, inept therapy can result in sudden disability or permanent deterioration of well-being, because medical manipulations affect the two most important systems of the body – nervous and vascular.

Vertebral or vertebral;

Cardiac or cardiac;

Nerve endings (radicular).

Analgesics (non-steroidal drugs that relieve pain). Usually they are prescribed in the form of tablets or capsules. It should be remembered that most of these drugs cause irritation of the mucous membrane of the digestive tract. Among the modern drugs used to relieve pain in osteochondrosis are diclofenac, piroxicam;

Anti-inflammatory (steroidal). These are hormonal drugs that relieve inflammation and, thereby, eliminate pain. Most often, with osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, tablets and ointments based on hydrocortisone, prednisolone or dexamethasone are used;

Chondroprotectors. An important component of complex treatment is the use of chondroprotectors – for example, the drug Alflutop. Injection form provides maximum bioavailability and speed of action of the drug, which helps to stop the progression of cartilage destruction, relieves inflammation and stimulates the synthesis of hyaluronic acid. Due to the rapid onset of the effect, there is no need for long courses of the drug. Supplementing them with the treatment of arthritis reduces the dosage and duration of NSAIDs.

Muscle relaxants are drugs that relax muscle tone. They are used in surgery and orthopedics, as an aid to relieve pain. Such drugs are administered parenterally, and therefore always under the supervision of a physician. For the treatment of osteochondrosis, drugs from two pharmacological groups are used: glycerol and benzimidazole. There is an extensive list of contraindications;

Vitamins With osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, vitamins are prescribed that have a beneficial effect on the peripheral nervous system and improve conductivity. Water Soluble Vitamins: B1, AT6, AT12, fat-soluble vitamins: A, C, D, E. In recent years, combination preparations containing both painkillers and vitamin components have become more commonly prescribed. One such medicine is Milgamma Compositum. An effective drug consists of B vitamins based on pyridoxine and thiamine, and contains lidocaine as an anesthetic;

Ointments and gels for external use. This is the most affordable group of drugs for home use. They are divided into relieving inflammation, warming and painkillers. Such funds are often advertised, the most popular: voltaren emulgel, nurofen, fastum gel. With cervical osteochondrosis, not all ointments are effective, in addition, because of their availability, they are sometimes used unreasonably and without regard to the characteristics of pathogenesis. Before using any medication, you must undergo a medical examination.

Symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis

The causes of osteochondrosis can serve as hypothermia, sharp turns, during which there is a displacement of the vertebrae, physical overload.

According to many experts who studied this disease, the main cause of osteochondrosis is an improperly distributed load on the spinal column. As a result, in patients directly in places exposed to excessive physical pressure, a change in the structure of cartilage tissue occurs.

As provoking factors of osteochondrosis are:

weak back muscles (there is no muscle corset);

being in an uncomfortable position for a long period of time;

dragging heavy objects;

metabolic disorder (the patient’s body lacks phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, zinc and other useful vitamins, and trace elements);

negative effects on the body caused by chemicals;

general hypothermia of the body;

nervous shocks, stresses;

violation of the hormonal background;

active and power sports;

frequent and sudden changes in body position;

falls, bruises and other types of spinal injuries;

change in core elasticity (gelatinous);

adverse climatic conditions that have a detrimental effect on weather-dependent people, etc.

The cause of prolapse of the intervertebral discs is lifting weights at right angles to the body. Therefore, always take the load, squatting down, this will protect your spine.

This syndrome means that pathological processes are associated with the body of bone and cartilage.

In the case of clinical manifestation, the syndrome consists of three symptoms associated with damage to the bone or cartilage of the vertebrae, namely:

Impaired mobility of the neck;

Pain when trying to turn the neck;

Morphological changes in the vertebral body or in the intervertebral space (the symptom is determined on the radiograph).

These symptoms necessarily combine with each other. In the absence of one of them, vertebral syndrome is also absent – this is a medical axiom. In the presence of pain during head rotation, morphological changes in the tissues of the bones and cartilage of the cervical skeleton can always be assumed, and indirect signs (a change in the sensitivity site) can determine a specific vertebra or group of joints involved in the pathology.

The complexity of the diagnosis of vertebral syndrome lies in the fact that a similar clinical picture (limitation of neck mobility) can also be detected with damage to the neck muscles (myositis), and the main symptom of the syndrome – pain with an active change in the position of the neck – is often the result of other pathological processes in the human body.

This syndrome means that pathological processes are associated with the vertebral arteries supplying the brain. The manifestation of symptoms should be considered in direct connection with a violation of the blood supply to the brain and tissues of the cervical spine.

The syndrome consists of several symptoms. The main ones are related to:

Insufficient blood flow in one of the trunks due to compression of the artery (tinnitus, stunning, dizziness, pressure surges, nausea and vomiting);

Irritation of the nerve endings of the artery (severe pain and migraine or vice versa, numbness, decreased sensitivity, temporary unilateral blindness or “flies” in the eyes);

Oxygen starvation (drowsiness, fainting, mild aching headache, decreased performance and concentration, depression).

This syndrome can develop not only with osteochondrosis, but also with other pathologies (deposition of atherosclerotic plaques on the inner wall of blood vessels, squeezing the vessel with tumors, inflammatory infiltrate, and so on).

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Cardiac syndrome

Signs of this syndrome resemble disturbances in cardiac activity, angina pectoris, and even a condition preceding a heart attack. The syndrome includes the following symptoms:

Pain and burning in the sternum;

Shortness of breath, weakness and fatigue;

The main methods of differential diagnosis of pathologies of the cardiovascular system and osteochondrosis are the ECG method and functional tests. On the ECG, a shortened ST segment is noted, with angiography, the absence of atherosclerosis. It is difficult to exclude cardiac syndrome in osteochondrosis, and this requires a long study.

Radicular syndrome

The clinical manifestation of this syndrome is associated with one of eight pairs of roots of the spinal nerves innervating the cervical spine. Unilateral damage to the body is characteristic.

The syndrome is associated with impaired nerve conduction: with pain, or, conversely, with semi-paralysis (paresis), paralysis and decreased sensitivity.

Conductivity disorder is characterized by the following symptoms:

The first or second roots – numbness or, conversely, pain in the occipital region;

The third pair of roots – numbness of the tongue and the area behind the ears, difficulty chewing food, a feeling of fullness of the tongue;

The fourth pair – pain in the clavicle, hiccups, difficulty swallowing, as in the case of angina;

Fifth pair – violations are felt in the shoulder area in the form of difficulty in moving hands;

Sixth pair – discomfort in the shoulder blades and forearm;

Seventh pair – numbness in the hands and, in particular, the index and middle fingers;

The eighth pair – leads to difficulties in owning the ring fingers and little fingers on the hands.

In practice, single vertebrae are very rarely affected, more often several pairs of nerve roots are involved in the pathogenesis, so the syndromes are mixed up and confuse the clinical picture. It is advisable for the patient to listen to his own body on his own.

Conservative treatment (drug and non-drug);

Combinations of conservative and operational techniques.

Let us dwell on the classical methods of therapy. Knowledge and competent use of simple techniques, including physiotherapy, massage and self-massage, greatly facilitates the well-being of a person experiencing neck pain with osteochondrosis. In the case of long-term degenerative processes, it is better to undergo an examination in a hospital or on an outpatient basis, and only after that apply medical procedures.

If it is not possible to undergo examination, it is recommended to use gentle methods, for example, to perform exercises aimed at hydration – saturation of the inter-articular space with fluids by improving blood supply to the neck and neck.

Therapeutic gymnastics with the correct performance of exercises works wonders. Many methods have been proposed, but they are all based on enhanced nutrition of cartilage and bone tissue. The principle of exercise therapy is to restore blood supply in the damaged area of ​​the body.

It is forbidden to rotate and bend the head strongly during exercise therapy, only imitation of such movements is allowed. This method has proven effective despite its apparent simplicity.

The correct use of exercise therapy is the use of physical exercises without:

Long loads on the joints of the neck (one set of exercises is performed no more than 2 minutes);

Turns, bends and rotations of the neck (such exercises exacerbate pathological processes in the joints and intervertebral discs).

Shallow (shallow) head bends are shown, which do not lead to joint movement, but increase blood flow to them. Such inclinations in movement resemble a barely noticeable nod of the head, meaning the answer is yes. After some time, after about 30 minutes, the movement repeats, resembling the answer “no.”

You can also perform exercises that simulate the movement of the head forward (limiting the frontal part of the head with your hand) and backward (limiting the movement of the head with your hands in the back of the head).

Massage should be done carefully, without power loads. Inadequate, unprofessional massage can end in disrepair. Movement should extend to the cervical spine, collar and part of the back.

Massage is performed in the supine position, in extreme cases, in a sitting position.

The techniques are based on the following techniques:

Stroking. Effects on the surface layers of the skin. With the palms of the hands or fingertips from the head and lower to the upper third of the middle of the back. Stroking from the base of the neck can also be zigzag;

Squeezing. Exposure to the deeper layers of the skin in the upper third of the back. Fingers (thumb and forefinger) across the neck carry out movements to capture the skin, reminiscent of squeezing. This is done carefully; tissues close to the vertebrae are not involved;

Trituration. The purpose of the procedure is to warm the skin and increase blood flow in the collar zone. It is carried out extremely carefully. Impact on the spinous processes of the vertebrae is not allowed. Rubbing can be replaced with movements resembling sawing, or circular strokes;

Kneading. It is of limited importance, since it affects very deeply lying tissues, which can aggravate the pathology.

Self-massage with cervical osteochondrosis is performed while sitting in a comfortable position. Use stroking methods, circular grinding in the neck or shoulders. It is advisable to combine the self-massage method with rubbing various ointments that enhance blood flow and relieve pain in the kneading area.

This is a simple plastic device that has spikes that act on areas of the skin. A person lays on spikes or applies them to the body, thereby causing irritation of the skin receptors responsible for the physiological processes in the body.

In some cases, the applicator helps and permanently reduces pain caused by cervical osteochondrosis. In addition, the device sometimes improves a person’s performance, has a beneficial effect on skin turgor, normalizes sleep and blood circulation, and restores joint mobility.

Contraindications to the use of the Kuznetsov applicator are infectious, tumor, skin and vascular diseases. Before using the device, the patient should consult with the attending physician or independently test this simple device on himself with the help of short-term applications of the applicator and observation of well-being.

Orthopedic pillows for sleeping are an effective means of prevention. In many cases, osteochondrosis is aggravated due to additional squeezing of the cervical artery and nerve roots during sleep on an uncomfortable pillow. An orthopedic product provides a uniform horizontal position of a person during sleep and, thereby, guarantees a physiologically complete blood supply to the brain.

Degrees of osteochondrosis

Modern medicine defines four degrees of osteochondrosis:

At the first stage, it is very difficult to identify this disease. Patients do not have pronounced symptoms, they experience a general malaise, which is easily confused with other diseases. Often in the first stage of osteochondrosis, people experience discomfort in the back, but they associate it with overwork, physical exertion, difficult working conditions and therefore do not respond to the body’s alarm signal in a timely manner. This disease is sluggish and often in a latent form. In most cases, osteochondrosis at the first stage is detected by chance, during a comprehensive examination of the patient (radiography, magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography).

The second stage of osteochondrosis is accompanied by pain, as the patient begins the process of destruction of cartilage tissue. If the patient is not prescribed complex therapy, his intervertebral crevices will decrease too quickly and compression of the nerve endings, lymphatic vessels and blood arteries will occur. Pain at this stage of osteochondrosis is stopped by special medications. The disease begins to cause discomfort to patients, so they are forced to turn to medical facilities for help.

The third stage of osteochondrosis is accompanied by fixed changes in the spine. In this category of patients, scoliosis, kyphosis, lordosis develops, a hump forms, etc. Constructive treatment will, if not return, significantly improve the condition of the spine and minimize existing defects: curvature, hump, etc.

The fourth stage of this disease is accompanied by irreversible changes in the human spine. It will be difficult for the patient to move around, because even with the slightest movement with his body he will experience excruciating pains. He will have a seal of the cartilaginous tissue and displacement of the vertebrae, and pathological proliferation of bone tissue will form in parallel. Very often, at this stage of osteochondrosis, patients become disabled.

The consequences of osteochondrosis

Osteochondrosis is a dangerous disease that can cause muscle atrophy or disability. Most patients complain of persistent pain that can only be controlled with medications or injections.

Currently, unfortunately, there are people who prefer to engage in self-medication, which very often leads to serious consequences. They turn to narrow-profile specialists as a last resort, when they have developed a hernia or a pinched nerve. If the patient does not receive constructive treatment, then his condition of the intervertebral discs will gradually worsen.

First of all, a protrusion will be formed, which is a protrusion of the pulpous nucleus. In case of its bulging, the patient will have serious violations. After the destruction of the fibrous ring, the next stage of osteochondrosis will begin – the appearance of an intervertebral hernia.

In parallel, the patient develops bone tissue of the vertebrae, sclerotic plaques appear inside the vessels. When the vertebral arteries begin to squeeze, the brain ceases to receive the necessary nutrition, as a result of which the blood pressure and oxygen supply are disturbed.

In patients who have been diagnosed with the advanced stage of osteochondrosis, a violation of heart rhythm, respiratory and swallowing functions is often observed. Complications also develop in the form of impaired hearing and vision, coordination of movement, etc.

Worst of all, along with osteochondrosis, other diseases begin to appear in you. The fact is that the neurovascular bundle is damaged, the blood supply is deteriorating, as a result – a disease of the whole organism as a whole. People with metabolic disorders are most susceptible to this disease.

Complications of osteochondrosis

Most often, the course of this disease is accompanied by neurological complications:

  1. Stage. Complications caused by protrusion – sharp pain shooting through.
  2. Stage. Sciatica, which are characterized by pain syndromes and other symptoms, depending on the location of radiculitis.
  3. Stage. Pathology of the roots and spinal nerve, the presence of intervertebral hernias. Often there is paresis of the muscles, causing paralysis of the whole body.
  4. Stage. Impaired blood circulation and blood supply to the entire spinal cord. Symptoms: persistent severe back pain, paralysis of certain muscle groups, ischemic stroke of the spinal cord.

What to do during an exacerbation of osteochondrosis?

The time of exacerbation of this disease in most cases falls in the fall and spring, when the human body becomes most susceptible to temperature fluctuations and colds. Against the background of adverse climatic conditions in the spine, inflammatory processes can develop, the result of which is severe pain.

When osteochondrosis is manifested, patients need to follow certain recommendations of specialists:

enroll in a swimming pool;

stop playing sports (only physical therapy is allowed under the supervision of an experienced instructor);

exclude hypothermia of the body;

be at rest, eliminate stress and nervous shocks;

do not use heating pads and other warming procedures (it is recommended to wrap the damaged area with a warm scarf or a special belt made of dog hair);

You can do a light massage, with the use of special (analgesic) creams;

start taking medications prescribed by the attending physician (the specialist usually prescribes complex therapy, which combines drugs that relieve pain with medications of a restorative plan);

take vitamins (vitamins of group B, which can be taken orally or as an injection, are especially necessary in such a situation);

it is recommended to wear a special collar that will help relieve the load on the cervical spine;

if the pain syndrome cannot be stopped, the patient is prescribed surgical treatment.

In most cases, exacerbation of osteochondrosis lasts for 7-10 days, the most acute period is 3-5 days. If after following the recommendations the patient continues to experience pain, he should contact a medical institution or call an ambulance.

Can osteochondrosis be cured?

Many people who have dystrophic lesions of the intervertebral discs are interested in the question: can osteochondrosis be cured and how to do it? Specialists of the world’s leading clinics involved in the treatment of this disease claim that if osteochondrosis was detected at an early stage, then in most cases it is possible to fully restore the functionality of the spine.

If a patient visits a medical institution at stages 3 or 4 of the disease, then doctors can only improve his condition, since entering this phase of development, osteochondrosis provokes the formation of bone growths and a change in the shape of the spine. At these stages, a positive result can only be achieved with surgical treatment.

After such therapy, patients begin periods of remission, which they can lengthen on their own if they adhere to the recommendations of the attending physicians:

avoid stressful situations;

eat right and rationally;

engage in swimming and physical therapy;

reduce the load on the musculoskeletal system;

normalize sleep, etc.

Which doctor treats osteochondrosis?

Treatment of osteochondrosis, like any other disease, begins with a diagnosis. During the examination of the patient, palpation and collection of medical history, a specialist (vertebrologist, neurologist or orthopedist) prescribes a set of necessary procedures: laboratory and hardware examination. After a set of diagnostic measures, the doctor can make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe the most effective treatment.

Osteochondrosis is currently being treated medically, surgically and physiotherapeutically. Physical therapy and a special diet bring great benefit in the treatment of this disease. During treatment, patients are advised to observe bed rest in order to minimize the load on the musculoskeletal system, in particular the spine.

It is best to use a hard surface instead of a soft mattress. First of all, specialists stop the pain syndrome. After this, anti-inflammatory and decongestant drugs are prescribed. It is allowed to use ointments, creams and gels that relieve pain and inflammation. In parallel, the doctor prescribes medications that relax the muscles, improve blood circulation, and help restore cartilage.

Healing mud and mineral waters have a beneficial effect on the spine (today there are a large number of sanatoriums and hospitals located in resort areas where patients are treated in this way). If the patient has no contraindications to massage (he has not revealed benign or malignant neoplasms), he can be visited by the massage room.

A course of reflexology will help the patient get rid of the pain syndrome, improve the body and relieve tension in the muscles. If none of the above methods yields the desired result, patients undergo surgical treatment of osteochondrosis. The purpose of the surgical intervention is to stabilize the structure of the spine, remove the intervertebral hernias or completely affected discs, and also eliminate the factors that put pressure on the spinal cord. Due to the fact that surgical treatment of osteochondrosis is associated with a greater risk for the patient, operations are performed in emergency cases.

In the treatment of osteochondrosis, patients are recommended to engage in physical therapy. Moderate physical activity, under the watchful supervision of an experienced instructor, has a beneficial effect on the musculoskeletal system. In patients involved in physical therapy, metabolic processes are normalized, spinal mobility is gradually restored, a muscle corset is created, etc.

Today, in the treatment of osteochondrosis, specialists use various methods of physical therapy, which are intended for a specific section of the spine. Daily exercises for patients should begin in groups, and after studying the program, you can perform a set of exercises at home.

During physical therapy exercises, patients who are diagnosed with osteochondrosis must perform certain exercises daily:

By tilting the head forward, the patient should press on the forehead with the woven fingers of his hands. After this, you should press: on the occipital region, on the left and on the right temple.

The patient should press on the forehead with the tips of four fingers. Making smooth movements, one should, as it were, stretch the skin for 45 seconds. Such stretching can be performed in different directions (with their help, blood circulation is restored).

The patient should sit on a chair or on the floor, keeping his back straight, and slowly lay his head back. Hand should gently push the chin in the following direction: up, down. After this, slowly turn the head to the right and left.

Sit on a chair and try to reach your chest with your chin. During this movement, you should cross your arms and put them on the back of the head, and then slightly press. In this position, it is recommended to sit no more than 1 minute. After that, you need to perform movements with your shoulders, lifting them up and down, trying to reach your ears.

Patients diagnosed with osteochondrosis are advised to self-massage.

Experts have developed several techniques that will help patients stop the pain syndrome and bring the muscles to tone:

Light stroking of the spine with one or both hands.

Kneading muscles in the neck, lower back and thoracic spine. Patients should make pinching or circular movements, slightly pushing the fingertips on the affected area.

Kneading back muscles with palms (circular movements of the palms are made).

Rectilinear kneading of the trapezius muscles (pinching movements can be done).

Longitudinal and coracoid squeezing along massage lines.

Rectilinear grinding of gaps between ribs.

Treatment of osteochondrosis involves a comprehensive drug therapy, the purpose of which is to relieve pain and eliminate pronounced symptoms. Specialists, in the treatment of this category of patients, prescribe medications with the following properties: relieve inflammatory processes, restore the function of the musculoskeletal system, stimulate tissue regeneration of the intervertebral discs and cartilage, and prevent the progression of osteochondrosis.

The modern pharmacological industry offers groups of drugs that effectively treat this disease:

Sedatives (Gidazepam, Donormil, Eglonil, etc.);

muscle relaxants (Sirdalud (Tizanidine), Midokalm, Cyclobenzaprine, Baclofen, etc.)

for restoration of cartilage tissue (Oseoartizi, Teraflex);

vitamins of group B, D, E, A, C calcium, phosphorus;

Vasodilating drugs (Xanthinol nicotinate, Pentoxifylline, Eufillin, Trental), etc.

With spinal osteochondrosis, chondroprotectors, which have a cumulative effect, are prescribed to frequency patients and begin to have a beneficial effect on the human body after a certain period of time. The attending physician, including such drugs in the course of drug therapy, prescribes chondroprotectors for patients for 2-3 months.

With the complex treatment of osteochondrosis, experts prescribe the following chondroprotectors:

Chondrolone, Mucosate, Structum, Chondroxide and other drugs based on chondrotin sulfate;

Alflutol, Rumalon and other chondroprotectors made on the basis of marine organisms;

Arteparon and preparations containing mucopolysaccharides;

Arthron Flex, Don, etc., made on the basis of glucosamine;

Formula-C, Teraflex, Arthron complex and other combined preparations, which include vitamins, chondrotin and glucosamine;

other chondroprotectors with anti-inflammatory properties.

Injections for osteochondrosis can be divided into several categories, depending on the therapy:

Injections with chondroprotectors. These are injections with chondroitin and glucosamine. They prevent further damage to the intervertebral disc and facet joints, reduce the intensity of the pain syndrome and the inflammatory process as a whole. Recommended for maintaining healthy joints. Such injections include Chondrolon, Don, Elbon, Alflutop, Arthrosan, Rumalon, Arteparon and others.

Analgesics. Of the analgesics, Baralgin and Analgin (Metamizole sodium) are the most commonly prescribed. Injections have a one-sided effect – eliminate pain, while not affecting the degenerative-dystrophic process itself. Their use is justified for pain of high intensity, when no other means are at hand.

Antispasmodics. The most effective of myotropic antispasmodics in osteochondrosis is Midokalm. Injections of the drug are aimed at eliminating a spasm of skeletal muscle in the spine, which contributes to a noticeable reduction in pain. The action of Midokalm is to block pain receptors in the affected muscle fibers, as a result of which impulses to the spinal cord are disturbed. The effect of Midokalm lasts for some time, during which the body manages to return normal muscle tone to muscle fibers and use its own defense mechanisms from pathology. The dose of Midokalm is 1 ml. Injection is performed twice a day.

NSAIDs. The doctor prescribes anti-inflammatory non-steroid drugs, it all depends on the nature of the pain, its strength, the severity of the lesion, the presence of concomitant diseases.

With osteochondrosis, especially in the acute stage, patients are prescribed a course of non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory injections:

NSAID injections have several actions simultaneously:

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Svetlana Borszavich

General practitioner, cardiologist, with active work in therapy, gastroenterology, cardiology, rheumatology, immunology with allergology.
Fluent in general clinical methods for the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, as well as electrocardiography, echocardiography, monitoring of cholera on an ECG and daily monitoring of blood pressure.
The treatment complex developed by the author significantly helps with cerebrovascular injuries and metabolic disorders in the brain and vascular diseases: hypertension and complications caused by diabetes.
The author is a member of the European Society of Therapists, a regular participant in scientific conferences and congresses in the field of cardiology and general medicine. She has repeatedly participated in a research program at a private university in Japan in the field of reconstructive medicine.

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