Cervical osteochondrosis

pain in cervical osteochondrosis

Osteochondrosis is a form of degenerative disease of the joints and intervertebral discs. Osteochondrosis affects the cartilaginous tissue of the discs. As a result, the disc hardens and shrinks, losing cushioning properties and causing severe pain.

symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis

Cervical osteochondrosis is a progressive degenerative-dystrophic process that leads to depletion, deformation and destruction of the intervertebral discs of the cervical region. The loss of shock-absorbing cartilage causes pain both due to the exposure of the articular surfaces (spondyloarthrosis) and due to compression of the nerve roots of the spinal cord.

In the absence of timely treatment, ossification of the spine is possible with the loss of its natural flexibility, impaired blood supply to the brain, deterioration of nerve conduction in those parts of the body that innervate the roots of the cervical spine.

Pathology can develop both independently and as part of a general lesion of the spine, covering the thoracic, lumbar and sacral regions.

General information about cervical osteochondrosis

It is believed that osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is more common than in other departments. In fact, this is not so - dystrophic phenomena develop evenly at all points of maximum load - in the area of \u200b\u200bthe main bends of the spinal column (the lower the department is located, the greater the load it bears). However, the symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis are more pronounced, so they seem to be a more frequent occurrence. This is due to the high mobility of the vertebrae of the neck, which at the same time hold the head, as well as the peculiarity of the location of the outlets of the roots of the spinal cord.

On a note!According to statistics, the disease affects more than 60% of middle-aged and older people. However, recently there has been a rejuvenation of the pathological process - pathology occurs in young people and even in adolescents. This is due to the general computerization of study and work, as well as a decrease in physical activity and a deterioration in the quality of nutrition.

Taking into account the age audience, 2 forms of cervical osteochondrosis can be distinguished - physiological and pathological.

physiological processassociated with the natural aging of the body, when the symptoms of the disease are a consequence of the gradual wear of the intervertebral discs. The process occurs under the influence of the endocrine system and is a consequence of menopausal changes. The destruction of cartilage structures starts from the center of the intervertebral disc and is accompanied by a gradual replacement of cartilage tissue with fibrous tissue. The pathology is irreversible, but can be compensated for by special medications.

Pathological processassociated with abnormal destructive changes in the body - immune, dystrophic, inflammatory, metabolic. First of all, pericartilaginous tissues are involved - salt deposits appear on bone structures, nerve roots become inflamed, atrophy or hypertonicity of the skeletal muscles occurs, which leads to impaired blood circulation in the head-neck-chest region. With timely diagnosis, the pathology is treatable and ends with the complete restoration of the healthy function of organs and tissues.

Stages of cervical osteochondrosis and their symptoms

There are 4 main stages of the pathological process:

  • Stage 1 - is expressed by slight discomfort and muscle strain in the diseased area, cartilage discs lose their stability;
  • Stage 2 - there is local pain, especially when moving the head. The intervertebral discs are deformed, the fibrous ring begins to collapse, the distance between the vertebrae is reduced;
  • Stage 3 - the pain intensifies and becomes constant, movements are limited. Turning the head can provoke bouts of dizziness, nausea, impaired blood supply to the brain leads to general lethargy, fatigue, impaired concentration, cartilage becomes thinner, the vertebrae close, the fibrous ring is completely destroyed with the risk of intervertebral hernia;
  • 4th stage - pain syndrome completely immobilizes the neck area; the blood circulation of the brain is impaired and requires constant medical support; the vertebrae begin to grow together.

Cervical osteochondrosis: signs, symptoms, treatment of pathology

cervical vertebrae injury

In the first stages, osteochondrosis is asymptomatic. As the disease develops, a distinctive feature becomes the presence of painful or uncomfortable sensations in the head, neck and chest, less often in the upper limbs.

All possible symptoms can be conditionally attributed to 4 types of syndromes: cardiac, vertebral, radicular (nervous) and vertebral artery syndrome (with circulatory disorders).

Vertebral Syndrome:

  • crunch in the neck when turning / tilting the head;
  • as the disease progresses, soreness and difficulty in movement occur;
  • morphological structural disturbances in the vertebral body and intervertebral space (visible on x-rays).

Cardiac Syndrome:

  • shortness of breath, weakness;
  • feeling of incomplete inspiration, lack of air;
  • spontaneous phenomena from the cardiovascular system - angina pectoris, retrosternal pain, burning;

radicular syndrome:

  • numbness of the tongue, shoulders, fingers, occipital region;
  • difficulty swallowing;
  • discomfort in the area between the shoulder blades;
  • headache in the occiput and forehead.
curvature of the cervical vertebrae

vertebral artery syndrome:

  • unreasonable jumps in blood pressure;
  • dizziness, up to loss of consciousness;
  • tinnitus, feeling of cotton wool in the head;
  • temporary one-sided blindness, "flies" in the eyes;
  • periodic bouts of nausea, especially when moving the head;
  • headaches - mainly in the back of the head, as well as migraines;
  • drowsiness, decreased performance, memory, concentration, depression.

Attention!All of these syndromes must be combined with each other. The absence of symptoms of one of them may be the reason for differential diagnosis with other groups of diseases.

Causes of cervical osteochondrosis

Dystrophic phenomena in the region of the cervical spine are associated with the vertical position of the skeleton and the specific distribution of static and dynamic loads, which largely depend on the prevailing posture and the degree of development of skeletal muscles.

  • lack of movement - what does not develop - degrades: muscles weaken, tissues are destroyed;
  • incorrect static postures - muscle clamps lead to circulatory disorders with subsequent tissue dystrophy;
  • lack of nutrition or an unbalanced diet - the body must receive everything necessary for the construction and renewal of bone and cartilage structures of the skeleton, maintaining muscle tone;
  • obesity, overweight, carrying heavy loads - the load on the skeletal structures increases;
  • constant nervous tension and nervous stress;
  • hypothermia of the cervical region - "cold", "puffed out" - provokes hidden inflammatory processes;
  • the presence of autoimmune diseases involving cartilage leads to its premature destruction;
  • endocrine pathologies interfere with mineral metabolism, reduce the absorption of calcium, silicon, phosphorus and other elements of bone and cartilage tissue;
  • neck injuries;
  • congenital anomalies of the spine and adjacent muscles.

Diagnosis of cervical osteochondrosis

diagnosis of cervical osteochondrosis

The diagnosis of "osteochondrosis of the cervical vertebra" is made difficult by the low specificity of symptoms and a wide variety of their manifestations. During the examination, you will need to consult a neurologist, surgeon, orthopedist, cardiologist.

A physical examination is carried out by a doctor with a questioning of the patient. The main diagnostic load lies on instrumental and laboratory research methods.

  • radiography of the cervical region; at the initial stage of the process, MRI of the cervical region will be more informative - it will provide high-quality visualization of hard and soft tissues - it will show the condition of the intervertebral discs, the presence of osteophytes, deformities, damage to the nerve roots and blood vessels; assess the condition of ligaments, muscles, bone tissue; shows the dynamic state of soft tissues;
  • dopplerography of the vessels of the neck will help assess hemodynamics and the degree of damage to blood vessels (in particular, the state of the vertebral artery);
  • contrast myelography - will help with suspected infringement of the nerve processes;
  • ECG and echocardiography of the heart are used in the differential diagnosis of cardiac syndrome with cardiovascular diseases.

How to treat cervical osteochondrosis

A complex of therapeutic measures is formed taking into account the stage of the disease (acute, chronic), the degree of damage and the causes of the pathology. Use conservative treatment, surgery, a mixed approach.

conservative impact

It is a gradual restoration or compensation of damage against the background of symptomatic treatment. Includes drug therapy, physiotherapy, exercise therapy and massage methods.

Medical treatment:

  • painkillers - mainly gels and topical ointments; in severe cases - general painkillers in the form of tablets;
  • anti-inflammatory drugs - NSAIDs, as well as corticosteroids (short course if necessary);
  • drugs to improve microcirculation and blood circulation in general;
  • chondroprotectors - means for protecting and restoring cartilage tissue;
  • muscle relaxants - to eliminate muscle clamps and spasms;
  • vitamin and microelement complexes - necessary for nutrition and support of tissues with building elements.

As acute symptoms subside, physiotherapy, exercise therapy and self-massage methods are connected.

Physiotherapyimproves the nutrition of cartilaginous and bone tissues. due to the restoration of blood supply in the damaged area. In order to avoid complications, it is recommended to use the method of isometric movements, when instead of real turns and tilts of the head, which can cause damage, their imitation is used.

Attention!All actions should be performed only after diagnosis and consultation with a doctor.

The technique allows you to develop and strengthen atrophied short muscles of the neck and stabilize the position of the cervical spine. The sequence of basic exercises:

  1. Place the palm of your right hand on the side of the head - for 10 seconds, press your palm on the head, while tensing the muscles of the head and neck for resistance - the head should remain motionless.
  2. Lower your hand, relax the muscles of the head and neck as much as possible for 20 seconds.
  3. Repeat the exercise with your left hand.
  4. Place both hands on your forehead with your palms - for 10 seconds, press on your forehead, as if trying to tilt your head back, while tensing your neck muscles to resist movement. The head must remain motionless.
  5. Lower your arms, relaxing your muscles as much as possible, similar to the previous exercise.
  6. Place both palms in the area above the back of the head. By analogy, perform a pressure load on the neck muscles, trying to tilt your head forward - it should still be motionless.
  7. Lower your arms, relax the muscles of the neck and head. Repeat the set of exercises 4-10 times.

After strengthening the short muscles of the neck, you can begin to perform dynamic exercises.

On a note!Swimming and water gymnastics have proven themselves as a technique for restoring cervical mobility.

Self massageallows you to reduce the intensity of local reactions and relieve muscle clamps during static work. Execution rules:

  • area of influence - the back of the head, back and side surfaces of the neck;
  • carry out the procedure in a sitting position;
  • movements should be performed in the direction from the spine;
  • use only fingertips;
  • avoid pressure on the inflamed areas;
  • perform movements smoothly - sharp pressure can harm.

Physiotherapytypical for inpatient treatment and spa rehabilitation. Well proven:

  • electrophoresis - warms up the area, improves microcirculation, is used for deeper penetration of topical preparations;
  • magnetotherapy;
  • amplipulse;
  • UHF.

Surgical intervention is indicated for complicated extrusion, spinal cord infringement and intractable pain syndromes.

What is dangerous cervical osteochondrosis

The neck area concentrates a dense interweaving of the main blood vessels, nerve processes and dynamic structures of the bone skeleton. In the absence of treatment, serious pathological changes can be observed:

  • weakening of the fibrous ring provokes dislocations and subluxations in the area of the most mobile vertebrae;
  • the presence of osteophytes and muscle spasm leads to infringement of the nerve roots and blood vessels with the formation of compression syndromes;
  • destruction of cartilaginous discs and convergence of the vertebrae leads to intervertebral hernias with infringement of the nervous tissue.

Each of these phenomena is followed by a pronounced negative reaction from the whole organism.

Possible complications and consequences

The list of the most common complications of cervical osteochondrosis includes:

  • vegetovascular dystonia;
  • hypertension;
  • oxygen starvation of the brain and its structures;
  • dystrophy of the eye retina with visual impairment;
  • malfunction of the thyroid gland;
  • dysfunction of the esophagus and trachea - difficulty swallowing and respiratory spasms;
  • intractable pain in the head, neck, chest, upper limbs;
  • convulsions and numbness of the face, hands;
  • disruption of the hypothalamic-pituitary system, which entails the failure of the entire hormonal activity of the body.

Preventive measures of cervical osteochondrosis

The most effective treatment is disease prevention. Prevention will help you with this. It is enough to follow a few basic recommendations:

  • correct your posture,
  • create a comfortable workplace;
  • during sedentary work, take breaks for a "physical education minute";
  • include in your diet foods rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon - fish, nuts, seeds, legumes, dairy products, fresh vegetables, fruits; limit the intake of salt, sweet, starchy and spicy foods;
  • for sleep and rest, use an orthopedic mattress and pillow;
  • go in for a non-strength sport - it is better to give preference to swimming.

Even if you are not able to take into account all the requirements, moderate exercise, proper nutrition and careful attention to your posture can significantly reduce the risk of developing pathology.

The hidden cause of impotence, male and female infertility is osteochondrosis

Even at school, in biology lessons, they tried to convey important information about the huge role of the spine in maintaining human health. Unfortunately, many then were engaged in more important things and did not hear the words of the teachers. But in vain! Doctors say that disorders of the musculoskeletal system, in particular, caused by osteochondrosis, can cause the development of a huge number of various serious diseases.

Why osteochondrosis has a powerful destructive effect on the human body

Often men suffer from impotence and infertility, and women try in vain to get pregnant and do not even suspect that this can be caused by ordinary osteochondrosis. The fact is that the cause of the development of the disease lies in the violation of the blood supply to the tissues of the vertebrae and the muscles that surround them. Since there are no blood vessels in the intervertebral discs, they are the first to suffer from a lack of water and various other substances. This leads to cracking of the cartilage, which means that the discs are no longer able to absorb the load on the spine. This is where the constant back pain comes from.

If at this stage you do not intervene in the process, then osteochondrosis will continue to progress and give complications, for example, a herniated disc. This, in turn, causes a violation in the segmental apparatus of the spinal cord and impairs blood circulation, including in the pelvic organs. This is the main reason for the development of many disorders in the work of internal organs, as well as impotence and infertility of interest to us.

The development of impotence in men, in addition to violations at the physical level, also contributes to the psychological factor. After all, for every normal, full-fledged man, even a single failure in bed becomes a drama, and it doesn’t matter that it is caused by an exacerbation of osteochondrosis, sciatica, or other sources of back pain.

Men may begin to experience difficulty with erection in the presence of cervical or lumbar degenerative disc disease. But in each case, the pathology develops according to its own mechanism.

Cervical osteochondrosis

In the presence of this type of disease, there is a decrease in the quality of blood circulation in the brain, which causes malfunctions in the production of sex hormones and substances that are responsible for vascular tone. Therefore, with cervical osteochondrosis, most often patients complain of a decrease in sexual desire, anorgasmia, and problems with ejaculation.

Lumbar osteochondrosis

Since the pelvic area, namely here the male genital organs are located, is, as it were, in an "off" state due to disorders in the spinal cord, nerve impulses do not always manage to get through to the genitals, which leads to erectile dysfunction.

Female and male infertility as a result of osteochondrosis

Often, in the absence of other prerequisites, unsuccessful attempts to conceive a child in both men and women may be the result of pathological processes that accompany osteochondrosis. Most often, the cause of the problem lies not so much in the violation of the blood supply to the organs located in the small pelvis, but in neurological disorders.

Examinations of women suffering from infertility show degenerative changes in the lower thoracic spine and lower back. In infertile men, osteochondrosis affects the lumbosacral region. Such differences in the areas affected by osteochondrosis are explained by the peculiarities of the structure and innervation of the pelvic organs in representatives of different sexes.

Sometimes women cannot get pregnant even if they do not experience any signs of the disease and do not feel the slightest discomfort in the back. This is primarily due to the fact that disorders in the reproductive system can occur even if only the anterior roots of the spinal cord are damaged, which is not accompanied by pain.

Therefore, everyone who suffers from disorders of sexual and reproductive functions is strongly recommended to undergo the most complete examination of the body, not forgetting the neuropathologist and vertebrologist. It is possible that the root of the problem lies precisely in the pathologies of the spine.