Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine

Degenerative damage to the intervertebral discs and spine in the cervical spine is a fairly common pathology called cervical osteochondrosis.

Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine

In this disease, discs, which are fibrocartilaginous formations by nature, gradually lose their strength, elasticity and cushioning properties. In fact, it seems to be shrinking. As a result, the spine becomes less mobile, the height of the intervertebral spaces decreases, and as a result, nerve roots and blood vessels constrict.

The surfaces of the vertebrae under the discs also suffer from osteochondrosis, they have dystrophic changes. In addition, osteochondrosis is accompanied by the formation of reactive growths in the spine - osteophytes (or bone spines). With a "failed" arrangement of such osteophytes, it is possible to constrict nerves or blood vessels.

Causes and symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis

This pathology in the elderly is often unavoidable and sooner or later manifests itself in a number of unpleasant symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis. There is only one reason for this - the physiological processes of aging in the bones and cartilage. When osteochondrosis develops at a young age, it is important to look for factors that prevent the development of pathology and eliminate them.

Thus, the main causes of cervical osteochondrosis are:

  • inaction.
  • Exchange violations.
  • Spinal injuries.
  • Hereditary predisposition.
  • Chronic infections and intoxication.
  • Poor physical fitness.
  • Poor nutrition.
  • Poor posture.
  • Staying in a restless position for a long time and systematically with the head down or the neck extended.
  • Connective tissue diseases.
  • Unfavorable ecology.
  • Stress.
  • Smoking.
  • Hypothermia.

People with cervical osteochondrosis complain of pain and neck, shoulder pain, headache, numbness and weakness in the arms. These symptoms of cervical lumbar osteochondrosis, as a rule, constantly haunt patients. Exacerbation of the same pathology and aggravation of all its manifestations occurs after excessive work, physical exertion, "failed" dizziness.

Possible complications

Uncomplicated osteochondrosis of the spine in the neck, although it causes great discomfort to the patient, does not pose a serious threat to health. However, the complications of this disease are already more dangerous.

Cervical osteochondrosis is often complicated by the radical syndrome in which the body responds to compression of the spinal cord. This pathology manifests itself in various neurological symptoms (severe pain in the neck, shoulders, impaired sensitivity of the upper limbs, muscle weakness, etc. ).

However, the most frightening complications of cervical osteochondrosis are herniated discs and spinal artery syndrome. With hernias, with the subsequent development of serious neurological diseases up to the patient's disability, there is a high risk of nerve root and spinal cord compression.

Vertebral artery syndrome is caused by constriction or reflex spasm of the artery of the same name that supplies blood to the brain. It is characterized by pathological, throbbing headaches, tinnitus, dizziness, "flies" and "spots" in front of the eyes, as well as other symptoms of impaired blood supply to the brain. The development of this syndrome in patients with heart problems significantly aggravates the course of heart disease.

How is cervical osteochondrosis treated?

Uncomplicated osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is treated mainly by conservative methods:

Physiotherapy

Its main tasks are to strengthen the muscular framework of the neck, improve blood circulation in the tissues and provide the cartilage structures of the spine with the necessary nutrients that penetrate the intervertebral discs during active contractions.

Physiotherapy

In cervical osteochondrosis, this treatment helps reduce pain, improve blood circulation, and relieve muscle spasms in the upper neck and shoulders.

Massage

Patients with osteochondrosis are recommended to undergo regular therapeutic massage courses.

Manual therapy

Helps relieve pain and reduce constriction of nerve endings in the neck.

Reflexology

This type of treatment is used to relieve pain and neurological symptoms.

Medications

During periods of acute pathology, when severe pain occurs, patients are prescribed analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs and drugs that activate tissue microcirculation. When the patient's condition improves, he is prescribed chondroprotectors and vitamin-mineral complexes.

However, it should be noted that a good result in the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis is possible only with the combined use of all these methods.

Disease prevention

Three points are very important for the cervical spine - a comfortable orthopedic pillow, the best way to relax the lower back during sleep, a five-minute neck relaxation during working hours, and regular exercises that strengthen the back and neck muscles. If you accept this as a rule, at the same time do not harm your health (do not smoke, eat properly, exercise more) and timely treat these pathologies that contribute to the onset of disc dystrophy, you can easily live to old age without cervical osteochondrosis.