The vertebral column is part of the musculoskeletal system and consists of many vertebrae that maintain mobility and elasticity when combined, so that a person can actively move and hold different positions. The vertebrae are separated by intervertebral discs, the thinning of which leads to nerve processes, constriction of blood vessels, disruption of blood supply to tissues.
The concept of lumbar osteochondrosis
The most common pathology is lumbar osteochondrosis, because this part of the spine has the greatest load both during vigorous activity and during long periods of rest.
In this disease, ring fibrosis and destruction of the surfaces of the joints, connective tissue, vertebral body and intervertebral discs, consisting of a gel-like nuclear pulp, occur.
Grade 1, 2, 3, and 4 grade lumbar osteochondrosis results in the destruction of the intervertebral disc, in which the gelatinous substance dries out and loses its original properties, thus reducing its shock-absorbing properties. In the next stage, the fibrous substance of the ring fibrosis is destroyed, resulting in cracks on the surface, through which the gelatin nucleus pulposus emerges (hernia development).
Degenerative changes in the intervertebral discs cause an increase in spinal load, constriction of nerve processes, constriction of blood vessels, resulting in pain and swelling in the affected area.
Causes of the disease
The causes of the disease are not fully understood, but experts identify a number of factors that affect the development of pathology. Low osteochondrosis develops if one of the following factors:
- straight legs;
- injuries received;
- lifting and transportation of heavy loads;
- bad habits - smoking, drinking alcohol;
- static loads under adverse conditions;
- to be actively involved in any sport;
- heavy physical labor related to occupational characteristics;
- to be in a state of anxiety for a long time;
- hereditary predisposition, for example, congenital pathologies of the spinal structure.
The risk group includes patients over 40 years of age with diabetes and musculoskeletal disorders.
Symptoms of the disease
Experts consider lumbar osteochondrosis an irreversible process, so early detection of symptoms in the early stages can slow the development of the pathological process.
Lumbar osteochondrosis manifests itself clinically with muscle tension accompanied by pain of varying intensity. Feelings of pain can be of a different nature, depending on the course of the disease, sharp and sharp, painful, burning, throbbing.
Often the pain spreads to the lower extremities and hips. Sudden movements may increase with coughing, sneezing. The appearance of pain syndrome forces the patient to take a very anxious tense position that helps reduce pain.
Osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine is often accompanied by symptoms such as headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, tinnitus, blurred vision, numbness of the lower extremities, dysfunction of the genitals - erectile dysfunction, as well as difficulty urinating.
Some patients diagnosed with lumbar osteochondrosis complain of decreased sensitivity in the hip, cold and blue skin, atrophic changes in the thigh and hip, decreased muscle mass, dryness and peeling of the epidermis in the lumbar region. sweating in the same area.
The degree of the disease
Lumbar lumbar osteochondrosis develops gradually, so there are no clinical manifestations at the beginning of its development. In general, experts distinguish four stages in the development of pathology.
- Stage 1 - changes in the structure of the gelatinous substance and the movement of the nucleus inside the disc;
- Stage 2 - changes in the structure of ring fibrosis;
- Stage 3 - destruction and rupture of the annulus fibrosus fibers, followed by the emergence of the nuclear pulposus into the spinal cavity and the formation of an intervertebral hernia;
- Stage 4 - the progression of the destruction process to the adjacent vertebrae as a result of the impact of the intervertebral ligaments and joints.
In the first stage of the disease, the patient feels discomfort during physical activity in the lumbar region, rarely accompanied by mild pain in the hips.
In stage 2 of lumbar osteochondrosis, the pain is more pronounced, as the nerve processes are compressed, the patient experiences sharp pain in the lower back, spreading to the lower extremities and hips. Grade 2 lumbar osteochondrosis may be accompanied by persistent hyperthermia.
Stage 3 involves the destruction of the fibrous rings, the formation of intervertebral hernias that cause severe deformation of the spine. The pain syndrome is constant and severe.
In stage 4, lumbar osteochondrosis takes a neglected form in which the patient has significant limitations in motor activity accompanied by excruciating pain. He can hardly move, which indicates the presence of osteophytes - bone growths in the spine. Stage 4 often leads the patient to limited mobility and complete disability.
Lumbar lumbar osteochondrosis can be detected at different stages of development of the degenerative-dystrophic process. Diagnosis is made using modern methods, including X-rays, CT and MRI. Based on the results, the doctor prescribes treatment tactics that include a complex combination of different therapeutic or surgical measures.
Treatment of the disease
If a patient is diagnosed with osteochondrosis of the lower back 1 or 2 degrees, the disease can be stopped by preventing further collapse of the spine. Osteochondrosis of the spine, which is detected later, as a rule, is not completely cured. Therefore, therapeutic measures are aimed at eliminating the symptoms of the disease and slowing down the development of the pathological process. Depending on the clinical features, the doctor chooses either conservative or surgical treatment.
Conservative treatment combines:
- drug treatment;
- hand therapy;
- exercise therapy;
- physiotherapy procedures;
- proper organization of the meal.
It is used in the treatment of serious complications such as surgical treatment of low back osteochondrosis, the development of an intervertebral hernia or complete destruction of the intervertebral disc. In this case, a discectomy is performed - removal of the destroyed disc. However, as a rule, surgeons resort to radical methods when all other methods do not show the desired results.