Osteochondrosis is a pathological process that leads to dystrophic and structural disorders, first in the intervertebral discs, then in the vertebrae themselves, in the spinal nerves, nearby muscles, ligaments, blood vessels and internal organs.
It can affect all parts of the spine - cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral. Cervical osteochondrosis is a very common phenomenon and is the second most common after lumbar osteochondrosis.
Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine occurs gradually. Like any other pathology, it progresses without timely and proper treatment. Functional and structural changes in bone and cartilage tissue are increasingly manifesting themselves, leading to complex forms of the disease with loss of sensitivity and limited mobility.
Stages and Prices
There are 4 stages (degrees) of cervical osteochondrosis. In this case, the terms "degree" and "stage" are often confused. Although they have almost the same meaning, they are not exactly the same. The stage reflects structural abnormalities in the cervical spine, nearby organs and tissues. And the degree means the symptoms of osteochondrosis and the patient's complaints. With grade 1 osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, clinical signs may be minimal or absent. The patient complains of mild neck pain (cervical) aggravated by turning his head. Local tension of the cervical muscles is noted during the examination.
Grade 2 cervical osteochondrosis is accompanied by discogenic radiculitis. As a result of more degenerative-dystrophic changes in the nucleus of the intervertebral disc and in the fibrous capsule, the height of the space between the cervical vertebrae decreases. As a result, the roots of the cervical spinal nerves are damaged. Patients are worried about a definite pain that is aggravated by turning their head and tilting. The pain syndrome may extend beyond the cervical region and is accompanied by general weakness and decreased performance.
As a result of more pathological processes that cause displacement and destruction of intervertebral discs, cervical disc herniation occurs. Pain and a general feeling of weakness increase, and sensory and movement disorders in the affected segment area join them. Develops grade 3 cervical spine osteochondrosis.In addition, in the case of grade 4 cervical osteochondrosis, the destroyed intervertebral disc is replaced by fibrous connective tissue. Brain disorders due to the involvement of the vertebral artery in the pathological process are associated with pain syndrome with sensory and motor disorders - dizziness, loss of coordination, ringing in the ears.
Before talking about the causes or etiological factors of cervical osteochondrosis, it is necessary to clarify some anatomical and physiological features of this spine.
These features are:
- The neck is a mobile structure, bordered by a relatively static thoracic spine.
- There are 7 cervical vertebrae and 8 segments. The "extra" segment occurs due to atlantooccipital articulation.
- Cervical vertebrae have an anatomically different structure, especially in the first two cervical vertebrae, the atlas and the axis.
- Vital communication passes through the neck - the trachea, esophagus, large vessels, including the vertebral artery that supplies blood to the brain.
The etiological factors that lead to pathological changes in the cervical spine with the subsequent transition to grade 2 cervical osteochondrosis are as follows:
- sedentary lifestyle;
- Poor nutrition with trace elements and vitamin deficiency;
- Persistent postural disorders in schoolchildren, students, office workers;
- Frequent hypothermia, unfavorable microclimate at home and at work;
- Endocrine diseases;
- Weak immunity;
Symptoms of grade 2 cervical osteochondrosis include pain in the cervical and spinal muscles in addition to pain. Neck pain (cervical) with a certain degree of osteochondrosis can be both point and diffuse, spreading to other anatomical areas outside the neck - the back and shoulder girdle. Muscles and ligaments relax due to the shortening of the intervertebral spaces. The movement of the muscle frame weakens and cervical spine subluxation occurs, resulting in the disc moving in one direction or another. The pain can be as sharp and severe as lumbago (cervicago) after turning your head or stretching your neck.
In addition to the pain, as already mentioned, there is tension in the cervical and dorsal muscles. This tension is most asymmetrical due to the removal of the cervical vertebrae from the side, not the back, and leads to poor posture. In turn, impaired posture leads to further deterioration of metabolic processes in the cervical spine. All conditions have been created for the transition of osteochondrosis to the 3rd stage.
In stage 2 of cervical osteochondrosis, the spinal artery is not yet affected. However, in addition to pain and muscle tension already at this stage, patients complain of weakness, rapid fatigue, and a feeling of weakness. Sleep disorders due to pain are possible.
Treatment for grade 2 cervical lumbar osteochondrosis includes:
- Drug treatment,
- Physiotherapy procedures,
- Healing gymnastics,
- Manual therapy.
The drugaims to eliminate inflammation in the roots of the cervical, cervical segments and normalize metabolic processes in the cervical intervertebral discs. Painkillers are obtained by taking painkillers. But this is the least effective way to relieve pain. In this regard, intramuscular injection is more effective. You can wear a special Shants collar during severe neck pain.
Painkillerscan be obtained by eliminating the inflammatory process in the cervical roots. In this regard, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used in various dosage forms - tablets, ointments, injections and compresses. In this regard, needles and ointments are very effective. Steroid hormones have a good anti-inflammatory effect.
Oral chondroprotectors are recommended to repair the affected cartilage. For the same purpose, the intake of vitamins, minerals, mineral complexes with vitamins B, C, E, along with zinc, iron and calcium is indicated. Although brain disease did not occur in stage 2 cervical osteochondrosis, the use of neuroprotectants would no longer be necessary.For any degree of cervical osteochondrosis,
physiotherapy proceduresare designed to reduce pain and inflammation and improve local blood flow. For this purpose, phonophoresis, laser and magnetic resonance therapy, ultrasound treatment are used. Physiotherapy procedures are contraindicated in the period of exacerbation of osteochondrosis.
massagefor osteochondrosis is performed in the interictal period. Massage procedures are performed while the patient is sitting or lying on his side. In this position, the masseur kneads smoothly from the back of the head to the neck, hitting and rubbing tense muscles. Then the back, neck and chest muscles are massaged. In this case, it is possible to massage yourself with a Kuznetsov applicator. It is a needle roller with a plastic spike. It is enough to put this cylinder every day for half an hour or an hour, and the result will not wait long.
Physiotherapyis designed to combine the effects of the above methods in the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis. At the same time, optimal loads are created on different muscle groups, which leads to muscle strengthening and lumbar elongation. Manual treatment for cervical osteochondrosis should be done very carefully. Because of the high risk of cervical spine injury, it is associated with a great risk not only for health but also for the patient's life.
Prevention of cervical osteochondrosis is designed to eliminate the causes of the disease and prevent the transition from stage 2 to 3.
In this connection, the following requirements must be met:
- Active lifestyle;
- Good nutrition;
- Normal conditions at home and at work, except for drafts and hypothermia;
- correct posture during sedentary work and study;
- Hardening, sports;
- Treatment of concomitant chronic diseases;
- At the first signs of osteochondrosis - see a doctor in time.