How osteochondrosis of the cervical spine manifests itself: causes and treatment
Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is the most common disease of the musculoskeletal system. As a rule, almost all representatives of both sexes over 40 years old suffer from this ailment. Today, there is a steady trend towards the rejuvenation of this disease. Osteochondrosis of the neck is increasingly diagnosed in young people and high school students. The problematic of the disease is that it is chronic.
Deformation of the spinal column is considered an irreversible process.
It can only be stopped by stopping pathological changes at a stage that is safe for health.
What is this ailment?
The question of what is cervical osteochondrosis has become topical only in the last decade, when this disease has become an epidemic. The disease affects all age groups and social strata of the population. Osteochondrosis of the neck has become a national problem, which has led to the development of programs for its treatment and prevention.
This disease is a complex of dystrophic changes in the spinal column, when intervertebral discs are deformed and destroyed, which play an important role in almost all processes in the body. If the structure of the cartilage tissue is disturbed, it becomes thinner, changes in density and elasticity. This leads to the entrapment of the nerve roots, which in abundance depart from the spinal column.
Osteochondrosis of the cervical vertebra causes compression of the blood vessels that supply the brain. This is a rather dangerous phenomenon that can cause a number of serious complications. In the absence of proper treatment, instability of the cervical spine leads to impaired brain activity, which often results in disability and death.
Causes and symptoms
This disease has become the object of close medical attention only in this century, as it has become a real threat to the health of the nation. The dislocation of the cervical vertebrae caused the disability of almost every second employee throughout the year. This phenomenon forced specialists to pay closer attention to the prerequisites causing pathological changes in the spinal column.
According to the results of a study of several thousand patients, the following causes of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine were established:
- Low physical activity.Passive lifestyle leads to depletion of the back muscles, which serve as a kind of supporting corset for the spine. The situation is aggravated by the deposition of salts that are formed from lactic acid, which is not consumed to cover muscle efforts. A weakened spinal column quickly deforms and loses mobility.
- Obesity.Being overweight is enemy number 1 for the musculoskeletal system. In addition to the high load on the spinal column, adipose tissue takes away the nutrients necessary to maintain muscle and intervertebral cartilage in good shape. This tendency causes polysegmental osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, when all seven intervertebral discs are destroyed.
- Prolonged stay of the body in a static position.This is common for drivers, dispatchers and knowledge workers. After a long stay in a compressed state, the cartilage returns to its original shape with a deviation of a few hundredths of a millimeter, gradually losing its elasticity. Over time, an unnatural configuration becomes the norm for intervertebral discs.
- Incorrect power supply.In order for all body systems to work without deviations, it is necessary to include in the diet the required amount of fats, proteins, minerals and vitamins. Insufficient, irregular and irrational nutrition leads to changes in the structure of tissues and their rapid destruction.
- Injuries and injuries to the back.Damage to the vertebrae leads to a redistribution of pressure on the cartilage, which causes pathological changes in their shape and structure.
- Other diseases of the musculoskeletal system,which include rheumatism, bone tuberculosis and scoliosis.
Quite often, instability of the cervical spine is a consequence of a genetic predisposition, when this disease is inherited without significant and visible reasons. Complications can only be prevented if treatment is started in a timely manner. To do this, you need to know what are the primary signs of cervical osteochondrosis.
This disease develops slowly and is almost invisible to humans. Its initial symptoms do not differ in strength and brightness. This is the special insidiousness of the disease. As a rule, patients who are diagnosed with irreversible changes in the spine get an appointment with a neurologist. The sensations can be quite varied, depending on which vertebra was affected.
The first signs of pathological changes in the spine appear as follows:
- Discomfort in the neck. They are expressed in dull pain, tingling and burning. Symptoms worsen after prolonged standing or walking.
- Numbness in occiput, shoulders, hands and toes. Loss of skin sensitivity.
- Difficulty turning and tilting the head, raising arms to an upright position.
- Pain in the occiput, forehead. The unpleasant sensations intensify during nervous tension or physical exertion. There is constant tinnitus.
- Shooting in the region of the heart and organs located in the abdominal cavity. A characteristic sign of cervical osteochondrosis is that taking painkillers does not bring relief.
- Dizziness, dark eyes and fainting. Loss of consciousness occurs after making sudden movements of the head or body.
- General deterioration of health. This is reflected in decreased performance, chronic fatigue and apathy. The emergence of indifference and interest in the joys of life.
- Weakening of the sensitivity of all organs. Hearing decreases, vision and sense of smell deteriorate.
- Impaired coordination of movements, numbness of the tongue and impaired diction.
If you do not react to such symptoms, then the disease can cause quite serious consequences. The most harmless of these are persistent headaches and tingling sensations in the chest. The progression of cervical osteochondrosis leads to severe migraines, hypertension and serious impairments in the coordination of movements of the arms and legs. A spinal hernia can put a patient to bed forever. The most dangerous complication is spinal cord compression. It inevitably leads to paralysis and death of a person. Treatment of the disease must be started at its earliest stages.
In order to make the correct diagnosis, a comprehensive examination of the patient is carried out. This is the only way the doctor can determine the level of pathological changes in the spine and prescribe the correct treatment.
The following activities are carried out with the patient:
- survey about lifestyle, symptoms and medical history;
- external physical examination;
- blood and urine tests;
- magnetic resonance imaging;
- ultrasonic indication;
- duplex scanning.
Based on the diagnostic results, the doctor receives a complete clinical picture of the disease. After an accurate diagnosis is made, treatment is prescribed. It is carried out in a comprehensive manner using all available methods. The patient is prescribed the following types of therapy:
- Taking medication.Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed to reduce pain. Chondroprotectors will help to strengthen bone and cartilage tissue. Various groups of vitamins are able to restore the body's tone and maintain it at the desired level. Medicines are used in the form of tablets, tinctures and ointments. All medications are taken only as directed by a doctor. Self-medication is unacceptable.
- Physiotherapy.Such types of procedures as heating, UHF, magnetic fields and laser irradiation well relieve muscle spasms and restore their mobility. After physiotherapy, the patient relaxes muscles, reduces inflammation and pain.
- Manual therapy.Therapeutic massage has a positive effect on the spine. With the help of skillful movements, salt deposits are removed, spasms and tension are relieved. The spinal column is stretched, which releases the nerve endings and relieves pain.
- Remedial gymnastics.This type of treatment begins only after the pain has been relieved. The goal of physical therapy is to lose weight, burn lactic acid, and build a strong muscle frame around the spinal column.
As a rule, treatment is carried out in a complex manner, with the maximum use of all available methods. With a strong exacerbation, the patient is prescribed bed rest.
Even a severe form of osteochondrosis can be stopped and the progression of the disease can be prevented. To do this, a person needs to introduce several simple, but mandatory rules into his life.
Prevention of osteochondrosis consists in performing the following activities:
- regular exercise therapy;
- proper and balanced nutrition;
- clothing and footwear selected for the season, especially in the cold season;
- constant use of vitamins and chondroprotectors prescribed by a doctor;
- using only orthopedic furniture for work and rest;
- avoiding long-term stay of the body in an uncomfortable position;
- periodic visits to sanatoriums and sea resorts.
At least once a year, the patient must undergo a preventive examination. At the first signs of an exacerbation of the disease, you must immediately seek medical attention.