Learn about the symptoms and treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine
Omnipresent statistics claim that more than 80% of people are diagnosed with osteochondrosis of the cervical spine of various stages. Meanwhile, doctors warn about the very dangerous consequences of neglected forms, which can become a threat not only to health, but also to the life of the patient.
Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine - what is it
Osteochondrosis itself is an irreversible degenerative-dystrophic destruction of the vertebral discs and vertebrae. It is characterized by a violation of the integrity of the intervertebral component, which causes intervertebral hernias and protrusions, and further destruction of the bones of the vertebrae. These changes lead to complex processes in the body and, in addition to causing strong painful sensations, affect the functioning of the body as a whole.
Important! The process is irreversible, it is impossible to restore damaged cartilage and discs, you can only slow down their destruction.
The danger of such a process in the cervical spine is multiplied by the presence of a large number of nerve fibers and vessels connecting the brain and the human body, as well as the proximity of the location of the vertebrae (there are 7 of them in a small space).
Attention! The slightest squeezing of arteries, nerve fibers or blood vessels in the cervical spine will entail a number of symptoms, the severity of which will depend on which roots or vessels are being squeezed.
There are many reasons for this dangerous disease, although it is still not known exactly why osteochondrosis occurs in a particular area. Among the factors provoking cervical osteochondrosis will be:
This is the most voluminous factor in both quantitative and qualitative terms. It should include:
- sedentary work;
- prolonged stay in a tense or uncomfortable position for significant periods of time;
- small physical activity on the spine (this contributes to the weakening of the muscle corset);
- too much stress on the spine.
Today, a very large number of people are susceptible to the listed factors of this disease due to the prevailing model of social life and social behavior.
Spinal injuries in 90% of cases are accompanied by cervical osteochondrosis. Often, it does not occur immediately after injury, but after a certain time. Here, the main component of the occurrence will be the broken integrity of the ridge.
This factor can arise already in adolescence, during the restructuring of the child's body. This type of osteochondrosis can be successfully treated.
If osteochondrosis occurs on the background of menopause or diseases that change the hormonal background (diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis), the treatment will be symptomatic.
This reason almost always arises as a concomitant to others. Since in itself a genetic predisposition is not the basis for the disease, but it is of great importance in the event of other factors.
The manifestations of cervical osteochondrosis are very similar to many diseases, which makes diagnosis difficult. Their manifestations depend on which nerve roots are being squeezed, in addition, many symptoms are associated with impaired blood circulation in the brain. Despite the wide range of symptoms, a number of the most common ones can be identified. Their appearance and strengthening will depend on the degree of development of the disease. Here they are ranked by frequency of occurrence.
Headaches with osteochondrosis of the cervical spine
One of the first, most persistent and most frequent symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis is a migraine-type headache. It will be well controlled by analgesics, but as the disease progresses, its intensity becomes higher, and it is more and more difficult to stop it.
Important! The pain can be dislocated by pulsation in the temples and the back of the head, it can affect the parietal region, and give it to the parietal bone.
Pain in the neck
Usually weak at first, pain in the neck appears only when you touch the affected area, later the pain can be given to the back of the head, shoulder, arm (it depends on which nerve endings are pinched). At the same time, it appears when turning or tilting the head, a sharp movement of the body, becomes constant, has an increasing intensity.
Limiting the range of motion, crunch
Another symptom of cervical osteochondrosis is limitation of movement of the head and neck, it is difficult for the patient to turn his head, there is no way to do it fully, it is impossible to tilt his head forward or backward. When cornering, a characteristic crunch appears.
In case of damage to the nerve roots responsible for the innervation of the upper limbs, weakness appears in the arms, in severe cases paralysis may occur.
Numbness of hands or body parts
When the roots responsible for sensitivity are squeezed, there is a loss of sensitivity in the hands, fingers, or numbness of certain areas. With advanced forms of the disease, paralysis (complete or partial) of the hands and the whole body is possible. This again depends on which nerves are affected.
Hearing and vision impairment
This disease is characterized by such signs as hearing and vision loss, numbness of the lips and tongue. These organs are in close proximity and are the first to suffer from insufficient oxygen supply to the brain.
Dizziness with cervical osteochondrosis
In cervical osteochondrosis, one of the most unpleasant symptoms will be dizziness, sometimes it can be accompanied by loss of coordination, in some cases fainting, nausea are present. These symptoms are associated with impaired cerebral circulation as a result of compression of the arteries and blood vessels.
About diagnostic methods
If one or a number of symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis occur, it is better to consult a doctor for a diagnosis. There are several diagnostic methods for osteochondrosis, the most informative among them will be:
- computed tomography;
- magnetic resonance imaging;
- dopplerography of blood vessels;
- the most commonly used is radiography.
For the diagnosis of osteochondrosis in the early stages, radiography will be of little information. Doppler ultrasonography of blood vessels is performed in difficult cases, when severe symptoms occur: loss of sensitivity in large areas, paralysis, fainting.
Important! Successful treatment is possible just in the early stages of the disease and it depends on the correct diagnosis.
The disease is characterized by an increase in symptoms and their severity, there are 4 stages.
- I-I are painful sensations in the neck when touching the affected nerve endings. Pain appears when turning the head or neck. At the level of the spine, no damage is found, only violations of the intervertebral space.
- II - this is the appearance of shooting pain, which can be given to the arm, shoulder, and which intensifies when turning the head. Migraine headaches. The pain is caused by minor destructive changes in the vertebral discs.
- III - increased pain, which becomes constant, numbness occurs, stiffness of head movements, weakness in the arms, attention and memory are impaired. At this stage, violations of the integrity of the discs (cracks, protrusion of the joint capsule), intervertebral hernias appear.
- IV-th - characterized by destruction of discs and vertebrae, violation of the integrity of the bones. At this stage, surgery is very often required, since hernias can cause paralysis and immobilization of the upper limbs or the whole body.
Important! Treatment of osteochondrosis of the neck at home is possible and necessary at stages 1-2, stage 3 requires drug treatment under the supervision of a doctor.
Before starting treatment at any stage, it is necessary to consult a doctor-vertebrologist who will make the correct diagnosis and carry out the necessary examinations. Osteochondrosis can have symptoms similar to heart failure (hypertension, difficulty breathing, problems with attention and memory).
Attention! With improper or untimely treatment, cerebral ischemia, spinal stroke, compression of the spinal cord, radiculopathy are possible, and these complications of the disease often threaten the patient's life.
With a correct and timely diagnosis, home treatment should include the following components:
- drug treatment;
- special physical exercises.
All three components are very important, they must be included in complex treatment, which will provide a good result for a long time.
Traditional massages will give a very good effect after relieving acute pain. It is recommended to conduct their courses at least once every 6 months. Today there is a large selection of methods aimed at treating cervical osteochondrosis, which will allow you to choose the most suitable option.
- High-quality manual techniques have appeared that allow you to get a good result.
- A new direction is osteopathy, aimed at treatment with hands, but considering the human body as a unity of the musculoskeletal, nervous and mental systems.
- A good solution would be a professional acupuncture course taught by an experienced specialist.
- Successfully massage replaces hirudotherapy (leech therapy), it is not without reason that it is equated with acupuncture.
Exercises for osteochondrosis of the cervical spine
One of the factors in the onset of this disease is considered to be a small load on the muscle corset. We lead a sedentary lifestyle, spend a lot of time in the same position, often uncomfortable. Therefore, 10 simple exercises to strengthen the muscle corset of the neck should be included in your daily exercise for everyone. It is especially important to deal with them for those who have the first signs of this disease.
Important! Exercise should only be done when the acute pain has been relieved. With an exacerbation, it is undesirable to do them.
- Perform standing 5-7 times: put your feet shoulder-width apart, stomach pulled in, shoulders straightened. Raise your arms to the sides and up, then bring them together at the top and bring them back, trying to connect the shoulder blades. Then become level again.
- It is good to do it while standing, but you can also sit 7-10 times. Wrap your arms around yourself (as if hugging), try to do it as tightly as possible (elbows forward), then turn your arms back and join them, touching your elbows with your palms. Try to suck in your stomach.
- It is better to do it while standing, but if you feel dizzy while sitting, each movement is 3-5 times. The neck is straight, the shoulders are straight. Turn your head to the left and try to touch your shoulder with your chin, do not lift your shoulder. Repeat this, turning your head to the right, take turns in turn.
- Do the same exercise, tilting your head back and forth as much as possible. Try to reach the chest with your chin. Bend slowly.
- Then, very slowly and carefully, make a semicircle from left shoulder to right with your head tilted forward. Don't make circular motions - just a semicircle. Repeat the movement in the opposite direction.
Do these exercises with your head back as much as possible. Remember to do it slowly and only in semicircles.
- It is also better to do it while standing, but you can also sit for 5 seconds. 3-4 times. Clench your fists and support your chin. Press on your fists with force with your chin for 5 seconds, then place them behind on the occipital bone and press again. This exercise works well for the neck muscles.
- Seated 7-10 turns to each side. Put your hands on your hips, tilt your head forward as much as possible, it's good if you manage to rest your chin on your chest. Now turn your head left and right alternately without lifting your chin from your chest.
- Perform while sitting in a low-backed chair, try to do this at least 3-4 times. With your shoulders straightened, try looking at the wall behind you.
- Perform while sitting on a chair with your hands between your knees, 5-7 times. As you inhale, bend to the side, as you exhale, sit up straight. Do it alternately left and right.
- Lie on your stomach, bend up. Try to do this 5-6 times. Do as high as possible and hold on for longer.
Tip! Exercise at a convenient time, perhaps during a break or when your neck gets tired from a tense posture. There can't be too much here. The main thing is not to do it a large number of times at once.
Treatment with folk remedies
Treatment of spinal problems with folk remedies is mainly the warming up of the affected area. When using recipes for the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis, you should be careful, since the close proximity to the brain can make too much warming up more harmful than beneficial.
Important! It is necessary to use recipes that have a mild effect that do not produce severe irritation.
To prepare it you will need:
- 10 ml of iodine;
- 10 ml camphor oil;
- 10 analgesic tablets;
- 300 ml of alcohol.
Tablets should be crushed into powder and mixed together. The resulting composition is applied in a thin layer on the neck.
- Potatoes. It is good to apply a compress of grated potatoes with honey at night.
- Fuck. Fresh horseradish leaves should be held over steam, cooled and applied for 10-15 minutes. to the neck.
- Hops. Unsalted lard (1 tablespoon) crush and add ground fresh or dried hop cones (1 teaspoon), apply the resulting mixture to the back of the head as a compress overnight.
- Aloe. Take 1 part of crushed aloe leaves, 2 parts of honey and 3 parts of vodka. Mix everything and let it brew for 12 hours. Apply the compress for no more than 15 minutes.
Traditional treatment should consist of anti-inflammatory drugs, which are needed periodically to relieve severe pain and medications designed to mobilize the body to fight the disease: vitamins, neuroprotectors, chondroprotectors.
In addition, depending on the problems encountered, medications are prescribed to relieve symptoms that occur when a certain part of the nerve roots is damaged, these can be drugs:
- pressure reducing;
- to improve vision;
- to relieve numbness.
In the initial stages, severe pain can be controlled with pain relievers.
Anti-inflammatory nonsteroidal drugs are prescribed during an exacerbation to relieve inflammation and relieve pain. These drugs come in tablets, capsules, or injection solutions. Part is in the form of ointments for external use. The course of treatment should be determined by the doctor.
Important! Long-term use of drugs from a number of anti-inflammatory nonsteroidal drugs can cause irritation of the mucous membrane of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) even in a healthy person. In the presence of gastrointestinal diseases, treatment with analgesics causes an exacerbation.
It is imperative to take vitamins of group B (B1,B6,B12). They help to improve the functioning of the brain, have a beneficial effect on the functioning of the nervous system, improve the transmission of nerve impulses, which affects the improvement of the general condition.
These vitamins can be taken in the form of intramuscular injections, according to the scheme or in combination, which will significantly improve the effect of them. In the early stages of the disease, they are shown as tablets (vitamin complexes) or dietary supplements (they are not recognized by official medicine).
Drugs that improve cerebral circulation
Neuroprotective agents are drugs that affect the functioning of the brain. These include a large group of medications that affect various processes that improve memory and concentration.
These medications are prescribed in cases of violation of the blood supply to the brain as a result of vascular compression.
Attention! Neuroprotectors must be prescribed by a neuropathologist.
A special place is occupied by chondroprotectors - drugs that improve the nutrition of the cartilaginous tissue of the spine, which should slow down their destruction. Clinically, their positive effect has not yet been proven, but they are used as dietary supplements and are approved by sanitary and medical examinations.
Important! These drugs can be helpful in stage I and II. In the future, they are unlikely to have the desired effect.
About diet and nutrition
In case of cervical osteochondrosis, it is important to consume food and herbs containing B vitamins, this may be:
- poultry meat;
- mother and stepmother;
Fresh vegetables and fruits are shown. It is undesirable to use salt, its amount should be reduced to a minimum. This is due to impaired cerebral circulation. There is no need to increase your calcium and potassium intake.
Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is an insidious disease that can lead to complex pathologies that lead to disability. At the same time, correct behavior, moderate physical activity and systemic treatment can slow down its development, or even suspend it for a long time. Live happily and be healthy!