Have unpleasant neck pains accompanied by dizziness, general weakness and fatigue? All this should be a wake-up call for every person, because any of the listed symptoms may indicate the development of cervical osteochondrosis.
It is worth treating such alarming symptoms with full responsibility, because in the absence of timely treatment, pathology can cause the formation of more serious consequences, including an intervertebral hernia.
What is osteochondrosis of the cervical spine?
Cervical osteochondrosis is a degenerative disease of the spine, in the development of which the structure of the connective tissue changes.
The disease is often disguised as a violation of a different type, but a timely visit to a specialist allows you to diagnose in time and begin direct treatment.
Degenerative changes in the tissues of the cervical spine are most often found in the medical history of people of mature (45-59) and old (60-74) age.
Despite this, it is worth noting: in modern society, there is a rejuvenation of the disease, which is confirmed by the periodic diagnosis of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine in children and adolescents.
It is important that osteochondrosis can occur both isolated and in combination with the defeat of other parts, in particular, the thoracic, lumbar and sacral.
Causes of cervical osteochondrosis
To date, it is impossible to name the exact reasons for the occurrence of degenerative processes occurring in the intervertebral discs. There is no confirmation that cervical osteochondrosis is a senile phenomenon.
Numerous studies carried out by scientists from different countries have established that osteochondrosis of the cervical spine has predominantly provoking factors.
Among the predisposing reasons for the development of osteochondrosis of the neck, there are:
- low level of activity, inactivity and a predominantly sedentary lifestyle;
- types of work involving a static load on the cervical spine;
- overweight, insufficient level of physical development;
- violation of the processes of development of connective tissue;
- chronic spinal injuries;
- deformation of the spine, the use of insufficiently comfortable pillows, mattresses for rest;
- genetic predisposition.
The overwhelming majority of the reasons are somehow connected with the natural processes of obsolescence of the body systems, as well as the probable development of pathologies of bone and cartilaginous tissue.
What is the danger of cervical osteochondrosis?
A decrease in the level of mobility and limited flexibility of joints, loss of muscle elasticity and other signs of aging of the body are inevitable, natural processes that accompany a person in ontogenesis.
The annoyance of pain that occurs during movement much earlier than the natural age of aging often leads to a loss of quality of life and even disability.
To determine how to treat cervical osteochondrosis, you need a professional consultation from your doctor. In the absence of professional, timely diagnosis and the necessary treatment, the disease progresses, which can cause not only a deterioration in well-being, but also serious disruptions in the functioning of the nervous and vascular system.
The main signs and symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis
The structure of the human skeleton, the ability to walk upright and the impressive size of the head have led to the fact that some parts of the spine are the most vulnerable, in particular the cervical.
Among the striking features of the structure of the cervical spine, it is worth highlighting the presence of vertebrae, mainly small in size and a relatively small number of muscles, in connection with which it is in this area that such an ailment as osteochondrosis most often occurs.
Pain is the most common syndrome of spinal column disease. Depending on the affected area, it can concentrate:
- in the collarbone and / or shoulder;
- along the entire cervical spine;
- not the anterior surface of the sternum.
It is rather difficult to independently determine the primary signs of the disease, because in the overwhelming majority of cases they are insignificant and very nonspecific:
- pain in the areaneckmainly in the evening;
- severity,back pain;
- slight numbnesstingling in the shoulder, hands;
- crunch,clicking when turning the head.
The progression of the disease is accompanied by a number of already noticeable leading symptoms.
It is characterized by shooting pains in the neck, especially felt in the area just below the back of the head.
The painful sensation often occurs during prolonged stay in the same position, for example, in the morning.
The muscles of the neck are tense, there are difficulties in moving the hand to the side, stiffness in the movements of the fingers.
Due to the compression of the vertebral arteries, neurological manifestations are often found:
- recurrent headaches;
Localization of the area - to the left behind the chest.
In the process of gradual disruption of the structure of the intervertebral discs, compression and, as a result, infringement of the nerve roots occurs, which leads to narrowing of the arteries and veins, which in turn leads to the formation of radicular and ischemic syndrome.
Circulatory disorders cause:
- severe, migraine headaches;
- visual impairment, tinnitus;
- disorders of autonomic functions.
In rare cases, the manifestation of a cardinal syndrome is traced, accompanied by compressive pain in the heart muscle, lack of air, and disturbed heart rhythm.
Degrees of development of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine and their characteristic symptoms
The process of development of the disease proceeds rather slowly, but at the same time it has 4 clearly traced stages:
- osteochondrosis of the cervical spine of the 1st degree - the occurrence of discomfort and minor pain during prolonged walking, static position. The beginning of the formation of seals in the intervertebral discs;
- osteochondrosis of the cervical spine of the 2nd degree - bright painful sensations. In order to eliminate pain, manual therapy and appropriate medications are used;
- osteochondrosis of the cervical spine of the 3rd degree - the presence of pronounced lesions of the connective tissue of the affected area;
- osteochondrosis of the cervical spine of the 4th degree - the final stage of the development of the disease, characterized by damage to almost all parts of the spine.
The last degree of development of the disease requires surgical intervention, which entails a long recovery.
Diagnosis of the disease
In the presence of characteristic symptoms in order to diagnose and treat osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, you should consult an orthopedist or neurologist.
As part of the diagnostic measures, the specialist will determine the mobility and soreness in the neck area, as well as assess the degree of sensitivity, and identify other functional disorders.
Among the most effective diagnostic methods, it is customary to distinguish:
- X-ray of the cervical spine, performed in various projections;
- CT (computed tomography);
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) if a hernia / protrusion is suspected.
In case of circulatory disorders, rheoencephalography can be additionally used, as well as an examination of the fundus.
Lack of timely treatment can lead to serious complications, including:
- protrusion of intervertebral discs(formation of hernia / protrusion);
- rupture of the intervertebral disc,accompanied by pinching of the nerves and blood vessels, which can be fatal;
- radiculopathy(damage to the nerve roots), the formation of osteophytes (spines on the vertebral body) with the manifestation of numerous paresis and paralysis.
How to treat osteochondrosis of the cervical spine?
Treatment of cervical osteochondrosis is determined by a specialist and depends on the degree of development of the pathology, the form of its course and the characteristics of the clinical manifestation of the disease.
Today, the most effective methods of treating the disease are:
- treatment with conservative methods, including medication / non-medication;
- surgical intervention;
- a complex combination of techniques.
Assumes the effect of physical factors on the affected area. With an integrated approach and competent conduct of all procedures, improvements become evident already in the second or third month of treatment.
Among the most popular areas of physiotherapy prescribed for the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis are:
- shock wave therapy;
- laser therapy;
- vibration massage.
Neck massage for osteochondrosis
The massage should be performed carefully, without the use of force loads. Violation of the massage technique can cause negative consequences.
The starting position for the massage is the "prone" or "sitting with a straight back" position.
All existing massage techniques are based on techniques such as:
- stroking - affecting the surface layers of the skin. It is performed with the palms of the hands and fingertips downward from the back of the head, to the level of the upper third of the back;
- squeezing - affecting the deep layers of the skin in the upper third of the back. It is performed with two fingers of the hand (thumb and forefinger), carried out across the neck;
- rubbing - the main goal is to warm up the skin and increase blood flow in the desired area;
- kneading - affects deeply lying tissues, must be used with caution, since illiterate use can aggravate the situation.
Physiotherapywith cervical osteochondrosis
There are certain exercises for the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis. The most effective of them are:
Starting position: sitting / standing with a straight back.
Order of execution: while maintaining the starting position, try to lower the shoulders as low as possible, while stretching the top of the head up.
Intensity of execution: at least 10 times (2-5 seconds), at least 3 times a day.
Inventory: terry towel.
Starting position: sitting / standing, clasp the neck with a towel, grab its ends with your hands.
Procedure: alternately pull the ends of the towel, gently kneading the neck muscles.
Important! During the exercise, it is necessary to ensure that the towel does not slip and does not chafe the neck.
Gymnastics (flexion / extension, twists, bends)
Starting position: sitting / standing with a straight back.
Order of execution: from the starting position, perform smooth flexion / extension, turn or tilt of the head, first in one direction, then in the other.
Intensity of performance: 5-7 movements in one direction.
Medication for cervical osteochondrosis
It is especially important during an exacerbation, since it is through the cervical spine that important blood vessels pass, providing nutrition to the brain.
As a means of treatment, tablets, injections, ointments, as well as other topical agents prescribed by the attending physician can be used.
Important! Self-medication with drugs of various groups is unacceptable and can lead to disability, death.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
One of the most effective drugs, often used for osteochondrosis in the form of injections, but also available in the form of tablets, patches and ointments.
The key direction of action is to reduce pain, eliminate swelling and inflammation.
Provides an effective reduction in muscle tension, which significantly reduces pain.
The recommended treatment period is 2 to 4 weeks.
Anti-inflammatory, analgesic and warming ointments for cervical osteochondrosis
In order to increase their effectiveness, anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs contain steroid substances in their composition.
The action of warming ointments is aimed at pain relief, as well as warming, which activates blood flow at the site of application of the drug.
They are used to slow down degenerative processes and accelerate the regeneration of connective tissue. Has a cumulative effect.
Recommended dosage regimen: from 2 to 6 months.
Features of nutrition in the treatment and prevention of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine
Proper nutrition is an undeniably important component of maintaining the health of the body.
In the context of the prevention or treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, the diet is, although an auxiliary, but at the same time a very significant component.
The main goals of proper nutrition in the treatment or prevention of osteochondrosis are:
- elimination of the likelihood of a deficiency of nutrients necessary for the implementation of metabolic processes in the tissues of the intervertebral discs;
- maintaining optimal body weight;
- reducing the risk of developing vascular changes, preventing circulatory disorders.
Nutrition for cervical osteochondrosis is based on the principles of rationality and functionality:
- Minimization of inhibitions - a healthy diet is varied, balanced and at the same time saturated with all the necessary substances.
- Compliance with the drinking regime is an important component in preventing the degradation of intervertebral disc tissue.
- Reducing salt intake - eliminates the likelihood of increasing the load on blood vessels and maintains water and electrolyte balance.
- Limiting the use of starches and sugars, in order to eliminate the likelihood of metabolic disturbances.
Prohibited and recommended food
Nutrition in the treatment and prevention of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine requires the exclusion of such products clogging the body as:
- alcohol that disrupts the water-electrolyte balance and provokes tissue dehydration;
- fatty meat and smoked meats that are difficult to digest;
- acidic, spicy foods that increase inflammation;
- semi-finished products that adversely affect digestion processes;
- sweets, sugar that disrupt blood circulation.
The list of recommended foods includes mainly easily digestible foods of plant and animal origin, rich in protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber, including:
- chicken, rabbit, lean beef and pork;
- Fish and seafood;
- dairy products, eggs;
- cereals of various types;
- whole wheat bread;
- fruits, vegetables, berries and herbs.
The basis of the health of the human cervical spine is a strong back, the health of which is due to:
- a sufficient level of physical activity;
- maintaining optimal body weight;
- comfortable bed with anatomical pillows and a quality mattress;
- maintaining correct posture;
- a combination of prolonged sitting with periods of rest and physical warm-up;
- adherence to proper nutrition.
In addition, it is recommended to avoid neck injuries and, of course, lifting unbearable weights.