Osteochondrosis: what it is, symptoms and treatment

Osteochondrosis of the spine is the destruction of bone and cartilage of one or more of the spine. This disease is chronic and develops in almost all elderly people. This is due to the normal aging process.

Lower back pain

The intervertebral discs undergo atrophic changes, and at what age this happens depends on many factors:

  • injury;
  • disease and overload of the spine.

Overload of the spine include:

  • walking with a curved back;
  • the wrong seat;
  • features of the structure of the spine;
  • inadequate nutrition of the spinal tissues due to genetic anomalies.

Osteochondrosis nucleus, located between the vertebrate disks, loses part of water. Because of this, the kernel is a violation of the metabolism and inhibits the access of various minerals and vitamins.

After some time in drive cracks, it becomes flat. Next, begin to marvel at the surrounding joints and ligaments, forming tissue inflammation. Due to inflammation there is a shift of the adjacent vertebrae. It's dangerous appearance of root symptoms: pain along the course of the affected nerve.

It is also possible the appearance of herniated discs, and she, in turn, could trigger compression of the spinal cord. For degenerative disc disease characterized by the appearance of osteophytes – bony growths on the vertebral bodies. These tumors can compress the spinal cord and cause radicular syndrome.

Most often, osteochondrosis of the subject to cervical and lumbar.

Cervical osteochondrosis


  1. sports activities (weightlifting);
  2. weight;
  3. the metabolic disorders;
  4. sedentary work ( programmers, accountants, drivers, etc.);
  5. flat feet;
  6. injuries of the spine;
  7. hypothermia.


The main symptoms of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine – pain in the head and neck. The person suffers from strong headaches, neck pain, radiating into the arm, pain in the sternum. The patient may complain of backache – the emergence of sharp pain in the neck, muscle spasm of the muscles and limitation of movement.

Also the person can hear the crunch when turning the neck. Due to entrapment of nerves and blood vessels a person may experience a numbness of tongue and fingertips. The patient will complain of decrease in hearing and vision, increased blood pressure and weakness in the muscles of the arms and legs.

Thoracic osteochondrosis

This type of osteoarthritis is fairly rare. This is due to the anatomical structure of the thoracic spine. It consists of 12 vertebrae, which are connected to the ribs at the expense of the joints. Front edges are joined together the breastbone. This creates the excellent frame of the spine, the sternum and the ribs, which protects the internal organs from various injuries.

The thoracic vertebrae have a small height and long spinous processes, which are located one above the other, like shingles. Because of this structure of the spine has a small mobility. The intervertebral discs of the thoracic are rarely traumatized.

The reasons for the formation of this type of osteochondrosis:

  • inefficient load distribution;
  • the delay in the nutrition of the intervertebral discs;
  • sedentary work;
  • the presence of scoliosis.


As with other types, the main symptom of degenerative disc disease of the thoracic pain.

But when breast osteochondrosis pain may be different. Dorsalgia is a long uncomfortable and slight pain during thoracic vertebrae. The pain can affect the cervical and lumbar region.

Dorigo – one of the symptoms of osteochondrosis of thoracic in which the pain occurs in the form of attack. By nature it is intense, sharp, leads to difficulty breathing, leads to a restriction of muscle movements. In addition to pain, patients may experience numbness of the Breasts, sexual dysfunction, pain in the heart, kidneys and stomach.

How dangerous lesions of the thoracic?

The spine is designed so that in the thoracic region it narrows, so of hernia that occurs due to degenerative disc disease, will lead to compression of the spinal cord. This will easily lead to problems of the heart, pancreas, liver and kidneys, because the thoracic spine is associated with these organs nerve fibres. That is why it is very important to consult a doctor. It will help figure out what's bothering you signs of osteoarthritis and conduct competent treatment of the disease.

Lumbar osteochondrosis

Osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine occurs because of heavy lifting. Normal in the center of the intervertebral disc is the nucleus, containing a large amount of water. Due to the liquid core becomes a little compressed, and the gap will need a compression of 500 kg.

However, affected with osteochondrosis of the disk becomes weaker and the gap will need a total of 200 kg. If a person weighing 70 kg will raise a 15 kg load in the bent position, and for the spine is the load 200 kg, — the intervertebral disc may rupture. That is why the first symptoms of spinal osteochondrosis manifested when lifting weights.


  • pain in the lumbar region;
  • the impossibility of movement in the lower back;
  • sleep disturbance;
  • irritability;
  • fatigue;
  • the inability of the household needs;
  • the decrease in sexual function in men;
  • the menstrual cycle;
  • the syndrome of "cold feet".

In the transition of degenerative disc disease at the sacral region of the patient there is pain in the kidneys and impaired urination.


Treatment of osteochondrosis is conducted by the neurologist. For a start, he conducts the examination of the vertebral column, draws attention to the presence of scoliosis. After feeling the doctor will be able to understand how the affected the spine, tendons and nerves.

After the neurologist suspects osteochondrosis of spine, he would send the patient for further examination. This includes the passage of x-ray examination, magnetic resonance imaging. If you suspect a fracture of the intervertebral disc is discography. Also it is prescribed to determine the extent of the nerve paths.

In General, the diagnosis "osteochondrosis" put very hard. After all, people may complain of pain in the heart, liver, kidney, pancreas, or sexual dysfunction. Still, with careful examination experienced doctor can suspect this disease and prescribe the correct treatment.


Therapy of osteoarthritis is a very long and difficult process. In the acute period, the patient will need to rest the affected segment. If the affected cervical spine, the patient must wear the retainer collar Trench. If it hurts the lumbar spine – the patient requires bed rest. It is best to place a patient in a hospital. Only there he will be able to fully comply with assigned regime. Bed such patient needs to be tough. For this purpose under the mattress put a wooden shield.


As mentioned above, the main symptom of the disease is pain. Therefore, the patient for relief of pain and other symptoms of degenerative disc disease is assigned analgesics.

Also prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Unfortunately, the prolonged use of these drugs causes damage to the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract and the patient displays the following symptoms:

  • nausea;
  • vomiting;
  • pain in the stomach;
  • a feeling of heaviness in the abdomen.

May also aggravate peptic ulcer or gastric bleeding occur. Therefore, before using these drugs should consult with a doctor. If the pain caused by degenerative disc disease, lasts for 3 months, together with these drugs are prescribed antidepressants. It is established that besides the calming effect, they can reduce the pain.

All of the above drugs can be attributed to symptomatic therapy. They will help to relieve the pain but will not relieve a person from the disease.

To restore the intervertebral discs and cartilage are assigned chondroprotectors. These drugs improve the metabolism of the connective tissue and contribute to cartilage regeneration. The drug is taken for a long period of time, an average of 4 – 6 months.

In addition to repair damaged tissues and improve metabolism and in them, these drugs have analgesic action. Another group of medicines needed in osteochondrosis of the spine is a medication that improves blood circulation. Their use contributes to the dilation of blood vessels, but if in conjunction with them to take drugs-antioxidants, the person will improve the metabolism of nerve cells.

As with any illness, patients required calcium supplements. He will restore the activity of bone tissues, increase the strength of ligaments and tendons, and also will be the prevention of osteoporosis – a disease that accompanies degenerative disc disease.

Exercise with a cushion under the lower back


Dosed load on the spine will improve the patient's condition. But to perform exercises to be very accurate. In the acute phase physical exercise is contraindicated. Only subsided the pain you can begin to do a little bit.

Exercise will improve blood circulation in the spine, strengthen the muscles. Due to the blood flow improve metabolism and begin restoration of damaged intervertebral discs. But it should also be remembered that classes should be held regularly, otherwise the result will be.

Exercise in lesions of the cervical

  1. Lie on your back and straighten up. Place one hand on your abdomen and the other on the chest, and inhale, lift up your breath for 10 minutes, then exhale and relax. The duration of exercise, 3 to 5 minutes. In the day to do 3-5 times.
  2. Lie on your stomach and straighten your legs. Relying on stomach and legs need to raise the head and upper chest. Exercise to do 3 to 5 minutes at intervals of 30 seconds.
  3. Lie on your back and bend your knees. In this position turn to the right and left side. Exercise to do 3 to 5 minutes at intervals of 30 seconds.

Exercise in lesions of the thoracic

  1. Lie on your stomach. Uprites hands on the floor and arch your back. Hold this position for 5 -10 seconds. Exercise to do 3 to 5 minutes at intervals of 20 seconds.
  2. Lie on your back. Raise the head and feet ("boat"). Hold for 10-20 seconds. Exercise to do 3 to 5 minutes at intervals of 20 seconds.

Exercise in lesions of the lumbar

  1. Lie on your back, bend your knees and press them to his chest. Swing back and forth and rolling from the back to the sacrum and back. Swing to 2 minutes. Then you need to lie down quietly and relax.
  2. You need to get on all fours and bend as possible. Exercise to do 3 to 5 minutes at intervals of 20 seconds.
  3. In the standing position, imagine that you spin the Hoop for 2 – 3 minutes. Exercises are performed 10 times a day.

Surgical treatment

In the absence of effect of conservative treatment and complications of degenerative disc disease, assigned to surgical treatment. During the operation, perform stabilization of the spine, relieves pressure on the spinal cord and roots. If a person has a disc herniation is removed. Since this operation may damage the spinal cord and nerves, it is performed only on vital indications.

Physiotherapy treatment

The physiotherapy has a positive effect on the course of the disease and accelerates the recovery process. Osteochondrosis is allowed:

  • a visit to the sauna or bath;
  • swimming in the pool;
  • massage;
  • paraffin;
  • chiropractic;
  • laser therapy;
  • various baths;
  • mud;
  • electrophoresis with anti-inflammatory drugs or muscle relaxants;
  • magnetic therapy;
  • D’ Arsonval.

All these procedures improve blood circulation in the diseased area, relax the muscles and to relax the entire body. Physiotherapy is assigned to the rehabilitation period when the patient is not severe pains.


From degenerative disc disease no one is immune. After all, we all get old, and with us getting older and our body. In order for the disease has not ruined your plans, we still have with youth sports. Moderate exercise improves blood circulation, normal metabolism. Also trains the muscles that protect the spine. For the prevention of osteochondrosis, each person must:

  1. eat right – the vitamins and minerals necessary for the body;
  2. give up bad habits;
  3. to engage in physical activity;
  4. don't slouch;
  5. to protect the back from exposure;
  6. not to lift too heavy objects;
  7. to take a contrast shower and quenched;
  8. to avoid stress.

People suffering from this disease it is particularly important to follow all the recommendations, because failure to do so will entail aggravation. When the pain in the back, which is long-term, you need to seek help from a specialist. Only a doctor can make a proper diagnosis and prescribe treatment.

Do not tighten with a visit to the clinic, because the disease is better treated in its early stages. Also, do not self-medicate – every drug has its contraindications, which you may not know. Strictly follow all recommendations of the doctor and then the disease will soon depart!