Cervical osteochondrosis: signs and treatment.

Cervical osteochondrosis in a woman.

The appearance of discomfort and pain in the cervical region may indicate disorders in the cartilage and bone tissues and, consequently, the development of a serious disease. Cervical osteochondrosis is a pathology of the spine, in which there is a dystrophic-degenerative change in the vertebral bodies, their processes and intervertebral discs.

In case of severe symptoms, you should definitely see a doctor and undergo an examination. The clinics have everything necessary to diagnose this pathology and obtain a detailed clinical picture of the affected area of the cervical vertebrae.

Classification of cervical osteochondrosis

Previously, osteochondrosis of the neck usually occurred in people aged 45-55 years; however, due to the appearance of many additional factors characteristic of the modern rhythm of life, this disease has become significantly "younger" and is often detected even in adolescents and children.

Among other types of cervical osteochondrosis is the most common. Unlike thoracic, lumbar and sacral, it is detected in almost 25% of patients.

Osteochondrosis of the cervical region proceeds in stages. The resulting signs and symptoms are manifested depending on the degree of damage to cartilage and bone structures.

There are four stages of cervical osteochondrosis:

  • I - the height of the intervertebral disc in the affected area decreases slightly, and the symptoms are mild or determined only when performing movements;
  • II - in addition to a progressive decrease in the height of the disc, pathological growths of cartilaginous tissue occur, bulges, cracks in the fibrous ring, crunch and stiffness appear when turning the neck, the pain becomes more pronounced;
  • III - the fibrous ring ruptures, intervertebral hernias appear, these changes lead to deformation of the spine and can lead to its dislocations and subluxations, the pain becomes more prolonged and sharp, there are signs of loss of sensitivity in the neck area , neck , arms and shoulders;
  • IV - lesions of bone and cartilage tissue become irreversible, osteophytes appear on the surface of cartilage and destroyed bones.

The most neglected stage is characterized by significant compression of nerves and blood vessels, hypoxia of dependent trophic organs (brain, organs of vision, etc. ), immobility of the shoulder girdle and neck. Prolonged pain syndrome significantly reduces the quality of life.

When making a diagnosis, in addition to indicating the stage of osteochondrosis of the neck, a system is used to designate the number of affected cervical vertebrae - from CI to CVII. She points to a segment that has been subject to dystrophic-degenerative changes.

The stage of cervical osteochondrosis is an important criterion for drawing up treatment tactics.

Etiology and pathogenesis of cervical osteochondrosis

Cervical osteochondrosis in most cases is provoked by a combination of several factors. The root cause among them can be considered the fact of walking upright of a person. In this position, most of the load falls on the neck and lower back. With age, the condition of the blood vessels worsens in most people, more chronic pathologies and age-related changes appear that impair tissue nutrition.

Other causes of cervical osteochondrosis are associated with the following factors:

  • hypodynamia;
  • over weight;
  • prolonged smoking;
  • flatfoot;
  • frequent pregnancies;
  • posture disorders;
  • Autoimmune diseases;
  • violation of metabolic processes;
  • hereditary predisposition;
  • improper composition of the diet;
  • frequent injuries and microtraumas of the cervical vertebrae;
  • carry weight on one shoulder or one hand;
  • sleeping on the wrong pillow or mattress;
  • acquired or congenital instability of the vertebrae;
  • poor organization of the workplace.

With a timely visit to the doctor and the exclusion of predisposing causes of osteochondrosis of the cervical region, it is possible to achieve its stable remission.

Clinical manifestations of cervical osteochondrosis

Patients in the first stage of this pathology do not always notice signs of cervical osteochondrosis. Its nature and degree of severity are largely determined by the area of damage, since the nerves that extend from the spinal cord in one or another part of the spine perform different functions.

The main symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis are manifestations of pain syndrome. Pain and discomfort in the neck and shoulders intensify after sleeping on an uncomfortable pillow, turning and other movements of the head and neck and shoulder girdle, hypothermia or strong physical exertion. As osteochondrosis of the neck progresses, some patients begin to be forced to keep their heads still and develop a habit of turning their entire body.

Subluxations and dislocations of the vertebrae, ruptured intervertebral hernias, or pinched nerves can cause acute pain (often called "back pain"). These complications require emergency care.

In addition to pain, symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis include:

  • Headaches;
  • pressure spikes;
  • dizziness;
  • memory impairment;
  • hearing problems;
  • pain in the region of the heart;
  • weakness and drowsiness;
  • sensation of a lump in the throat;
  • crunches when turning the neck;
  • states prior to fainting;
  • flashing "flies" before the eyes;
  • difficulty moving the arm to the side;
  • impaired coordination of movements and gait;
  • paresthesias in the neck, occiput, shoulders, arms and fingers.

Signs of cervical osteochondrosis, indicating the progression of the disease, are:

  • intensification, increased pain and its long duration;
  • decrease in the amplitude of the turns of the neck;
  • increased severity of additional symptoms.

Presyncope states can cause a drop in pressure and increase the risk of various injuries, some of which can be quite dangerous.

Features of the course of cervical osteochondrosis during pregnancy.

Osteochondrosis of the cervical region during gestation is not dangerous for the health of the fetus, if its manifestations do not lead to a dangerous increase in the risk of trauma in the pre-fainting state and excessive nervousness that occurs in response to pain. The probability of an exacerbation of this pathology in pregnant women increases due to hormonal changes, which contribute to increased extensibility of the ligaments and instability of the cervical vertebrae.

For the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis during gestation, safe methods should be used, which are recommended after consulting a neurologist. In addition to recommendations on exercise therapy, massage of the cervical neck area and compliance with the rules for arranging a sleeping place, in difficult cases, safe anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers are prescribed. The volume of exercises for cervical osteochondrosis depends on the degree of its severity.

Childbirth takes place naturally, since pathology, with the correct behavior of a woman during childbirth, can not complicate them in any way.

Features of cervical osteochondrosis in children

Cervical osteochondrosis, the signs of which occur in children and adolescents, is rare. The causes of its development are usually some congenital pathologies:

  • Autoimmune diseases;
  • hereditary predisposition;
  • spinal or muscular abnormalities.

In cases of an acquired variant, such pathologies or factors often lead to osteochondrosis of the cervical region:

  • endocrine disorders and hormonal fluctuations in adolescence;
  • obesity;
  • posture disorders;
  • trauma (including birth);
  • poor nutrition leading to hypovitaminosis and micronutrient deficiencies.

Often, before adolescence, cervical osteochondrosis is asymptomatic or inconspicuous. This fact often complicates the diagnosis and the disease is already detected in stages II-III.

Serious complications in children and adolescents are rare, so surgery for the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis is performed infrequently. In most cases, conservative methods are used to correct the condition of the spine. In severe cases, there is a risk of consequences of cervical osteochondrosis such as growth retardation and an increased probability of stroke in childhood.

Complications of cervical osteochondrosis

With cervical osteochondrosis, complications occur quite often, since the pathology is asymptomatic for a long time, and many patients try to self-medicate even against the background of obvious signs of the disease. Therefore, the appearance of symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis is always an indication to consult a vertebrologist or neurologist.

The consequences of cervical osteochondrosis can be as follows:

  • cervical sciatica;
  • outgoing;
  • intervertebral hernia;
  • memory impairment;
  • dislocations and subluxations of the vertebrae;
  • increased risk of stroke;
  • dizziness and headaches;
  • Alteration of the coordination of movements.

First aid for cervical osteochondrosis.

The dangerous consequences of cervical osteochondrosis, requiring emergency care, include:

  • States prior to fainting or fainting.
    These conditions most often occur with a sudden tilt or turn of the head. The victim should be sitting or lying down to prevent falling. Remove clothing or accessories that interfere with breathing. Provide optimal temperature conditions and access to fresh air. Check the pressure and, if it drops sharply, call an emergency team.
  • "Cervical back pain" (cervicago) or injuries of the vertebrae.
    They start with a sharp pain in the neck, which can radiate to the head. The patient should lie in a horizontal position, to ensure optimal temperature and immobility of the head. For first aid, apply a cold compress or ice to the painful area (wrap the bag in a towel and hold for no more than 15 minutes). In some cases, the best effect is a warm compress, which helps to eliminate muscle spasm. With severe pain, you can give an anesthetic and antispasmodic drug. To eliminate a headache, you need to ensure silence and remove bright light sources. If after providing assistance, the condition does not improve, then it is necessary to call an emergency team. With frequent spasms, it is better not to postpone a visit to the doctor. The specialist may recommend the use of a special neck brace and will determine the amount of treatment needed.

To provide first aid for cervical osteochondrosis, in some complex cases, it is necessary to involve an emergency team, otherwise this can lead to more dangerous complications.

Diagnosis of cervical osteochondrosis

The question of how to diagnose cervical osteochondrosis will be answered by a neurologist or vertebrologist after an examination and study of complaints.

To identify the underlying causes, signs and complications of cervical osteochondrosis, the following studies may be prescribed:

  • neurological tests;
  • x-ray of the neck in the position of flexion and extension;
  • magnetic resonance

If pain in the neck appears periodically, then the question of how to diagnose cervical osteochondrosis is solved using techniques for detecting muscle injuries. To get the desired results, designate:

  • myelography;
  • electromyography;
  • electroneurography;
  • studies of the bioelectrical activity of nervous tissue.

If necessary, the patient must pass clinical and biochemical blood tests, tests for neuroinfection. Differential diagnosis with rheumatological pathologies is carried out by tests to determine the level of antinuclear antibodies in the blood and rheumatoid factor.

If you have any questions about how cervical osteochondrosis will be diagnosed in your case, contact a specialist.

Treatment of cervical osteochondrosis

Many patients are wondering how to treat cervical osteochondrosis. The answer cannot be unequivocal. With mild forms and a slight deterioration in well-being, treatment is carried out on an outpatient basis. If the pain syndrome is strong and surgical care is required, hospitalization is indicated for a patient with cervical osteochondrosis.

In the first days of pronounced clinical manifestations, it is necessary to maintain maximum rest of the cervical spine. Sideways turns are especially contraindicated. After a long static posture, you need to take breaks. With cervical osteochondrosis, especially severe pain is relieved by wearing a special corset that supports the vertebrae in the most physiological position.

The doctor will tell you how the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis with drugs will be carried out. To relieve inflammation and reduce the manifestations of other symptoms, several groups of drugs can be used:

  • antispasmodics;
  • venotonics;
  • chondroprotectors;
  • muscle relaxants;
  • anticonvulsants;
  • B vitamins;
  • sedatives (for psychogenic pain);
  • local anesthetics (in the form of therapeutic blocks);
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Drug therapy of cervical osteochondrosis is supplemented by physiotherapy:

  • traction;
  • exercise therapy;
  • phonophoresis;
  • magnet therapy;
  • reflexology;
  • manual therapy;
  • Therapeutic massage;
  • electrophoresis, etc.

A specialist individually determines a set of exercises for cervical osteochondrosis and physiotherapy. It depends on the stage of the disease and general health.

After completion of treatment, dispensary observation and courses of preventive therapy for exacerbations of cervical osteochondrosis are recommended.

Cervical osteochondrosis operations

If the diagnostic data indicates a complex clinical case or conservative therapy does not bring the desired result for a long time, then the question of how to treat cervical osteochondrosis is decided in the surgeon's office.

To eliminate the manifestations and consequences of neglected cervical osteochondrosis, the following types of operations are performed:

  • laminectomy;
  • microdiscectomy;
  • endoscopic discectomy;
  • removal of tumors, etc. ;
  • removal of transfacet hernia;
  • anterior or posterior fusion;
  • stabilization methods by bone osteosynthesis methods.

The volume of postoperative treatment and extremely important rehabilitation is determined individually. Before discharge, the doctor explains how to treat cervical osteochondrosis.

Prevention of cervical osteochondrosis

The development and exacerbation of cervical osteochondrosis will help prevent:

  • injury prevention;
  • give up smoking;
  • balance diet;
  • wear comfortable shoes;
  • fight against hypodynamia;
  • maintain a normal weight;
  • treatment of chronic diseases;
  • proper organization of the workplace;
  • the right choice of pillow and mattress, chair for the workplace.

Exercises for cervical osteochondrosis should always be performed. It is an effect directed to the affected structures that helps prevent relapses of the disease.

Question answer

What will happen if osteochondrosis is not treated?

With a long course of cervical osteochondrosis, normal innervation becomes difficult, and blood vessels are compressed, blood circulation is disturbed. As a result, tissue hypoxia develops, which leads to the development of complications. In advanced cases, an intervertebral hernia develops.

How many massage sessions to do with cervical osteochondrosis?

Therapeutic massage can be performed only after the acute phase subsides and contraindications are excluded. The number of massage sessions necessary to obtain the desired result in the treatment and rehabilitation process depends on the severity of the injuries and is prescribed individually.

How to relieve the tension of the muscles of the neck and shoulders with cervical osteochondrosis?

In mild cases, tension in the muscles of the neck and shoulders can be eliminated with the help of morning exercises and massage of the cervical neck area. If this does not help, you can use a set of exercises for exercise therapy, manual therapy. In extreme cases, the doctor prescribes drug therapy.

What to do if the head hurts from cervical osteochondrosis?

Mainly, the headache that accompanies the development of osteochondrosis appears due to a violation of the stable process of blood circulation in the brain. To eliminate the pain that has arisen in this case, the doctor prescribes analgesics, massage, reflexology sessions (acupuncture, cupping, etc. ), exercise therapy, ozone therapy, balneotherapy, etc. At the same time, self-medication is strictly prohibited in order not to worsen the clinical picture and not to interrupt treatment.