Many negative factors cause negative changes in the intervertebral discs - chondrosis develops. If untreated, the disease progresses, degenerative and dystrophic processes affect bone tissue, osteophytes grow, osteochondrosis develops, and pain appears in the neck.
Home treatment is a complex of different measures. It is important to stop the destruction of discs, eliminate inflammation and pain syndrome, and start the processes of regeneration of the elastic pad between the vertebrae. A good effect is given by a combination of chondroprotectors, muscle relaxants, NSAIDs with exercise therapy, massage, and other methods of influencing weakened structures.
Causes and symptoms of osteochondrosis
The disease is getting younger every year. Several decades ago, with signs of osteochondrosis of the spine, patients after 40-50 years of age turned to a vertebrologist for help, now many young people have a diagnosis of cervical osteochondrosis in their medical records. What is the reason?
Physical inactivity, prolonged use of the computer with little or no movement, combined with endocrine pathologies, smoking, poor nutrition, and poor ecology increase the risk of damage to intervertebral discs and bone structures. The destruction of cartilage begins much earlier than nature intended.
If earlier the main cause of cervical osteochondrosis was the process of natural aging (the cushioning pad between the vertebrae received less nutrition with age, became less elastic, became thinner), now there are many other negative factors.
Increase the risk of degenerative and dystrophic processes in the intervertebral discs and vertebral bodies:
- high loads on the support post during hard work, in professional athletes, when carrying heavy bags, improper lifting technique;
- previous back and cervical injuries;
- endocrine diseases, hormonal disruptions during menopause, pregnancy;
- improper mineral metabolism, chronic pathologies associated with the deposition of salts, such as gout;
- deficiency of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus;
- excessive consumption of strong coffee for a long period, addiction to alcohol, narcotic drugs, smoking;
- improper diet, lack of vitamins: lack of nutrients reduces the rate and quality of cartilage nutrition during diffusion;
- unwillingness to engage in physical education: the worse the flexibility of the spine, the weaker the muscle corset, the higher the risk of affecting all structures of the support column.
Important facts about cervical osteochondrosis:
- the disease proceeds with periods of remission and exacerbation. The more carefully the patient follows the doctor's recommendations, the lower the rate of degenerative processes, which slows down the transition of the mild and moderate stages of pathology to the more severe
- at an early stage, a person does not suspect that a degeneration process has begun in the cushion pad. The more negative factors act, the more actively the intervertebral discs are destroyed;
- Doctors warn:Overweight often appears against the background of endocrine diseases and low physical activity, which increases the risk of cartilage damage. If an obese person smokes a lot, often drinks coffee, does hard work, or sits at a computer / TV for a long time, then with almost 100% certainty we can say: quite quickly, chondrosis will turn into osteochondrosis, protrusions and intervertebral hernias will appear.
Signs and symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis:
- the first stage - with a deficiency of nutrients, the elasticity of the cartilaginous pad decreases, the height of the disc decreases slightly, weak pains in the back and neck appear during exercise;
- the more active the deformation of the intervertebral structures, the more often discomfort worries, the higher the risk of disc destruction. When the fibrous ring ruptures, the friction of the bone structures increases, the nerve roots are pinched, and pain appears. Pinched blood vessels adversely affect the nutrition of important parts of the brain. When sensitive structures and vessels are compressed, the nutrition of the brain deteriorates, headaches disturb, vision decreases, dizziness, nausea appear;
- at the third stage of osteochondrosis, the integrity of the annulus fibrosus is violated, friction of the bone elements increases, frequent pains disturb, hernias develop (disc protrusion occurs). Without the use of NSAIDs and analgesics, pain syndrome complicates the patient's life;
- if you do not consult a doctor, then osteochondrosis will go into the quadruple, the most severe stage. The cushioning pad is practically destroyed, the mobility of the spine is reduced. The body is trying to compensate for the almost complete absence of elastic discs, osteophytes grow - growths that reduce the force of pressure on the vertebrae and nerve roots. The stabilization of the support column occurs, the pain weakens, but at the same time the mobility of the spine in the cervical zone decreases, it is difficult for a person to move, bend, turn, bend his head. Often the patient receives a disability group. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to fix the weakened vertebral structures using special plates.
Note!In the first-third degree of cervical osteochondrosis, therapy can be carried out without hospitalization. In advanced cases, acute pain syndrome in patients with the fourth stage of the disease, observation in the vertebrological center or surgery in the neurosurgery department is required.
How to treat cervical osteochondrosis? Therapy will be successful if the following rules are followed:
- start therapy only after visiting a vertebrologist or orthopedic traumatologist;
- take medications prescribed by your doctor;
- perform a complex of exercise therapy;
- do massage and self-massage of problem areas;
- use doctor-approved folk remedies;
- properly equip the working and sleeping place: an orthopedic base or a shield under a regular mattress, a low pillow.
Important points to enhance the effect of therapy:
- do not overload the spine;
- do not make sudden movements in the cervical spine;
- change occupation, if at the workplace you have to constantly deal with lifting and moving heavy objects or prolonged static loads;
- patients with a diagnosis of osteochondrosis should not work for a long time at their summer cottage, overextend the lower back. With cervical osteochondrosis, the profession of a seamstress, work on an assembly line, at a construction site is not suitable. It is necessary to choose the type of activity in which it will be possible to alternate loads and rest;
- to walk more in the air, to move, not to spend a lot of time in one position: prolonged dynamic and static loads are harmful;
- combine oral medications with topical agents. For active pain relief, use transdermal patches, which must be fixed on the painful area: neck, shoulder girdle. Thin strips impregnated with an analgesic or a composition of the NSAID group reduce discomfort and exhibit an anti-inflammatory effect. The transdermal patch is invisible under clothes, the validity period is from 8 to 24 hours (depending on the type);
- with cervical osteochondrosis and for the prevention of the disease, you need to do simple exercises every day to prevent blood stasis, improve the elasticity of cartilage and the flexibility of the vertebrae. Turns, head tilts, circular rotations of moderate amplitude, doctors advise doing two to three times a day. The movements are smooth, without jerking, otherwise you can damage the rather thin cervical vertebrae;
- be sure to take chondroprotectors for four to six months or longer to restore the height and quality of the intervertebral disc. At 1-3 degrees of osteochondrosis, tablets and ointments with chondroprotective properties give a good result, at 4 degrees the compositions are ineffective;
- take NSAIDs as directed by a doctor, preferably with selective action. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory compounds that suppress only one type of cyclooxygenase enzyme do not have a pronounced negative effect on the body. The drugs are more expensive than traditional NSAIDs, but the negative effect on the central nervous system, heart, and digestive tract is several times lower;
- diet for cervical osteochondrosis reduces the rate of destruction of the cushion pad, in combination with medication, accelerates the regeneration processes. Be sure to eat dishes with gelatin, leafy greens, red fish, vegetable oils, bran, turkey meat, dairy products, hard cheeses. It is necessary to sharply limit strong coffee, animal fats, sweets, carbonated drinks, smoked meats, foods with purines, sour fruits and berries. It is important to give up alcohol and smoking.
In the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis, a complex of drugs is needed. Chondroprotectors are taken at the first or third stage of pathology. With the destruction of the intervertebral disc, rupture of the annulus fibrosus, it is not worth spending a lot of money for a long course of therapy to purchase this type of drugs: chondroprotectors are effective only if a sufficient volume of the hyaline pad is preserved.
Effective Drug Groups:
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory compounds;
- neurotropic B vitamins;
- transdermal patches;
- warming ointments with hot pepper, camphor, snake and bee venom;
- drugs to activate blood circulation.
- turpentine bathsin the treatment of osteochondrosis. After a course of procedures, the nutrition of the hyaline cartilage and intervertebral joints improves, the pain syndrome decreases, and the mobility of the problem area improves. Baths with a white and yellow turpentine emulsion or a mixture of two types of natural products made from processed pine resin are more often used in the treatment of thoracic and lumbar osteochondrosis. But with damage to the cervical spine, the technique also benefits. The procedure has a beneficial effect on the entire body and the support post, which makes it possible to recommend a useful, affordable technique for home physiotherapy;
- gymnasticsfor cervical osteochondrosis. Exercises should be performed slowly, with a minimum amplitude in the first lessons. Gradually, tilts, head turns, rotations can be done more actively, but jerks and pain should not be allowed during exercise. Exercises for osteochondrosis for the cervical zone, the doctor selects individually, based on the severity of osteochondrosis. Additionally, you can massage the neck and shoulder area: the effect is moderate, without strong pressure.
The best option is to combine home treatment with a visit to the physiotherapy room. Magnetic field, amplipulse, ozokerite applications, mud therapy, turpentine baths enhance the effectiveness of home treatment for cervical osteochondrosis. For the prevention of degenerative and dystrophic changes, it is necessary to avoid exposure to negative factors, monitor the loads on the neck and shoulder girdle.