Degenerative-dystrophic diseases of the spine, or, more simply, osteochondrosis, not only affects an increasing number of the adult population of our planet, but also becomes much younger. Today, more than 80% of the working population of our planet is periodically disturbed by pain in the spine.
Osteochondrosis- a disease of the spine, which results in degenerative-dystrophic damage to the intervertebral discs and underlying bone tissue, accompanied by thickening of the processes of the vertebrae and loss of elasticity of the ligaments along the spine. This leads to aging, dehydration and loss of stability in the cartilage tissue.
Osteochondrosis is not only a manifestation of pain in the spine or impaired sensitivity in the limbs, it is a disease of the whole organism. And as many studies prove, osteochondrosis has a direct effect on virtually all internal organs. For example, disorders in the cervical spine affect the functioning of the organs of vision, hearing, mental and mental activity. In the thoracic region, they disrupt the work of the cardiovascular system, the gastrointestinal tract. And degenerative-dystrophic changes in the lumbar spine lead to organ problemssmall pelvis, including in the urogenital area and lower extremities. For example, in the same lower extremities it is accompanied by various pains, muscle cramps, "creeping creeps", numbness of the extremities, and subsequently their atrophy. Therefore, early detection and qualified treatment of this pathology is very important. Many people who first encounter the diagnosis of herniated disc face the choice of methods of treatment. The proposal for surgical treatment leaves many in a state of shock, forcing them to seek alternative therapies. Some immediately turn to traditional healers, bone-setters, others take various medications, others do nothing at all, adhering to the opinion that the disease should be treated when it is very worrisome. In this regard, there is a winged expression of neurosurgeons - "walking with a hernia is like walking with a grenade, no one knows when it will explode! "But, unfortunately, surgical treatment, be it neurosurgical or orthopedic, is not a panacea. In many patients, even after the operation, pain in the spine persists, associated with the development of cicatricial adhesions, and relapses often occur (new exacerbation ("return") of the disease after an apparent recovery) - repeated hernias.
With osteochondrosis, intervertebral discs are most often affected. These unique cartilage washers not only connect our 33 vertebrae to the spine. Its good "working condition", mobility, elasticity, elasticity, ability to withstand loads directly depend on the state of the intervertebral discs. They serve as springy shock absorbers to cushion the load.
Osteochondrosis manifests itself already in the first decades of life and, according to observations, in boys more often than in girls.
If you do not deal with the prevention and treatment of osteochondrosis, the disease will progress, gradually affecting the entire spine, which ultimately can lead to a herniated disc, pinching of nerve endings and parts of the spinal cord. In severe cases, the consequences of osteochondrosis can be eliminated only by surgical intervention with a long recovery and rehabilitation period.
Types of osteochondrosis
Depending on the part of the spine that was affected by the disease, the following types of osteochondrosis are distinguished:
- Cervical osteochondrosisor osteochondrosis of the cervical spine.
- Chest osteochondrosisor osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine.
- Lumbar osteochondrosisor osteochondrosis of the lumbosacral spine.
- Widespread osteochondrosis, this is when the disease spreads to two or three parts of the spine at the same time.
- First:the main symptom of osteochondrosis at this stage is instability, manifested in the initial disorders of the vertebral discs. Feeling unwell and uncomfortable.
- Second:the main symptom of the second stage of osteochondrosis is disc protrusion. The destruction of the annulus fibrosus begins, the gaps between the vertebrae decrease, pinching of the nerve endings with pain syndromes is possible.
- Third:at this stage of osteochondrosis, the destruction of the ring occurs with the appearance of intervertebral hernias. The third stage is characterized by significant spinal deformity.
- Fourth:the last and most severe stage of osteochondrosis. It becomes difficult to move around. Any movement leads to acute pain. Periodically, there are improvements in the condition, and the pain subsides, but this clearly indicates the formation of bone growths. They connect the vertebrae, limiting the ability to move and leading to disability.
Four stages of development of osteochondrosis
Symptoms characteristic of osteochondrosis
Patients suffering from osteochondrosis complain of constant aching back pain, which is often accompanied by numbness and aching in the limbs. In the absence of adequate treatment, weight loss and atrophy of the limbs occurs. The main symptoms are:
- constant aching back pain, feeling of numbness and aches in the limbs;
- increased pain with sudden movements, physical exertion, lifting weights, coughing and sneezing;
- decreased range of motion, muscle spasms;
- with osteochondrosis of the cervical spine: pain in the arms, shoulders, headaches; development of the so-called vertebral artery syndrome is possible, which consists of the following complaints: noise in the head, dizziness, flashing "flies", colored spots before the eyes in combination with a burning throbbing headache. The cause of the vertebral artery syndrome can be its spasm in response to both direct irritation of its sympathetic plexus due to bony growths, disc herniation, arthrosis of the intervertebral joint, and a reflex reaction due to irritation of any receptors of the spine. The presence of vertebral artery syndrome can aggravate the course of coronary or cardiomuscular pathology, if present;
- with osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine: pain in the chest (like a "stake" in the chest), in the region of the heart and other internal organs;
- with osteochondrosis of the lumbosacral spine: back pain, radiating to the sacrum, lower extremities, sometimes to the pelvic organs;
- damage to nerve roots (with herniated intervertebral discs, bone growths, spondylolisthesis, spondyloarthrosis): shooting pain and impaired sensitivity, hypotrophy, hypotension, weakness in the innervated muscles, decreased reflexes.
Diagnosis of osteochondrosis
Establishment of a preliminary diagnosis is carried out during the initial examination of the patient. The examination is usually carried out by a neurologist in connection with the patient's complaints about local changes, which can be manifested by pain, deformity or limited mobility. The spine is examined with the patient standing, sitting and lying down, both at rest and in motion. The level of spinal lesion is determined by counting the number of vertebrae from certain anatomical landmarks or according to a special scheme.
When examining the back, pay attention to the posture, structural features of the trunk, mark the line of the spinous processes (the median groove of the back), the lower angles of the shoulder blades, the crests of the iliac bones, the lateral contours of the waist and neck, the position of the shoulder girdle, deviation of the intergluteal groove from the vertical, reveal protrusion, protrusion of the spinous processespay attention to the relief of the muscles located next to the spine.
Feeling the spine allows you to supplement the examination data (presence or absence of deformity), to determine the localization, degree and nature of pain. When palpating, the tension of the muscles located next to the spine is also noted. most injuries and diseases of the spine are accompanied by increased muscle tone.
Spinal flexion is used to determine the range of motion in different parts of the spine.
The main role in the study of the spine is assigned to radiography, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, with the help of which the level of the lesion is determined, the diagnosis is clarified and concretized, and hidden pathologies are revealed. Diagnostic data allow the attending physician to determine the tactics of treatment and choose the most effective methods of treatment.
Osteochondrosis of the spine, treatment with movement
Complex conservative treatment includes physiotherapy, physiotherapy, massage, manual therapy, traction (traction) of the spine, reflexology, drug therapy.
Physiotherapy (exercise therapy) - the main method of conservative treatment of diseases of the musculoskeletal system, consists in creating dosed loads aimed at decompression of the nerve roots, correction and strengthening of the muscular corset, increasing the volume and development of a certain stereotype of movements and correct posture, giving the ligamentous-muscular apparatusthe necessary flexibility, as well as the prevention of complications. This is achieved by regular exercises with rehabilitation equipment and joint gymnastics. As a result of the exercise, blood circulation improves, the metabolism and nutrition of the intervertebral discs are normalized, the intervertebral space increases, the muscle corset is formed and the load on the spine decreases.
Physiotherapy is a method of treatment that uses physical factors: low-frequency currents, magnetic fields, ultrasound, laser, etc. It is used to relieve pain, inflammation, rehabilitation after injuries and operations. When using physiotherapy methods, the treatment time for many diseases is shortened, the effectiveness of the use of medicines is increased and their dosage is reduced, there are no side effects inherent in drug treatment.
Massage is a set of methods of mechanical metered action in the form of friction, pressure, vibration, carried out directly on the surface of the human body by hands. Effectively relieves muscle tension, muscle pain, improves blood circulation, has a tonic effect.
Manual therapy is an individually tailored manual effect on the musculoskeletal system to relieve acute and chronic pain in the spine and joints, as well as increase the range of motion and correct posture. One of the directions of manual therapy is Visceral manual therapy, which helps to restore normal mobility of organs, improves blood supply, lymphatic circulation, normalizes metabolism, restores immunity, and prevents exacerbations of chronic diseases.
Traction (traction) of the spine is an effective method of treating pain syndromes in the spine and joints using an individually selected load using special equipment. The procedure is aimed at increasing the intervertebral space, relieving pain and restoring the anatomically correct shape of the spine.
Reflexotherapy - various therapeutic techniques and methods of influencing the reflexogenic zones of the human body and acupuncture points. The use of reflexology in combination with other therapeutic methods significantly increases their effectiveness. Most often, reflexology is used for osteochondrosis, accompanied by pain, diseases of the nervous system, sleep disorders, mental imbalance, as well as overweight and smoking. By acting on certain points, you can bring the body into harmony and treat many diseases.
Drug therapy is indicated during an exacerbation of the disease, is aimed at relieving pain, relieving the inflammatory process and enhancing metabolic processes by taking or administering drugs using intramuscular or intravenous injections.
Although each of the above methods is highly effective, a lasting therapeutic effect can be obtained only when combined with exercises on rehabilitation equipment, i. e. when creating a full-fledged muscle corset.
Recommendations for the prevention and prevention of osteochondrosis
To prevent osteochondrosis or reduce pain, people suffering from this disease are advised to be in a position for as long as possible, in which the load on the intervertebral discs will be minimal, and at the same time, it is necessary to stretch the muscles of the back as often as possible in order tosupport metabolic processes around the spine. General recommendations boil down to the observance of the rules of a healthy lifestyle, in addition, in each case, the attending physician determines private recommendations.
For prevention, the following rules should be observed:
- Do not overload the spine, do not create conditions conducive to increased pressure in the intervertebral discs:
- limit vertical loads;
- do not make sudden movements, especially turns of the body when bending;
- avoid falls and jumps from great heights, injuries and bruises of the spine;
- change your body position more often;
- keep your back straight;
- try to maintain the natural physiological curves of the spine: in the supine position, the load on the spine is minimal, but the bed should be semi-rigid (preferably sleeping on a solid orthopedic mattress and orthopedic pillow); in a sitting position, keep your back straight due to the muscles or pressing it against the back of a chair or chair (the seat should be hard enough, and the back should have a bend in the lumbar region), keep your head straight; in a standing position, change the leg on which you lean more often; getting out of bed or from a chair, as well as lying down and sitting down, should be done with the help of your hands without straining or bending your back;
- before physical activity, drink water and massage your back, this will disperse the blood, accelerate metabolic processes and allow the intervertebral discs to absorb a sufficient amount of moisture;
- do not lift or hold heavy objects on outstretched arms, to raise an object, squat down, and then stand up with it, while the objects should be as close to the body as possible;
- when carrying weights, try to evenly distribute the load, that is, do not carry bags in one hand, etc. , if you have to carry an object in front of you, keep it as close to your body as possible, and while passing it, do not stretch your arms forward, and also usefor carrying heavy loads trolleys, bags or suitcases on wheels, backpacks;
- when performing heavy work related to lifting, moving or carrying weights, use a wide belt or a special corset;
- do not lift a load over 10 kg;
- when doing any work, try to bend as little as possible and be in a bent state and periodically unload the spine (hanging on the bar, stretching with raising your arms, lying down);
- wear comfortable shoes; women should limit walking in high-heeled shoes.
- Exercise regularly to strengthen and maintain your corset. Swimming is useful.
- Take a contrast shower, temper the body.
- Don't overcool.
- Avoid scandals, stressful situations.
- Eat right.
- Do not smoke.