Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine: exacerbation, symptoms and treatment


Cervical osteochondrosis is a chronic degenerative-dystrophic pathology. If untreated, it progresses rapidly, provoking an increase in symptoms. During the course of the disease, the stages of remission are replaced by relapses, in which the conditionthe person is significantly worsening. He suffers from severe, sharp, piercing pains, stiffness of the cervical spine, dizziness, sudden surges in blood pressure and headaches. With exacerbation of cervical osteochondrosisinsufficient intake of analgesics. It is necessary to act on the causes of clinical manifestations - muscle spasm, displacement of intervertebral discs and vertebrae, compression of muscle roots and blood vessels by bone growths.

After diagnosis, the vertebrologist will draw up a therapeutic scheme. To transfer cervical osteochondrosis to the stage of stable remission, drugs of various clinical and pharmacological groups, physiotherapeutic procedures, sparing therapeuticgymnastics.

Reasons for relapse

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In most cases, there are no symptoms that precede the exacerbation of cervical osteochondrosis. The person feels great, is engaged in daily activities, plans things for the near future. Suddenly there is a sharp, piercingpain, for the elimination of which it is urgently necessary to take a comfortable horizontal position of the body. This allows you to briefly reduce the severity of pain syndrome before visiting a doctor. Only in 15-20% of cases, before exacerbation, there are weak uncomfortablesensations - aching, pulling pains, "goose bumps", numbness of the back of the neck, shoulders, and sometimes forearms. Due to the already deteriorating blood circulation in the cervical spine and the brain, weakness, apathy appear, mental andphysical performance.

Cervicago, or cervical lumbago, occurs after a few hours or days. A person experiences such severe pain that when visiting a doctor, one of the questions of interest to him becomes the possibility of preventing relapse. To prevent exacerbationcervical osteochondrosis, you need to know the reasons for its appearance:

  • being in a stressful environment for a long time. People who are acutely experiencing even ordinary everyday conflicts often suffer from various chronic pathologies, including diseases of the musculoskeletal system. Negative emotions negatively affecton the functioning of all vital systems. In patients with cervical osteochondrosis, they provoke muscle spasms, circulatory disorders in the brain, neck and back of the head;
  • continuous static and dynamic loads. A long stay at a computer, a typewriter, a microscope leads to a deterioration in the blood supply to the cartilage tissues with oxygen, nutrients and biologically active substances. With osteochondrosis2, 3 degrees of severity, several hours are enough for a relapse. Sleeping in an uncomfortable position on a too soft mattress or pillow also leads to this;
  • jerky movements of the neck. An unintentional intense turn or tilt of the head can lead to displacement of discs and vertebrae, compression of nerve roots or blood vessels by bone growths;
  • hypothermia, a sharp change in the climatic zone. Vertebrologists note that most often patients with exacerbations of osteochondrosis turn to them in autumn or spring. During the off-season, relapses provoke a decrease in temperature. It happens in autumnfor natural reasons, and in the spring - because of the desire to quickly get rid of warm heavy clothes;
  • respiratory, intestinal, urogenital infections, exacerbations of any chronic diseases. In this case, a sharp decrease in immunity becomes the cause of the recurrence of cervical pathology.

Also, osteochondrosis is exacerbated by improperly performed massage, weight lifting, excessive physical activity. The onset of relapse very often occurs as a result of non-compliance with medical recommendations regarding nutrition, drinkingmode, medication.

Clinical presentation

Methods of treating osteochondrosis of the cervical or cervicothoracic spine depend on the severity of its symptoms. They are not so intense in pathology of 1, 2 degrees, when a small amount of cartilage tissue is damaged. And for osteochondrosisat 3 or 4 stages, acute clinical manifestations are characteristic, provoked by several negative factors at once. The cartilaginous intervertebral discs have lost their cushioning properties, and the distance between the vertebrae has decreased significantly. Therefore, with a sharp displacement of the vertebra, nerves and blood vessels can be simultaneously squeezed. The vertebrologist conducts treatment, taking into account the following symptoms of an exacerbation of cervical osteochondrosis:

  • shooting, stitching, aching, pulling pains in the cervicobrachial or thoracic region;
  • irradiation of pain in the back of the head, arms, forearms, shoulders, chest;
  • persistent or paroxysmal pain syndrome;
  • increased pain during movement, rotation of the shoulders, lifting of arms.

Pain in the neck and shoulders is one of the signs of an exacerbated pathology.

When examining a patient, the vertebrologist reveals signs of muscle spasm, soreness of the paravertebral points, stiffness of movements, and smoothness of physiological lordosis. An unnatural position of the human body also allows one to suspect an aggravation. He strongly pulls the neck up, turns the entire body to the side to reduce the intensity of pain. Osteochondrosis of moderate and high severity is manifested by neurological disorders as a result of damage to sensitive, motor, vegetative functional structures. For example, when the spinal roots are squeezed, there are sensations of "creeping creeps", the skin of the forearms and the occipital region loses sensitivity, becomes pale and cool to the touch. Patients complain of weakness in the arms, dizziness, headaches, nausea, decreased vision and / or hearing.

Visual impairment almost always accompanies an exacerbation of cervical osteochondrosis.

Recurrence of cervical osteochondrosis manifests itself in psychoemotional instability, insomnia, arterial hypertension, and sometimes in syncope - short-term fainting that occurs with sharp movements of the neck.

First aid for relapse

The pain that occurs during a relapse is so acute that a person simply freezes in place, fearing to make an unnecessary movement. It should be soothed, preferably laid on a hard surface. Place a flat pillow or a folded pillow under your back. a blanket so that the patient is comfortable and the intensity of the pain syndrome decreases.

Now it is necessary to call the ambulance team. The fact is that in some cases, with an exacerbation of osteochondrosis, a person is not able to swallow a pill. Doctors who come to the call will inject an analgesic solution intramuscularly orintravenously. If necessary, they also use means to restore cerebral circulation or hospitalize a person for further treatment in a hospital setting.

Patient transportation to hospital.

While the ambulance is on the way, the patient should feel better. How to relieve exacerbation of cervical osteochondrosis:

  • if swallowing functions are preserved, give an anesthetic tablet;
  • gentle rubbing of pain-relieving gels will help reduce pain;
  • the patient should not be allowed to stand up, bend over, as his coordination of movements may be impaired.

Before the arrival of the doctor, it is strictly forbidden to self-medicate - use warming agents, massage the neck to relieve muscle spasm. If an attack of osteochondrosis is accompanied by an inflammatory process in the paravertebral structures, then such events will provoke the development of irreversible complications.

Treatment of osteochondrosis at the acute stage

Treatment of exacerbation of cervical osteochondrosis begins with the elimination of the main symptom - acute piercing pain. The vertebrologist may prescribe intramuscular administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

The use of medication blockages with hormonal drugs is practiced. Solutions of glucocorticosteroids together with anesthetics are injected into the area of ​​the vertebrae or the strangulated spinal root. After elimination of severe pain, therapycontinues with tablets or topical agents.

How the treatment of exacerbation of cervical osteochondrosis continues at home:

  • taking NSAIDs in tablets, capsules, pills for 5-7 days. The drugs must be combined with proton pump inhibitors to prevent ulceration of the gastric mucosa. If this recommendation is neglected, then after cuppingan attack of osteochondrosis, hyperacid gastritis will have to be treated;
  • use of NSAIDs in the form of gels, ointments, creams from the first day of treatment for 7-10 days. The funds should be applied in a thin layer to the area of ​​pain 2-3 times a day and rubbed lightly;
  • use of warming agents. After the inflammation has stopped, on about the 3rd day of therapy, doctors prescribe agents with a warming effect to improve blood circulation and stimulate regeneration. They are rubbed in a small amount 1-3once a day. Transdermal products such as a pepper patch can help cope with pain;
  • intake or parenteral administration of muscle relaxants. They have analgesic effectsby eliminating muscle spasm, usually provoked by compression of nerve endings.

What else to do with an exacerbation of cervical osteochondrosis, what medications to take or carry out medical procedures, the vertebrologist decides. If the patient did not use chondroprotectors before relapse, then from the first days of therapy he must be prescribeddrugs that stimulate the restoration of cartilage tissue. To speed up the restoration of all functions of the cervical spine will allow intramuscular injection of chondroprotectors.

The use of B vitamins will significantly accelerate the patient's recovery. Pyridoxine, thiamine, cyanocobalamin, nicotinamide, riboflavin improve innervation in the area of ​​damaged discs and vertebrae, stabilize the central and autonomicnervous system.

Non-drug therapy

For 3-4 days of treatment, the patient is shown bed rest. Any dynamic loads on all parts of the spine are excluded. For several hours or all day, patients are recommended to wear a Shants collar, the required heightwhich the doctor will determine. The use of an orthopedic device helps to reduce the load on the cervical vertebrae, prevents the intensification of painful sensations.

Shants collar fixes the cervical vertebrae.

Nutrition for cervical osteochondrosis during an exacerbation should be fractional - 5-6 times a day. It is necessary to exclude from the diet foods high in salt or spices. Their use provokes fluid retention in the body and increased puffiness. Nutritionists recommend eating more fruits, cereals, fresh vegetable salads.

In severe relapse, the innervation of some parts of the body is disturbed due to nerve damage. And the compression of the spinal cord becomes the cause of conduction disorders - para- and tetraparesis of the hands, dysfunctioninternal organs. Therefore, doctors strongly do not recommend independently eliminating the exacerbation of cervical osteochondrosis, drowning out the pain with pills. Only adequately performed therapy will help to avoid the dangerous consequences of a relapse of chronicpathology.

How to forget about joint pain and osteochondrosis?

  • Joint pains limit your movement and full life . . .
  • You are worried about discomfort, crunching and systematic pain . . .
  • You may have tried a bunch of drugs, creams and ointments . . .
  • But judging by the fact that you are reading these lines, they did not help you much . . .

The term "osteochondrosis" characterizes the destructive processes occurring in one or another part of the human musculoskeletal system.

In some patients, this disease affects the joints of the extremities, but with a probability of 95%, osteochondrosis is localized in any part of the spine.

The spinal column is the main axis of the human body, performs many important functions and is an almost irreplaceable element of the musculoskeletal system.

Violation of the structure of any part of the spine can lead to irreversible consequences and seriously worsen the patient's quality of life.

Osteochondrosis of the spine can affect one of three sections of the column: cervical, thoracic or lumbar, and also be localized in several sections.

The disease of each of the spine sections has its own characteristics of the course and individual symptoms, as well as some nuances in the tactics of treating osteochondrosis.

How does cervical osteochondrosis proceed?

According to changes in the structures of the spine, patient complaints and methods of treatment, osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is classified in 3 stages of the course.

Stage 1

Inflammation of the cervical spine

This degree rarely has a clinically expressed picture, some patients complain about:

  • Recurrent headaches;
  • Discomfort in the neck and occiput.

Changes occurring at this stage of the disease affect some vertebrae and intervertebral discs, the elasticity of the annulus fibrosus decreases, and slight compression of the spinal nerve roots occurs

Stage 2

Degeneration of the structures of the spine proceeds more clearly, the intervertebral discs are practically unable to perform their functions, pressure on the nerve processes and blood vessels occurs, this causes the symptoms of the disease.

Patients report frequent headache, dizziness, decreased performance. At this stage, most of the calls for qualified medical care occur, but some spinal injuries are already irreversible.

Stage 3

Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine reaches its peak. Massive lesions of the bone and ligamentous apparatus.

Strong clinical picture:

  1. Severe headaches;
  2. Nausea, lack of coordination;
  3. Sleep problems;
  4. Visual and auditory disorders.

Osteochondrosis is a chronic disease characterized by alternating periods of exacerbation and stages of remission (calm).

Exacerbation of the disease is a stage of the chronic course, in which there is a manifestation of symptoms of the disease, deterioration of the patient's well-being.

The stage of remission is a period that occurs after treatment or on its own, characterized by an imperceptible course of the disease without a pronounced clinical picture.

Treatment of cervical osteochondrosis at the second and third stages is reduced to minimizing the phases of exacerbation and prolonging the period of remission.

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Exacerbation of cervical osteochondrosis

Conducting competent treatment, physiotherapy, gymnastic exercises, proper nutrition and lifestyle help the body in the fight against osteochondrosis and can increase the remission time of the disease.

A number of reasons can provoke a sudden exacerbation of cervical osteochondrosis, causing a recurrence of the symptoms of the disease.

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The frequency, duration and intensity of periods of exacerbation are individual and depend on the cause of the onset, the presence or absence of treatment, as well as the personal characteristics of the organism, its compensatory and adaptive properties.

Causes of exacerbations

Spinal degeneration leads to cervical osteochondrosis

It is rather difficult to conduct laboratory tests that allow to reliably determine the factor that provoked the manifestation of symptoms of osteochondrosis of the spine.

The list of reasons is based on long-term observations of orthopedic doctors and neurologists for patients, a thorough analysis of possible predisposing factors, after which patients noted a deterioration in their well-being.

The causes of exacerbations can be exogenous and endogenous - caused by influence from within the body or from the outside.

Endogenous causes include progressive degeneration of the spine and weakening of the compensatory and adaptive properties of the body.

Among the exogenous factors, the following are most likely to provoke an exacerbation of cervical osteochondrosis:

  • The presence of an inadequate load on the spine or a change in the prevailing posture (lifting weights, doing strength sports, changing the type of activity);
  • Stresses, nervous shocks;
  • Undergoing a session or course of manual therapy by an incompetent person;
  • Seasonality (revealed a large number of exacerbations of the cervical spine disease in autumn);
  • Hormonal shakes (menstruation, pregnancy, menopause);
  • Diseases that weaken the body (respiratory viral infections, infectious diseases, periods of exacerbation of other chronic ailments);
  • Rapid weight gain.

How to determine that osteochondrosis has worsened?

An exacerbation of the disease is evidenced by the presence of discomfort in the neck and head, a deterioration in general health.

Sometimes the exacerbation stage begins with lightning speed, with intense pain in the head.

In 70% of cases, a rapid exacerbation of cervical osteochondrosis can be predicted: the patient notes a feeling of heaviness or dull pain along the back of the neck, complaints intensify in the morning.

The presence of predisposing factors against the background of the manifestation of symptoms of the disease confirms the version about the exacerbation of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine.

All kinds of symptoms during exacerbation

Symptoms that occur during an exacerbation of a chronic spinal disease largely coincide with the general symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis.

The most common symptom of an exacerbation is pain.

The intensity, nature and localization can be varied: pain on the back of the neck or one of its parts, headaches in the occiput, parietal tubercles, pain in the clavicle, shoulder.

Dangerous manifestations of pain can be symptoms similar to those of myocardial infarction:

  1. Pain in the scapula;
  2. Chest pain;
  3. Pain in the left limb.

Some patients report painful sensations only when moving the head or arm in the shoulder joint.

Exacerbation of chronic cervical osteochondrosis can cause a number of neurological symptoms, if they are present, it is necessary to examine the patient carefullyto exclude more serious pathologies:

  • Disorders of sleep, concentration, memory;
  • Loss of coordination, loss of balance, fainting;
  • Sensation of flies in front of the eyes, goose bumps, buzzing in the ears;
  • Dizziness;
  • Nausea to vomiting;
  • Violation of diction;
  • Decrease or increase in the sensitivity of the arm, shoulder blades, neck.

The presence of these symptoms cannot be ignored. The effect of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine on the blood vessels supplying the brain can lead to the most dangerous complication of cervical osteochondrosis - stroke.

How long does the aggravation last?

The duration of the exacerbation stage may vary depending on the season (in the cool season, the activation of osteochondrosis can take longer and more painful), the reasons that caused the resumption of the symptoms of the spine disease, individualcharacteristics of the patient's body and the treatment provided.

Experts call the following time framesstages of exacerbation of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine:

  • Severe symptoms - up to 1 week, more often - 4-5 days;
  • Retention of some discomfort in the affected area, headaches - up to 3 weeks after the relief of severe attacks;
  • The general period of exacerbation is considered standard - about 1-1. 5 months.

Aggravation of cervical osteochondrosis during pregnancy

The body of a pregnant woman undergoes complex physiological changes, a tremendous hormonal surge occurs, a complete redistribution of the body's center of gravity, the absorption and assimilation of minerals and nutrients changes.

These rearrangements have a serious impact on the musculoskeletal system, the spine is under severe stress.

Pregnant women who have a history of such a disease as osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, in 50% of cases, relapse of the disease. This is due to the changes that the spine undergoes.

Symptoms of exacerbation of cervical osteochondrosis in pregnant women are the same as in all other patients.

Difficulties lie in the selection of a treatment regimen, since when prescribing drugs, it is necessary to take into account the possible effect of the drug on the fetus.

To relieve exacerbation in pregnant women, the choice is made on ointments that do not penetrate the baby, in rare cases, in case of severe pain, complex pain relief pills or injections are prescribed.

Many pregnant women resort to treatment with non-traditional methods, traditional medicine recipes, which are more gentle for the fetus.

What to do in case of exacerbation?

If you have symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis, do not delay visiting an orthopedic surgeon or neurologist.

Only a specialist can fully assess the patient's condition, the reasons that led to the aggravation of the disease, and also prescribe the correct, safe and effective treatment.

Before visiting a doctor, try to avoid stress on the affected spine.

In the absence of chronic diseases of the gastrointestinal tract or individual intolerance, you can take an analgesic and anti-inflammatory pill.

In case of exacerbation of cervical osteochondrosisis prohibited:

  1. Warm up the neck or back of the head in a bath, using warming compresses or other methods;
  2. Receive massage sessions;
  3. Self-healing.

Methods for the treatment of acute cervical osteochondrosis

Exacerbation of cervical osteochondrosis drug treatment is aimed at eliminating the symptoms of the disease and the early restoration of the patient's well-being and working capacity.

The table shows the main methods of treatment of diseases of the cervical spine, indicating the most common drugs.

Before using any of the medicines on the list, consult your doctor.

Drug group Destination target
Painkillers / NSAIDs Pain relief, reduction of inflammation in the affected area
Muscle relaxants Relief of muscle spasm
Diuretics Reducing swelling in the inflamed spine and reducing pressure on nerve roots
Chondroprotectors Reconstruction of spine structures
Vitamins Improving metabolism, chemical reactions
Nootropics Restoring the conduction of nerve impulses along the nerve processes

A visit to a qualified osteopath in the acute stage will "release" the restrained nerve process and relieve some of the symptoms of the disease.

How else can you relieve an exacerbation at home?

Ifvisiting a doctor at the moment is impossible, there are several recipes on how to slightly alleviate the condition of a patient with osteochondrosis of the cervical spine before providing medical care:

  1. Take a warm, relaxing shower;
  2. Roll up the neck with a natural wool garment;
  3. Apply herbal compresses to the affected area. For these purposes, use onions, sage, mint;
  4. Make butter and mummy ointment 1: 1.