Cervical osteochondrosis: symptoms, causes, degrees

cervical osteochondrosis

Cervical osteochondrosis of the neck is a common pathology that is accompanied by unpleasant symptoms. The disease is characterized by degenerative-dystrophic processes in the spine. They are caused by improper body position, posture disorders, insufficiently active lifestyle. To reduce the symptoms of pathology, you should consult a doctor in time.

What is cervical osteochondrosis?

This term is understood as a progressive degenerative-dystrophic lesion of the intervertebral discs, which are localized in the cervical spine. As a result, there is deformation and depletion of the vertebral bodies. This leads to impaired blood circulation and nerve conduction in the neck.

The disease can be isolated or combined with damage to other parts of the spine - lumbar or thoracic. According to ICD-10, cervical osteochondrosis of the spine is coded under the code M42.

Possible complications of the disease

Many people are interested in the danger of cervical osteochondrosis. In the absence of timely and adequate therapy, pathology can lead to negative health consequences. These include the following:

  • protrusion of intervertebral discs and hernia formation;
  • rupture of the disc with compression of nerves and blood vessels - if the spinal cord is pinched, there is a risk of death;
  • radiculopathy;
  • the appearance of osteophytes;
  • paresis and paralysis.

The main symptoms and signs of cervical osteochondrosis

The disease develops gradually and initially is asymptomatic. Therefore, the diagnosis is often made in advanced cases. The main symptoms of pathology include the following:

  • Pain in the neck and occipital region that worsens with physical exertion or coughing.
  • Crunching on head movements.
  • Loss of sensitivity in the hands, burning in the area of ​​the shoulder blades.
  • Headaches that are localized in the occiput and spread to the temples.
  • General weakness, increased fatigue.
  • Decreased visual acuity.
  • Tinnitus.
  • Hearing impairment.
  • Increased heart rate.

Causes of cervical osteochondrosis

The first signs of the disease usually appear after 35 years. However, in recent years, the pathology began to develop at a younger age - 18-30 years. Most often, the problem is faced by people who have to be in one position for a long time.

The main causes of cervical osteochondrosis include the following:

  • hereditary tendency;
  • violation of metabolic processes;
  • infectious diseases, intoxication of the body;
  • disturbances in the diet - deficiency of fluid, vitamins, microelements;
  • overweight;
  • traumatic injuries of the spine;
  • poor posture;
  • spinal instability;
  • insufficiently active lifestyle;
  • flat feet;
  • influence of unfavorable environmental factors;
  • frequent changes in body position;
  • being in an uncomfortable position for a long time;
  • excessive physical activity;
  • hypothermia;
  • stressful situations;
  • using the wrong sleep pillows.

What are the different degrees of disease?

The disease develops gradually. There are 4 degrees of cervical osteochondrosis, each of which has specific features:

  • The first is accompanied by the appearance of cracks in the intervertebral discs. This process is accompanied by mild aching pains, stiffness of movements. Pathology has an undulating course. With the deterioration of the immune system or an increase in the load, osteochondrosis worsens. If you do not take action in time, there is a risk of aggravating the abnormal process.
  • Second - at this stage, the destruction of the intervertebral discs continues and their protrusion is observed. This process is accompanied by pinching of the nerve endings. A person has constant pain that increases with movement. At this stage, there is a decrease in working capacity, numbness in the hands appears.
  • The third is accompanied by the appearance of an intervertebral hernia. In such a situation, muscle tissue and nerve endings are involved in the pathological process. As a result, there is pain in the neck and occipital region, a feeling of weakness in the hands. With vascular lesions, there is a risk of decreased visual acuity, dizziness and tinnitus. Sometimes the disease leads to fainting.
  • Fourth - this stage is accompanied by the growth of bones. As a result, the pressure on the nerve endings increases. With this form of osteochondrosis, the mobility of the neck decreases, the spine becomes less flexible. As a result, a person cannot perform simple head movements.

Why should you see a doctor immediately?

If symptoms of osteochondrosis appear, you should immediately consult a doctor - neurologist or orthopedist. Otherwise, the pathology will cause dangerous health consequences.

First of all, the doctor should assess the physical activity and the intensity of pain in the neck. Also, the specialist is interested in loss of sensitivity and other disorders.

Based on the results of the preliminary examination, additional procedures are prescribed. First of all, radiography is performed. It is done in several projections. If a hernia is suspected, CT or magnetic resonance imaging may be required. If there is a violation of blood flow, it becomes necessary to conduct rheoencephalography and examination of the fundus.

Treatment is prescribed based on the results of the diagnostic examination. With the development of cervical osteochondrosis, the following categories of drugs are most often used:

  • Analgesics - help to cope with pain.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs - eliminate inflammation and cope with puffiness.
  • Antispasmodics - help relieve muscle spasms.
  • Preparations for improving blood circulation.
  • Chondroprotectors - help to restore the structure of the intervertebral discs.
  • B vitamins - improve the functioning of nerve tissues.

In addition to drug therapy, other methods are prescribed. These include massage, remedial gymnastics, physiotherapy. The use of osteopathy is highly effective. In this case, a mild effect on the affected muscles and vertebrae is carried out. In some cases, the doctor is advised to wear a special orthopedic device - Shants' collar.

Manual therapy is considered an effective way of treating pathology. Her methods are selected individually. The procedure consists in a point effect on the musculoskeletal elements. Thanks to this, it is possible to activate blood flow, improve the movement of lymph, and normalize metabolic processes. Manual therapy improves the mobility of the musculoskeletal system, strengthens the immune system, and helps prevent complications of osteochondrosis.

Traction of the spine is often used. For stretching, special equipment is used. The procedure helps to increase the distance between the vertebrae to normal size and to cope with disorders in the structure of the spine.

If acute cervical osteochondrosis is observed and intervertebral hernias appear, which provoke a decrease in sensitivity and impaired blood circulation, there is a need for surgical intervention.

The duration of treatment depends on the severity of osteochondrosis. Most often, therapy is carried out in long courses. To improve your condition, you should definitely make adjustments to your lifestyle. To do this, you need to eat right, give up bad habits, and play sports.

Prevention of osteochondrosis of the neck

To prevent the occurrence of cervical osteochondrosis, you need to adhere to certain recommendations:

  • timely eliminate the curvature of the spine;
  • go in for sports to form a muscle corset;
  • eat foods that provide the body with calcium and magnesium;
  • normalize body weight;
  • follow the recommendations of doctors when working at a computer.

Cervical osteochondrosis is a serious pathology that leads to negative health consequences. To cope with the violation, it is necessary to make the correct diagnosis in time. Therefore, any discomfort in the neck area should be a reason to see a doctor.

How is the treatment going?

Doctor's consultation: taking anamnesis, myofascial diagnostics, functional diagnostics.

How does it go?

Collecting anamnesis - analyzing the disease, identifying limitations and contraindications, explaining the principles of kinesitherapy, the features of the recovery period.

Myofascial diagnostics is a method of manual diagnostics, in which the doctor assesses the range of motion of the joints, identifies painful seals, edema, hypo- or hypertonicity of muscles and other changes.

Functional diagnostics (carried out in the rehabilitation room) - the doctor explains how to perform certain exercises on the equipment, and observes: how the patient performs them, with what amplitude of motion he can work, what movements cause pain, with what weight the patient can work, howthe cardiovascular system reacts. Problem areas are identified. The data is entered into the card. Emphasis is placed.

Based on the results of the initial examination by a doctor and functional diagnostics, a preliminary individual treatment program is drawn up.

It is desirable to have with you:

  • for pain in the spine - MRI or CT (magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography) of the problem area;
  • for joint pain - x-rays;
  • in the presence of concomitant diseases - extracts from the medical history or out-patient card;
  • comfortable (sports) clothes and shoes

Start classes with an instructor

At the beginning of the treatment cycle, the doctor together with the patient draw up a treatment plan, which includes the date and time of the treatment session, follow-up visits to the doctor (usually 2-3 times a week).

The basis of the treatment process is made up of treatment sessions in the rehabilitation room on exercise equipment and sessions in the gym.

Rehabilitation simulators allow you to accurately dose the load on individual muscle groups, providing an adequate mode of physical impact. The treatment program is compiled by the doctor individually for each patient, taking into account the characteristics of the organism. The control is carried out by qualified instructors. At all stages of recovery, it is important to observe the technique of correct movement and breathing, know your standards of weight weights when working on simulators, adhere to the prescribed treatment regimen and follow the recommendations of specialists.

Articular gymnastics sessions help restore visual coordination, improve joint mobility and elasticity (flexibility) of the spine and are an excellent preventive system for independent use.

Each treatment cycle - 12 sessions. Each lesson is supervised by an instructor. The duration of one treatment session is from 40 minutes to 1. 5 hours. The instructor draws up a program, taking into account the comorbidities and the patient's condition on the day of the class. Teaches the technique of performing exercises and monitors the correctness of execution. Every 6th lesson, a second consultation with a doctor is carried out, changes and additions are made to the program, depending on the dynamics.

How many loops will it take?

This is individual for each person and depends on the progression of the disease.

Important to know:

  • how long have you had this problem (stage of the disease);
  • how your body is prepared for physical activity (do you do gymnastics, any kind of sport);
  • what result you want to get.

If the disease is at an initial stage and the body is prepared, one treatment cycle is sufficient. (example - young people 20-30 years old, going in for sports. We focus their attention on the technique of performing exercises, breathing, on stretching, excluding "wrong" exercises harmful to problem areas. Such patients are trained, get the skill of "caring for their body», Receive recommendations in case of exacerbation and continue to do it themselves).

Each organism is individual, and the program for each patient is individual.