Ubiquitous statistics claim that more than 80% of the population is diagnosed with cervical osteochondrosis at various stages. Doctors meanwhile warn of very dangerous consequences of neglected forms, which can become a threat not only to the health but also to the life of the patient.
Osteochondrosis of the cervical region - what is it
In itself, osteochondrosis disease is an irreversible degenerative-dystrophic destruction of the vertebral discs and vertebrae. It is characterized by a violation of the integrity of the intervertebral component, which causes herniation and intervertebral elongation, and further destruction of the vertebral bones. These changes lead to complex processes in the body and, in addition to causing severe pain, affect the functioning of the body as a whole.
The process is irreversible, it is impossible to restore damaged cartilage and discs, you can only slow down their destruction.
The risk of such a process in the cervical region is multiplied due to the presence of a large number of nerve fibers and blood vessels that connect the brain to the human body, as well as the proximity of the placement of vertebrae (there are 7 of them ina small space).
Careful! The slightest compression of arteries, nerve fibers or blood vessels in the cervical spine will bring about a range of symptoms, the severity of which will depend on the roots or vessels being squeezed.
There are many reasons for this dangerous disease, although it is not yet known exactly why osteochondrosis occurs in a certain area. Among the factors that provoke osteochondrosis of the cervix will be:
This is the most voluminous factor both in terms of quantity and quality. It should include:
- sedentary way of working;
- prolonged stay in a tense or uncomfortable position for significant periods of time;
- small physical loads on the spine (this contributes to the weakening of the muscular corset);
- excessive stress on the spine.
Today, a very large number of people are subject to the listed factors of occurrence of this disease due to the prevailing pattern of social life and social behavior.
Spinal cord injuries in 90% of cases are associated with cervical osteochondrosis. It often does not occur immediately after the injury, but after a certain time. Here, the main component of the show will be the broken integrity of the ridge.
This factor can already arise in adolescence, during the restructuring of the child's body. This type of osteochondrosis can be successfully treated.
If osteochondrosis occurs against the background of menopause or diseases that change the hormonal background (diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis), treatment will be symptomatic.
This reason almost always happens as an accompaniment to others. Given that in itself genetic predisposition is not the basis for the disease, but has a great importance in the case of other factors.
The manifestations of cervical osteochondrosis are very similar to many diseases, which makes it difficult to diagnose. Their manifestations depend on which nerve roots are compressed, in addition, many symptoms are associated with impaired blood circulation to the brain. Despite the wide range of symptoms, a number of the most common can be distinguished. Their appearance and strengthening will depend on the degree of development of the disease. Here they are ranked according to the frequency of occurrence.
Headache in osteochondrosis of the cervical spine
One of the first, most persistent, and most common symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis is a migraine-type headache. It will be well stopped by analgesics, but as the disease progresses, its intensity becomes higher and it becomes increasingly difficult to stop.
The pain can be spread by a pulse to the temples and back of the head, can affect the parietal region, give the parietal bone.
Usually weak at first, neck pain appears only when you touch the affected area, in the future the pain may radiate to the back of the head, shoulder, arm (this depends on the nerve endings stuck). At the same time, it appears when turning or tilting the head, a sharp movement of the body, set constantly, has an increasing intensity.
Movement range limitation, crackling
Another symptom of cervical osteochondrosis is restriction of head and neck movement, it is difficult for the patient to turn the head, there is no way to do it completely, it is impossible to tilt the head forward or backward. On return, there is a characteristic crack.
weakness of hands
If the nerve roots responsible for innervation of the upper limbs are damaged, weakness appears in the arms and in severe cases paralysis can occur.
Numbness of the hands or body
When you squeeze the roots responsible for sensitivity, there is a loss of sensitivity in the hands, fingers or numbness of individual areas. With advanced forms of the disease it is possible paralysis (complete or partial) of the hands and the whole body. This again depends on the nerves affected.
Decreased hearing, sight
This disease is characterized by signs such as hearing loss and vision loss, numbness of the lips and tongue. These organs are nearby and are the first to suffer from insufficient oxygen supply to the brain.
Dizziness with cervical osteochondrosis
With osteochondrosis of the cervix, one of the most unpleasant symptoms will be dizziness, it can sometimes be accompanied by loss of coordination, in some cases there is fainting, nausea. These symptoms are related to impaired cerebral circulation as a result of constriction of arteries and blood vessels.
About diagnostic methods
If one or a number of symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis appear, it is best to consult a doctor for a diagnosis. There are several methods for diagnosing osteochondrosis, the most informative of which will be:
- CT scan;
- Magnetic resonance imaging;
- vascular dopplerography;
- The most used is radiography.
For the diagnosis of osteochondrosis in the early stages, radiography will have little information. Vascular dopplerography is performed in difficult cases, when severe symptoms appear: loss of sensation in large areas, paralysis, fainting.
Successful treatment is possible only in the early stages of the disease and it depends on the correct diagnosis.
Stages of the disease
The disease is characterized by an increase in symptoms and their severity, there are 4 stages.
- I-I - this is pain in the neck when touching the affected nerve endings. The pain appears when you turn your head or neck. At the level of the spine, no damage is detected, only violations of the intervertebral space.
- II-I - this is the appearance of shooting pain, which can radiate to the arm, shoulder and intensifies with the turning of the head. Migraine type headaches. The pain is caused by small destructive changes in the vertebral discs.
- III-I - increased pain, which becomes constant, numbness appears, stiffness of head movements appears, weakness in the hands, disturbance of attention and memory. At this stage, there are violations of the integrity of the discs (rupture, elongation of the articular sac), intervertebral hernia.
- IV-I - characterized by destruction of discs and vertebrae, violation of bone integrity. At this stage, surgery is often required, as hernias can cause paralysis and immobilization of the upper limbs or the whole body.
Treatment of osteochondrosis of the neck at home is possible and necessary in stages 1-2, the third stage requires medical treatment under the supervision of a doctor.
Before starting treatment at any stage, it is necessary to consult a vertebrologist who will make the correct diagnosis and perform the necessary examinations. Osteochondrosis can have symptoms similar to heart failure (hypertension, difficulty breathing, problems with attention and memory).
Careful! With the wrong or premature treatment, it is possible cerebral ischemia, stroke, spinal cord compression, radiculopathy and these complications of the disease often threaten the patient's life.
With an accurate and timely diagnosis, home treatment should include the following components:
- drug treatment;
- special physical exercises.
All three components are very important, they must necessarily undergo complex treatment, which will ensure a good result for a long time.
A very good effect after relieving acute pain will give traditional massages. Their courses are recommended to be conducted at least once in 6 months. Today there is a large selection of techniques aimed at treating cervical osteochondrosis, which will allow you to choose the most suitable option.
- There are high quality manual techniques that allow you to get a good result.
- A new direction is osteopathy, which aims at treatment with the hands, but considering the human body as a unity of the musculoskeletal, nervous and mental system.
- A good solution would be a professional acupuncture course conducted by an experienced specialist.
- Successfully, massage is replaced by hirudotherapy (treatment with caterpillars), not without reason equates to acupuncture.
Exercises for osteochondrosis of the cervical spine
One of the factors in the occurrence of this disease is the small loads on the muscle corsets. We lead a sedentary lifestyle, spending a lot of time in the same position, often uncomfortable. Therefore, 10 simple exercises to strengthen neck muscle corsets should be included in your daily exercises for everyone. It is especially important to deal with them for those who have the first signs of this disease.
Exercises should be performed only when acute pain is relieved. When they get worse, it is undesirable to do them.
- Perform on foot 5-7 times: place the feet shoulder-width apart, abdomen pulled, shoulders straight. Lift the arms to the sides and up, then tie them at the top and turn again, trying to tie the edges of the shoulders. Then stand up straight again.
- It is good to perform on foot, but you can also sit 7-10 times. Wrap your arms around yourself (as if embracing), try to do this as tightly as possible (elbows forward), then turn your hands back and tie them, touching your elbows with your palms. Try to pull your stomach up.
- It is better to do it on foot, but if you have a lot of dizziness, you can sit down, every movement 3-5 times. The neck is straight, the shoulders are straight. Turn your head to the left and try to touch the shoulder with the chin, do not raise the shoulder. Repeat this, turning your head to the right, making turns alternately.
- Do the same exercise, leaning your head back and forth as much as possible. Try to reach the bearded chest. Do the slopes slowly.
- Then do, very slowly and carefully, a semicircle from left to right shoulder, tilting the head forward. Do not make circular motions - just a semicircle. Repeat the movement in the opposite direction.
Do this exercise with your head turned back as far as possible. Remember that you need to do it slowly and only in semicircles.
- It is also better to perform on foot, but you can also sit for 5 seconds. 3-4 times. Squeeze your fists and rest your chin on them. Press the fists vigorously with the chin for 5 seconds, then place on the back of the occipital bone and press again. This exercise trains the neck muscles well.
- Perform 7-10 turns in each direction. Put your hands on your hips, tilt your head as far forward as possible, it is good if you can support your chin on your chest. Now turn your head left and right alternately, keeping your chin on your chest.
- Perform sitting in a chair with low back, try to do this at least 3-4 times. With your shoulders back, try to look at the wall behind you.
- Perform sitting in a chair, placing your hands between your knees 5-7 times. As you inhale, lean to the side; as you exhale, sit up straight. Do it alternately left and right.
- Lie on your stomach, bend over. Try to do this 5-6 times. Get up as high as you can and stay as long as you can.
Advice! Do the exercise at a convenient time, perhaps during a break or when your neck is tired from a tense pose. There can not be much here. The main thing is not to do a large number of times at once.
Treatment with folk remedies
Treating spinal problems with folk remedies mainly involves warming the affected area. When using recipes for treating cervical osteochondrosis, you need to be careful, as proximity to the brain can make very intense heating more harmful than beneficial.
You should use recipes that have a mild effect, not producing strong irritation.
To prepare it you will need:
- 10 ml iodine;
- 10 ml camphor oil;
- 10 tablets of analgin (500 mg);
- 300 ml of alcohol.
The tablets should be crushed into a powder and all the ingredients mixed. The resulting composition is applied in a thin layer on the neck.
- Potatoes. It is best to apply a compress of mashed potatoes with honey overnight.
- Horseradish. Fresh horseradish leaves should be kept on steam, cooled and applied for 10-15 minutes. on neck.
- Hop. Crush the unsalted fat (1 tablespoon) and add fresh or dry ground cones (1 teaspoon), apply the resulting mixture on the back of the head as a compress overnight.
- Aloe. Take 1 part ground aloe leaves, 2 parts honey and 3 parts vodka. Mix everything and let it bake for 12 hours. Apply the compress for no more than 15 minutes.
Traditional treatment should consist of anti-inflammatory drugs needed periodically to relieve severe pain and medications designed to mobilize the body to fight disease: vitamins, neuroprotectants, chondroprotectors.
In addition, depending on the problems that have occurred, medications are prescribed that relieve the symptoms that have appeared when a certain part of the nerve roots is damaged, these can be medicines:
- pressure reduction;
- to improve vision;
- to ease numbness.
In the initial stages, severe pain can be stopped with the help of sedatives.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed during an exacerbation to relieve inflammation. These drugs are available in tablets, capsules or injectable solutions. Some have the form of ointments for external use. The course of treatment should be determined by the doctor.
Long-term use of medications by a range of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can also lead to irritation of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) mucosa in a healthy person. In the presence of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract - analgesic treatment causes a deterioration.
Make sure you get B vitaminsone,Fr.6,Fr.12). They help improve brain function, positively affect the functioning of the nervous system, improve the transmission of nerve impulses, which improves the overall condition.
These vitamins can be taken as injections intramuscularly, according to the scheme or combined, which will significantly improve their effect. In the early stages of the disease, they appear as tablets (vitamin complexes) or dietary supplements (not recognized by official medicine).
Drugs that improve cerebral circulation
Neuroprotectors are drugs that affect the functioning of the brain. These include a large group of drugs that affect various processes, among nootropics that improve memory and concentration.
Medications are prescribed in cases of impaired blood supply to the brain as a result of squeezing of blood vessels.
Careful! Neuroprotectors should be prescribed by a neurologist.
A special place is occupied by chondroprotectors - drugs that improve the nutrition of the cartilage tissue of the spine (glucosamine and chondroitin), which should slow down their destruction. Clinically their positive effect has not yet been proven, but they are used as dietary supplements and allowed by sanitary and medical examinations.
These drugs may be helpful in stages I and II. In the future, they are unlikely to have the desired effect.
About diets and nutrition
With cervical osteochondrosis, it is important to eat foods and herbs that contain B vitamins, this can be:
- porridge, chamomile;
- mint, koltsfoot;
Displays fresh vegetables and fruits. It is undesirable to use salt, its amount should be reduced to a minimum. This is due to impaired cerebral circulation. There is no need to increase calcium and potassium intake.
Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is an insidious disease that can lead to complex pathologies leading to disability. At the same time, correct behavior, moderate physical activity and systematic treatment can slow its development and even stop it for a long time. Live happily and be healthy!