Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine — symptoms and treatment at home

Osteochondrosis is a disease, which is one of the most popular in the world. Most people after age 35 have osteochondrosis of the cervical spine in one form or another. Recently there has been a tendency to increase the number suffering from a severe form of the disease and the rejuvenation of the disease, reduce its lower age limit. This is due to the fact that an increasing number of people around the world engaged in sedentary work and a sedentary lifestyle. Meanwhile, the disease is quite dangerous, and everyone should know what it is – low back pain, how it manifests itself and how it is cured, to be able to recognize its symptoms and timely initiation of treatment.

Osteochondrosis of the neck

Causes

Low back pain is one of the few diseases that are specific only to humans. In other animals the disease is not found. The reason for this is the distinctive feature of being human as walking upright. Vertical position of the spine causes the vertebrae press against each other and the osteochondral tissue of the spine is gradually degraded and deformed.

The human spine starts with cervical. All in this Department seven vertebrae from the first to the seventh. The vertebrae are separated from each other by intervertebral discs. The cervical spine is particularly vulnerable part of him that is connected, primarily, with the increased mobility of the vertebrae in this region. In the cervical disease is reflected primarily on the discs, which are a weak point in the structure of the spine.

The prevalence of cervical degenerative disc disease also contribute to such factors as the small size of the vertebrae and the relative weakness of the neck muscles. The development of cervical degenerative disc disease is greatly influenced by the lack of blood supply to cartilage.

Thus, the development of the disease is a complex and lengthy process and does not have a single cause. Although the relationship between sedentary work and the presence of cervical degenerative disc disease, however, the disease is often found in trained people, especially athletes due to the increased load on the cervical spine when lifting weights.

In older people, as a rule, the degradation of the vertebral structures is an inevitable process associated with aging and the weakening of its protective forces. However, the most common pathological type of cervical degenerative disc disease, in which the main role is played by external or internal negative factors.

The factors contributing to the development of degenerative disc disease neck:

  • Posture;
  • Curvature of the spine;
  • A back injury;
  • Overweight;
  • Heavy physical work;
  • Sedentary work;
  • Sedentary lifestyle;
  • A metabolic process;
  • Frequent overcooling;
  • An uncomfortable posture during sleep;
  • Stress, fatigue;
  • Hereditary factors;
  • Infectious diseases;
  • The individual characteristics of the body structure, for example, too long or too short neck.

The degree of development of cervical degenerative disc disease

The disease has four stages. Not always easy to determine the stage of disease based on analysis of symptoms, because sometimes the degree of degradation of bone and cartilage tissue may not match the symptoms experienced by the patient.

First degree

Begin the destructive processes in bone and cartilage tissue of the vertebrae. Usually at this stage of osteochondrosis of the cervical symptoms are mild. Sick or did not notice them or associated with diseases of the spine and is attributed to stress and overwork.

Second degree

Begins decrease in disc height on its surface cracks. Symptoms of cervical degenerative disc disease at this stage is manifested in constant pain, weakness, numbness of certain areas of the face.

Third degree

Formed from herniated discs, damaged cervical vessels and muscles. In a patient appears dizziness, pain in the back of the head.

The fourth degree

Appear osteophytes – growth of bone tissue that protects the vertebrae from the load, which leads to pinched nerves. This leads to stiffness in the limbs and damage to adjacent joints.

Symptoms

The main symptoms of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine:

  • Pain in the neck and shoulders;
  • Muscle weakness;
  • Sweating;
  • Numbness of the hands;
  • Loss of coordination;
  • Dizziness;
  • Blurred vision and hearing;
  • Increase in blood pressure;
  • Headaches.

These are typical for degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine the symptoms may be present at all stages of the disease. In most cases observed a few of the symptoms from the list, and the rest can be missing People, the first time faced with such signs of the disease is not always suspected myself of cervical osteochondrosis. So it can appeal to a variety of therapists, cardiologists, neurologists, surgeons. And correct diagnosis result may be delivered with a significant delay.

Syndromes in cervical osteochondrosis

With cervical osteochondrosis there are some syndromes that is typical of States with a set of characteristic features. They appear depending on what nerves and arteries are affected as a result of illness:

  • vertebral artery syndrome;
  • cardiac syndrome;
  • hypertensive syndrome;
  • radicular syndrome;
  • syndrome cervical migraine.

Vertebral artery syndrome is one of the most unpleasant and dangerous complications of cervical osteochondrosis. It is because reduced blood flow through the arteries that pass along the spine to nourish the brain. The syndrome is manifested in such symptoms as systemic or recurrent vertigo, decreased hearing and vision. In some cases, can happen fainting. Often there is a kind of syndrome, concluding that in normal condition the blood flow in the artery is normal, however when rotating the head in either direction he may fall sharply.

Cardiac syndrome develops when compression of the nerve roots carrying the innervation of the diaphragm or the chest muscles. As a result, the patient may experience pain, reminiscent of the cardialgia, although direct effects on the heart during this procedure. However, the syndrome can be characterized by such effects as tachycardia, hypotension and arrhythmia.

Hypertensive syndrome also is among the most dangerous complications. In contrast, vertebral artery syndrome, it is caused by compression of not arteries, and veins that hinders the flow of blood from the head. The syndrome leads to an increase in intracranial pressure, which can manifest in such symptoms as nausea, vomiting, headache.

Syndrome cervical migraine has little in common in their etiology with the classic migraine. It is manifested in severe pain in the back of the head. Pains are paroxysmal in nature, lasting up to ten hours and are accompanied by vomiting.

Radicular syndrome is the most common syndrome in osteochondrosis of the cervical. Is caused by compression of individual nerve roots in the cervical vertebrae. It can be pain in the neck, neck, shoulder blades, shoulders, numbness and weakening of the tone of individual sections of the hands (up to the impossibility to perform any manipulations) and neck.

Very often can be observed in several syndromes or individual symptoms associated with different syndromes.

As you can see, osteochondrosis of the cervical spine manifestations of the disease are multifaceted and not always the patient is able to correctly detect the reason for their occurrence. If you face similar symptoms, it is cause for seeking medical attention.

Diagnosis

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For diagnosis it is recommended to consult a therapist. He will give a referral to orthopedic, spine, neurologist.

For diagnosis, the following types of studies:

  • Radiography;
  • Computed tomography;
  • Magnetic imaging;
  • Ultrasound scanning of neck vessels.

X-rays allows to determine the displacement of the vertebrae, the presence of growths – osteophytes and salt deposits, seals, discs. Computed tomography is to create a series of x-rays, giving a three-dimensional representation of the body in this case – of the cervical spine. It allows you to specify the degree of the pathological process, the nature of the compression of nerves, structure of osteophytes, disc height, etc. magnetic Resonance imaging based on the physical effect of nuclear magnetic resonance, gives a more detailed structural picture of the spine. Ultrasound of neck vessels helps to identify changes in blood flow in the great vessels of the neck caused by the disease.

Treatment

How to treat cervical degenerative disc disease and treated, if any? To combat the disease medicine has developed many methods. Some treatments you can use at home. But this process is long-lasting and complete cure is unlikely, especially in the elderly. However, to slow down and stop the destructive processes in the spine may, at any stage of the disease.

In the initial stages of the disease methods are usually conservative. For the treatment of cervical degenerative disc disease are used in several ways:

  • Drugs;
  • Physiotherapy;
  • Physiotherapy;
  • Massage;
  • Special means for fixation of the spine.

If the disease progressed to the last stage, and there is serious destruction of bone and cartilage structures of the spine, for the treatment of degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine can be used and surgery.

Drugs

The following types of drugs:

  • Chondroprotectors;
  • Vitamins;
  • Analgesics;
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs;
  • Antispasmodics.

In acute pain syndrome associated with osteochondrosis, the first priority is elimination. Generally used oral drugs, however, their ineffectiveness in severe cases, used novocaine blockade.

For muscle cramps apply antispasmodics. Perhaps the use of muscle relaxants. As an anti-inflammatory and pain relievers you can use ointments containing non-steroidal drugs.

In the presence of a syndrome associated with blood circulation and blood supply to the brain – hypertensive and vertebral artery syndrome, taking drugs, removing the unwanted effects of these syndromes – decreasing the pressure and nootropic agents.

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is the easiest and affordable form of treatment of cervical degenerative disc disease and, at the same time, quite effective. Treatment exercise can be done at home. In osteochondrosis of the intensity of training is not critical, only the frequency. In the first place, physical education is designed to strengthen the neck muscles that make up for the lack of functionality of the spine and help to support the weakened vertebrae.

To strengthen the muscles of the neck are recommended daily activities. They can be quite simple, consisting of rotations and head tilts in different directions, and more complex, including using the neck muscles from the hands. They can perform both at home and at work. For example, if the work is sedentary, it is useful to do these exercises after an hour of sitting at a Desk or monitor. However, to comply with them only outside the period of exacerbation and in the absence of pain. Otherwise, they can only worsen the condition.

Equally effective and strengthen the muscles of the shoulder girdle, for example, with the help of regular exercise with light weights. However, the heavy lifting (kettlebells, barbells) are contraindicated. Also useful for regular swimming reduces the load on the spine.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy – method of treatment using for effects on the body some of the physical fields and radiation. The positive quality of physical therapy is that it has a minimum number of contraindications.

For the treatment of degenerative disc disease, the following methods of physiotherapy:

  • Ultrasonic impact;
  • Laser therapy;
  • The influence of the magnetic field;
  • The influence of electric current (electrophoresis).

The magnetic field has a positive effect on damaged body tissues and has anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect. Ultrasound improves the metabolic processes in the tissues, reduces swelling. The same can be said about laser therapy. Electrophoresis most often used in conjunction with drugs, since the use of electric current accelerates their absorption by the body.

Massage

Massage reduces increased muscle tone, causing spasms and decreases the flow of lymph, causing swelling. The procedure promotes improved circulation in the affected area, which stops the process of destruction of intervertebral disks.

Other treatments

To reduce the load on the cervical device is a special – collar of a Trench, which locks the neck in a constant normal position. It is recommended to wear during exacerbations in pain or prolonged sedentary work.

In order to avoid relapse, you should also arrange a place to sleep. A pillow should not cause curvature of the neck, and the mattress should be rigid and smooth. In some cases, can help special sleep – mattress and pillow.