Causes, symptoms and treatments of cervical degenerative disc disease

Among all pathological processes affecting the spine in its various departments, one of the most common and painful is considered a cervical osteochondrosis. This disease leads to many complications, mainly because it affects the spinal cord, and also negatively affects the brain.

pain in the neck

What is cervical osteochondrosis?

By cervical osteochondrosis in medical practice means acquired a progressive disease that affects the particular spine. This pathological process characteristic of degenerative-dystrophic processes in the tissues of the intervertebral discs, which are shock absorbers for the spine. Degenerative-dystrophic changes of intervertebral discs due to the fact that they wear out and deform. As a result, the distance between the vertebrae decreases and as a consequence the following effects:

  • Narrowing of the spinal canal in certain areas of the spine.
  • By displacement of the vertebral arteries – the major blood vessels providing blood flow to the brain. Which impairs the supply of the brain and the blood circulation in the cervical spinal cord.
  • Intervertebral discs can be deformed and flattened. This leads to compression of individual sections of the spinal cord and nerves, often occurs a compression of the nerve roots.

All these problems threaten not only the blood circulation of the brain, painful sensations in the neck, headaches, etc. the Development of cervical osteochondrosis dangerous problems of neurological nature, the deterioration of the Central nervous system, damage of brain tissue. According to the international classification of diseases, osteochondrosis of the cervical has several separate codes. Code disease in ICD-10 depends on at what age it was diagnosed of the disease:

the spine
  • M02 – degeneration of the intervertebral discs in young adulthood.
  • M42.12 – dystrophic process in the neck in adults.

The age of the patient and the degree of development of pathological process depends on many factors, such as the consequences, complications, symptoms, and of course, the principles of treatment.


Knowledge of the reasons for the development of cervical osteochondrosis can play a crucial role in the process of diagnosis and the formulation of principles to combat the disease. However, before I enumerate the reasons, is to say that doctors have identified two factors that lead to the development of this pathological process:

  1. Pathological destruction of the intervertebral discs and other vertebral structures with involvement in the pathological process of nearby tissues, blood vessels and nerve fibers occurs under the influence of adverse external factors. The heavier of these factors and other pathology, the faster disease develops.
  2. Physiological basis of disease are mainly age-related changes. We are talking about the natural aging of the cartilage in the spinal column, sediments, salts, etc.

If you list more than the specific causes of cervical degenerative disc disease, they are as follows:

  • Violation of metabolic processes in the body, as well as certain stages of obesity.
  • Physical inactivity is a phenomenon characterized by the limitation. It's not just about injuries or illnesses, it also can be attributed to a sedentary lifestyle and sedentary work.
  • Pathology of the cardiovascular system, promoting blood circulation in the brain, the pressure drops and so on.
  • Incorrect posture is the different forms of scoliosis, rheumatism and even flat feet.
  • Injury to the cervical spine. In this case we are talking about sprains, bumps, bruises. To influence the development of cervical degenerative disc disease can injury other parts of the spine.
  • Excessive physical loads on the cervical spine, caused by intense sports or heavy physical difficult, depending on the type of human activity.
  • A sedentary lifestyle is also a threat to the constant tension of the cervical and entire spine, if you sit wrong or uncomfortable furniture.
  • Herniation of the cervical spine, and various comorbidities.
  • Forced prolonged retention of the head in an awkward or unnatural position. In this case, not only is strain of the muscles, but the curves in the cervical spine.
  • A very common reason doctors believe the constant stress and nervous strain.
  • One of the reasons also are considered to be congenital anomalies in the structure of the spine.
excess weight

What is the danger to the health of the bears?

As mentioned earlier, in the area of the cervical spine not only is a spinal cord and the various nerve branches, but also the vertebral arteries that supply blood to the occipital part of the brain, the cerebellum and the division of the medulla oblongata. With the development of cervical degenerative disc disease inflamed surrounding tissue. In addition, the development of the pathology threatens to compression of the nerve roots and by displacement of blood vessels, the consequences are as follows:

  • Osteochondrosis is accompanied by a deformation of the spine, resulting in separate areas in the narrowed spinal canal. This can lead to compression of the spinal cord and nerve branches that promises severe neurological problems. In severe cases, the person feels pain, even there is a possibility of loss of control over the private parts of the body (mainly in the region of the hands or face).
  • Compression of neck vessels, as already mentioned, is accompanied by a disruption of blood flow in the occipital brain region. The brain stops receiving oxygen and nutrients in the required quantities, oxygen starvation begins. When blood circulation there is a real risk of ischemic stroke and various neurological pathologies.


The main syndromes are:

  • Vertebral.
  • Of the vertebral artery.
  • Radicular.
  • Cardiac.

It is important to know that each of these symptoms accompanied by painful sensations of a different nature, and a lot of adverse clinical signs. A man may feel dizziness, appear noise in the ears and more.


Vertebral syndrome

Talks about the direct relationship of osteochondrosis of the cervical osseous and cartilaginous tissues. Symptoms of this type of disease is also associated with damage to the aforementioned tissues:

  • Partially or completely restricted neck movement.
  • Head movements are accompanied by painful sensations in the neck.
  • X-ray shows morphological changes in tissues (intervertebral and in the body of the vertebrae).

It is worth noting that vertebral syndrome is always accompanied by these three clinical signs. If there is not at least 1 of them, the diagnosis will be quite different.

Radicular syndrome

Arises when the damaged spinal cord. This disturbed nerve conduction, a person can feel pain or to lose the sensitivity of individual sections of the body or even suffer from paralysis. Depending on which of the 8 pairs of radicular is a violation of conductivity, there are such symptoms:

  • 1 pair – numbness or pain in the neck;
  • 3 para – masticatory reflex, numbness of the tongue and discomfort behind the ears;
  • 4 pair – pain in the region of the clavicle, impaired swallowing reflex;
  • 5 pair – disorders of the shoulder girdle, accompanied by the problem of the motion of hands;
  • 6 pair – the patient begins to feel pain and numbness in the forearm and shoulder blades;
  • 7 pair – numb hands and fingers (usually index and middle);
  • 8 couple of problems similar to the previous point, but the numbness felt in the ring finger and the little finger.

Cardiac syndrome

Despite the fact that still the pathological process is localized in the cervical spine, the syndrome has all the hallmarks of cardiac diseases. The clinical picture in this case is as follows:

  • Rapid pulse.
  • Pain in the sternum.
  • Shortness of breath, weakness, lethargy, decreased performance.

Signs and symptoms of cervical degenerative disc disease

For timely treatment to the doctor you must clearly understand the symptoms of cervical degenerative disc disease. In some cases, such knowledge can ask for help in the initial stages of the disease when it is easier to treat. In General, the symptoms of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine are as follows:

  • Pain in osteochondrosis are always present and varies only in intensity and frequency. It pain are the first clinical sign. Their intensity depends on the stage of disease progression, by nature they are stupid or clenching. Painful sensations are present mainly in the neck, occipital region, but can also radiate to the temporal region, shoulder girdle and hands.
  • In most cases, there are manifestations of lesions of the vestibular apparatus. We are talking about frequent causeless vertigo, nausea, incoordination, irregular gait, loss in space.
  • One of the most frequent clinical signs is rigidity of the neck muscles and stiffness. Person is difficult to turn, lower and tip the head, movements respond pain.
  • A patient noted a feeling on the scalp "prickles" or feels the characteristic tingle.
  • In the area of hands occurs muscle weakness and numbness.
  • Often present psychological symptoms, manifested in depression, sleepiness, mood swings, short temper or irritability.
  • As a result of impaired circulation and destruction of brain tissue increase dizziness and there is noise in the ears like the rustle, ripple, ringing.
  • Most patients report blurred vision and pain in the eyeballs, especially when trying to much to squint to the left, right, up or down.

To determine the degree of development of pathological process it is sometimes possible for the symptoms. However, for a complete diagnosis it's still not enough and requires a number of diagnostic procedures.

Diagnostic methods

Diagnosis of osteochondrosis of the cervical necessary to determine the location and stage of disease progression. For proper diagnosis of the need for such diagnostic methods:

  • Radiography is the primary method to determine the degree and localization of the deformation of the spine.
  • You can use a CT scan for a more accurate diagnosis of pathological changes in the vertebrae and intervertebral discs.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) – provides the opportunity to examine the discs and vertebrae, to determine the presence of hernias, protrusions, the extent of lesions other.
  • Doppler – during this examination, it is possible to find the location of compression of the arteries to assess the degree of circulatory disorders.


Treatment of degenerative disc disease neck always involves a comprehensive approach. Principles of treatment depend on many factors such as patient age, stage of disease, the brightness of the clinical picture, etc. However, no physician in this situation can not do in the first place, you can refer to a therapist who will then refer you to a spine. As for the integrated approach: treat a cervical osteochondrosis with the help of drug therapy, physiotherapy, massages, physical therapy and other methods, which is to talk in more detail.


The mainstay of treatment of cervical degenerative disc disease is a medical therapy involving the use of pills, drugs and medicines of such groups:

  • Analgesics – analgesics and antispasmodics. The first is directly to dull the nerve centers, thereby arresting pain. The second can relieve the spasm of the neck muscles and establish blood flow and inhibit pain.
  • NSAIDs – nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is necessary to reduce the inflammatory process, most of them also eliminate soreness. Often these drugs are used in the form of gels, ointments that are rubbed into the affected area.
  • Muscle relaxants is another way to relieve muscle spasm in the cervical spine.
  • Chondro – mandatory at certain stages of an osteochondrosis the SHOP because they contribute to the restoration of bone tissues.
  • The b vitamins normalize the metabolic processes of the nervous tissue, improving the conductivity of nerve impulses, and contributing to the work of the Central nervous system.

Remember, treatment must be carried out only under the supervision of a physician who is responsible for the purpose of each medication, as well as determine the duration of its administration and dosage.

Physical therapy

Treatment of degenerative disc disease of the neck will be much more efficient with the use of certain techniques of physiotherapy:

laser therapy
  • Electrophoresis.
  • Laser therapy.
  • Ultrasound.
  • Massage.

Therapy of massage necessarily carried out by experienced health worker, the treatment is a course of 10 sessions. Massages the cervical help to normalize blood circulation, restore elasticity, muscle tone, soreness, etc.

Manual therapy

The basis of chiropractic is the principle of recovery of motor function and mobility between the vertebrae. Originally manipulations are softening massage, then the doctor is making more and more force, acts on the vertebrae pressure and twists of the neck.

The use of the applicator Kuznetsova – one of the methods of treatment of diseases of the spine, including degenerative disc disease. The impact of fit on the cervical normalizes metabolism, relieves pain, improves muscle tone, improves circulation, improves the conductivity of nerve tissue, etc. For the prevention of osteochondrosis it is useful to start swimming every day to hang on the bar for 2-3 minutes.