Osteochondrosis: symptoms, treatment, disease prevention

Humans are the only species of mammals that move with their backs perpendicular. In this case, the spinal space is overloaded. On the one hand, the preference of an inactive lifestyle, on the other hand, physical activity associated with weight lifting, sudden movements and even riding on public transportation; all these factors contribute to the emergence of common diseases such as osteochondrosis. Moreover, the disease is most often detected in the working population.

doctors indicate the development of osteochondrosis

What is osteochondrosis, its type and degree

Osteochondrosis is a process in which the elasticity of the intervertebral disc is disrupted. Under the influence of unfavorable factors, the disc loses fluid, becomes denser and less flexible. This is due to the load on the spine during movement: the pressure on the disc axis presses the fluid out of it. During night rest, the spine will fully recover, but with an inactive lifestyle, this does not happen, as muscles and ligaments gradually lose the ability to stretch, which means they can fully recover.

Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine

This type of osteochondrosis is considered the most dangerous. The vertebrae that make up the neck are very close together. Even a slight deformation of one of them brings serious consequences: headaches, pressure surges, pain in the heart. When the disease is ignored, numbness in the limbs, tinnitus, difficulty breathing, and vision problems may appear. Some signs are easily confused with the usual headaches or fatigue, but if symptoms recur on a regular basis, you should see a doctor as early as possible to determine an accurate diagnosis in a timely manner.

Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine

The main symptom of this type is chest pain. Often it manifests itself on one side and is defined as pain or stabbing. A special feature is the contact with movement, and with static load, the pain increases. There are two types of chest pain: one is an acute but short -lived attack, the other is mild but prolonged. If you see a doctor on time, it is possible to cure the disease without resorting to surgical methods.

Osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine

This is the most common type of osteochondrosis. Men and women suffer with equal frequency. In the region of transition from lumbar to sacral, acute pain occurs. The main problem is a decrease in cartilage tissue, which causes a decrease in the distance between the vertebrae, and this is a direct path to the formation of an intervertebral hernia. Pain can appear for a variety of reasons: compression of nerve endings, narrowing of veins, pinching of the sciatic nerve. The exact cause will be determined by the doctor.

localization of cervical, thoracic and lumbar osteochondrosis

Defeat of two or more parts of the spine

Defeat with osteochondrosis of the entire spine or some parts worsens a person’s general condition. The possibility of a hernia developing many times. Persistent pain makes it impossible to live a normal life. Until the process of change of cartilage tissue becomes irreversible, it is necessary to begin treatment of this disease as soon as possible.

The disease in its development has four stages:

  • the early stages are indicated by mild and short -term pain due to unstable spinal work;
  • in the second stage, the vertebrae are moved, which shortens the distance between them;
  • in the third stage, serious deformation of the intervertebral disc is already possible, leading to the formation of a hernia;
  • in the last stage, one feels stiffness in movement, which can be accompanied by acute pain.

Symptoms and Signs

It is difficult to trace the onset of the disease, as there are no obvious symptoms. Sometimes the back becomes numb after a long sitting or lying in one position, a feeling of goose bumps appear on the legs. All these unpleasant sensations pass quickly, one can only move or rub a stiff leg. Acute pain appears, as usual, unexpectedly: someone stumbles, turns sharply - and arises pain syndrome, in which it is scary to think about the next step. Pressure on the disturbed area causes pain, limited movement, muscles feel tense. There is a protective spasm; therefore, the body keeps the sore area from further movement. This usually takes about 24 hours before the muscles can relax.

Thus, the symptoms of osteochondrosis include discomfort in various parts of the body, accompanied by pain. Painful sensations can be concentrated in the neck, shoulders, back, chest. On the described symptoms, headache, dizziness, fatigue, heart pain, disturbances of sensitivity in the limbs may be added. Doctors regarding the localization of the pain syndrome will be able to determine where the changes begin in the spine.

Reasons for development

The causes of the onset of the disease include factors that interfere with proper disc nutrition and make it impossible to restore it:

  • prolonged body stretching in poses that adversely affect the work of the spine (first of all, sitting);
  • trauma; this is especially true for people involved in sports that involve heavy loads on the spine (e. g. weightlifting);
  • work associated with prolonged static loads (e. g. , workers on assembly lines, hairdressers, etc. ); with such work, congestion in the muscles and circulatory disturbances are observed.

Since the main reason for the development of osteochondrosis is the uneven spread of the load on the spine, other factors that seem insignificant at first glance, can also affect human health. Carrying a bag with only one hand, the habit of sitting bent over with the back bowed, sleeping on a soft feather bed, curvature of the neck position during sleep (high pillows), uncomfortable shoes (albeit fashionable) - all these also serve as prerequisites for back disease. Improper lifestyle, obesity, adolescent scoliosis can also exacerbate the condition.

pain in osteochondrosis

Risk factors include:

  • people who are tall, because their back muscles are underdeveloped;
  • everyone who leads an inactive lifestyle;
  • those who are forced by their profession to lift weights;
  • long -term vibration truck drivers;
  • former athletes;
  • those who have had a case of a similar disease in their family;
  • pregnant women and women during menopause;
  • old person;
  • smokers.

How to diagnose the disease

If a patient experiences the above symptoms, then you should see a local therapist, who will refer the patient to a neurologist. To clarify the diagnosis, a neuropathologist may refer the patient to a more specialized specialist - a vertebral neurologist (a doctor who deals exclusively with spinal diseases). A good chiropractor can also detect disease by feeling the back. If a patient has a suspicion of having a hernia, then a trauma surgeon is desperately needed.

Instrumental methods are also used to make the diagnosis:

  • X-ray of the spine;
  • myelography (this is a picture of not only bone, but also nerve endings and other structures);
  • reflex research (hammer famous neuropathologist);
  • CT scan;
  • nuclear magnetic resonance (the most accurate and safe diagnostic method);
  • magnetic resonance imaging (an indispensable method for intervertebral disc pathology).

Doctors prescribe regular tests for patients.

In the general analysis of blood, attention should be paid to leukocyte and ESR indicators. An increase in value will indicate the presence of inflammatory processes in the body. Low hemoglobin levels will indicate a lack of protein foods, which can directly affect the development of degenerative processes.

A general urine test will show what percentage of mineral salts are present in the body. Increased indicators indicate a violation of the correct balance of nutrients in food.

Elevated blood glucose also speaks to the patient’s improper diet. In addition, it can be the first symptom of diabetes, which leads to complications for all organs of the human body.

Analysis of cholesterol levels in the blood is also very important, as it indicates the condition of the blood vessels.

healthy spine and vertebrae are affected by osteochondrosis

Treatment of osteochondrosis

In the early stages of the disease, drug treatment is used minimally. Medication is needed to alleviate the patient’s condition, relieve the inflammatory process, and increase metabolism. If this procedure is not enough, the doctor prescribes a restriction, i. e. an injection, which is quite effective. The elderly are given drugs that do not accumulate in the body.

Physiotherapy complements medication well. Physiological methods include: ultrasound, the use of magnetic fields, low frequency currents, laser therapy, and so on. The principle of action aims to dilate blood vessels and improve blood circulation. Thus, the analgesic effect is achieved, the disrupted immune response is normalized.

Physical therapy also has a good effect on the spine. A properly selected set of exercises can place the most neglected patient. Under the influence of physical activity, not only the disturbed function is restored, but also the general mental state of the patient improves. The setting up of such therapy gives the patient confidence that he or she will be able to return to a full lifestyle. Simulators such as special treatment boards have proven themselves perfectly. This is an inexpensive and effective method of restoring spinal function.

Sequences are made based on complex metabolic processes. Thanks to him, blood and lymph circulation is improved in the affected area, which encourages metabolism, relaxation of muscle tone, joint mobility, and improvement of skin condition. Massage relieves pain, fatigue, improves the physical condition of the body.

Only a professional should be involved in manual therapy, as illiterate specialists can endanger patients. Such therapy is a set of steps that can dramatically improve a person’s condition. A good specialist can free the patient from functional restrictions and restore the ability to use the affected organ fully. Impact is done by applying pressure, twisting, pushing, jerking, and so on.

Good results are obtained by stretching the spine. It can be under water and dry. It is used to increase the space between disks. Under water, as the name implies, takes place under water, and dry - on a table with special equipment. Traction can be vertical or horizontal, depending on body position.

Complications ignore the disease

It is believed that everyone suffers from chondrosis. But this is no reason to ignore the problem. This is a harmless diagnosis. In very advanced cases, the disease can lead to disability.

If you neglect treatment, then there may be such complications:

  • hernia;
  • protrusion (early changes in the intervertebral disc);
  • kyphosis (bump on the back);
  • radiculitis;
  • salt deposits;
  • spinal cord stroke;
  • circulatory disorders;
  • paralyzed legs.

Untreated cervical osteochondrosis can cause headaches, dizziness, and insomnia. Pectoral entry into intercostal neuralgia. Lumbar gives consequences such as inflammation of the sciatic nerve, damage to the genitourinary system. The main condition for the treatment of osteochondrosis is step -by -step monitoring, and only continuous continuous effort will yield good results.

Disease prevention

Prevention plays an important role in maintaining a healthy spine. The first step is to reduce the risk of injuries in the workplace. This applies to dynamic and static loads. If there is such an opportunity, you should move to another workplace at the first pain in the back. Otherwise, you need to take the necessary steps: constantly change body position, optimize the workplace, do gymnastics or at least some exercises. Yoga classes can play a special role. This ancient Indian posture system, called asanas, can help relieve all the tension in the body, relax and stretch the spine.

Proper work with weight is not important in prevention.

There are a few rules that must be followed by anyone who takes care of his back:

  • you cannot lift weights with arms outstretched; it is right to sit and, while pressing the load to the chest, stand with the back straight;
  • you cannot carry a load with one hand; it is correct to distribute its weight into two nearly equal parts;
  • even if the weight of the item is small, you should stop and put your hands up periodically;
  • the spine must be prepared for the load; this can be aided by regular exercises to strengthen the buttocks, i. e. muscular corsets.

If it is not possible to exercise regularly, it can be replaced with more regular walking. It is best to do at least 8000 steps per day, but at the same time need to maintain good posture, combining steps with proper breathing; While walking, you can try a variety of walking options: on foot, on heels, high leg lifts, racing walks. If there is no time for this, a short but energetic walk to and from work will benefit the body.

Swimming combines the ability to relax the spine and exercise. In the water, Archimedes ’law works, which reduces human weight, so that the muscles relax and the spine is stretched. In addition, swimming allows you to keep your body in good shape.

Running can also prevent disease. Keep in mind that lack of physical activity and its excess damage the spine. You need to monitor the condition of your body carefully and avoid pain.

If signs of inflammation appear, a medication applicator can help. When the needle comes in contact with the patient’s skin, the nerve endings become irritated, blood vessels dilate, blood circulation improves and the pain syndrome weakens. Longer exposure, up to 40 minutes, causes muscle relaxation.

Proper diet is one of the most effective methods of prevention.

It must meet several objectives:

  • fighting overweight;
  • the amount of vitamins and minerals needed;
  • prevent dehydration;
  • slows down the destructive process.

In order for the diet to achieve its goal, food must be low in calories and include dairy products, fish, eggs, herbs, vegetable oils. Doctors advise to eat broth -based dishes: soups, borscht, jelly meat, aspic. Indeed, such foods contain protectors that protect cartilage tissue. But the elderly should do such a diet with caution, because the fat found in concentrated broth can clog the brain channels.

Spinal health is in everyone’s hands. If, with the first pain, you start doing gymnastics, registering to the pool, reviewing your diet, you can not only slow down the process of destruction of the vertebrae, but also generally improve the body. If there is no time or desire to lead an active lifestyle, then you need to follow the basic safety rules, written above in this article.