The tendency to increase the degenerative-dystrophic lesions of the spine continues to increase every year, and all because of urbanization, hypodynamic and hypokinesia problems are acute. Damage to the cervical spine causes frequent headaches and a feeling of stiffness in the neck and forearms. Today our topic is the causes, symptoms and treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine.
Causes of cervical osteochondrosis
Talking about the causes of degenerative lesions of the cervical spine, one can list genetics, toxic, metabolic endocrine, infectious and others. However, in the first place, you can put a sedentary lifestyle and sit at a computer, desk and drive.
Frequent stress helps this pathology develop, which inevitably makes the posture bend, which causes pinching of the blood vessels of the neck nerve.
Symptoms of pain in the neck should not be ignored, as this leads to the development of diseases and the development of complications such as humeroskapular periarthrosis, vertebral artery syndrome, anterior scalene muscle syndrome and radicular syndrome.
About anatomical structure
Now let's look at the anatomical and physiological features of the cervical spine structure that contribute to the development and progression of osteochondrosis:
- The cervical area is the most easily moved part of the spinal space. Since all types of movement may occur within it, this increases the risk of frequent subluxation and violation;
- The vertebral artery runs in the ducts formed at the opening of the transverse process of the vertebrae. It supplies blood to the brain, auditory organs, spinal cord, and cerebellum. With the development of degenerative-dystrophic changes, arteries and nerves can be pinched in this part.
- In the cervical spine, intervertebral discs are not found anywhere between the vertebrae. In the anterior part, the vertebrae are connected by joints, which can provoke subluxation of the joints.
- The hole in the three lower cervical vertebrae has a triangular shape, and with the growth of bone tissue in osteochondrosis, it can attack nerve roots.
- Vegetative ganglia are located along the cervical spine.
These features will help us display the mechanism of development of cervical spine osteochondrosis complications.
Mechanisms of expansion of changes in the cervical spine
The pathological process begins in the intervertebral disc with loss of moisture by the nucleus pulposus of the disc. The fibrous annulus gradually becomes thinner, its elasticity decreases, and micro tears appear.
As a result, the disk loses its ability to fix, cushion and support. The load on the lower vertebrae gradually increases, after which the vertebrae themselves are involved in the process.
Minor defects appear in it and osteophytes (excess bone tissue growth) grow to withstand increased load.
When bone tissue grows along the posterior wall of the vertebrae, the nerve roots are squeezed, and if along the lateral surface, the vertebral arteries are disrupted.
Subluxation of the joint appears due to an imbalance between the vertebrae. This causes compensatory tension in the neck muscles, which helps keep the cervical vertebrae in a normal position.
When muscles become tired, the load on the vertebrae increases again, leading to the development of the disease. Thus, a vicious circle is formed in which the spasmodic muscles and the damaged vertebrae affect each other and cause deterioration of the patient's condition.
Based on the pathological mechanism, symptoms of the disease form. Thus, nerve root compression is indicated by intense paroxysmal pain along the choking nerve.
And with compression of the vertebral arteries, the symptoms associated with decreased blood flow in the brain become the first, namely: tinnitus, dizziness and headache.
The main symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis.
The main symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis are conventionally divided into 3 groups:
The first group of symptoms - the sensation of pain
- local occipital / neck pain;
- transmits pain that spreads to the right or left hand, and can even reach the fingers, to the hands, to the forearms, and even localized to the shoulder joint.
This pain can be painful and persistent, irritating and spreading throughout the neck or arms. Or it is a more acute local shooting pain, which appears as a result of pinching the nerve root.
The second group of symptoms is movement disorders
First, this is the stiffness of the muscles of the neck and back of the head, as a result of which it is impossible to turn or tilt the head normally, or perform movements on the cervical spine.
In addition, this is a restriction of movement in the shoulder joint, called shoulder-scapular periarthrosis syndrome. It can also spread throughout the arm, including numbness of the fingers, numbness of the hands, and numbness along the surface of the shoulder or forearm.
The third group of symptoms is vegetative-vascular manifestations, manifestations from the side of blood vessels
In the process, there is a vasospasm or pinch in the spine. As a result, symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis such as headache, dizziness, "flies" blink before the eyes may appear.
There may also be hearing loss - tinnitus and a "sulfuric plug" feeling, in which a person cannot hear well. These symptoms are related to vertebral artery syndrome.
Traditional methods of treatment of cervical osteochondrosis
Modern medicine offers many methods for treating degenerative-dystrophic lesions of the spine. Among them are: drug treatment, manual therapy, folk remedies, physical therapy (exercise therapy), and in further cases, they use surgical treatment. The effectiveness of therapy depends on the stage at which treatment is started and the set of methods chosen.
Treatment should be aimed primarily at normalizing the tone of the cervical spine muscles. The action of the remaining funds is aimed at relieving inflammation and pain in the development of pathological changes.
An important factor in the treatment of osteochondrosis is a comfortable and comfortable sleep, which experts recommend using orthopedic pillows.
In the early stages of the development of the disease, the use of massage by an experienced specialist and self-massage will be effective. This method will help relax the spasmodic muscles and stop the development of pathological processes.
Treatment of osteochondrosis should include physiotherapy training in the form of medical gymnastics or morning hygiene. When doing a set of therapeutic exercises, follow these suggestions:
- wear comfortable clothes and shoes;
- to prevent shortness of breath, replace regular exercise with breathing;
- the load will increase gradually, and if during the lesson you start to notice complaints from the cardiovascular system, then stop exercising and see a doctor;
- if pain appears in the cervical spine during lessons, then replace it with exercises for relaxation and stretching;
- during lessons, controlling your general health, breathing and pulse;
- If abduction and resistance training cause you severe pain, then pause;
- medical gymnastics physical training complex must be agreed with the doctor.
Expect the following effects from exercise therapy:
- Strengthens the neck muscles,
- Blood flow recovery;
- Increases spinal mobility;
- Increases the distance of movement in the cervical spine;
- Pain relief and natural recovery;
- Prevention of deterioration.
Most neuropathologists and other specialists do not represent the treatment of cervical spine osteochondrosis without medication. The most popular are drugs from the group of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are used in the form of injections, tablets, gels and ointments.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs relieve pain, inflammation and relieve swelling, as a result, neck muscle tone improves, metabolism in the affected area improves, and nerve roots and blood vessels are released from compression.
It is best to use medications from the muscle relaxation group, which also effectively relieve muscle spasms and at the same time restore their tone. However, medications should be used with caution, especially in allergy sufferers.
Drugs from the corticosteroid group have received good reviews in the treatment of cervical spine osteochondrosis.
Injectable drugs are very popular because of their anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective action.
If the stated treatment is not effective, then use paravertebral blockade with painkillers or with steroids.
How to treat cervical osteochondrosis with non-traditional methods
Supporters of non-traditional therapy can take advantage of the following treatments.
- Acupuncturehelps relieve patients from pain, relieves swelling and relaxes spasmodic muscles, as well as eliminates nerve and arterial compression functions. If the finger is numb, it is recommended to place the needle at the biologically active point on the hand and auricle;
- Manual Therapyhelps restore normal blood flow to the neck, relieves muscle spasms and relieves pinched nerves. Spinal stretching should be done with caution by a skilled professional;
- Hirudotherapy (leech therapy)is a cheap and quite effective method of treatment. The procedure consists of placing the leech on a biologically active point, which must be repeated in 10 sessions. This method helps restore blood circulation in the cervical spine, relieving swelling and inflammation;
- Acupressure massageis a fingerprint on biologically active points and helps relieve muscle spasms, improve blood circulation, relieve swelling, pain and inflammation;
- Traditional treatment methodscan be successfully used at home. These are various decoctions and infusions that you can prepare yourself (infusion of wormwood, infusion of purple flowers, infusion of garlic). Healing bath mint, chamomile, sage, calamus rhizomes have a good effect.
After the treatment method provided and familiarize yourself with the mechanism of development of the disease, decide for yourself who you should contact with your problem: a neurologist or a private clinic.