Osteochondrosis can develop in any part of the spine, but most often it affects the neck and lower back. This disease is of an inflammatory-dystrophic nature and proceeds, as a rule, in a chronic form. Cervical osteochondrosis is more often diagnosed in women, while men are more susceptible to osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine.
Most people spend their day in a seated position: at school, college, office, driving a car, or at home at a computer. Over time, many begin to feel first discomfort, and then soreness after a long sitting. Posture deteriorates, a stoop appears, it is difficult to straighten or turn.
This is how 1 appears, the initial stage of osteochondrosis, in which it is easiest to cope with the disease. If you do not take measures, then in the future it threatens to turn into a chronic form with regular exacerbations. In some cases, the case ends in disability.
REFERENCE: osteochondrosis of the cervical spine accounts for half of all types of pathology.
The clinical picture of cervical chondrosis includes:
- pain syndrome caused by compression of nerve roots. Depending on which vertebrae and discs are damaged, pain can spread to the shoulder, forearm, or entire arm. Characterized by headaches, pressure surges;
- sensory disorder, mainly in the hands and fingers. Possibly numbness, burning sensation, or creeping creeps;
- decreased strength and muscle tone on the affected side, sometimes muscle twitching and cramps;
- increased sweating, discoloration of the skin - paleness, redness;
- chest pain;
- vertebral artery syndrome occurs when one of the two arteries is pinched, which is accompanied by severe headaches, tinnitus, nausea, dizziness, less often - swallowing disorder.
There are no drugs that can completely eliminate the cause of osteochondrosis. But you can get rid of its symptoms and prevent possible relapses using the simplest methods.
How is chondrosis treated?
In the acute phase, rarely does anyone go without pain medication. The most popular and effective are inexpensive drugs based on sodium metamizole, as well as NSAIDs - non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
For severe pain, the attending physician can prescribe analgesics in injections, but more often they are prescribed in tablets and supplemented with ointments. Complex therapy also includes physiotherapy, massage and exercise therapy. Massage sessions and therapeutic exercises are usually started after the relief of acute symptoms.
What you can do yourself at home
Treatment of cervical osteochondrosis at home is a prerequisite that most doctors insist on. It is impossible to cope with the disease with drugs and physiotherapy alone, they only temporarily eliminate the symptoms. The period of remission can be prolonged by regular, dosed physical activity, the use of self-massage techniques, therapeutic compresses and strengthening infusions.
By following the instructions exactly and following the medical advice, impressive results can be achieved. Self-massage significantly saves finances, the use of decoctions and herbal infusions instead of some medicines reduces the negative effect of medicines on the body.
Home therapy, like traditional treatment, helps to quickly stop pain syndrome, normalize cerebral circulation, and improve sleep. With the help of available products, you can remove nervousness and irritability, stabilize blood pressure, restore the normal sensitivity of the neck-collar region.
Therapeutic exercises are included in the main standard of treatment for chondrosis of the neck and are selected by an exercise therapy instructor. The first 1-2 sessions are held in a clinic or a health center, and then the patient can train himself at home.
Exercise 1. PI (starting position) - standing, feet shoulder-width apart. Tilt your head to the right, left, forward and backward. All movements should be slow and smooth, you should take your head back especially carefully, not throwing it back abruptly.
Exercise 2. From the same PI, turn the head to the sides. At the extreme point, direct your gaze behind your back. Sometimes it is not possible to turn your head very much at first, and you should not force events. Over time, the "block" limiting movement will disappear.
Exercise 3. Take the shoulders back, bringing the shoulder blades together as much as possible. Hold in this position for a few seconds, then bring your shoulders forward and round your back. The movement is similar to the famous "cat", but is done in a standing position.
Another effective set consists of the following exercises:
- Standing or sitting, put your palms on your forehead and press your head on them, overcoming the resistance of your hands. Keep this position for 15-20 seconds.
- Putting your hands on the back of your head, press with the back of your head on your hands, and with your hands on the back of your head.
- Place your palm on your right ear and apply mutual pressure, trying to tilt your head towards your right shoulder. Then change sides and tilt your head to your left shoulder, keeping your left hand on your left ear.
- Turns the head to the sides, placing the palm on the left or right cheekbone. First, the hand rests on the right cheekbone, and the head tries to turn to the right, overcoming the resistance of the hand. Then the palm rests on the left cheek, and the head turns to the left. The pressure time is 15-20 seconds.
- Grasp the bottom of the head so that the thumbs are on the chin and the rest on the back of the head. Gently pull your head up, it is allowed to swing from side to side like “pulling the cork out of the bottle”. You cannot turn your head, the spine in the cervical spine must be straightened. The duration of the exercise is 15-20 seconds.
- Spread your arms to the sides and rotate first with your left, then with your right, and then with both shoulders. This exercise is especially useful for those who feel tension in the neck and shoulder area.
- Standing or sitting with a straight back, "roll" the head from left to right and in the opposite direction, tilting it down as much as possible at the midpoint and trying to reach the chest with the chin. The number of repetitions is 10-12.
It is not necessary to complete the above complex if some exercises cause pain and severe discomfort. As agreed with the doctor, you can additionally hang on a horizontal bar or a crossbar, go in for swimming, water aerobics and other permitted sports.
Self-massage helps to treat cervical osteochondrosis at home. Thanks to gentle pressure on the neck, salt deposits are prevented, blood supply and tissue nutrition are improved, and the intensity of pain is reduced. During the procedure, muscles relax, metabolic processes are accelerated, and blood pressure stabilizes.
If you wish, you can visit a massage therapist at the clinic or do procedures at home. However, it is convenient to massage the neck on your own, having studied the basic techniques and determining those points that need to be worked out. It is also important to know which zones are best to avoid or to act on them carefully.
The massage technique is quite simple, and it is quite possible to master it. The basic rules are:
- direction of movement - from the center to the periphery, that is, from the spinal column to the shoulders and back of the head;
- it is allowed to massage the cervical area only with the fingers, without using any devices;
- strong pressure is excluded: you need to act delicately and gently;
- the muscles of the back and side of the neck are stroked, rubbed and stretched;
- the massage is performed in a sitting position;
- the session begins with stroking, continues with rubbing and kneading movements, also ends with stroking;
- procedure duration - 5-10 minutes.
In the absence of contraindications and approval of the attending physician, you can use the Kuznetsov applicator. This affordable and effective device is a roller made of fabric or oilcloth with raised elements - round or square spiked plates.
The applicator is easy to use - just put it under your head and lie on it. Soft needles bite into the skin, increasing blood flow and acting on biologically active points of the neck. The duration of the procedure starts from a few minutes and gradually increases.
First aid for exacerbation
If a cervical lumbago occurs suddenly, a visit to the doctor or a specialist home call is the ideal solution. If help is delayed, a number of measures must be taken to relieve pain and protect the vertebral structures from possible injury.
First of all, you need to provide the cervical spine and restrict as much as possible (it is better to completely exclude) physical activity. You should lie on a flat and moderately hard bed or a thick blanket on the floor. A floor that is too hard, such as a bare plank floor or an airy feather bed, will not work.
In case of acute pain in the neck caused by osteochondrosis, it is recommended to wear a Shants collar, which will prevent the neck from moving or turning freely. This will reduce the load on the cervical muscles and improve local blood circulation.
If there is no Shants collar, you can make a homemade tire out of cardboard and cotton wool, fixing the neck with it.
REFERENCE: before visiting a doctor, you should not use heating rubbers and ointments, massage your neck. Such actions in some cases can provoke very unpleasant complications.
In the first hours of an attack, it is allowed to apply ice or a cold compress, but there must be a layer of cloth or gauze between it and the body. This will avoid hypothermia and increased pain.
It is allowed to use anti-inflammatory and analgesic ointments and gels based on diclofenac, ibuprofen, nimesulide and indomethacin. It is forbidden to use such products as Finalgon, Viprosal, Capsicam, and other preparations with burning components in the composition.
Warming ointments and rubbing have a local irritating effect, increase blood flow to the neck, which may increase swelling and compression of nerve endings. In the cervical spine, special care is needed, since improper actions are fraught with a sharp rise in blood pressure.
In case of exacerbation of osteochondrosis, massage is not performed due to the risk of increased pain and reflex muscle spasms. In addition, the cervical vertebrae are hypermobility, and any careless movement can aggravate the condition.
Medication can help fight pain, but remember that pain is a defense mechanism. With its forced elimination, nothing will prevent you from making a sharp movement of your head, which will make the condition worse. Therefore, after taking an analgesic, you should observe a gentle, and preferably bed rest for at least 2-3 days.
Severe soreness, which does not lend itself to stopping with pills and intramuscular injections, is removed with the help of novocaine blockade. This procedure is done strictly in a hospital setting: a local anesthetic is injected next to the damaged vertebra and blocks pain. Blockades are carried out only according to indications and can cause side effects in the form of allergic reactions and infectious complications.
A sharp pain in the neck is a good reason for a doctor's consultation and a comprehensive examination. Only after an accurate diagnosis has been established, the treatment tactics and the most effective methods in a particular case are determined.
It is categorically impossible to remove pain in any way - for example, try to correct a displaced vertebra on your own or seek such help from a friend who is not a specialist. Do not take large doses of pain relievers uncontrollably. Even folk remedies can be harmful if the diagnosis is not yet known.
The correct movement regime is very important: if in the stage of exacerbation the movements should be as limited as possible, then after a few days physical activity should be expanded. Performing exercises from the exercise therapy complex will help improve blood circulation, reduce the intensity of pain and subside the inflammatory process. In addition, properly selected exercises will help strengthen the muscle corset that supports the spine.
How to cure osteochondrosis forever
Complex drug treatment consists of several groups of drugs:
- NSAIDs and analgesics during an exacerbation; muscle relaxants to relax muscles;
- chondroprotectors, restoring the cartilage tissue of intervertebral discs;
- vitamin and mineral complexes containing B vitamins
Various ointments, gels and plasters - for example, the Nanoplast plaster - effectively complement the treatment. Today, pharmacies have a wide range of local remedies that can be used both during exacerbations and in the recovery phase:
When acute symptoms have subsided, warming agents can be used.
Honey-potato wrap is made from raw grated potatoes and honey. Both components are taken in equal quantities, mixed and laid out on a cloth or gauze. The compress is applied to the neck for about 45 minutes. The procedure is performed twice a week.
Wax or paraffin must be melted and applied to the sore spot, avoiding contact with the spine itself. It is recommended to make such applications once every two days.
Knead the dough of water and rye flour to medium density, roll out the cake and attach it to the neck. Lubricate the skin with turpentine before applying. Cover the compress with polyethylene and a warm cloth, hold until a burning sensation appears, but no more than 15 minutes. You can carry out the procedure every other day.
The herbal preparation for oral administration is prepared from the following ingredients, taken in equal proportions:
- St. John's wort;
- dandelion leaves.
2 st. l. brew the mixture in a thermos, pouring it with a liter of boiling water. Take 3 times a day before meals for ¼ glass.
Thus, at home, you can do a lot to get rid of such an unpleasant disease as osteochondrosis. When performing all medical appointments, including taking medications, visiting physical and massage procedures, performing therapeutic exercises, there is every chance to avoid its progression and prevent relapses.
What to do now
Statistics are such that over 45% of people over the age of 35 have joint diseases! It all starts small: somewhere they overexerted, somewhere they lifted weights, somewhere they just blew their neck. The joint is designed in such a way that the main problems begin with inflammation of the joint fluid, then softening of the cartilage and, as a result, disability.
One important thing to keep in mind: joint disease will take you to a wheelchair in less than 3 years! The disease progresses many times faster if you are overweight, since in this case there is a double load on the joints.