With osteochondrosis of the spine, the destruction of the bone and cartilage tissue of one or more parts of the spine occurs. This disease is chronic and develops in almost all elderly people. This is due to the usual aging of the body.
The intervertebral discs undergo atrophic changes, and at what age this happens depends on many factors:
- diseases and overload of the spine.
Spinal overload includes:
- walking with a bent back;
- improper sitting;
- features of the structure of the spinal column;
- insufficient nutrition of the tissues of the spine due to hereditary anomalies.
With osteochondrosis, the nucleus located between the vertebral discs loses some of the water. Because of this, metabolic disorders occur in the nucleus and the access of various minerals and vitamins is hampered.
After a while, cracks appear in the disc, it becomes flat. Next, the nearby joints and ligaments begin to be affected, forming tissue inflammation. Due to inflammation, the adjacent vertebrae are displaced. This is dangerous with the appearance of radicular symptoms: pain along the affected nerve.
It is also possible the appearance of an intervertebral hernia, and she, in turn, can provoke compression of the spinal cord. Osteochondrosis is characterized by the appearance of osteophytes - bone growths on the vertebral bodies. These growths can compress the spinal cord and cause radicular syndrome.
Most often, the cervical and lumbar regions are susceptible to osteochondrosis.
- sports activities (weightlifting);
- excess weight;
- metabolic disease;
- sedentary work (programmers, accountants, drivers, etc. );
- flat feet;
- spinal injury;
The main symptoms of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine are pain in the head and neck. A person is worried about severe headaches, pain in the neck, radiating to the arm, pain in the sternum. The patient may complain of lumbago - the appearance of a sharp pain in the neck, muscle spasm and restriction of movement.
Also, a person can hear a crunch when turning the neck. Due to pinched nerves and blood vessels, a person may experience numbness of the tongue and fingertips. The patient will complain of decreased hearing and vision, high blood pressure and weakness in the muscles of the arms and legs.
This type of osteochondrosis is quite rare. This is due to the anatomical structure of the thoracic spine. It consists of 12 vertebrae, which are connected to the ribs through joints. In front, the ribs are connected to each other by the sternum. Thus, an excellent framework is created from the spine, sternum and ribs, which protects the internal organs from various injuries.
The vertebrae of the thoracic region are low in height and have long spinous processes, which are located one above the other, like shingles. Because of this structure, this part of the spine has low mobility. The intervertebral discs of the thoracic region are rarely injured.
The reasons for the formation of this type of osteochondrosis:
- irrational load distribution;
- delay in nutrition of the intervertebral discs;
- sedentary work;
- the presence of scoliosis.
As with other types, pain is the leading symptom of thoracic osteochondrosis.
But with chest osteochondrosis, the pain can be different. Dorsalgia - long-term discomfort and mild pain along the thoracic vertebrae. The pain can affect the cervical and lumbar regions.
Dorsago is one of the signs of thoracic osteochondrosis, in which pain occurs in the form of an attack. By its nature, it is intense, acute, leads to difficulty in breathing, and leads to restriction of muscle movements. In addition to pain, patients may experience a feeling of numbness in the chest, impaired sexual function, pain in the heart, kidneys and stomach.
What is the danger of affecting the thoracic region?
The spinal column is designed in such a way that it narrows in the thoracic region, so hernias arising from osteochondrosis will quickly lead to compression of the spinal cord. This can easily lead to problems with the heart, pancreas, liver and kidneys, because the thoracic region is connected with all these organs by nerve fibers. That is why it is very important to see a doctor on time. He will help to find out where the signs of osteochondrosis disturbing you came from and will carry out competent treatment of the disease.
Osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine occurs due to weight lifting. Normally, in the center of the intervertebral disc there is a nucleus containing a large amount of water. Due to the liquid, the core becomes slightly compressible, and for its rupture, a compression of 500 kg is required.
However, the disc affected by osteochondrosis becomes weaker, and only 200 kg will be needed to rupture it. If a person weighing 70 kg lifts 15 kg of a load in a bent position, and for the spine this is a load of 200 kg, the intervertebral disc may rupture. That is why the first symptoms of spinal osteochondrosis appear when lifting weights.
- pain in the lumbar region;
- inability to move in the lower back;
- sleep disturbance;
- impossibility of meeting household needs;
- decreased sexual function in men;
- violation of the menstrual cycle;
- cold feet syndrome.
With the transition of osteochondrosis to the sacral region, the patient develops pain in the kidney area and a violation of urination.
Osteochondrosis is treated by a neurologist. To begin with, he examines the spinal column, draws attention to the presence of scoliosis. After feeling, the doctor will be able to understand how affected the spinal column, tendons and nerves.
After the neurologist suspects osteochondrosis of the spine, he will refer the patient for additional examination. This includes the passage of an X-ray examination, magnetic resonance imaging. If there is a suspicion of destruction of the intervertebral disc, discography is performed. It is also prescribed to determine the degree of damage to the nerve pathways.
In general, it is very difficult to diagnose osteochondrosis of the spine. After all, a person can complain of pain in the heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, or sexual dysfunction. But still, with a thorough examination, an experienced doctor will be able to suspect this disease and prescribe the correct treatment.
Osteochondrosis therapy is a very long and difficult process. In the acute period, the patient needs the rest of the affected segment. If the cervical spine is affected, then the patient should wear a Shants fixation collar. If the lumbar spine hurts, the patient needs bed rest. It is best to place the patient in a hospital. Only there he will be able to fully comply with the assigned regime. The bed of such a patient should be hard. For this, a wooden board is placed under the mattress.
As mentioned above, the main symptom of the disease is pain. Therefore, the patient is prescribed analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain and other symptoms of osteochondrosis.
Unfortunately, long-term use of these drugs causes damage to the mucous membrane of the gastrointestinal tract and the patient develops the following symptoms:
- stomach ache;
- a feeling of heaviness in the abdomen.
Stomach ulcer may also worsen or stomach bleeding may appear. Therefore, before using these drugs, you should consult your doctor. If the pain caused by osteochondrosis lasts for 3 months, antidepressants are prescribed along with these drugs. It has been found that, in addition to its sedative effect, they are able to reduce pain.
All drugs can be classified as symptomatic therapy. They will help relieve pain, but they will not rid a person of the disease itself.
Chondroprotectors are prescribed to restore intervertebral discs and cartilage. These drugs improve the metabolism of connective tissue and help restore cartilage. The drugs are taken for a long period of time, on average - 4 - 6 months.
In addition to restoring tissues and improving metabolism in them, these drugs also have an analgesic effect. Another group of drugs necessary for osteochondrosis of the spine are drugs that improve blood circulation, their use helps to expand blood vessels, and if thioctic acid is taken in combination with it, then the metabolism of nerve cells in a person will improve.
As with any disease, patients need calcium supplements. It will restore the activity of bone tissue, increase the strength of ligaments and tendons, and also prevent osteoporosis - a disease that accompanies osteochondrosis.
Dosed load on the spinal column will improve the patient's condition. But you need to perform the exercises extremely carefully. In the acute period, physical education is contraindicated. Only when the pain sensations subside, you can begin to practice a little.
Exercise will improve blood circulation in the spine and strengthen the muscles. Due to the flow of blood, metabolism will improve and the restoration of damaged intervertebral discs will begin. But you must also remember that classes must be carried out regularly, otherwise there will be no result.
Exercises for lesions of the cervical spine
- Lie on your back and straighten up. Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest and inhale, hold your breath for 10 minutes, then exhale and relax. The duration of the exercise is 3 - 5 minutes. You need to do it 3-5 times a day.
- Lie on your stomach and straighten your legs. Leaning on your stomach and legs, you need to raise your head and upper chest. Do the exercise for 3 - 5 minutes with an interval of 30 seconds.
- Lie on your back and bend your knees. In this position, turn to the right and left side. Do the exercise for 3 - 5 minutes with an interval of 30 seconds.
Exercises for lesions of the thoracic region
- Lie on your stomach. Place your hands on the floor and bend back. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds. Do the exercise for 3 - 5 minutes with an interval of 20 seconds.
- Lie on your back. Raise your head and legs ("boat"). Hold for 10-20 seconds. Do the exercise for 3 - 5 minutes with an interval of 20 seconds.
Exercises for lesions of the lumbar spine
- Lie on your back, bend your knees and bring them to your chest. Sway back and forth and roll from back to sacrum and back. Swing up to 2 minutes. Then you need to calmly lie down and relax.
- You need to get on all fours and bend as far as possible. Do the exercise for 3 - 5 minutes with an interval of 20 seconds.
- While standing, imagine twisting the hoop for 2 to 3 minutes. Exercise 10 times a day.
In the absence of an effect from conservative treatment and the appearance of complications of osteochondrosis, surgical treatment is prescribed. During the stabilization of the spine, the pressure on the spinal cord and roots is eliminated. If a person has an intervertebral hernia, it is removed. Since this operation may damage the spinal cord and nerves, it is performed only for vital reasons.
The appointment of physiotherapy procedures has a positive effect on the course of the disease and accelerates the recovery process. With osteochondrosis, it is allowed:
- visiting a sauna or bath;
- swimming in the pool;
- paraffin therapy;
- manual therapy;
- laser therapy;
- various baths;
- mud therapy;
- electrophoresis with anti-inflammatory drugs or muscle relaxants;
All these procedures improve blood circulation in the diseased area, allow muscles to relax and relax the whole body. Physiotherapy procedures are prescribed during the rehabilitation period, when the patient is not disturbed by severe pain.
No one is immune from osteochondrosis. After all, we all age, and our whole body also grows old with us. In order for the disease not to ruin your plans, you need to go in for sports from a young age. Moderate physical activity improves blood circulation, normal metabolism. In addition, it trains the muscles that protect the spinal column. To prevent osteochondrosis, each person should:
- eat right - vitamins and minerals necessary for the body;
- to refuse from bad habits;
- engage in physical education;
- do not slouch;
- protect your back from hypothermia;
- do not lift too heavy objects;
- take a contrast shower and temper;
- avoid stress.
It is especially important for people suffering from this disease to follow all the recommendations, because their failure will entail an exacerbation. If you have back pain that does not go away for a long time, you need to seek help from a specialist. Only a doctor can make the correct diagnosis and prescribe treatment.
Do not delay visiting the clinic, because it is better to treat the disease in the early stages. Also, do not self-medicate - any drug has its own contraindications, which you may not know about. Strictly follow all the doctor's recommendations and then the disease will soon recede!