The cervical spine is the narrowest part, however, the daily load of supporting the head, ensuring its rotation, and the mobility of the shoulder joints is incomparably greater than the performance of its other parts.Considering the poor lifestyle caused by eating habits, sitting, and smoking, middle-aged people quadruple their chances of developing osteochondrosis of the neck.
Despite this prevalence of the disease, it is very difficult to determine cervical osteochondrosis at an early stage because its symptoms are so varied and at first glance unrelated to the problem of the spine that a person cannot seek medical attention for years.
Causes of the disease
To ensure the mobility of the vertebrae, there are intervertebral discs of cartilage tissue between them. They provide cushioning while moving and give flexibility to the spine. The lifespan of intervertebral discs is more than 120 years determined by nature, but changes in the chemical composition of the blood lead to rapid dehydration of cartilage tissue, deposition of salts, which in turn contributes to rapid disc wear and degenerative-dystrophic changes.
The reason for the change in blood composition is malnutrition, a sedentary lifestyle in which body cells do not need as much salt and is deposited in bone tissue, liver and kidneys.In a forced sedentary lifestyle, the greatest amount of salt is deposited in the neck.
Osteochondrosis of the neck can also occur as a result of vibration-induced microtraumas, such as in drivers, as well as forced head misalignment or neck strain caused by working conditions and occupational characteristics.
What is the risk of cervical osteochondrosis
In the area of the neck, namely in the immediate vicinity of the cervical spine, there are nerve roots as well as the vertebral artery, which is responsible for supplying oxygen to the brain. As the intervertebral discs of the neck dry out, they become deformed, which narrows the gap between the vertebrae and leads to injury during movement.In addition, salt deposits contribute to the formation of bone spikes - osteophytes - which can damage the nerve roots as well as the artery.
As it progresses, the disease leads to a violation of the sensitivity of the neck, shoulder blades, limbs, nape of the neck, or, conversely, causes pain in these parts, depending on which nerve root has been pinched.
Compression of the vertebral artery is fraught with insufficient oxygen supply to the brain, leading to various abnormalities in its activity. The most dangerous consequences of cerebral hypoxia include hearing loss, decreased vision, stroke, partial and complete paralysis, and mental disorders.
Cervical osteochondrosis is the most dangerous form of the disease, as it has many irreversible consequences, while people in the late stages of the disease usually seek help.
The cervical spine consists of 6 segments through which different nerve roots pass, their injury is expressed by various symptoms. Depending on which vertebrae in the neck are prone to osteochondrosis, the disease can be expressed in a variety of symptoms. So radical syndrome is characterized by the following symptoms:
- Violation of neck sensitivity, scapula, fingertips, mostly one-sided. Sharp pain in the neck, radiating to the back or back of the head.
- Burning pain in the chest, shoulder and one of the fingers as well, depending on which nerve is affected.
- Pain in the heart region, the duration and intensity of which occur during sudden movements.
Compression of an artery and small blood vessels can result in a brain disorder, the symptoms of which can be listed as follows:
- Visual impairment, appearance of “flies” in the eye, blurred images.
- In case of insufficient nutrition of the cerebellum, dizziness, nausea, disturbances of consciousness may occur, the soil disappears from under the feet.
- If the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, there is a risk of hypoxia and the body's reaction is to the increased pressure needed to increase blood flow.
- Lack of oxygen also leads to strong, unreasonable fear that causes nausea.
- Possible impairment of coordination and hearing.
- If the lymphatic circulation is impaired, intracranial pressure occurs caused by headaches in the parietal and occipital parts, pressure on the eyeball, tinnitus.
Such varied symptoms and various manifestations of the disease often do not immediately indicate back problems, especially because pain and rigidity of movement may be lacking in the early stages. And only a good specialist who has performed differential diagnosis, except for other diseases characterized by the same symptoms, can identify osteochondrosis of the cervix.
Treating osteochondrosis is a fairly long process and involves different methods of both traditional and traditional medicine. The main tasks set by the physician when selecting therapy are to relieve pain, restore mobility in the vertebrae and metabolic processes, replenish cartilage tissue, and remove swelling and inflammation in the soft tissues of the neck. Methods to achieve the above goals vary, including taking medications, rubbing with ointments, physiotherapy, and special gymnastics. Hirudotherapy, acupuncture, and prescriptions of traditional medicine are used as adjunctive therapies.
The main component of the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis is patient initiation and strict adherence to the doctor’s prescriptions.
Let's take a closer look at the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis and the features of the techniques:
A distinction should be made between the treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine during exacerbation and remission. So in case of acute pain, your doctor may prescribe:
- Analgesicsin the form of tablets for injection to relieve the symptoms of acute pain.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugsin the form of injections to relieve the inflammatory process. However, the side effects associated with the use of NSAIDs do not allow their use for a long time.
- Muscle relaxantsrelieve muscle cramps and release pinched blood vessels, nerves and arteries.
- Novocaine blockade.This method is used for acute seizures with neck stiffness and pain. The treatment is performed under the supervision of a doctor.
During remission, the main treatment is the administration of chondroprotectors in the form of powders and capsules, suspensions and ointments. Chondroprotectors based on glycosaminoglycans and chondroitin sulfates have a number of positive effects on the cartilage tissue of the spine, namely, to restore pulpus in the intervertebral disc nucleus, eliminate pain syndrome, and arrest the development of disease.
Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is prescribed at the discretion of the physician and has a variety of effects, including:
- cartilage structure restoration;
In addition, cervical osteochondrosis is characterized by compression of nerve roots and arteries, leading to a number of symptoms that require appropriate medications to eliminate them.
In addition to the main treatment, physiotherapy procedures are prescribed to relieve pain, improve soft tissue microcirculation, and restore metabolic processes. Some procedures, such as electrophoresis, are used in conjunction with medical ointments while achieving the maximum effect of the drug.
In addition to electrophoresis, shock wave therapy, laser treatment, ultraviolet radiation, and magnetotherapy are also used.
A similar effect can be achieved with a hand massage or acupuncture. A prerequisite for such treatment is a high level of training and medical education of professionals working in these fields.
Remaining cervical osteochondrosis can be treated with physiotherapy exercises. Properly chosen exercises will eliminate the symptoms of pain and help eliminate salt deposits.
Among the methods recognized by official medicine for osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, there are a number of folk recipes based on the healing properties of plants that reduce inflammation, warming and restore metabolic processes.
In various interpretations, the most common active ingredients are horseradish, Adam’s root, aloe, ginger, garlic, hops, pine nuts, honey, and lemon. They are used for the production of rubbing, ointments, tinctures, compresses, oral mixtures and spas. Traditional methods perfectly relieve symptoms and also restore neck mobility.