Osteochondrosis is a chronic disease of various parts of the spine in which degenerative and dystrophic changes occur in the intervertebral discs. Men aged 25-60 are more likely to suffer from this disease. The disease is common in both young and old. Women get sick less often, their symptoms are not so obvious. In the early stages of the disease, stable remission can be achieved and you can get rid of pain and discomfort for many years.
What are the types of osteochondrosis with localization
The classification of osteochondrosis of the spine is based on a variety of forms and criteria. They differ in the location and severity of the section involved. All types of osteochondrosis are pathologies that are fraught with destructive changes in cartilage and connective tissue.
Most common and understandable to a simple layman, far from medicine, classification depends on the localization of the lesion:
- Cervical osteochondrosis - characterized by occipital, cervical and interscapular pain syndromes. Over the past decade, this disease has increasingly been diagnosed in young people.
- Chest spine osteochondrosis is very rare because it has more discs than the neck and lumbar combined, the discs are smaller and thinner. Part of the load is taken over by the ribs. Therefore, degenerative and dystrophic lesions in the intervertebral discs of the thoracic spine are rare.
- Lumbar osteochondrosis often occurs in people over the age of forty who have a sedentary and sedentary lifestyle. It is characterized by severe back pain, stinging of the nerves and arteries of the abdominal organs, and several simultaneous diagnoses of the internal organs.
Stages of the disease
Depending on the rate of flow, the extent of degenerative changes, and the manifestation of symptoms, four stages of the disease can be distinguished:
- The initial stage is characterized by instability of symptoms. The patient is not yet experiencing severe pain. Occasionally, you may "shoot" pain in the affected area of your back.
- The second stage is characterized by a significant deterioration in the interaction of the vertebrae due to the progress of degenerative processes in the intervertebral plates. The development of the disease at this stage is triggered by improper physical activity, sedentary and sedentary lifestyle.
- In the third stage, intervertebral hernias may develop (some patients will experience this fate). In some cases, there are severe back pain. Simultaneous diagnoses develop that affect all body systems in one way or another. Symptoms vary depending on the location of the hernia and the location of the chondrosis.
- The fourth stage is the most difficult. The patient is unable to lead a satisfactory lifestyle and enjoy freedom of movement. Almost all of the postures occupied by the body cause acute pain at the site of osteochondrosis. At this stage, we can talk about designating the patient’s disability.
Causes of occurrence
Osteochondrosis causes a lot of suffering, impairs quality of life, and can lead to complete or partial immobilization and disability of the patient. What causes the onset of this disease? These are the following:
- Sitting lifestyle, static sitting or lying in one position. The muscles wither, the vertebrae wear out the cartilage and discs with each other. This process can take years, but inevitably leads to osteochondrosis.
- Modern young men and women go to the gym and do exercises with dumbbells and barbells that, if not performed properly, lead to chronic spinal disease. For example, the improper technique of performing the "squat with dumbbells" exercise has resulted in surgeons and orthopedists tens of thousands of young patients with osteochondrosis and scoliosis in the acute stage.
- People who have to sit at the table for many hours in a row for many hours because of their professional activities are also at risk. According to WHO statistics, the lion’s share of patients with osteochondrosis are office workers.
The main symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis
The vertebrae in the cervical spine gradually lose fluid and become brittle. As a result of this process, the veins and arteries become compressed. The brain stops feeding and then its cells are destroyed. Cervical osteochondrosis has the greatest negative effect on the part of the brain that is responsible for myocardial activity. Often, the optic or auditory nerve becomes constricted, resulting in vision loss and hearing loss.
Types of cervical osteochondrosis:
- radicular, or so-called "cervical radiculitis" - characterized primarily by severe pain in the neck, neck, head;
- irritant-reflex - discomfort in the chest, back, numbness of the fingers;
- heart characterized by symptoms of cardiovascular disease.
Only an orthopedic surgeon or surgeon can make an accurate diagnosis. Regardless of the type of cervical osteochondrosis, the treatment will be almost the same.
The main symptoms of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine
The rarest type of disease. The symptoms of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine are characteristic of many other diseases. An inexperienced physician can often diagnose arrhythmias, angina pectoris, cardiomyopathy (depending on the ECG result), pancreatitis, or even gastritis. Only an experienced orthopedic or spinal surgeon can provide accurate information about the type of chest osteochondrosis.
In the case of a pronounced pathological process, the work of certain parts of the spinal cord is disrupted. The main signs of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine are:
- Dorsago - sharp, unbearable pain in the chest, feeling short of breath, the patient seems to drown, or the pulse does not work.
- Dorsalgia - the patient experiences less discomfort than on the back. The pain is less pronounced and radiates to the hands, fingers (which is why doctors often confuse symptoms with cardiovascular disease).
Symptoms and consequences of osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine
The most common type of osteochondrosis is the lumbar spine. This is due to the fact that the lower back experiences the greatest stress during the process of everyday life.
In the first stage, the main symptom is a slight stretch of the lower back. People rarely attach importance to such mild illnesses. As the intervertebral discs wear, the negative symptoms also increase. In particular, the patient can no longer lie or sit in a position for long periods of time due to pain.
In the third or fourth stage of lumbar spine osteochondrosis:
- lumbago - sharp and sudden pain that may result in partial immobilization of the patient;
- sciatica - unilateral capture of the sciatic nerve;
- sciatica - clamping of nerve endings in the lumbar spine;
- Lower limb weakness, muscle atrophy, venous congestion, impaired sexual function, and abdominal and pelvic organ function are also commonly observed;
- radiculoischemia - circulatory failure due to vascular compression.
This type of disease affects not only the spine but also the joints. Most often the shoulders and hips. Symptoms of generalized osteochondrosis are neurological in nature, rarely due to changes in internal organs due to impaired blood circulation.
In the hip joint, the disease manifests as a change in cartilage tissue, drying out of the fluid between the joints. Over time, the joint partially and then completely loses its previous mobility.
Manifestations of the disease are not in one but in several parts of the body. For example, the defeat of the third vertebra and the twelfth is often combined - in this case, osteochondrosis can be considered polysegmental.
The therapy in this case is exactly the same as the usual signs of osteochondrosis of the neck or chest. Magnetotherapy and other physiotherapy procedures have been shown to be excellent in exacerbating pain and discomfort caused by polysegmental chondrosis. You now know what types of spinal osteochondrosis exist.
A drug used to treat osteochondrosis
Pharmacological agents that alleviate the symptoms of osteochondrosis can be divided into the following groups:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs - to relieve the symptoms of pain and swelling in the affected area. There are two types - non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and glucocorticosteroids.
- Muscle relaxants to relieve muscle cramps.
- Hondoprotectors - drugs to improve the nutrition of cartilage tissue.
- Vitamin-mineral complexes - to restore normal blood circulation and activate metabolism.
- Drugs for improving and restoring impulse conduction in nerve cells.
In some cases, you may need to use diuretics to relieve the swelling of the connective tissue between the muscles and the vertebrae. It is strictly forbidden to prescribe medications to yourself - not only can it not cure, but it can also aggravate the course of the disease.
Therapeutic gymnastics and physical education for osteochondrosis
Any orthopedist confirms the importance of exercise in achieving remission during the chronic course of osteochondrosis.
What sports are safe for osteochondrosis? It is better to prefer swimming, stretching, pilates, body flexion - directions in which there are no sudden movements. Traumatic martial arts and osteochondrosis weightlifting sports are prohibited. The patient should not work more than five kilograms.
Don’t underestimate the benefits of daily morning exercise. It should not be implemented on a case-by-case basis, but on an ongoing basis. Only then will the spine benefit. Simple hand swings, "mill", "bike" - exercises familiar to everyone from childhood will help stretch your back and relieve pain. To avoid injuries, all movements must be performed as smoothly and accurately as possible.
Office workers must disconnect from the computer once an hour and perform a five-minute warm-up. This is an excellent prevention and treatment for pre-existing osteochondrosis.
Massage and manual therapy
This is the most enjoyable of all types of osteochondrosis treatment. Much depends on the choice of the professional - both the outcome and the feeling. Types of massage for osteochondrosis - classic, acupressure, canned, hardware, honey.
With hand therapy, the situation is more complicated. First, this procedure is painful: patients with manual specialists are often unable to restrain the cry of pain during spinal manipulations. Second, if the chiropractor has no experience, this procedure can be dangerous. Choose professionals who have good patient reviews, a real degree, and a wealth of therapeutic experience.