What it is: osteochondrosis - a disease of the spine, in which the intervertebral discs (and subsequently the vertebral bodies, joints and ligaments) lose their ability to function normally. More recently, the disease was considered to be age-related, but over the past decades it has noticeably looked younger and mercilessly affects young people aged 18 to 30 years.
Osteochondrosis is usually classified according to the place of its localization - lumbar, cervical, thoracic, sacral and widespread. Over 50% of cases of the disease account for osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine, symptoms, treatment and diagnosis of this type of osteochondrosis are widely described in the works of medical luminaries. A quarter of the diagnoses occur in cervical osteochondrosis - a disease of office workers and people leading a sedentary lifestyle.
Most often, the pathological processes in this disease first affect the bones and ligaments. The fact that the disease has already begun, we usually find out when there are complications - pain, sensitivity disorders, muscle atrophy, disorders of the internal organs.
Today we will talk about osteochondrosis, the symptoms and treatment of this disease is a very topical issue in our time. After all, from 40 to 90% of the world's population suffer from ailments. Most often, the disease affects people over 30 years old.
There is no single reason for the development of osteochondrosis. Some believe that the disease occurs due to the deposition of calcium compounds, not absorbed by bone tissue due to deterioration of bone blood supply, caused by weakness, curvature of the spine, decrease in the distance between individual vertebrae.
There are a large number of predisposing causal factors. The main ones are as follows:
- spinal injuries (fractures, bruises, dislocations);
- genetic predisposition;
- foot diseases that cause spinal overload - these include flat feet, clubfoot (varus deformity of the foot), valgus deformity of the foot;
- wearing close and uncomfortable shoes for a long time (also cause spinal overload);
- overweight and obesity;
- sedentary lifestyle;
- metabolic disorders;
- spinal curvature (kyphosis, lordosis, scoliosis);
- professional features - weight lifting, frequent turns and jerks of the body, work in an uncomfortable position of the body.
Hereditary predisposition, spinal overload (overweight, weight lifting), trauma and microtrauma contribute to the development of the disease.
Stages of osteochondrosis
In terms of the development of osteochondrosis and its symptoms, there are four stages.
- The first stage is preclinical, which is extremely rarely diagnosed due to mild (or completely absent) signs of the disease. At this stage, changes in the spine are minimal. Patients are concerned about the limited pain in the spine, there is tension in the back muscles.
- In the second stage, pains appear, since the destruction of the fibrous ring of the intervertebral disc occurs, the fixation of the vertebrae between them breaks down, their pathological mobility occurs in the form of displacements. The intervertebral distance decreases, with compression of the neuro-vascular endings, blood and lymphatic vessels.
- The third stage. A rupture forms in the cartilaginous tissues of the fibrous ring, through which a part of the more fluid core penetrates - a hernia of the intervertebral disk is formed. Such changes are most often found in the lumbar and cervical spine. The intervertebral hernia is less susceptible to the thoracic region due to the fact that as a result of the pathology of the discs, a certain part of the load is borne by the ribs and sternum. As a result of the protrusion (hernia) of the intervertebral disk, there is an effect on the roots of the spinal nerves, manifested in the form of pain, inflammation, disturbance of conduction of nerve fibers, as well as inflammation.
- The fourth stage is the final stage in which the replacement of the fibers of the intervertebral disk by the scar tissue, as well as the fibrous cartilage and fibrous tissue of the gelatinous nucleus, takes place.
In order to prevent the development of the last stage, determine how to treat osteochondrosis in a timely manner.
Symptoms of osteochondrosis
Osteochondrosis is a chronic disease characterized by alternating periods of exacerbation of symptoms and remission. Excessive physical exertion, overwork, overcooling, injuries, body tremors and the effects of vibration can contribute to the onset of acute symptoms.
The disease manifests itself with a number of typical symptoms. Spine osteochondrosis is characterized by: aching back pain, numb feeling in the affected spine, decrease in the amplitude of movements, increased pain when lifting, heavy movement, tension during coughing or sneezing.
Chronic pain, as one of the symptoms of osteochondrosis of the spine, causes fatigue. When squeezing the nerve roots of the spinal discs, the pain can be more intense and have a sharp, “shooting through” character. Its localization in this case is not limited to the back area, but is felt by a person in the area of the extremities.
In osteochondrosis, patients describe symptoms such as:
- paroxysmal or shooting pain in the osteochondrosis of the spine;
- increased pain after exercise, as well as in the morning;
- the pain may be in the neck, arm, or leg, or in the chest;
- crunching sensation when doing twists.
The disease begins and develops gradually, so how to treat osteochondrosis will depend on the stage and the location of the vertebrae.
Treatment of osteochondrosis
In the case of osteochondrosis, treatment requires complex measures.
In the acute stage, strict bed rest, rigid fixation of damaged vertebrae with a corset or a special collar is shown. A hard bed, use of a shield, restriction of movement is recommended.
To reduce pain shown analgesics, vitamins, procaine blockade may be used non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs such as Motrin, ortofena, indomethacin massaging ointments type finalgon, Apizartron, mustard, ultraviolet irradiation, and needle-acupuncture, heat treatments, and woolen belt others
The next stage of treatment is aimed at improving the local blood circulation and strengthening the muscles that support the spine. To cure osteochondrosis, it is necessary to adhere to complex therapy, which includes:
- medical massage (traditional, hardware, vacuum);
- physical therapy, swimming;
- physical therapy (treatment with laser, ultrasound, low frequency currents, magnetic field; shock wave therapy, cryotherapy);
- reflexology (acupuncture, acupressure);
- spinal traction (dry or water);
- methods of alternative therapy (treatment by bee stings);
- treatment of folk remedies (herbs, honey, mustard, red pepper, bath).
If conservative therapy does not bring results or changes in the intervertebral discs require external intervention, modern minimally invasive methods of surgical intervention are used: laser reconstruction, intradiscal electrothermal therapy, removal of a hernia using a microsurgical method.
With irreversible changes, an artificial intervertebral disk made of metal or metal and plastic can be installed. So, now let us see in more detail how to treat osteochondrosis without the use of medicines.
A back massage with osteochondrosis has a much more pronounced effect than, say, with exercise therapy. First of all, any method of treatment should be aimed at relieving pain.
When the pain can be removed or alleviated, then you can begin this treatment. But its main task can be called the prevention of disease progression, as well as its subsequent possible relapse. It is for these purposes that two key methods are applied - remedial gymnastics and massage. It is worth noting that in cases with the neck, physical education does not have such an effect as massage.
Judge for yourself: massage improves blood circulation in the affected area, eliminates spasms of the muscles of the neck and back, weakens or eliminates pain, strengthens the muscles of the neck.
Acupuncture has been widely used in the treatment of osteochondrosis. Acupuncture helps relieve pain, relaxes the muscles of the back, helps to restore the affected tissues by stimulating metabolic processes.
In some cases, acupuncture can be replaced with traditional drug therapy, the disadvantages of which are well known (side effects of drugs, addiction to them). Acupuncture is contraindicated in skin diseases affecting the back and during pregnancy.
Exercise therapy for osteochondrosis
Medical gymnastics for people suffering from diseases such as osteochondrosis, should be a necessary part of life. Exactly physical therapy is able to break the vicious circle consisting of the following components: hypodynamia, weakened muscles of the back and neck, destruction of the vertebral discs, bed rest.
Before you start doing exercises, you should know the main principles of therapeutic gymnastics for osteochondrosis:
- Exercises should not be performed in the acute stage of the disease, when there is an intense pain syndrome.
- Exercises should not cause increased pain.
- Complexes with tension of the back muscles should alternate with complexes for relaxation.
- All exercises are performed smoothly, without sudden movements, maintaining the correct posture of the body.
For each type of osteochondrosis developed their own complex exercises. However, to prevent the spread of disease is recommended to train the muscular system of the entire spine.