Osteochondrosis: types of diseases, symptoms and treatment methods

Osteochondrosis is a degenerative dystrophic disease in which the intervertebral disc suffers, types of diseases, symptoms and treatment methods.cervical osteochondrosis in a manThe central part (nucleus pulposus) of the intervertebral disc first swells and then shrinks, losing its shock-absorbing properties. And the fibrous ring, located along the periphery of the disc, becomes thin and cracks form in it.

When the nucleus pulposus penetrates this cleft, a protrusion appears, and if the ring breaks, the body gelatinous falls, forming a herniated disc. With age, the risk of developing osteochondrosis increases significantly.


Osteochondrosis can have different locations. The most common type is lumbosacral (in 50% of cases). Cervical osteochondrosis is frequently found (in 25% of cases), less frequently osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine. In 12% of cases, the defeat of the intervertebral discs affects several parts of the spine at the same time - this is the most serious form of the disease.

Regardless of its location, the disease has several stages.

1st phasecharacterized by instability of the spinal segments, which manifests itself in the breach of the disc.

2nd stageit is expressed in the fact that the vertebrae are less fixed to each other due to the protrusion of the intervertebral disc. The gap between the vertebrae narrows.

At the3rd stagethere are already severe spinal deformities, such as destruction of the fibrous ring and formation of an intervertebral hernia. Pain syndromes and other symptoms are highly dependent on the location of the hernia, its shape and size.

At the4th stageit is difficult for the patient to move and sudden movements can cause acute pain. Sometimes the pain lessens and the person's condition improves, but this is just an apparent progress associated with the fact that bone tissue grows between the vertebrae, which connect two vertebrae.

check yourself

In cervical osteochondrosis, there are:

  • pain in the neck or in the form of lumbago, radiating to the region of the shoulder blades, neck or hands;
  • tension in neck muscles when touching - painful sensations;
  • numbness of the tongue, its swelling;
  • chills and tingling sensation in the neck and arm;
  • weakness of neck and shoulder muscles.

With osteochondrosis of the thoracic region:

  • periodically there are sharp pains, as if a stake in the chest;
  • there is a feeling that the chest is squeezing the bow;
  • there is intercostal pain when walking. The pain increases with breathing and does not go away after taking nitroglycerin, but it is usually short-lived.

Osteochondrosis of the lumbosacral region is characterized by:

  • pain in the lower back, sometimes because of them it is impossible to straighten the back;
  • pain radiating to legs, sacrum, groin;
  • loss of sensation in the legs, impaired mobility;
  • cold feet, chills and tingling.

on a note

Many people think that sciatica is an independent disease. In fact, this is one of the manifestations of osteochondrosis. Damage to the intervertebral disc leads to the fact that adjacent vertebrae are closer together and can infringe on the bundles of nerve fibers that extend from the spinal cord. A herniated disc can also compress nerve roots. In this case, pain occurs, which spreads along the course of certain nerve fibers and, consequently, transmits it to one or another part of the body, more frequently to the lower back and one of the legs, less frequently to the neck. or arm.

There is also the term "lumbago". This is the name for acute pain in the lower back. It can occur with a sudden movement, lifting weights, an unsuccessful turn, a long stay in an uncomfortable position. During an attack, a person usually assumes a forced position, any attempt at movement increases the pain, there is usually a spasm of the muscles in the lower back. Lumbago is most often also caused by osteochondrosis of the spine.

Risk factors

Tall people with poor posture or weak back and abdominal muscles are predisposed to osteochondrosis; obese; office workers, leading a predominantly sedentary lifestyle, as well as transporters, construction workers, who often carry heavy loads. It is also common for professional drivers with prolonged exposure to vibration.

Sports injuries with inadequate training lead to osteochondrosis. The disease usually affects former professional athletes who abruptly ended intense training.

Osteochondrosis is much more dangerous than it sounds. It often becomes the cause of dysfunction in many organs and systems. Sometimes the disease leads to excruciating and severe pain and tightness of the nerve roots - partial or complete paralysis of the arm or leg.

If left untreated, osteochondrosis of the cervical spine can cause dizziness, headaches and insomnia. Initiated thoracic osteochondrosis is fraught with complications such as intercostal neuralgia. Lumbar osteochondrosis is dangerous with consequences such as progression of spinal curvature and even greater destruction of the intervertebral discs, inflammation of the sciatic nerve (sciatica), serious disturbances in the functioning of the organs of the genitourinary system.

Patient memo

For the treatment of osteochondrosis exacerbations, in most cases, conservative treatment is used. Its main purpose is to suppress pain and eliminate pain-induced reflex muscle tension, stiffness of movement. For this, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants are used.

In addition, medications are used to help speed recovery: B vitamins, agents that improve the blood supply to the spine and nutrition of the nerve roots, biostimulants, and sedatives that support the nervous system, depleted by prolonged pain.

To improve blood circulation and relieve tissue edema, stimulate muscles, physical therapy methods are used: magnetic and ultrasound therapy, phono and electrophoresis, sonvalization, electromyostimulation. Acupuncture, manual therapy, massage and mud applications are also used.

To unload the spine, increase the distance between the vertebrae, traction treatment is used. A successful recovery prognosis is impossible without physical therapy exercises, which actively involve the patient in the treatment process.

Surgical treatment is used in severe and advanced cases.