Osteochondrosis: symptoms and treatment

back pain with osteochondrosis

Osteochondrosis is a degenerative-dystrophic lesion located in the vertebral tissues. The disease causes a pathological process in the intervertebral discs, adjacent surfaces of joints, as well as in the ligamentous apparatus of the spine.

The disease significantly affects human health. Bones and ligaments are damaged. The onset of the disease is signaled by painful symptoms, muscle atrophy, impairment of the functioning of internal organs. The most common age for a person to develop osteochondrosis is over 30.

Why does osteochondrosis occur?

In medicine, there is a lot of information about the causes of the disease. These include receiving a mechanical injury, a hereditary factor, impaired metabolism. It is very difficult to find a cause that contributes to the development of the disease, as osteochondrosis can occur in both an adult and a teenager.

A common factor for the development of the disease is the deposition of vertebral salts. With the help of an x-ray, the growths on the vertebrae are diagnosed, while the joints creak and creak when walking.

You can also get osteochondrosis in the case of an existing infectious disease, with constant spinal overload, exposure to a chemical, and poor posture. At risk are people who lead an unhealthy lifestyle, abuse tobacco and alcohol, are overweight and are in constant stressful situations.

The symptoms of osteochondrosis are determined depending on what type(s) of the disease is present. What are the types of osteochondrosis and how they manifest themselves, we will analyze in more detail.

cervical osteochondrosis

The main symptoms of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine:

  • headache;
  • impaired coordination;
  • violation of the auditory, vocal and visual systems;
  • the occurrence of snoring.

The most common symptom is headache, which negatively affects a person's usual lifestyle. Most of the time, the neck, throat and teeth hurt. The pain spreads to the shoulders and arms and increases with movement.

Medicine divides all the manifestation symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis into several groups:

Root symptoms. In other words, cervical sciatica. The pain originates in the neck, travels down along the shoulder blades and back along the entire body to the fingers.

reflex symptoms. A common symptom is pain, characterized by a sharp, burning character. Place of location - neck or occipital zone. Often the pain radiates to the heart and thoracic spine, moreover, a person confuses osteochondrosis with the presence of heart disease.

Vertebral artery symptoms. The most common symptom is headache. Possible impairment of the auditory and visual systems.

heart symptoms. It seems that the heart hurts, but it is not. This is just a radiation of heart pain, but not heart disease. In this case, the symptoms are similar to those of angina pectoris. There are cases where a doctor wrongly diagnoses and treats a non-existent disease.

Self-treatment is not recommended for osteochondrosis of the cervical spine.

Before prescribing the necessary treatment, the doctor performs a diagnosis. The main method of diagnosis is x-ray. Treatment must be comprehensive, including eliminating the source of the disease as well as the symptoms.

The initial stage of the disease involves manual therapy and exercise therapy. Performing osteochondrosis requires more thorough treatment and sometimes surgical intervention. As soon as the main treatment ends, the doctor prescribes gymnastics.

Thoracic osteochondrosis

Thoracic spine disease is characterized by bouts of pain in the heart, sternum, back, side of the trunk, upper abdomen. In other words, whole body pain.

Painful sensations in the heart can raise suspicion of a pathological process such as angina pectoris. The difference is that the pain in the heart region in the case of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine is not stopped by nitroglycerin, and the electrocardiogram did not reveal pathological changes in the heart. And the pain doesn't go away after taking a heart medication.

Intercostal osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine is characterized by symptoms depending on the location of the pathological process:

Radiculopathy develops in conjunction with a herniated disc. In the case when intercostal osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine covers the upper segment, there is pain in the shoulders, shoulder blades, back, heart.

By squeezing the spinal cord. In other words, compression myelopathy. A rather rare phenomenon, manifested by pain, numbness and weakness of the lower extremities.

Clinical symptoms pertaining only to osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine are as follows:

Neurological symptoms - constant pain, which increases in case of deep coughing and inhalation.

  • costovertebral arthrosis;
  • vertebral symptoms.

Visceral syndromes - pain in the heart, aggravated in case of physical exertion, turning the body.

Treatment of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine should be comprehensive. A special place is occupied by manual therapy, exercise therapy, physical therapy.

lumbar osteochondrosis

Intercostal osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine is characterized by pain in the lower back and dorsal region of the body. Irradiation can be observed in the thighs, buttocks, legs, very rarely in the heart.

Lumbosacral osteochondrosis is characterized by difficulty urinating, defecating, impaired sweating, tingling in the lower extremities, dryness and peeling of the skin.

Treatment of osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine is carried out by a neurologist. Before starting treatment, the doctor carries out the necessary diagnostic measures, consisting of a personal examination, probing the vertebrae. X-rays, MRI and CT scans are also needed. Based on the results of such studies, treatment is prescribed.

Treatment of lumbar osteochondrosis should include measures to eliminate pain, restore normal functioning of the affected area.

Comprehensive treatment includes:

  1. medical method. With the help of medications, you can relieve pain, inflammation, swelling.
  2. Physiotherapy treatment. With the help of this treatment, you can also relieve pain and discomfort and make significant progress towards full recovery.
  3. exercise therapy. Prevention and treatment with the help of a therapeutic and sports complex help to significantly improve health and achieve a full recovery. It is forbidden to carry out exercise therapy during an exacerbation of the disease! Along with physical education, it is necessary to adhere to a healthy lifestyle, eat well and prevent stress.

diagnostic measures

As a rule, the diagnosis of osteochondrosis consists of several steps:

  • Step 1. The doctor listens to the person's complaints and finds out the medical history: the area of concern, the length of time the discomfort was felt, the cause of the pain, the reason for the pain relief.
  • Stage 2. The doctor examines the skin to identify or note the absence of redness, scaling, and rashes. The doctor performs palpation of the affected area to determine the temperature regime of the skin, identify swelling, painful compaction.
  • Stage 3. An X-ray examination is required to determine pathological mobility of the vertebrae, displacement, salt deposits, and osteophyte formation.
  • Stage 4. CT helps identify nerve root compression, ruptures, all kinds of changes, marginal growths.

MRI contributes to the examination of the state of blood vessels, nerve processes and intervertebral discs.

treatment at home

In the case when painful sensations (in other words, a period of exacerbation) are observed, various active actions are strictly prohibited. Kneading or massaging the affected area is not recommended, as the pain can only intensify. The body must rest: take the most comfortable position in which the least pain manifests itself. It also requires muscle relaxation. Sometimes the doctor recommends wearing a corset for more comfortable movement.

In thoracic and lumbar osteochondrosis, it is recommended to warm the affected area. The most effective method of heating is to use a belt made from dog or sheep wool. Thanks to the belt, pain is eliminated and the inflammatory process is weakened. The belt can be found in almost all pharmacies. In some cases, it is possible to visit the bath, so it is good to warm the affected area. Bathing is allowed only during the period when the exacerbation of the disease is eliminated.

Grandma's recipes are also effective. You can apply various tinctures by rubbing the affected area. no less effective are various ointments that can be made at home or purchased at a pharmacy. But these ointments should be used with caution as they can cause skin burns. That's why it's important to read the instructions before using.

Gymnastics for osteochondrosis

Exercise therapy contributes to the treatment of osteochondrosis and is also an excellent prophylactic. Physical education must be specially thought out and selected individually in each case of the disease.

The therapeutic and physical culture complex should be performed only in the remission phase, but not during the exacerbation period. At the same time, physical education helps to strengthen the ligament apparatus and the muscular corset of the back. Thanks to physical education, you can skip the main drug treatment.

Preventive measures

In order not to worsen your health and prevent the development of osteochondrosis of any part of the spine, there is a special prevention. Its main rules are:

Drink water before doing physical activity or exercise. This is necessary to maintain the exchange of moisture in the discs and prevent their dehydration.

A good means of prevention is back massage, which can be done by the person at home. Massage helps to increase blood flow throughout the body, as well as speeding up metabolic processes.

In no case should you lift and hold heavy objects and things at arm's length. This increases the load. To lift an object, you can squat, keeping your spine straight.

It is not recommended to make sudden movements, turns and tilts.

An even distribution of loads is required.

Prevention of osteochondrosis includes a proper lifestyle and good nutrition. There is no need to run any disease. Timely treatment in the hospital will help to avoid negative consequences.