Back pain is a problem that most people don’t pay enough attention to until the situation becomes critical. But timely treatment of back pain significantly reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases of the spine, among which osteochondrosis occupies a special place.
What is osteochondrosis?
Osteochondrosis is a disease of the tissues of the spine that results in deformity of the spinal column (a disease of the intervertebral discs and the spine as a whole). As a result, the spine loses its absorbency, the intervertebral discs become thinner, and they may bulge or pinch in the future, leading to complications such as herniated discs, and so on.
The main danger of osteochondrosis of the spine lies in the latent process. It is most often diagnosed in patients as early as the last stages, when severe pain caused by complications does not allow them to lead a normal life.
Reasons for development
Several theories explain the incidence of spinal disease, including heredity, hormonal disorders, and vascular problems. However, none of them provide a clear explanation for why osteochondrosis of the spine occurs.
Highlight a number of factors that increase the likelihood of developing osteochondrosis:
- spinal cord injuries - congenital or acquired;
- overweight, poor metabolism;
- sedentary lifestyle;
- age criterion;
- flat legs, curvature of posture, underdevelopment of the muscular system;
- work with a large background load;
- improper distribution of spinal load during exercise;
- bad habits, unbalanced diet;
- incorrect shoe selection, frequent wearing of high heels (in women);
- environmental factors - high humidity, too low temperature, etc.
Stages of osteochondrosis
There are different stages in the development of osteochondrosis due to different symptoms and feelings. The disease progresses slowly and signs of this disease develop for a long time. Defining the developmental stage allows physicians to make an effective treatment plan for the spine.
- First stage.The spinal plate compresses, the hook-shaped processes increase. During this period, patients feel uncomfortable during physical exertion or are in a position (sitting, standing, lying down) for a long time. Treatment of osteochondrosis includes the use of decongestants, antihistamines and analgesics, chondoprotectors.
- Second stage.The cartilaginous structure of the spinal column becomes unstable, the distance between the intervertebral plates decreases, and the holes narrow. This development of the disease leads to nerve stings and severe pain. According to statistics, patients at this stage first turn to a doctor with complaints. Doctors prescribe treatment - manual therapy, painkillers, physiotherapy.
- Third stage.Changes in the structure of the spine and intervertebral discs are pronounced. Almost complete closure of the holes between the discs leads to the formation of an intervertebral hernia. In osteochondrosis, painful feelings can be eliminated not only with the help of medications, but also with surgery.
- Fourth section.The last stage is going very fast from the third and the most dangerous (last). In this case, patients are unable to move normally. Osteopondrosis is treated with constructive methods.
Symptoms of the disease
The main symptom of spinal osteochondrosis is pain of varying intensity and nature. However, in addition, all types of osteochondrosis are manifested in a number of features.
Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is characterized by:
- headache that does not respond to treatment;
- dizziness, weakness, fainting;
- feeling of stiffness in the shoulder girdle;
- pain in the neck, arms;
- damage to vision and hearing is possible.
- pain in the chest and shoulder blades, significantly aggravated during exercise, hypothermia and sleep;
- shortness of breath (pain in the chest area during inhalation);
- frequent "chills" on the skin, poor blood circulation leads to frequent freezing of the limbs.
- painful low back pain, worsens after exertion;
- periodic fractures of acute pain radiating to the legs, the pelvic region;
- limited luggage mobility;
- decreased sensitivity of the lower extremities (in the last stages).
Any of these symptoms may be caused by seeking medical attention. The sooner the disease is diagnosed, the easier and more effective the treatment.
Before you know the underlying disease of the spine, you need to see a doctor to have the test done. Note that in the early stages, osteochondrosis can be confused with other diseases. This is why a full spine examination is so important.
Diagnosis begins with collecting the medical history - studying patients ’complaints, learning about the history of the disease. A physiological examination is then performed:
- the painful area of the spine is felt;
- assess the patient's gait and body position;
- determine the amount of movement;
- visual inspection of the skin - the presence of peeling, redness, rashes;
- monitor spinal pain sensitivity;
- define zones of localization of pain.
The patient is sent without failure to have an X-ray of the spine. Also used in practice is the study of the spine using computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Images of these devices help not only to examine intervertebral discs and their position, but also to determine plate height, nerve endings compression, and marginal growths.
Which doctor should I see?
If you have already been diagnosed or suspect you have osteochondrosis of your back, you should make an appointment with a neurologist and chiropractor.
Timely diagnosis of the disease with spinal osteochondrosis is the key to successful treatment. The identification of osteochondrosis is possible with a comprehensive examination by a doctor. After consultation with a doctor, they are examined and referred to a CT or MRI. The specialist will determine the localization of the pain in the spine and prescribe treatment.
Surgical treatment of osteochondrosis is warranted in the final stages of the disease if complications (hernias) are required or if there is a risk to the bone marrow. In other cases, conservative treatment is recommended, including:
- physiotherapy (magnetic and laser treatment, vibration massagers, spinal traction);
- physiotherapy exercises;
- manual therapy.
Exercise therapy, exercise and gymnastics
Moderate and correct physical activity makes the body more resistant to osteochondrosis of the spine. All exercises are specifically designed to strengthen the muscles of the spine for more effective treatment.
The flexible and reinforced straps do not allow the vertebrae to move during daily movements. Physical activity normalizes metabolism, which has a positive effect on cartilage tissue regeneration. Physicians recommend therapy for exercise and exercise to treat patients with a diagnosis such as osteochondrosis.
The use of drugs may be of a different nature in osteochondrosis. Depending on the stage, type and nature of the symptoms of osteochondrosis of the spine, doctors can prescribe different medicines:
- analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs;
- antispasmodics to eliminate muscle cramps;
- preparations for restoring cartilage structure;
- means to improve blood circulation and normalize blood vessels;
The appropriate direction of treatment is determined by the treating physician and provides a systematic and comprehensive approach. It is extremely dangerous to rely on self-care, acupuncture, questionable massage therapists, and unqualified chiropractors. This will not speed up the healing process in any way and can also lead to serious consequences that are very difficult to remedy.
To avoid this, consider the prevention of osteochondrosis in good time. Regular sports, swimming, running. Rethinking your diet - reducing your salt intake, eating foods rich in protein, vitamins and minerals will also significantly reduce your risk of developing osteochondrosis.
Ointments are used in the treatment of osteochondrosis complex. They are combined with other drugs. They are effective for topical treatment and pain relief. Specialists prescribe warming, anti-inflammatory and analgesic ointments and chondroprotective agents to help repair damaged cartilage tissue.
Doctors prescribe injections to quickly relieve pain in compression syndrome (compressed nerves). In this case, the patient cannot move normally even without relieving the pain. Injections are prescribed at a time of relapse, when treatment with ointments and tablets becomes ineffective. With this manipulation, the necessary nutrients reach the affected area quickly and contribute to effective treatment.
Diet is part of therapy that makes it easier and faster to treat osteochondrosis. The diet does not require strict restrictions, but the patient should review the menu. We recommend giving up harmful, overly salty and fatty foods. It is better to eat often and in small portions (5-6 times a day). The products to be treated must be saturated:
- magnesium- avocado, seaweed, cucumber, banana, dried peaches, beans, oatmeal;
- calcium- eggs, seeds, nuts, dairy products, beets;
- phosphorus- broccoli, cabbage, hard cheeses, cottage cheese, figs, dates, seafood, fish;
- Vitamin B.- red meat, milk, seafood;
- Vitamin A.- potatoes, carrots, apricots, peaches, tomatoes, green peas;
- Vitamin D- sea fish, hard cheeses, eggs, beans, butter;
- vitamin C- citrus fruits, sauerkraut, rosehips, viburnum, sea buckthorn, black currant, bell pepper.
Doctors prescribe surgery for osteochondrosis if conservative treatment is not effective. Indications for surgery may include:
- loss of sensitivity or gradual weakness of the leg muscles;
- large spinal hernia;
- sharp narrowing and squeezing of the spinal canal;
- situations where osteochondrosis of the neck carries a risk of developing stroke;
- risk of foot paralysis.
Acupuncture is prescribed in the presence of dangerous intervertebral muscle pain. The doctor relieves tension and clamps, edema and improves blood microcirculation by acupuncture points.
Spinal osteochondrosis not only causes pain and discomfort. It also has a number of negative complications, the most common of which are:
- hearing problems;
- migraine and frequent headaches;
- deterioration of vision;
- dysfunction of the urogenital system;
- development of intervertebral hernia.
Is it possible to fully recover?
Effective treatment of spinal osteochondrosis prevents disease progression and relapse, relieves tension, strengthens muscles, and normalizes metabolic processes.
If you initially take care of your health, you can avoid the following questions: "What is osteochondrosis? What are the causes, symptoms and methods of treatment? "
Effective prevention methods for the treatment of osteochondrosis of the spine:
- proper organization of the workplace - comfortable orthopedic chair, sufficient lighting, acceptable table height;
- the place to sleep should be as comfortable as possible - orthopedic mattress, pillow;
- it is worth keeping your posture while walking in front of the computer, walking (do not decline);
- a balanced and healthy diet;
- systematic physical activity - jogging, exercise, gymnastics, swimming;
- massage procedures for the spine.