Characteristics and symptoms of osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine

the doctor examines the lower back for osteochondrosis

The lumbar spine is most susceptible to stress because it affects the entire body weight. In fact, it is very mobile.

If the vertebral stapler is not advanced enough, the pressure on the intervertebral plates will increase several times. This is because they are responsible for the mobility and flexibility of the back.

Thus, lumbar osteochondrosis, which occurs for a variety of reasons, is a fairly common disease of the musculoskeletal system.

It develops gradually and a person simply does not pay attention to his first signs. However, this requires serious treatment.

Development and causes of the disease


In the lower back, the sacrum and thorax are connected. Several factors provoke lumbar osteochondrosis. The most important thing is the wrong and excessive load on the back.

During the course of the disease, glycoproteins are broken down, affecting the connective tissue of the joints and making it flexible. It affects the bones and cartilaginous structures of the spine.

Intervertebral discs contain a gel-like substance that dries out of lumbar disease. They will be exhausted and then flat. As a result, the spine loses its damping function, its segments approach each other, and nerve roots and blood vessels are pinched.

However, the fibrous ring ruptures and in some cases may rupture, leading to the formation of a hernia. All this causes swelling and low back pain.

The muscular frame protects the spine from negative effects and is responsible for proper posture. Problems with it can also lead to the development of osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine.

There are other causes of the disease:

  1. Congenital changes, loose disc structure.
  2. Stressful condition.
  3. Infectious diseases of bone and cartilage tissues.
  4. Uncomfortable shoes.
  5. Back injury.
  6. Inflammation of the joints.

Lifestyle, profession, age are important here as well. The maximum load on the spine is in a sitting position. Therefore, people who spend most of their time in a sitting position are at risk.

These can be office workers, drivers. Low physical activity is also not the best way to affect the lumbar spine. As a result, the musculoskeletal system weakens.

The effect on the spine and especially the lower back, weight lifting, plays a significant role. This is due to professions such as loader, construction worker, waiter or professional athlete, i. e. people who constantly feel stress on their backs.

Osteochondrosis can also occur in women during pregnancy. If the spine is curved, increased lumbar spine pressure and uneven weight distribution also lead to disease.

It also affects the incidence of osteochondrosis and flat feet. The arch of the foot loses its function and the full load while walking goes to the spine. Being overweight also has a negative role. The disease can be a complication of osteomyelitis, after tuberculosis.

Adverse factors in lumbar osteochondrosis include poor sleep patterns, diet, disturbed metabolic processes in the body, or diseases of the internal organs:

  • gastrointestinal tract and liver;
  • small pool;
  • central nervous system.

People of different ages are susceptible to the disease.

Symptoms of lumbar osteochondrosis

back pain with osteochondrosis

One of the first manifestations is usually pain and discomfort in the lumbar spine. However, it can be difficult to bend, turn around, bend your big toe. Sometimes you have a feeling of coldness or vice versa, a burning sensation on your back.

As a general rule, the symptoms are due to physical exertion, hypothermia, or discomfort for a long time. They often leave after a short rest. In the acute phase, they may be lumbago in nature, aggravated by their movement, coughing, and sneezing.

The back muscle spasm does not allow the person to take a position, which leads to increased pain, it happens reflexively. In addition to these symptoms, there are the following signs:

  • Fatigue and weakness.
  • Increased sweating.
  • Sleep disorders.
  • Varicose veins.
  • Tingling sensation and pain in the limbs.
  • Violation of tendon reflexes.

Cramps can cause the legs to freeze, as well as a beak-like increase and a decrease in the height of the discs.

The sciatic nerve, which is made up of the sacral roots of the spinal cord, can also suffer from osteochondrosis of the lower back. This is manifested by radiant pain or swelling in the foot.

When arteries or blood vessels constrict, this is characterized by a decrease in sensitivity, but the pain is mild. They are localized in the lower back, reacting in the hips and buttocks. Pain syndrome also differs at the time of onset. Painful feelings usually appear in the morning, may become constant over time, and are not dependent on movement.

Complications of osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine

appointment of bedrock osteochondrosis doctor

The instability of the discs and the fact that they do not fix the spine leads to dislocation of the lumbar spine. This also affects the work of internal organs. Osteochondrosis is complicated by problems with the urogenital system, a feeling of discomfort in the kidneys.

Menstrual disorders are possible in women, and genital problems in men. Another symptom of the disease is flaky and dry skin in the affected areas.

Failure to treat osteochondrosis can lead to spinal cord effects and other unpleasant consequences. The protrusion of the discs is possible if they stretch and extend beyond the boundaries of the vertebrae. Cartilage atrophy is also manifested. During this period, the pain may subside due to the growth of bone tissue.

Spondyloarthrosis is sometimes isolated as a form of osteochondrosis, but is more often a complication. With it, bone spike-like growths are formed on the spine. They are localized, the pain is in the lumbar region and does not spread to other parts of the body.

Another consequence is foot paralysis. There are unpleasant sensations in the lower back that extend below the knee and beyond, causing ankle joint dysfunction. All of these can contribute to disability.

Diagnosis of lumbar spine osteochondrosis

computed tomography of the lower back with osteochondrosis

There are several types of studies that your doctor can prescribe for symptoms of lumbar osteochondrosis:

  1. Smooth X-ray (spondylography) showing the condition of each vertebra, the intervertebral discs, and the bone canals separately.
  2. Myelography is a more complex type of diagnosis. To do this, a coloring fluid is injected into the spinal canal. It helps to find a spinal hernia.
  3. A similar procedure is discography, but with this fluid is injected into the spinal plate.
  4. Pneumomyelography. Here air is used instead of liquid.

Computed tomography can be used to detect the compression of nerve roots and the rupture of the disc contour. In more severe cases, MRI may be prescribed.

Disease treatment methods

physiotherapy of lumbar osteochondrosis

The most important thing is to see a doctor in time and take your treatment seriously. In order to recover, you need to make an effort and prevent relapse in order to participate in prevention. Lumbar therapy is a comprehensive approach. Here, the goal is not only to stop the development of the disease and alleviate the symptoms, but also to put the spine in the right position.

One skilled in the art will usually prescribe painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs: NSAIDs, painkillers. Muscle relaxants are also used. Their goal is to eliminate cramps and discomforts resulting from increased muscle tone.

Vasodilators prevent congestion and improve blood circulation. Vitamins and minerals strengthen bones, ligaments and tendons and help remove fluid from the body. They are often prescribed to older people.

Chondroprotectors are also used for treatment, which stop destructive processes in cartilage tissues and promote regeneration. The drugs are administered orally, by injection or rectally.

Paravertebral blocks are used to quickly relieve pain when the drug is injected into the affected area. But doctors try not to use them often. The body gradually gets used to them and the effectiveness of the effect decreases. In addition, in the case of blockade, the muscles may atrophy at the site of drug administration.

The treatment complex also includes exercise. It improves spinal mobility and strengthens muscles. Therapeutic practices should be selected by a professional and are often prescribed after alleviation of the acute condition. The load is gradually increased so as not to cause aggravation. Gymnastics is also used if the patient has been wearing a corset for a long time.

An important part of the treatment is massage. It is designed to relieve relaxation, pain and cramps. The procedure reduces muscle stiffness and has a good effect on the lymphatic circulation of the tissues around the lumbar region.

Physiotherapeutic treatment methods are also used. These should be done regularly to achieve the desired effect. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation eliminates cramps, pain affects blood circulation. Laser therapy improves the condition of the roots of the spine due to the effect of helium-neon emitters. Spinal tension is also used, as well as the following methods:

  • amplitude;
  • phonophoresis;
  • diadynamic currents.

However, physiotherapy also has contraindications - they are oncological diseases, diseases of the central nervous system. The main task of all these measures is to put the lumbar spine in a proper anatomical position. As a general rule, the course takes an average of 2-3 months, but it all depends on the specific case.

Operations of osteochondrosis of the lower back

surgical preparation for lumbar osteochondrosis

Surgery is usually used for complications such as hernia. A discectomy is performed, i. e. , the damaged disc is removed. Microsurgery and endoscopy are less traumatic for the patient and the risk of complications is minimal.

In such an intervention, special small-diameter pipe extensions are used. Because of this, the muscles and ligaments are not damaged. The procedure takes an average of about an hour.

The rehabilitation period takes less time than after a disctomy. But here, the help of the patient is important, who must strictly follow all the instructions of the neurosurgeon.

Additional treatment and prevention measures

lumbar fixation corset in osteochondrosis

Correction of lifestyle and habits is the first step in the treatment of osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine. Rest and gentle order are important in therapy. It is better to equip the bed with an orthopedic mattress and pillow, it is good to put a special cylinder under the neck. Avoid staying in one position for a long time, hypothermia. It is not desirable to get up suddenly.

Sometimes a special fastening corset is recommended. It keeps your back in the right position, but not all experts approve of long-term wear. This can lead to muscle atrophy in the spine. It is most often used when the disease worsens. Corset models are not universal, and in each case only the doctor should select the accessory.

In addition to treatment, it is important to follow a number of measures that your doctor may recommend. This is the normalization of weight, proper nutrition is helpful here. It is better to eliminate heavy and fatty foods from the diet or reduce its consumption.

In osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine, it is advisable to refuse such products:

  • Carbonated drinks.
  • Salt and sugar.
  • Coffee and spices.
  • Alcohol.

Good to include in the diet: sea fish, vegetable oils, dairy products, vegetables, fruits and herbs. Jelly meat, a gel that also contains gelatin, will be helpful. It is best to steam the food.

Walking and swimming are also good for the spine, it will be useful to pay attention to your posture. These are necessary measures to prevent recurrence of osteochondrosis after completion of treatment.

Folk remedies and alternative methods

rubbing as a folk remedy in the treatment of lumbar osteochondrosis

Ointments and compresses are made from plant materials to relieve pain and inflammation. It is often used to grind red pepper tincture. Liquid ointment can be made from mustard powder, camphor alcohol and egg whites. It is applied at night.

Compresses are made with honey and aloe or cabbage leaves, used for this and for brewing burdock leaves. Baths with needles are useful.

There are also alternative treatment options:

  • hirudotherapy (use of leeches);
  • manual and vacuum therapy;
  • acupuncture.

All of these funds can be best used after consulting your doctor.

Ignoring the symptoms of self-medication or lumbar spine osteochondrosis can lead to more severe spinal disease. Therefore, you should not start the disease because the sooner you start treatment, the faster and easier it will solve the problem.