Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine

symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis

Do you have unpleasant neck pain accompanied by dizziness, general weakness and fatigue? All this should be a wake-up call for every person, because any of the listed symptoms may indicate the development of cervical osteochondrosis.

It is worth treating these alarming symptoms with full responsibility, because in the absence of timely treatment, the pathology can lead to the formation of more serious consequences, including intervertebral hernia.

What is osteochondrosis of the cervical spine?

Cervical osteochondrosis is a degenerative disease of the spine, in the development of which the structure of connective tissue changes.

The disease is often disguised as a violation of a different type, but a timely visit to a specialist allows you to diagnose in time and begin direct treatment.

Degenerative changes in the tissues of the cervical spine are most commonly found in the medical histories of the elderly (45-59) and the elderly (60-74).

Despite this, it should be noted: in modern society there is a rejuvenation of the disease, which is confirmed by the periodic diagnosis of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine in children and adolescents.

It is important that osteochondrosis can occur both in isolation and in association with the defeat of other parts, especially the thoracic, lumbar and sacral parts.

Causes of cervical osteochondrosis

Today, it is impossible to name the exact reasons for the appearance of degenerative processes occurring in the intervertebral discs. There is no confirmation that cervical osteochondrosis is a senile phenomenon.

Numerous studies conducted by scientists from different countries have established that osteochondrosis of the cervical spine mainly has provoking factors.

Among the reasons predisposing to the development of osteochondrosis of the neck, there are:

  • low level of activity, inactivity and predominantly sedentary lifestyle;
  • types of work involving a static load on the cervical spine;
  • overweight, insufficient level of physical development;
  • violation of connective tissue development processes;
  • chronic injuries to the spine;
  • deformation of the spine, use of insufficiently comfortable pillows, rest mattresses;
  • genetic predisposition.

The overwhelming majority of the reasons are in one way or another related to the natural processes of obsolescence of body systems, as well as the probable development of pathologies of bone and cartilage tissue.

What is the danger of cervical osteochondrosis?

Decreased level of mobility and limited flexibility of the joints, loss of muscle elasticity, and other signs of aging in the body are inevitable natural processes that accompany a person in ontogeny.

The discomfort of pain that occurs during movement well before the natural age of aging often results in a loss of quality of life or even a handicap.

To determine how to treat cervical osteochondrosis, you need professional consultation from your doctor. In the absence of professional and timely diagnosis and the necessary treatment, the disease progresses, which can lead not only to a deterioration in well-being, but also to serious disturbances in the functioning of the nervous and vascular system.

The main signs and symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis

The structure of the human skeleton, the ability to walk upright and the impressive size of the head have led to certain parts of the spine being the most vulnerable, especially the cervical ones.

Among the striking features of the structure of the cervical spine, it is worth highlighting the presence of vertebrae, mainly small in size and a relatively small number of muscles, in connection with which it is in this area that a disease suchthat osteochondrosis is most often occurs.

Pain is the most common syndrome of spine disease. Depending on the affected area, it may focus:

  • in the collarbone and / or shoulder;
  • along the entire cervical spine;
  • not the anterior aspect of the sternum.

It is quite difficult to independently determine the main signs of the disease, because in the overwhelming majority of cases they are insignificant and very nonspecific:

  • pain in the areaneckmainly in the evening;
  • gravity,Back ache;
  • slight numbnesstingling in the shoulder, hands;
  • bite,clicking while turning the head.

The progression of the disease is accompanied by a number of major symptoms that are already noticeable.

Vegetative-dystonic symptom

It is characterized by shooting pains in the neck, especially felt in the area just below the back of the head.

The painful sensation often occurs during a prolonged stay in the same position, for example in the morning.

The muscles of the neck are tense, there is difficulty in moving the hand to the side, stiffness in the movements of the fingers.

Due to the compression of the vertebral arteries, neurological manifestations are often found:

  • recurring headaches;
  • nausea;
  • fainting.

Symptom of the spine

Location of the area - to the left behind the chest.

During the process of gradual disruption of the structure of the intervertebral discs, there is compression and, as a result, damage to the nerve roots, which leads to narrowing of the arteries and veins, which in turn leads to the formation of'radicular and ischemic syndrome. .

Circulatory disorders cause:

  • severe migraines;
  • dizziness;
  • visual impairment, tinnitus;
  • autonomic function disorders.

In rare cases, the manifestation of cardinal syndrome is traced, accompanied by compressive pain of the heart muscle, lack of air and disturbances in the rhythm of the heart.

Degrees of development of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine and their characteristic symptoms

The process of the development of the disease proceeds quite slowly, but at the same time it has 4 clearly traced stages:

  • osteochondrosis of the cervical spine of the 1st degree - the appearance of discomfort and minor pain with prolonged walking, static position. The onset of seal formation in the intervertebral discs;
  • osteochondrosis of the cervical spine of the 2nd degree - sharp painful sensations. In order to eliminate pain, manual therapy and appropriate drugs are used;
  • osteochondrosis of the cervical spine of the 3rd degree - the presence of pronounced lesions of the connective tissue of the affected area;
  • 4th degree osteochondrosis of the cervical spine - the final stage of the development of the disease, characterized by damage to almost all parts of the spine.

The last stage of the development of the disease requires surgery, which involves a long recovery.

Diagnosis of the disease

In the presence of characteristic symptoms in order to diagnose and treat osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, you need to consult an orthopedist or neurologist.

As part of the diagnostic measures, the specialist will determine the mobility and pain in the neck area, assess the degree of tenderness and identify other functional disorders.

Among the most effective diagnostic methods, it is customary to distinguish:

  • X-ray of the cervical spine, performed in various projections;
  • CT (computed tomography);
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) if a hernia / protrusion is suspected.

In the event of circulatory disturbances, a rheoencephalography can be used in addition, as well as an examination of the fundus.

Possible complications

Lack of timely treatment can lead to serious complications, including:

  • protrusion of the intervertebral discs(formation of a hernia / protrusion);
  • rupture of the intervertebral disc, accompanied by pinching of nerves and blood vessels, which can be fatal;
  • radiculopathy(damage to nerve roots), the formation of osteophytes (spines on the vertebral body) with the manifestation of numerous paresis and paralysis.

How to treat osteochondrosis of the cervical spine?

Treatment of cervical osteochondrosis is determined by a specialist and depends on the degree of development of the pathology, the form of its course and the features of the clinical manifestation of the disease.

Today, the most effective methods of treating the disease are:

  • treatment with conservative methods, including drug / non-drug;
  • surgical intervention;
  • a complex combination of techniques.


Assumes the effect of physical factors on the affected area. With an integrated approach and competent conduct of all procedures, improvements become evident from the second or third month of treatment.

Some of the most popular areas of physiotherapy prescribed for the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis include:

  • electrotherapy;
  • shock wave therapy;
  • magnetotherapy;
  • balneotherapy;
  • laser therapy;
  • vibratory massage.

Neck massage for osteochondrosis

The massage should be carried out carefully, without the use of force loads. Violation of the massage technique can lead to negative consequences.

The starting position of the massage is the "lying down" or "sitting with the back straight" position.

All existing massage techniques are based on techniques such as:

  • stroking - affecting the surface layers of the skin. It is performed with the palms of the hands and the fingertips down from the back of the head to the level of the upper third of the back;
  • compression - affecting the deep layers of the skin in the upper third of the back. It is performed with two fingers of the hand (thumb and index finger), performed across the neck;
  • rubbing - the main goal is to warm the skin and increase blood flow to the desired area;
  • kneading - affects deeply lying tissues, should be used with caution, as illiterate use can make the situation worse.

Physiotherapywith cervical osteochondrosis

There are certain exercises for the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis. The most effective of them are:

Self stretch

Starting position: sit / stand with straight back.

Order of execution: while maintaining the starting position, try to lower the shoulders as low as possible, while stretching the top of the head upwards.

Running intensity: at least 10 times (2-5 seconds), at least 3 times a day.

Self massage

Inventory: terry towel.

Starting position: sit / stand, tighten the neck with a towel, grasp its ends with your hands.

Procedure: alternately pull the ends of the towel, gently kneading the muscles of the neck.

Important! While exercising, care should be taken to ensure that the towel does not slip and irritate the neck.

Gymnastics (flexion / extension, twists, flexions)

Starting position: sit / stand with straight back.

The order of execution: From the starting position, perform a gentle flexion / extension, rotation or tilt of the head, first in one direction, then in the other.

Intensity of performance: 5-7 movements in one direction.

Medication for cervical osteochondrosis

This is especially important during an exacerbation, as it is through the cervical spine that important blood vessels pass, providing nutrition to the brain.

As a means of treatment, tablets, injections, ointments, as well as other topical agents prescribed by the attending physician can be used.

Important! Self-medication with drugs of various groups is unacceptable and can lead to disability, death.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

One of the most effective drugs, often used for osteochondrosis in the form of injections, but also available in the form of tablets, patches and ointments.

The key direction of action is to reduce pain, eliminate swelling and inflammation.

Muscle relaxants

Provides effective reduction in muscle tension, which significantly reduces pain.

The recommended duration of treatment is 2 to 4 weeks.

Anti-inflammatory, analgesic and warming ointments for cervical osteochondrosis

In order to increase their effectiveness, anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs contain steroid substances in their composition.

The action of warming ointments is aimed at relieving pain, as well as warming, which activates blood flow to the site of application of the drug.


They are used to slow down degenerative processes and accelerate the regeneration of connective tissue. Has a cumulative effect.

Recommended dosage: 2 to 6 months.

Features of nutrition in the treatment and prevention of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine

Good nutrition is an undeniably important part of maintaining the health of the body.

In the prevention or treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, diet is, although an auxiliary, but at the same time a very important element.

The main goals of good nutrition in the treatment or prevention of osteochondrosis are:

  • elimination of the likelihood of a deficiency of nutrients necessary for the implementation of metabolic processes in the tissues of the intervertebral discs;
  • maintain optimal body weight;
  • reduce the risk of developing vascular changes, prevent circulatory disorders.

Dietetic principles

The nutrition of cervical osteochondrosis is based on the principles of rationality and functionality:

  1. Minimization of inhibitions - a healthy diet is varied, balanced and at the same time saturated with all the necessary substances.
  2. Adherence to the drinking regimen is an important part in preventing the deterioration of the tissue of the intervertebral disc.
  3. Reduction in salt intake - eliminates the likelihood of increasing the load on blood vessels and maintains fluid and electrolyte balance.
  4. Limit the use of starches and sugars, in order to eliminate the risk of metabolic disorders.

Food prohibited and recommended

Nutrition in the treatment and prevention of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine requires the exclusion of products that obstruct the body such as:

  • alcohol which disrupts the water-electrolyte balance and causes tissue dehydration;
  • fatty meats and smoked meats that are difficult to digest;
  • acidic and spicy foods that increase inflammation;
  • semi-finished products that negatively affect the processes of digestion;
  • sweets, sugar which disrupt blood circulation.

The list of recommended foods mainly includes foods of plant and animal origin that are easily digestible, high in protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber, including:

  • chicken, rabbit, lean beef and pork;
  • Fish and seafood;
  • dairy products, eggs;
  • cereals of various types;
  • whole wheat bread;
  • fruits, vegetables, berries and herbs.

Preventive actions

The basis of the health of the human cervical spine is a strong back, the health of which is due to:

  • a sufficient level of physical activity;
  • maintain optimal body weight;
  • comfortable bed with anatomical pillows and a quality mattress;
  • maintain correct posture;
  • a combination of prolonged sitting with periods of rest and physical warm-up;
  • respect for good nutrition.

In addition, it is recommended to avoid neck injuries and, of course, to lift unbearable weights.