Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is a pathological process in which the nutrition of the vertebral discs is disturbed, which leads to their gradual deterioration. With the progression of the disease, the intervertebral discs lose their shape and cease to perform their main functions. The spine's ability to withstand physical stress is lost.
Effective treatment of cervical osteochondrosis consists of an integrated approach to the disease, combining drug therapy and physiotherapy. If these methods do not have a positive effect, they resort to surgical intervention.
Conservative treatment consists of taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, vitamins, muscle relaxants. The former are designed to reduce inflammation and pain. If the pain is mild, topical ointments or gels will help. The use of vitamins helps improve blood circulation, which leads to better brain nutrition.
But any medicine will not be enough when the cause of osteochondrosis lies in a person's lifestyle and remains unchanged. If the disease occurs due to constant work at the computer, it is necessary to include physical exercises in the rhythm of work to warm up the neck.
Physiotherapy methods give good results:
- water procedures;
Therapeutic exercises will help improve blood supply to damaged joints, reduce pain and improve neck mobility.
Significantly relieve the discomfort of hirudotherapy and manual therapy.
As a prophylaxis during sedentary work, it is recommended to periodically do self-massage, dispersing stagnant blood and providing an influx of nutrients to the brain. In addition, you need to eat regularly, get enough rest at night and control your weight.
Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is well corrected in the initial stages, before the appearance of vertebral artery syndrome and cardialgia.
Treatment is aimed at eliminating pain, restoring blood supply to the brain and slowing the progression of the disease. The patient is under the care of a neurologist. Conservative therapy is as follows:
- Applicationnonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugslocally and systemically. Ointments, gels, tablets and injections cope well with the pain of osteochondrosis.
- In the acute stage of the disease, accompanied by severe pain, it is usedparavertebral block- local administration of drugs (anaesthetics and corticosteroids).
- Drug treatment is a combination of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antispasmodics,analgesics and vitamin complexes of group B.
- With severe pain that affects the nervous and mental state of the patient, tranquilizers can be prescribed. In case of prolonged pain (more than 4 weeks), they are replacedantidepressants. These drugs allow you to stabilize the mental state of the patient.
- In the acute phase, to reduce nerve root compression can be usedmuscle relaxants.
- To maintain prescribed cerebral circulationvasodilators, as well as means for improving metabolism in nervous tissue).
With the ineffectiveness of conservative treatment for several months and the progression of the disease, they sometimes resort to surgical intervention.
Drug treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine includes the use of various drugs.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (drugs) are used as a symptomatic treatment, to relieve inflammation and eliminate pain during an exacerbation of the disease.
The course of taking NSAIDs for osteochondrosis of the cervical spine usually does not exceed 6 weeks. Medications have only a symptomatic effect, and after the end of treatment, pain may return. Often, NSAIDs are used in combination with antispasmodics, which help relieve muscle tension in the paravertebral area.
Pain and muscle tension are effectively eliminated by the local administration of anesthetics. Blockades are widely used from a combination of anesthetics with corticosteroids, which, in addition to the analgesic effect, have an anti-inflammatory effect.
As a local anesthetic, a solution is used, which includes substances that limit the flow of impulses in irritated nerve endings and block its passage through innervated areas.
Therapy with glucocorticosteroids can negatively affect the production of your own hormones. Therefore, modern medicine is much less likely than before to use drugs of this group in the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis and only if there are serious indications.
Hormonal drugs, when ingested, block the inflammatory process inside cells.
Important!With prolonged use, glucocorticosteroids contribute to the destruction of cartilage, so they should be combined with chondroprotectors.
Drugs containing corticosteroids quickly relieve pain, but at the same time negatively affect many internal organs. Hormonal treatment rarely takes longer than 7 days, since with longer use bone loss and the development of osteoporosis are possible.
As a result of the destruction of the intervertebral discs, the displacement of the vertebrae and the inflammatory process, the vessels of the tissues of the body narrow. You can improve blood circulation with the help of warming and locally irritating ointments.
When using such funds, due to the excitation of nerve endings, blood flow in the problem area increases, which helps to improve the process of tissue nutrition. After applying the ointment, the treated area of the skin turns red due to the active influx. Since these drugs have a tonic effect, it is recommended to use them during the day.
Among warming ointments, the most popular product is made on the basis of butoxyethyl ether of nicotinic acid. Alternatively, capsaicin and dimethyl sulfoxide ointments are used..
In addition to ointments, special patches impregnated with active substances are used as a local irritant. So, for example, the composition of the well-known pepper patch includes hot pepper extract, belladonna, lanolin oil. These components have an irritating effect, relieving muscle spasms and increasing local blood circulation. At the same time, the supply of oxygen to cells and tissues is accelerated, due to which the pain disappears.
There is an active discussion around these drugs. Not all doctors use chondroprotectors in the treatment of osteochondrosis. These drugs contain glycosaminoglycans and chondroitin sulfates, which form the structural basis of intervertebral discs. Chondroprotectors are thought to prevent the destruction of spinal cartilage and joint surfaces.
The composition of such preparations may contain chondroitic acid, mucopolysaccharides, animal cartilage, glycosaminoglycans, etc.
Reference.Some experts believe that the effect of these drugs is insignificant, although it differs from the placebo effect, and the result obtained is not comparable to their high price.
Preparations for improving blood microcirculation
This group of drugs promotes dilation of blood vessels. The drugs improve blood microcirculation, eliminate the violation of venous outflow, normalize metabolic processes, stimulate regeneration and increase the frequency of nerve impulses. As a result, blood circulation is normalized, metabolic processes in soft tissues are improved and the degree of their swelling decreases, brain activity is restored.
With osteochondrosis, the attending physician can prescribe the intake of individual vitamins or vitamin complexes. Particular attention is usually paid to the B vitamins (B1, B6 and B12). Their intake improves the nutrition of nerve fibers, supports metabolic processes in cartilage tissue and gives it elasticity, improves blood circulation and the functioning of the central nervous system, and stimulates metabolic processes.
In addition to the B vitamins, supplying the body with ascorbic acid is of paramount importance. With its regular intake, the process of regeneration of bone and cartilage tissues improves, toxins are eliminated, and the processes of metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and minerals are regulated. It can partially reduce the need for additional vitamins B1, B2, A and E.
It is indicated in the absence of a visible effect in the treatment of the disease by conservative methods, as well as in the development of complications.
Indications for surgical treatment of cervical osteochondrosis:
- spinal stenosis, due to a herniated or protruding disc - a "pinching" of the spinal cord and/or nerve roots, resulting in pain, cramping, weakness or numbness;
- cervical spondylolisthesis - a condition in which the vertebrae are displaced along the horizontal axis relative to each other, slipping when moving and causing pressure on the nerve roots and spinal cord;
- herniated disc - depending on the severity of the symptoms, the severity of the patient's condition and the effectiveness of conservative treatment.
Massage is one of the main methods of treatment. In this case, it is not only useful, but also an indispensable procedure. First you need to take a professional course. To achieve the greatest effect, it is desirable to carry out at least 10 sessions. With cervical osteochondrosis, massage can have the following effects:
- pain relief and muscle spasm relief;
- reduction of edema;
- muscle building;
- restoration of normal tone;
- improvement of blood supply and nutrition in the intervertebral discs;
- increased nerve impulse conduction;
- improvement of metabolic processes;
A course of therapeutic massage of the cervical collar zone can significantly improve the condition of the cartilage tissue in the neck.
After a professional course, you can perform simple tricks yourself at home. The peculiarity of the procedure for cervical osteochondrosis is the passive stretching of the muscles from the overstrain position in combination with massage elements. It is necessary to apply the technique after warming up spastic muscles with a bath, hot compress or kneading.
For self-massage, the same techniques are used as in the professional version. These are tapping, kneading, point hitting, tapping, rubbing. The massage is performed with warm hands. Massage oil should be used to improve glide. The technical sequence is as follows:
Completing a self-massage session must also be caressing. It is important that there is no severe pain during the procedure.
Reference.In addition to traditional massage for osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, other techniques are used, for example, acupressure or vacuum massage. In the second case, medical banks or special vacuum devices are used.
Massage is very useful for cervical osteochondrosis. However, there are a number of factors that are absolute contraindications:
- blood diseases;
- malignant or benign neoplasms;
- active stage of tuberculosis;
- the presence of numerous warts and moles on the body;
- varicosities in the back.
There are also temporary contraindications:
- Infectious diseases;
- exacerbation of chronic processes.
If the disease has already developed and been diagnosed, the first step after the elimination of pain and neurological symptoms with the help of drug treatment is a course of physiotherapy, as an integral part of acomplex treatment. A moderate load on the neck muscles in remission contributes to the strengthening and formation of the muscle corset that supports the intervertebral discs.
The main way to prevent cervical osteochondrosis, as well as weakness in the cervical region, is to strengthen the neck muscles. This will help therapeutic exercises. To achieve tangible results, you need to perform at least 2-3 exercises 2-3 times a day. Starting position - sitting with a straight back.
- Exercise number 1.Tilt your head slightly forward and place your hands on your forehead. Then press your palms to your forehead and without moving your neck, hold the position for 30 seconds.
- Exercise number 2.Tilt your head back and slowly turn left and right for 1 minute. This exercise improves blood circulation in the veins.
- Exercise number 3.At the same time, raise your shoulders, trying to bring them to your ears, then lower them back to their original position. Then alternately - one shoulder down, the other up. The total duration is 2 minutes.
- Exercise number 4.Join your palms above your head, spreading your elbows out to the sides. Firmly press your palms together for 2-5 seconds, then release your hands. Repeat 3 times.
- Exercise number 5.Make gentle tilts of the head forward - on exhalation, backward - on inspiration (3 times).
The gymnastic complex ends with self-massage - rub the neck with circular movements of rotation.
Perform a small set of exercises each day and soon you will feel much better.
This is a set of non-drug therapeutic and diagnostic techniques aimed at eliminating certain diseases of the spine.
Reference.Usually about 10 sessions are performed with an interval of 2 days. After the first procedures, the patient may experience slight pain, which is considered normal. But if the pain does not go away in the future, you need to stop the course. Constant pain indicates either low professionalism of a specialist, or an incorrect diagnosis.
During the first visit, an experienced osteopath always performs a diagnostic palpation of the cervical region. The doctor determines the most painful places, assesses the condition of muscle tissue and skin. The success of further treatment will depend on a properly performed examination.
The session begins with a warm-up of the muscles and a light massage. Then the doctor stretches the muscles, reducing spasms in the cervical segment. At this stage, the patient should not feel any pain. After that, the therapist proceeds directly to manipulation.
This is the most painful part of the procedure. The doctor with considerable effort presses the cervical vertebrae, trying to push them back. Often during such manipulations, patients hear a frightening crackle, but this is considered normal. At the end of the session, the chiropractor performs a soothing massage.
Immediately after the session, sudden head movements, tilts and deviations should be avoided. If possible, it is better to lie down for half an hour.
Manual therapy can restore neck mobility the very next day. If you experience stiffness and limitation of movement, try contacting a chiropractor.
Important!A doctor using manual therapy techniques must fully master them in order to exclude harm to the patient.
Acupuncture affects the body in a certain area by inserting needles into biologically active points. In this case, a response occurs, expressed in the directed production of hormones that regulate metabolic processes and the state of immunity. Due to this, inflammatory processes are actively suppressed.
Therapy is effective for cervical osteochondrosis. Under the influence of the procedure, the blood vessels in the neck expand, blood flow improves, the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the brain increases, headaches, tinnitus, dizziness disappear, and the flowof the anti-inflammatory hormone cortisol in the blood increases.
Chinese medicine specialists claim that they can treat more than 250 different types of diseases, including those associated with osteochondrosis.
Traditional medicine has many recipes that can relieve pain and unpleasant symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis. However, although these recipes relieve the condition, they do not eliminate the cause of the disease, so other measures cannot be suppressed.
Compresses and tinctures are the most popular remedies. They warm up the muscles, improve blood circulation, relieve pain.
Recipe 1.A mixture of lard, horse chestnut, turpentine, agave and vodka. Cooking method:
- 3 tablespoons horse chestnut;
- 100 g of American agave;
- camphor oil - 50 ml;
- purified turpentine - 30 ml;
- vodka - 200 ml;
- unsalted lard - 50 grams.
Grind and mix the ingredients, then put in a dark place for 9 days. For use, apply a thin layer to brown bread and apply to a sore spot. If there is a burning sensation, the compress is removed. After the discomfort subsides, you can repeat the procedure.
Recipe 2.Calendula tincture.
It is necessary to take a glass bottle, pour 50 g of calendula into it and pour a cup of camphor alcohol into it. Then add a glass of cologne and a glass of vodka. Put the closed bottle in a dark place and let it sit for a few weeks. The resulting tincture is rubbed into the sore spot.
Osteochondrosis is easier to prevent than to treat. All achievements in the fight against the disease will be reduced to zero if the patient continues to lead the same way of life: move little, do not play sports, gain weight. This can again lead to pathologies of the intervertebral discs and exacerbation of osteochondrosis.