Osteochondrosis is a common disease of the musculoskeletal system. It manifests as mild discomfort and intense pain, limiting a person's activity. In advanced cases, the pathology can lead to the need for surgery and even disability. Prevention and prevention of the disease reduces the risk of its occurrence or helps to obtain positive results of the treatment.
Osteochondrosis is a pathology that occurs as a result of a combination of factors such as genetic predisposition, human lifestyle, environmental conditions.
The disease is characterized by damage to joint cartilage as well as underlying bone tissue. Normally, it is the cartilages that provide the flexibility and mobility of the spine, but they can wear out, lose their properties, elasticity and deform under the pressure of other vertebrae.
The most common causes of the development of the pathology are:
- hereditary predisposition.
- Muscle corset weakness.
- Postural disorders and scoliosis.
- Mechanical spinal injury.
- Excessive physical activity.
- Neuro-emotional stress.
- Passive lifestyle.
- Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Tight, uncomfortable shoes, high heels.
- General dehydration.
- Lack of important nutrients, beriberi.
Types of osteochondrosis
This disease is included in the list of the most frequent complaints of patients of working age who spend 8 to 10 hours a day on the computer. Often, patients do not give importance to pain, which leads to the development of complications. If you do not want to experience constant pain in the neck, head, shoulders, it is important to prevent it as soon as possible and, if necessary, consult a doctor as soon as possible.
The disease can be asymptomatic. It is often accompanied by pain in the back, neck, forearm. In the advanced stage, thoracic osteochondrosis is characterized by symptoms that are manifested by a painful condition of the arms and legs, tinnitus. In addition, thoracic chondrosis can be accompanied by nausea, headache in the morning, pain and twinkling in the eyes, sweating. For the treatment of the disease, taking drugs and therapeutic exercises are sufficient measures.
The lumbar spine is very vulnerable. If you do not engage in strengthening your back muscles and do not monitor your posture, then there is a risk of developing unpleasant symptoms. Chondrosis is characterized by pain in the waist of the lower back, pain in the hip area and the so-called back pain.
Take precautions. Keep your lower back warm, try not to get too cold. Do not carry or lift objects weighing more than 10 kg. If you're lifting something heavy, don't pull or make sudden movements. Refuse any physical work in an inclined position. If you're going to mop the floor, use a mop or squat down.
Stages and symptoms of the development of osteochondrosis
The disease goes through 4 stages, accompanied by various symptoms. In the initial phase, the pathology occurs in the region of the pulp nucleus of the intervertebral disc. Excessive loading causes a decrease in disc height and the appearance of cracks in the annulus fibrosus. A person may feel some discomfort when he is in a static position for a long time or, conversely, when he moves very actively.
In the 2nd stage, the distance between the vertebrae continues to decrease, the vertebral muscles and ligaments lose tone and fall. This leads to increased mobility of the vertebrae with affected discs, the risk of dislocation or subluxations. In the second stage, discomfort and pain appear, mainly with certain types of loads or in certain positions.
With osteochondrosis of the 3rd degree, prolapses and protrusions of the intervertebral discs are formed, the development of arthrosis of the intervertebral joints is possible. A person experiences rigidity, becomes inactive. At this stage of the pathology, pain is clearly felt depending on the location of the lesion.
In the 4th stage, the body tries to adapt to the functional disorders of the spine. This can be expressed in bone neoplasms - osteophytes. They act as a vertebral fixator. But it can cause pinched nerves and other injuries.
When examining a patient and taking an anamnesis, a specialist makes a primary diagnosis, suggesting the presence of a disease by a visually detectable curvature observed in the transverse or longitudinal plane of the spine. After the initial consultation, the surgeon or neurologist may prescribe additional tests. After determining the location of the disease and its stages, treatment can begin, the aim of which is to get rid of the causes of pain.
The most common diagnostic methods:
- magnetic resonance;
- doppler ultrasound.
Treatment methods for osteochondrosis
Treatment only brings good results when it is regular, consistent and systematic. The therapeutic strategy of the first stage aims to neutralize the pain, the second stage is to activate the blood supply and metabolic processes in the affected areas of the spine, and the third stage shows physical therapy and manual procedures.
With osteochondrosis of any department in the acute phase, accompanied by severe pain, the doctor may prescribe a paravertebral block by administering novocaine, lidocaine and other drugs to relieve muscle tension in the movement segment of the spine, reduce swelling and muscle tension.
Combinations of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antispasmodics, analgesics, and vitamin complexes (group D, nicotinic acid) are considered effective. As a local therapy, ointments - chondroprotectors and agents with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory components are prescribed.
It is important to remember that medications only help to deal with the intense pain at the moment. Physiotherapy treatment helps to get rid of the unpleasant manifestations of the disease in the long term.
The most used therapies include:
- manual therapy;
What does the lack of treatment lead to?
Osteochondrosis is best corrected at the initial stage of formation before the appearance of syndromes of vertebral pathologies, accompanied by chronic headaches and pain in the shoulder blades, heart and lower back. Over time, the disease leads to a change in the overall structure of the spine due to active compensatory expansion of connective, fibrillar, and bony tissues.
The clinical picture of the disease depends on the location of the pathology, the degree of development of the process and the individual characteristics of patients. Displacement of intervertebral discs, bulges and hernias lead to unpleasant consequences.
- violation of blood circulation in the tissues;
- pinched nerves;
- spinal canal dysfunction;
- tissue edema and fibrosis.
Therefore, the treatment of osteochondrosis should be started as early as possible and performed in a complex way, with an emphasis on neutralizing inflammation and eliminating pain. If the disease has been manifesting for years, is in an advanced stage, and herniated vertebral discs are diagnosed, a surgical operation may be necessary.
The prevention of osteochondrosis and its treatment are inextricably linked. Its objective is to improve the patient's quality of life. If you have a sedentary job, take regular breaks. Get up every hour and a half and do simple exercises that relieve tension in your neck and back muscles. Try to sit at the table correctly: your back is straight, your shoulders are relaxed. Choose those chairs, the back of which can provide maximum support for the spine: so as not to overload.
To prevent the onset of the disease, it is good to periodically undergo a massage course. Massage can improve blood circulation and lymph flow, improve metabolic processes in muscle tissues, and stop stagnant processes. As a result, there is an improvement in general well-being, increased vitality and some painful symptoms disappear.
Recommendations for the prevention and prevention of the development of osteochondrosis:
- Limit yourself to lifting weights. Allowed weight up to 10 kg.
- Carry weights evenly in both hands.
- Systematically do simple exercises designed to strengthen your spine, muscles, ligaments and joints.
- Go swimming if possible.
- Try not to sit too long in one position.
- Take food supplements containing mucopolysaccharides - elements that make up cartilage.
Preventing osteochondrosis of the spine is a less difficult task than treating it later. Think about your health and start taking care of it before it remembers itself.