Cervical spine osteochondrosis accounts for about a quarter of all osteochondrosis cases. It is the "youngest" and tends to affect people under 30 years of age. The disease develops gradually, progresses slowly but steadily. In the early stage of development of cervical osteochondrosis, it can usually be asymptomatic, becoming an accidental finding during radiographic examination.
Causes of osteochondrosis
The disease manifests itself as severe pain in the chest, under the shoulder blades, in the shoulder region, numbness and the appearance of "shivering" in the chest, rigidity of movement. Pains are often of a flashing nature, accompanied by angina pectoris, unpleasant painful sensations in the stomach, and shortness of breath may occur. Short-term acute pain is sometimes seen.
The causes of destruction of the vertebral discs and compression of the nerve endings of the spinal cord can be scoliosis acquired in adolescence, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, the same type of load on the spine and regular sitting for a long time in a sitting position.
Cervical spine osteochondrosis: symptoms
The most important, first, and most frequent symptom of cervical spine osteochondrosis is pain. Intensify when bending or turning the head.<2_img_rightxx>Depending on the location of the pathological focus, pain may be in the back of the head, under the scapula or in the arm.
It can be constant, painful. It can happen from time to time, but as the disease progresses, it worries the person more and more. The pain is also sharp, sharp. This is a symptom of exacerbation of cervical osteochondrosis, which can manifest after hypothermia of the body.
Head movements are often difficult. This is due to the constant tension in the muscles in the collar and neck area. When leaning forward or turning your head, you often hear a pop.
In the late stages of cervical osteochondrosis, a person cannot hold their head for long. Sometimes he can't turn it or bend it without feeling severe pain. The patient tries to support his head with his hands or struggles to assume a comfortable position to alleviate his suffering.
Vertebral artery syndrome
This group of symptoms occurs due to compression of the vertebral artery by a displaced intervertebral disc, overgrown cartilage tissue, or tight muscles. The syndrome is a complex of symptoms, including cervical migraine, decreased consciousness and increased blood pressure.
Cervical migraine is a headache that results from decreased blood flow and tissue oxygen deprivation. Pain is usually unilateral. The back of the neck hurts first. Possible radiation to ear, eye or forehead.
Hearing loss sometimes occurs and the ears begin to ring. Possible visual impairment. In the double eyes, in front of the eyes "glimmer of flies". The scalp can become so painful that it cannot be touched. Headaches with osteochondrosis of the cervical spine are often accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
A frequent symptom of cervical osteochondrosis and vertebral artery compression is increased blood pressure. But osteochondrosis of the cervical spine and hypertension are not always related. It should be borne in mind that in old age an increase in blood pressure is observed in many people.
Only after studying the history of cervical osteochondrosis can a doctor establish whether hypertension is a complication of the disease. If there is a history of recurrent attacks of high blood pressure, which are accompanied by palpitations and fear of death, this is probably actually one of the symptoms of vertebral artery compression. If the increase in pressure occurred gradually and frequent hypertensive crises were not observed, most likely the patient was hypertensive, which is not associated with osteochondrosis.
Impaired consciousness occurs when there is insufficient blood supply to the brain. There is drowsiness, dizziness, decreased reaction speed to external stimuli. Short-term loss of consciousness occurs.
Rehabilitation after spinal effusion
What are the most dangerous symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis? Without a doubt, this is a spinal effusion - the death of a part of the spinal cord due to the complete lack of blood flow in the compressed vessels. It always leads to disability, causing paresis and paralysis. Fortunately, spinal effusions are rare.
Among the symptoms of exacerbation of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, cardiac pain stands out. This is due to pinching of the posterior roots of the fourth spinal nerve. In fact, cardiac pain can be attributed to radicular syndrome. But this symptom is specific and therefore isolated as a separate syndrome.
Cardiac pain with osteochondrosis can mimic angina pectoris or myocardial infarction. But when a patient seeks medical help, a competent physician immediately, based on the patient's symptoms and complaints alone, can rule out heart disease.
- First, the presence of other symptoms of osteochondrosis of the cervical vertebrae in the patient will lead the specialist to the idea that the cause of heart pain may be spinal problems;
- Second, the pain is not sharp and sharp, as in myocardial infarction, and is not accompanied by fear of death. It is not associated with physical activity, in contrast to an attack of angina pectoris;
- Thirdly, this pain is quite long and after taking nitroglycerin it does not go away or even lessen;
- Fourth, the pain increases when turning or tilting the head, which is not seen in "real" heart disease.
Root syndrome combines the signs of cervical osteochondrosis that develop as a result of compression of the spinal nerve roots. Depending on the level at which impingement has occurred, various symptoms of cervical spine intervertebral osteochondrosis may develop.
Compression of the roots at the level of the first or second segment leads to numbness of the occipital skin or pain in the occipital region.
Compression of the roots of the third spinal nerve causes numbness of the tongue and skin behind the ear. If the motor fibers are compressed, it becomes difficult for a person to chew food and he has the sensation of a dilated tongue.
Compression of the roots at the level of the fourth segment of the spinal cord causes heart and collarbone pain, hiccups, and pharyngeal migraines. There is a foreign body sensation in the throat, it is difficult to swallow food. There may be a sore throat that mimics a sore throat. But the differential diagnosis of cervical osteochondrosis and tonsillitis is not difficult at all. Inflammation of the pharyngeal tonsil is always accompanied by hyperthermia, whereas in cervical spine osteochondrosis, body temperature does not increase.
Symptoms of Cervical Osteochondrosis
The most common symptom of compression of the fifth spinal nerve roots is impaired mobility of the shoulder muscles. It is difficult for the patient to lift the hand and move it to the side.
Pinching the sixth segment roots often causes pain in the scapula and forearm. It becomes difficult for the patient to bend and rotate the forearm.
The seventh pair of spinal nerves mainly innervates the hand, index and middle fingers. When clamped, the mobility of these parts of the body is disturbed, numbness or pain occurs.
Pinching at the level of the eighth segment makes it difficult to bend and extend the ring finger and little finger. Pain and sensory impairment can also occur. However, these manifestations can already be attributed to symptoms of osteochondrosis of the cervicothoracic spine, as the roots of the eighth spinal nerve are located between the seventh cervical vertebra and the first thoracic vertebra.
What is the danger of cervical osteochondrosis? First, for its complications. The appearance of intervertebral hernias can lead to spinal cord compression and, as a result, the development of paresis and paralysis. When the first symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis appear, treatment should be started. Properly selected therapy will delay disease progression, improve the patient's quality of life, and prevent the development of complications of cervical osteochondrosis.