Symptoms and treatment of cervical osteochondrosis

A man with osteochondrosis of the neck at a consultation with a manual masseur

The cervical spine is the narrowest part of it, however, the daily load of supporting the head, ensuring its turns, and mobility of the shoulder joints is incomparably higher than the performance of other parts of it.Given the wrong lifestyle caused by eating habits, sedentary work, and smoking, the chance of developing cervical osteochondrosis in middle-aged people quadruples.

Despite such a prevalence of the disease, it is very difficult to identify cervical osteochondrosis in the early stages, since its symptoms are so diverse and, at first glance, unrelated to the problem of the spine, that a person may not go to a doctor for years, considering the reason for his poor health is completely differentdisease.

Causes of the disease

In order to ensure mobility of the vertebrae, there are intervertebral discs between them, consisting of cartilaginous tissue. They provide shock absorption during movement and give flexibility to the spine. The service life of intervertebral discs, laid down by nature, is more than 120 years, but changes in the chemical composition of the blood lead to rapid dehydration of the cartilage tissue, the deposition of salts, which, in turn, contributes to the rapid wear of the discs and leads to their degenerative-dystrophic changes.

The reason for the change in blood composition is improper nutrition, a sedentary lifestyle in which the body cells do not need so much salt and it is deposited in the bone tissue, liver and kidneys.In a forced sedentary lifestyle, the largest amount of salt is deposited in the neck.

Cervical osteochondrosis can also occur as a result of microtraumas caused by vibration, for example, in chauffeurs, as well as in the forced incorrect position of the head or tension in the neck caused by working conditions and the specifics of the profession.

What is the danger of cervical osteochondrosis

In the neck area, namely in the immediate vicinity of the cervical spine, there are nerve roots, as well as the vertebral artery, whose task is to supply oxygen to the brain. With dehydration of the intervertebral discs of the neck, their deformation occurs, and this narrows the gap between the vertebrae and leads to their injury during movement.In addition, salt deposition contributes to the formation of bone spines - osteophytes, which can infringe on the nerve roots, as well as the artery.

Developing, the disease leads to a violation of the sensitivity of the neck, scapula, limbs, nape, or, on the contrary, causes pain in these parts, depending on which nerve roots were clamped.

Compression of the vertebral artery is fraught with insufficient oxygen supply to the brain, which leads to the development of various disorders of its activity. Among the most dangerous consequences of brain hypoxia are hearing disorders, decreased vision, stroke, partial and complete paralysis, mental disorders.

Cervical osteochondrosis is the most dangerous form of the disease, since it has a lot of irreversible consequences, while people in the late stages of the disease usually seek help.


The cervical spine consists of 6 segments, through which various nerve roots pass, their infringement is expressed by various symptoms. Depending on which of the vertebrae of the neck are susceptible to osteochondrosis, the disease can be expressed in various symptoms. So, radicular syndrome is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Violation of the sensitivity of the neck, scapula, fingertips, mostly unilateral. Sharp pain in the neck, radiating to the back or to the back of the head.
  • Burning pain in the chest, shoulder, as well as one of the fingers of the hand, depending on which nerve is affected.
  • Pain in the region of the heartcharacterized by its duration and intensification during sudden movements.

Compression of an artery, as well as small vessels, can lead to cerebral disorders, the symptoms of which can be listed as follows:

  • Visual impairment, the appearance of "flies" before the eyes, blurred images.
  • In case of insufficient nutrition of the cerebellum, dizziness, nausea, disturbances of consciousness may appear, the soil disappears from under the feet.
  • Manual neck massage
  • If the blood supply to the brain is disturbed, there is a threat of its hypoxia and the body's reaction is the increased pressure necessary to increase blood flow.
  • Oxygen deficiency also leads to a strong unreasonable fear of causing bouts of nausea.
  • Possible impairment of coordination and hearing.
  • When lymph circulation is impaired, intracranial pressure occurs, expressed in the headache of the parietal and occipital parts, pressure on the eyeballs, tinnitus.

Such varied symptoms and various single manifestations of the disease often do not immediately suggest back problems, especially since in the early stages, pain and stiffness of movements may be absent. And only a good specialist, having carried out differential diagnostics, excluding other diseases that are characterized by the same symptoms, can identify cervical osteochondrosis.


Treatment of osteochondrosis is a rather long process and includes various methods of both traditional and folk medicine. The main tasks set by the doctor when choosing a therapy are to relieve pain, restore mobility of the vertebrae and metabolic processes, recharge cartilage tissue, as well as remove swelling and inflammation in the soft tissues of the neck. The methods by which the above-described goals are achieved are different, including taking medications, rubbing with ointments, physiotherapy, and special gymnastics. Hirudotherapy, acupuncture, and traditional medicine recipes are used as additional treatment.

The main component in the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis is the patient's initiative and strict compliance with the doctor's prescriptions.

Let's take a closer look at how to treat cervical osteochondrosis, as well as the features of the techniques:


Distinguish between treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine during exacerbation and remission. So, in case of acute pain, the doctor may prescribe:

  • Analgesicsin the form of tablets, injections, the task of which is to relieve the symptoms of acute pain.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugsin the form of injections that relieve the inflammatory process. However, the side effects accompanying the use of NSAIDs do not allow their use for a long period.
  • Muscle relaxantsrelieve muscle spasms and release pinched vessels, nerves and arteries.
  • Novocaine blockade.This method is used for an acute attack accompanied by neck stiffness and pain. Treatment is carried out under the supervision of a physician.

During the period of remission, the main treatment is the intake of chondroprotectors produced in the form of powders and capsules, suspensions and ointments. Chondroprotectors, which are based on glycosaminoglycans and chondroitin sulfates, have a number of positive effects on the cartilaginous tissue of the spine, namely, restoration of the nucleus pulposus of the intervertebral disc, eliminate pain syndrome, and stop the development of the disease.

Ointments for osteochondrosis of the cervical spine are prescribed at the discretion of the doctor and have various effects, including:

  • pain reliever;
  • restoring cartilaginous structure;
  • anti-inflammatory;
  • warming;
  • complex.

In addition, cervical osteochondrosis is characterized by compression of the nerve roots and arteries, which leads to a number of symptoms, to eliminate which, appropriate drugs are prescribed.


As an addition to the main treatment, physiotherapeutic procedures are prescribed, the purpose of which is to eliminate pain, improve microcirculation in soft tissues, and restore metabolic processes. Some procedures, for example, electrophoresis, are used in conjunction with medicinal ointments, while achieving the maximum effect of the drug.

In addition to electrophoresis, shock wave therapy, laser treatment, ultraviolet radiation, and magnetotherapy are also used.

A similar effect is achieved with manual massage or acupuncture. A prerequisite for such treatment is high qualifications and medical education from specialists in these areas.

Cervical osteochondrosis in remission can be treated with physiotherapy exercises. Correctly selected exercises eliminate pain symptoms and contribute to the elimination of salt deposits.

Folk remedies

Among the methods of treating osteochondrosis of the cervical spine recognized by official medicine, there are many folk recipes based on the healing properties of plants that have anti-inflammatory, warming and restoring metabolic processes.

The most common active ingredients in various interpretations are horseradish, adam's root, aloe, ginger, garlic, hops, pine nuts, honey and lemon. They are used for the preparation of rubbing, ointments, tinctures, compresses, mixtures for oral administration, as well as medicinal baths. Traditional methods perfectly relieve symptoms, and also restore neck mobility.