Osteochondrosis is a chronic disease of various parts of the spinal column, in which degenerative and dystrophic changes occur in the intervertebral discs. Men aged 25-60 more often suffer from this ailment. The disease is typical for both young people and old people. Women get sick less often, and their symptoms are not so obvious. At the initial stage of the disease, it is possible to achieve stable remission and get rid of pain and discomfort for many years.
What are the types of osteochondrosis by localization
The classification of osteochondrosis of the spine has many forms and criteria. They differ in the location of the affected section and the severity. All types of osteochondrosis are pathologies that are fraught with destructive changes in cartilage and connective tissue.
The most common and understandable to a simple layman, far from medicine, the classification is according to the localization of the lesion:
- Cervical osteochondrosis - it is characterized by occipital, cervical and interscapular pain syndromes. In the last decade, this ailment has been increasingly diagnosed in young people.
- Osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine is very rare, since it has more discs than the cervical and lumbar combined, the discs are smaller and thinner. Part of the load is taken by the ribs. Therefore, in the intervertebral discs of the thoracic spine, degenerative and dystrophic changes rarely occur.
- Lumbar osteochondrosis often occurs in people over the age of forty from a sedentary and sedentary lifestyle. It is characterized by severe back pain, pinching of the nerves and arteries of the abdominal organs, and many concomitant diagnoses of internal organs.
Stages of the disease
Depending on the rate of flow, the degree of degenerative changes, the manifestation of symptoms, four stages of the disease can be distinguished:
- The initial stage is characterized by instability of symptoms. The patient is not yet experiencing severe pain. Occasionally, "shooting" pain in the affected area of the back is possible.
- The second stage is characterized by a significant deterioration in the interaction of the vertebrae due to the progression of degenerative processes in the intervertebral discs. The development of the disease at this stage is provoked by improper physical activity, a sedentary and sedentary lifestyle.
- At the third stage, I can begin to develop intervertebral hernias (some patients will pass this fate). In some cases, there are severe back pains. Concomitant diagnoses develop, which in one way or another affect all body systems. Symptoms vary depending on the location of the hernia and the location of the chondrosis.
- The fourth stage is the most difficult. The patient is unable to lead a fulfilling lifestyle and enjoy freedom of movement. Almost all the postures occupied by the body bring acute pain at the site of osteochondrosis localization. At this stage, we can talk about the appointment of a disability to the patient.
Causes of occurrence
Osteochondrosis brings a lot of suffering, worsens the quality of life, can lead to complete or partial immobilization of the patient and disability. What are the reasons for the appearance of this ailment? They are as follows:
- Sedentary lifestyle, static sitting or lying in one position. Muscles atrophy, the vertebrae wear out the cartilage and discs between each other. This process can last for years, but will inevitably lead to osteochondrosis.
- Modern young men and women go to the gym and perform exercises with a barbell and dumbbells, improper performance of which leads to chronic diseases of the spine. For example, the wrong technique of performing the exercise "squatting with a barbell" presented surgeons and orthopedists with tens of thousands of young osteochondrosis and scoliosis patients in the acute stage.
- People who, due to their professional activities, have to sit at the table in one position for many hours in a row are also at risk. According to WHO statistics, it is office workers who make up the lion's share of patients with osteochondrosis.
The main symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis
The vertebrae of the cervical spine gradually lose fluid and become fragile. As a result of this process, veins and arteries are compressed. The nutrition of the brain is disrupted and subsequently the death of its cells. Cervical osteochondrosis has the maximum negative effect on the part of the brain responsible for the activity of the heart muscle. Often the optic or auditory nerve is pinched, resulting in loss of vision and impairment of hearing.
Types of cervical osteochondrosis:
- radicular, or the so-called "cervical radiculitis" - it is characterized primarily by severe pain in the occiput, neck, head;
- irritative-reflex - discomfort in the chest, back, numbness of the fingers;
- cardiac, which is characterized by symptoms of cardiovascular disease.
Only an orthopedic surgeon or surgeon can make a precise diagnosis. Regardless of the type of cervical osteochondrosis, the treatment will be almost identical.
The main symptoms of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine
The rarest type of disease. Symptoms of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine are characteristic of many other diseases. An inexperienced doctor can often diagnose arrhythmias, angina pectoris, cardiomyopathy (pending ECG results), pancreatitis, or even gastritis. Only an experienced orthopedist or spinal surgeon can provide accurate information about the type of thoracic osteochondrosis.
With a pronounced pathological process, there is a disruption in the work of parts of the spinal cord. The main signs of osteochondrosis of the thoracic spine:
- Dorsago - sharp, unbearable pains in the chest, a feeling of lack of air, it seems to the patient that he is suffocating or the heart rate is out of order.
- Dorsalgia - the patient experiences less discomfort than with dorsal. The pain is less pronounced and radiates to the hands, fingers (therefore, doctors often confuse symptoms with diseases of the cardiovascular system).
Symptoms and consequences of osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine
The most common type of osteochondrosis is the lumbar spine. This is due to the fact that it is the lower back that experiences the greatest stress in the process of daily life.
In the first stage, the main symptom is a slight stretching in the lower back. People rarely attach importance to such mild ailments. As the intervertebral discs wear out, negative symptoms also increase. In particular, the patient can no longer lie or sit in one position for a long time due to pain.
At the third or fourth stage of osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine, there are:
- lumbago - a sharp and sudden pain, the result of which can be a partial immobilization of the patient;
- sciatica - unilateral entrapment of the sciatic nerve;
- sciatica - squeezing of nerve endings in the lumbar spine;
- weakness of the lower extremities, muscle atrophy, venous congestion, impaired sexual function and the work of the abdominal and pelvic organs are also often observed;
- radiculoischemia - a failure of blood circulation as a result of vascular compression.
This type of disease affects not only the spine, but also the joints. Most often, the shoulder and hip. Symptoms of generalized osteochondrosis are neurological in nature, in rare cases with lesions of internal organs due to impaired blood circulation.
In the hip joint, the disease manifests itself as changes in cartilage tissue, drying out of the inter-articular fluid. Over time, the joint partially, and then completely, loses its former mobility.
The manifestations of the disease are not in one, but in several parts of the body. For example, there is often a combination of the defeat of the third vertebra and the twelfth - in this case, osteochondrosis will be considered polysegmental.
Therapy in this case will be exactly the same as for standard signs of cervical or thoracic osteochondrosis. Magnetotherapy and other physiotherapy procedures proved to be excellent for exacerbation of pain and discomfort due to polysegmental chondrosis. Now you know what types of spinal osteochondrosis exist.
Medication for osteochondrosis
Pharmacological means for alleviating the manifestation of symptoms of osteochondrosis can be divided into the following groups:
- Anti-inflammatory medications - to relieve symptoms of pain and swelling from the affected area. There are two types - non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and glucocorticosteroids.
- Pain relievers.
- Muscle relaxants for relieving muscle spasm.
- Hondoprotectors - medicines to improve the nutrition of the cartilage tissue.
- Vitamin-mineral complexes - to restore normal blood circulation and activate metabolism.
- Medicines to improve and restore the conduction of impulses in nerve cells.
In some cases, you have to resort to diuretics to relieve swelling from the muscles and connective tissue between the vertebrae. It is strictly forbidden to prescribe drugs for yourself on your own - you can not only not cure, but also aggravate the course of the disease.
Therapeutic gymnastics and physical education for osteochondrosis
Any orthopedist will confirm the importance of physical exercise in achieving remission in the chronic course of osteochondrosis.
What kind of sport is safe for osteochondrosis? It is better to prefer swimming, stretching, Pilates, body flex - those directions in which there are no sudden movements. Traumatic martial arts and weightlifting sports with osteochondrosis are prohibited. The patient must not work with a weight of more than five kilograms.
Don't underestimate the benefits of daily morning exercise. It should not be carried out on a case by case basis, but on an ongoing basis. Only in this case there will be benefits for the spine. Simple hand swings, "mill", "bicycle" - exercises familiar to everyone from childhood will help stretch your back and relieve pain. All movements must be performed as smoothly and accurately as possible to avoid injury.
Office workers must break away from the computer once an hour and carry out a five-minute warm-up. This will serve as an excellent prevention and treatment of existing osteochondrosis.
Massage and manual therapy
Of all the types of treatment for osteochondrosis, this one is the most enjoyable. Much depends on the choice of a specialist - both the result and the feeling. Types of massage for osteochondrosis - classic, acupressure, canned, hardware, honey.
With manual therapy, the situation is more complicated. Firstly, this procedure is painful: often the patients of manualists cannot contain a cry of pain during manipulations with the spine. Secondly, if the chiropractor lacks experience, this procedure can be dangerous. Choose specialists with good patient reviews, a real diploma and a wealth of therapeutic experience.