Vertebral osteochondrosis is the most common disease of the human musculoskeletal system. In the cervical spine, degenerative processes develop especially often: in about 30-40% of all cases of osteochondrosis, the disease affects this particular area of the back.
Even with an inactive lifestyle, daily stress falls on the cervical zone, leading to the gradual destruction of the cartilaginous tissues of the intervertebral discs. The cervical vertebrae support the head, provide lateral movement and bend forward and backward. Both a sedentary lifestyle and excessive stress on the spine are equally detrimental to cartilage tissue.
Osteochondrosis develops slowly, but almost always leads to painful manifestations and serious consequences. This article will discuss in detail how to treat cervical osteochondrosis at home, in which cases it is reasonable and advisable, what procedures should be practiced to reduce painful symptoms and eliminate the primary causes of the disease.
When can osteochondrosis be treated at home
Osteochondrosis rarely occurs suddenly - usually the disease is preceded by an initial stage, characterized by fatigue in the back, rapid fatigability and decreased performance. It is important to take therapeutic measures at the first signs of the disease, while degenerative and dystrophic processes have not spread from the cartilaginous tissues to nearby structures.
The task of treatment at the initial stage of the disease is to stop pathological transformations in the intervertebral discs. No amount of therapy can reverse destructive processes, but there is a chance to prevent dangerous and painful consequences.
You can practice home treatment in the following cases:
- When the diagnosis is accurately known and clinically confirmed;
- When the manifestations of the disease are mild or moderate;
- When home and self-treatment is approved or sanctioned by a physician;
- In the form of relapse prevention during the recovery phase after complete clinical therapy.
Diagnosis in the clinic and consultation with a specialist (orthopedist, vertebrologist or traumatologist) is an obligatory stage in the treatment of osteochondrosis. Starting treatment without an accurate diagnosis can cause irreparable harm to the spine. Even if you are totally sure that you have osteochondrosis, you need to find out its stage, determine the degree of tissue destruction, and identify concomitant diseases.
The danger of cervical osteochondrosis lies in the variety of manifestations of this disease. Since the most important nerve pathways and blood vessels pass in this section, any displacement of cartilaginous and bone structures from their anatomical position, as well as transformation of the discs and vertebral bodies, are fraught with compression of the nerve endings and arteries.
Compression leads to headaches, deterioration of blood supply to the brain, and a decrease in intellectual abilities. The most dangerous complication of compression is stroke: a sharp deterioration in oxygen supply to the brain, leading to the death of its parts.
It is irresponsible and dangerous to treat cervical osteochondrosis at home in the presence of compression. Massage procedures, manual therapy, exercise therapy should be carried out under strict medical supervision. Only professional massage therapists and therapists should perform manual and hardware impact on the vertebrae in case of progressive degenerative changes.
General rules for self-therapy
Some people believe that cervical osteochondrosis is a temporary ailment that occurs after sleeping in an uncomfortable position or working at a computer for a long time. People often ignore pain symptoms in the neck, believing that they are caused by excess work, "salt deposits", colds.
The listed factors can really provoke the development of an attack of osteochondrosis, but they are not the causes, but the predisposing factors of the pathology. Eliminating them may alleviate the symptoms, but will not cure the disease itself.
The treatment of osteochondrosis should be approached scientifically and pragmatically. The earlier you start therapy, the more chances you have of restoring the functionality of the cervical spine. If you want to regain mobility in your neck, get rid of crunching and fatigue in the back, start treatment immediately when the first signs of degenerative changes appear.
Home treatment for osteochondrosis of the collar zone is a necessary and useful measure of influence if it is performed correctly and authorized by specialists.
At home you can do:
- Medication therapy;
- Hardware massage using mechanical and electrical devices;
- Physiotherapy procedures;
Basically, any kind of conservative treatment can be practiced at home. Traditional methods of influence are popular among the population - a variety of lotions, compresses and applications on the affected department. Such treatment options are sometimes quite effective and really help with pain symptoms and other unpleasant manifestations of osteochondrosis.
The basic rules for self-treatment are as follows:
- Analgesics and other medicines should be taken only after they have been prescribed by a doctor;
- You should not practice massage and physiotherapy exercises during acute pain and displacement of the disc;
- Doubtful and unapproved traditional medicine should not be used;
- At the slightest sign of worsening health, you should stop home therapy and go to the clinic.
In general, experts even recommend self-treatment, since only those procedures are carried out in the clinic that require the presence of a specialist or the presence of complex equipment. It is only necessary to strictly adhere to medical recommendations regarding home therapeutic techniques.
A good doctor, before recommending or prescribing any remedy, will always tell you how it is applied, what results should be expected, when and for what period of time you need to carry out treatment procedures. The ultimate goal of any practice is not just to stop symptoms, but to block or completely eliminate the causes of the disease.
Home Treatment Methods
There are many home treatments for cervical osteochondrosis. We will consider the most basic of them - the most effective and affordable. We remind you once again: only the implementation of medical recommendations in full gives a chance for recovery.
Qualified doctors take into account all factors of influence - from the position that you take during sleep, ending with the nature of the diet. The diet for osteochondrosis is based on the exclusion of fatty, refined and overly seasoned food and the mandatory inclusion of mucopolysaccharides in the diet - compounds that feed cartilage tissue.
Almost all aspects of life must be brought into line with the principles of competent and correct treatment.
A full regime of physical activity is the basis of effective therapy. The set of exercises is selected individually, taking into account the stage of the disease, the age and physical condition of the patient. Physical education is not an auxiliary, but the most important therapeutic method for osteochondrosis of the collar region.
Gymnastic exercises solve several problems at once:
- Develop and strengthen the muscle corset in the neck and shoulder girdle;
- Stimulates local blood flow, improving the nutrition of intervertebral discs and other tissues in the affected area;
- Accelerate metabolic processes, contributing to the restoration of physical activity;
- Eliminate muscle blocks and spasmodic phenomena.
At the initial stage of therapy, it is better to conduct several sessions of exercise therapy under the guidance of an experienced instructor. Then you can practice physical education at home. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing when exercising and ensure that the area is regularly ventilated.
Indicative criteria for the usefulness of exercise therapy are absence of pain, improvement of well-being, increase in range of motion. If there are acute and regular pain symptoms, the exercise should be stopped until the causes of this phenomenon are clarified. Pain usually occurs when the disc is displaced and the nerve is compressed. To prevent this from happening, you need to perform the movements smoothly, avoid jumping and twisting the spinal column.
Manual and hardware massage
Self-massage reduces pain and stimulates local circulation. Self-massage techniques (rubbing, stroking, kneading) will be taught by your doctor or professional massage therapist. Strong pressure, shock, pinching should be avoided.
Proper self-massage often surpasses even drugs in effectiveness. A gentle manual effect not only relieves pain, but also relaxes muscles, speeds up blood flow and metabolism. The massage is recommended to be performed in a sitting position, using only the fingers and directing the movements from the spine to the peripheral parts of the back.
A separate method is hardware massage using mechanical devices and modern electronic devices. It is recommended to use massage products in the absence of severe pain and displacement of the discs. Inexpensive hand-held massagers and expensive computer-controlled devices are available from medical supply stores.
Another effective tool is applicators for static impact on the affected areas. Devices such as the Lyapko applicator or Kuznetsov's applicator are proven and effective means for treating pain symptoms and eliminating the causes of the disease. The main rule in the use of such devices is regularity. You need to practice exposure sessions constantly - only then is it possible to achieve a stable and pronounced health-improving result.
The applicators are based on the principles of reflexology - the impact on the active parts of the body and the launch of the body's self-healing mechanism. Home acupuncture with Lyapko devices and apparatus exposure with Kuznetsov's devices literally lifted some patients to their feet.
Other orthopedic devices are also useful - special pillows for sleeping, ensuring the correct position of the body at night, mattresses, pillows for car and office chairs.
Exposure to a magnetic field, ultrasound, light of a certain spectrum - all these are very effective methods of treating moderate and mild osteochondrosis. Physiotherapy is usually practiced on an outpatient basis in clinics, but it is quite possible to use these methods at home.
Apparatus for magnetotherapy, ultrasonic and electrical neurostimulation, and other devices for the treatment of spinal structures are sold in pharmacies and specialized stores. Such devices eliminate pain, stimulate metabolism and blood flow, and eliminate muscle spasms. These devices can only be used after they have been prescribed by a physiotherapist.
Compresses, rubbing, other traditional medicine procedures
The following alternative treatments are acceptable:
- Applications with healing clay;
- Compresses from honey, vodka, agave;
- Honey and mustard compresses;
- Lotions from propolis, aloe juice and vodka;
- Bee venom treatment;
- Rubbing with herbal preparations (the most popular option is a mixture of 2 pods of hot pepper with vegetable oil).
Phytopreparations can be used in the absence of allergies and after the approval of the method by a doctor.
Modern medicine offers many quite effective and safe remedies on a natural basis to eliminate the signs of cervical osteochondrosis. Creams, ointments and plasters of herbal and combined composition are applied externally at the first manifestations of pain and at the stage of rehabilitation therapy.