The development of information technology and the computerization of the population have made the table a place where a person spends almost all day in this position. An unpleasant painful sensation in the spine is known to almost every second person. Pain in the spine, limbs, numbness in the legs are the main signs of osteochondrosis. Moreover, if earlier people over 40 suffered from osteochondrosis, today teenagers already face this disease in high school.
According to localization, osteochondrosis is divided into several types - cervical, thoracic and lumbar. One of the most common types of disease is called cervical osteochondrosis. It should be said that, due to its localization, it provokes complications in the work of the brain, fraught with neurological diseases. From our article you will learn in detail about this disease, its course, features of treatment and prevention.
Causes of cervical osteochondrosis
Maybe it sounds a little strange, but the cause of osteochondrosis of the spine is . . . human life. Any excessive load on the spine leads to some deformation, which is why the disease occurs. Osteochondrosis can be prevented, cured, but only if it is not running. And those who, fortunately, do not suffer from pain, I would like to warn: analyze the degree of stress on your spine - and you will understand if you have a risk of osteochondrosis.
So, the main and most common cause of osteochondrosis in adults can be work, which consists in the constant lifting of heavy objects, such as the work of loaders. Also, the disease can be provoked by "sedentary" work in the office or work "on the legs", as, for example, with sellers who are in a certain position for a long time, creating a load on the same muscles, sections of the spine.
There is a risk of osteochondrosis in athletes due to heavy loads or, conversely, due to a poor level of physical development in those who do not play sports at all. There are cases of the onset of the disease even when athletes were actively engaged in training, and then suddenly stopped them abruptly. It is impossible not to mention spinal injuries, which subsequently lead to osteochondrosis. Can affect the spine and flat feet, when due to the irregular shape of the foot, the load on the vertebrae and discs is distributed differently, creating inconvenience.
Perhaps osteochondrosis in pregnant women due to the same increased load, as well as in women who constantly walk in heels, overworking the spine.
The causes of osteochondrosis in the neck area can be genetic or hereditary.
Spinal diseases can manifest themselves due to impaired metabolism in the body, obesity, low immunity, poisoning, infectious diseases that reduce the functionality of the spine.
Over the years, the spine becomes more fragile, loses the elasticity of the discs, bone density and deforms. Age is another cause of osteochondrosis.
And finally, the impact on the spine of the environment and living conditions cannot be discounted. Bad ecology, stress, nutrition, not rich in vitamins and microelements - all this may well provoke the development of cervical osteochondrosis. Symptoms of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine are quite pronounced. They need to be known in order to stop the development of the disease in time. After all, each of us is partly at risk.
Symptoms and stages of the disease
You can recognize osteochondrosis by a simple exercise - turning the head. Painful sensations when turning are the first signs of cervical osteochondrosis. The following symptoms are muscle spasms, difficulty moving, numbness of the fingers, pain in the shoulders.
This type of disease is called radicular syndrome or cervical sciatica. It occurs if the nerve roots are compressed by the vertebrae due to a violation of their location, the occurrence of a hernia. The pain in this case descends in a wave from the shoulder to the fingers, tingling of the fingers and forearm is felt. If the little finger and ring finger go numb, it means that the brachial nerve is affected, this is the region of 7–8 vertebrae. If the other three fingers - the problem is in the region of 5-6-7 vertebrae, the central nerve is affected.
In addition, the disease has symptoms associated with the functioning of the brain. Often recurring headache with cervical osteochondrosis is severe or aching. Perhaps dizziness with cervical osteochondrosis, tinnitus, spots before the eyes, blurred vision, hearing, problems with teeth. These signs of the disease indicate that there is an effect on the two vertebral arteries that carry blood to the brain. In particular, in those areas that are responsible for blood pressure, in the cerebellar zone, which controls our vestibular apparatus. This type of disease is called vertebral artery syndrome and is very common. Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, affecting the arteries, is fraught with a violation of the ability to move normally and even strokes.
There are also irritative-reflex syndromes. In this case of cervical osteochondrosis, the symptoms are similar to those of other types of the disease, but pain attacks occur suddenly after a state of rest. For example, when a person gets up after sleep, he feels a strong boring pain in the neck.
Another type of disease is very similar to heart disease - angina pectoris, when pain occurs in the chest and radiates to the shoulder, lasting for several hours. This is a cardiac syndrome. A cardiogram will help to distinguish osteochondrosis from heart disease, which will confirm that blood circulation is not disturbed and the patient is worried about the spine, and not the heart.
Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is divided into stages of the course of the disease. At the first or preclinical stage, there is a slight change inside at the level of biochemistry. A person feels some inconvenience during a long stay in one position, during physical exertion. The muscles of the back, neck get tired quickly.
The second stage of the disease is called the stage of increasing changes in the nucleus pulposus. At this time, the intervertebral disc is deformed, metabolism is disturbed in the nucleus pulposus, some of its cells die. Due to these processes, the distance between the vertebrae decreases, which subsequently leads to pinched nerves and spasms. A person feels pain in the areas of damage to the spine.
In the third stage of the disease, complete or partial destruction of the fibrous ring occurs. Cracks appear through which the nucleus pulposus comes out, violating the tightness of the connection of the vertebrae. The spine becomes abnormally mobile, the vertebral sections are displaced. This causes a person pain in the entire back, movement disorders occur, sensitivity in the limbs disappears.
And the most severe, the fourth stage of osteochondrosis, is manifested by the regeneration of the vertebral discs, the so-called fusion of the vertebrae. The nucleus pulposus replaces the cartilage, the pain subsides, and the spine again works as a support. But, unfortunately, the consequence of such changes in the spine is the restriction of human mobility and even disability.
The spine has three important functions in the human body. These are support, protection of the spinal cord and depreciation during movement. Our ability to comfortably move and exist depends on the spine. Back pain should not be viewed as a temporary and random phenomenon. Take it as a rule: if you feel pain with a smooth turn of your head, you should contact a neurologist.
Osteochondrosis in children
Osteochondrosis in children is not as common as in adults, and is rather a disease of congenital or due to heredity. But since the deformation of the spine can lead to bad consequences and cause great harm to the development of the child's body, we decided to highlight this topic separately and draw the attention of parents to osteochondrosis in children.
The child's spine is more sensitive to injuries, freezing, lack of nutrients for formation and development. And this, as already mentioned, is the cause of osteochondrosis. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the child's nutrition, remember that it should be rich in calcium and other trace elements, be varied and useful. In case of injuries and falls on the back, especially at a young age, it is imperative to consult a doctor for examination and, if the disease is confirmed, its possible further treatment. By the way, osteochondrosis in a child can be a consequence of birth trauma.
Osteochondrosis occurs in children and due to heredity, when the fragility of the vertebrae is genetically transmitted. If, in case of spine disease in children, the growth zone of the bone is affected, that is, the area in which the bone grows, this can also lead to impaired growth and overall development of the child. Symptoms of osteochondrosis in children are similar to those in adults, but the pain is more moderate, movements are not disturbed. With cervical osteochondrosis, fainting, dizziness are likely.
If the child has prerequisites for osteochondrosis or you suspect back problems, seek medical advice immediately. The sooner the disease is detected, the sooner you can rid the child of it.
Diagnosis of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine
Diagnosis of cervical osteochondrosis, like other diseases, begins with an examination by a doctor. In this case, a neurologist. The doctor examines the patient in various positions - standing, sitting, lying down, examines the state of the spine during movement. Draws attention to the posture, the location of the median sulcus of the back, the position of the shoulder blades, shoulders. In addition to visual inspection, tactile inspection is also mandatory. The site of the lesion is found, guided by complaints, examination, and also using a special technique for counting the vertebrae. In addition, the patient is prescribed X-ray or magnetic resonance therapy in order to examine the spine more carefully, to find out the stage of the lesion. After diagnosis, treatment of cervical osteochondrosis is prescribed.
Treatment of cervical osteochondrosis is usually complex. Most often, it is based on a few mandatory points. One of the main ones is the correct motor mode. Correct means to move without jerking your head. Any rapid movements do not benefit the vertebrae. The doctor will most likely prescribe a special medical soft collar to be worn, which will immobilize the neck for the duration of the treatment.
Wanting to consider something from the side of himself, the patient should turn his head slowly. If you feel uncomfortable in the neck, do some special exercises, give yourself a massage.
An obligatory stage in the treatment of osteochondrosis in the acute stage is medications. The doctor will prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pills to eliminate foci of inflammation and swelling. Be sure to help alleviate the course of the disease analgesics. If osteochondrosis provokes muscle spasm, then a medicine is also prescribed that relieves cramps and relieves pain. Vitamin B will also be prescribed, which improves brain function, helps fight stress, and strengthens muscles. And if the patient is in a depressed state, then antidepressants will be prescribed.
You can not do without the treatment of osteochondrosis without external preparations - gels, ointments, creams. Known anti-inflammatory drugs will act directly on the focus of the disease. There are ointments that are called chondroprotectors, that is, ointments with elements that restore the cartilaginous tissue of the intervertebral discs. And, of course, the patient will need ointments or creams for therapeutic massage, which is also indispensable.
Manual therapy for osteochondrosis
Many patients with osteochondrosis seek help from chiropractors. This method of treatment may be included in the complex if the patient has an anatomical change in the spine, the occurrence of a hernia or displacement of the discs. With the right treatment, it really gives positive results. But when looking for a specialist, be careful. Before agreeing to treatment, make sure that the specialist has a medical degree and practices traditional treatment, as well as completed additional training in the specialties of a neurologist and chiropractor, and has confirming certificates. The experience of the operator is also important. After all, the therapy itself requires clear movements and, if used incorrectly, is fraught with injuries. The principle of manual therapy is a point impact on the structural components of the spine. With a quick push, the joint that has shifted from the correct position returns to it again. Proper therapy, without a doubt, is a very effective treatment for osteochondrosis of the cervical spine.
Therapeutic exercises for cervical osteochondrosis will allow you to fight the disease even at the workplace. Moreover, simple exercises will be an excellent prevention of spinal diseases.
So, take your eyes off the screen, lean back in your chair, and learn some useful exercises.
Sitting on a chair, place your feet shoulder-width apart. Relax, put your hands down. Slowly lower your head down until your chin touches your chest. If it doesn’t work out, it’s okay, lower it as much as possible, as much as possible. After that, slowly raise your head and tip it back, also until it stops. Returning to the starting position with a straight head, repeat the exercise 5 times.
Without getting up from the chair, gently turn your head to the side. First in one direction, then return to the starting position and turn to the other. 5 times each.
Turning your head, you can go to the slopes. The exercise is also done while sitting, slowly tilting the head to the left, then back, and then to the right. They bend their heads all the way, trying to press their ears to their shoulders. The exercise is performed at least 5 times for each side.
It will help to stretch the muscles of the neck and the next exercise. In the sitting position, the head is slowly thrown back, hold this position for a few seconds and slowly begin to turn the head, without raising it, to the left, and then to the right, making at least 10 turns in total.
You can also, without leaving the workplace, do an exercise to warm up the muscles of the shoulders. Sitting in a relaxed position, begin to rotate your shoulders 5 times forward, then 5 times back. Do this slowly and carefully, feeling each muscle.
It will help stretch your shoulders and the exercise known to everyone from kindergarten. It can be performed as desired - sitting or standing, as the situation allows. You slowly throw your left hand over your shoulder to the right side, touch your ear with your fingers and lower it. Throw your right hand in the same way over your head to your left ear.
Now a little more warm-up for the neck muscles. Put your palm to your forehead, begin to press your forehead on your palm, resisting with your hand. Hold this position with a tense neck and count to 5. Then relax and repeat the exercise twice.
The exercise is similar to the previous one. But now other cervical muscles will work. You throw your hand or, more conveniently, both, folded in a lock, behind your head, put them on the back of your head and begin to press your head on your hands. Do the exercise 3 times for 5 seconds.
Now we stretch the lateral muscles of the neck. There is only one scheme - the head presses on the hand, the hand resists. You put your left hand on your left temple, press, counting to 5, take a break for a few seconds and repeat 2 more times. In the same way, the exercise is done for the right side of the neck.
And finally, a little warm-up in a standing position. It is better to choose a free space in the office for this. Feet are placed shoulder-width apart for better balance. With outstretched arms in a free state, they begin to rotate synchronously 5 times forward, then 5 times back.
After taking a short break for 10-15 minutes, you will feel that the tension in the muscles of your back and neck subsides, let your eyes rest from the monitor, relax a little. Such breaks in work are useful, and in many modern offices they even practice a mass exit of colleagues to warm up. Do not neglect the simple rule - warm up every time you are tired and tense. Gymnastics for cervical osteochondrosis is an excellent treatment for the initial stages of the disease and effective prevention. In more serious cases of the disease, a course of exercise therapy (physiotherapy exercises) is prescribed.
Therapeutic exercise for cervical osteochondrosis
Exercise therapy for cervical osteochondrosis is simply irreplaceable. A set of exercises will improve the functionality of the spine, help to constantly maintain muscle tone, and relieve tension. Exercise will require some free time from you and a warm exercise mat on the floor. They can be done at home in the evening or in the morning before work. Of course, it is advisable to do this between meals.
Lying on your back on the floor, stretch your arms along your torso. Look ahead and begin to look away gradually to the right and left, 4 times in each direction. After moving your eyes sideways, start looking up and down also 4 times. After finishing the lateral warm-up, go to the rotation of the eyes immediately in the direction of the clock, and then in the opposite direction.
In the same position, lying down, turn your head in turn in different directions. Gradually, slowly. After doing 4 turns in each direction, proceed to tilt your head to the side to the left and to the right shoulder.
You can do exercises with a lift of the head. Also, lying on a flat surface, lift your head off the floor and tilt it towards your chest, trying to touch your chest with your chin. Pull your head as close as possible. All this without sudden movements no more than 4 times.
When performing exercises for cervical osteochondrosis, you need to remember that not only the cervical region, but the entire body requires a warm-up. Therefore, lying on your back, having completed the first simple exercises, having warmed up, proceed to the next. Spread your arms to your sides and turn to the side, trying to touch the opposite side with your hand and foot, but not roll over onto your stomach. The turn is done on inhalation, and they return to their original position on exhalation. Do no more than 5 turns.
The next exercise is to sit down from a prone position. Lying on the floor with arms extended along the body, you need to slowly rise, leaning on your hands. A rather difficult exercise for osteochondrosis, so we emphasize once again that you need to do this carefully and slowly, 3-4 times.
Lying on your back, bend your legs and press them to your stomach, clasp your knees with your hands. Then gently pull your head to your feet and touch your knees. Further - also carefully return to the prone position. Exercise is done up to 5 times.
You lie, legs bent at the knees at the level of the abdomen, arms spread apart. Turn your body alternately to the right and left up to 5 times in each direction.
Do not interfere with abdominal exercises. Turn over and stretch your arms along the body. Start raising your head off the floor, then your shoulders, torso, focusing on your legs and hips. Then return to the starting position and do the exercise up to 5 times.
Breathing exercises are useful for osteochondrosis of the cervical region. After a little rest from the previous exercises, lie on your back, fold both hands on your stomach. Inhale deeply and slowly, blowing out the stomach, exhale also carefully, pulling the stomach in. Do 5 breaths and exhalations.
Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Take a shallow breath, tensing your muscles, exhaling, relax. The number of breaths is also 5.
These exercises are only introductory, and should not be regarded as a complete treatment. Rather, these are recommendations for the prevention of the disease or its development. Therapeutic exercise for cervical osteochondrosis is selected by the doctor, based on the needs of the patient.
Massage is one of the necessary and pleasant procedures in the course of treatment of cervical osteochondrosis and is prescribed by a doctor. Of course, it is out of the question to try to repeat a professional massage at home, involving relatives, this matter is really only handled by health workers. But light kneading movements can be done by yourself, being distracted in the middle of the working day and relieving stress. By the way, massage will be a good addition to gymnastics.
So, feeling pain in the neck, lean back in your chair, relax your back. The massage begins with stroking the neck with the palms from top to bottom, that is, from the hair to the shoulders. After stroking, turn your palms with an edge to your neck and run your hand from top to bottom several times, pressing lightly. Then start grinding. Place your palms on the back of your head so that your fingers converge in the middle on the spine. Rub the body, moving your hands from the center of the vertebra to the sides of the neck, going down from top to bottom. You can massage your neck with your fingertips, rubbing it in a circular motion. Then start pinching the skin and muscles, grabbing them between the index and thumb. And then stroke your neck with your palms, completing the massage.
Self-massage for cervical osteochondrosis will help relieve pain and muscle tension.
Treatment with folk remedies
The most popular folk remedies for any disease are herbal preparations. Treatment of cervical osteochondrosis with folk remedies is possible, as a rule, in the initial stages of the disease. Herbs such as mint, St. John's wort, calendula, yarrow, licorice root, chamomile, birch and strawberry leaves help well to fight diseases of the musculoskeletal system. Brew teas from these herbs, drink regularly, as a tonic and a means of prevention.
You can also take herbal baths. For each bath you need at least 300 grams of dry plants. Pine bath helps a lot. The needles of coniferous plants are ground, poured with boiled water and boiled for 20 minutes. Then filtered, added to a hot bath and steamed in it for up to half an hour.
You can and should take baths from chamomile, which has an anti-inflammatory effect and perfectly heals the body. Chamomile is poured with boiling water, insisted for up to an hour, filtered and added to water.
A quick compress from improvised means will help relieve back pain. Everyone has potatoes and honey in the house. Folk methods are advised to make such a compress out of them: grate the vegetables and mix with honey in a 1: 1 ratio. The composition is applied to gauze and applied to the sore spot. Relief is guaranteed, but, alas, not for long.
Ginger and garlic ointment works in much the same way. They are rubbed on a grater and combined 1: 1, a little butter or petroleum jelly is added so that it can be smeared, and the sore spot is rubbed. It will also relieve pain and inflammation, but it will not cure the disease. With osteochondrosis, a mandatory visit to a neurologist is required, who will prescribe a complete treatment.
Finally, I would like to say about the basic rules of behavior for osteochondrosis. First of all, keep your back straight and your head straight. Set up your workspace to these standards, down to putting a book under your monitor if it's low, or find a chair that's taller.
Don't lift heavy things unless absolutely necessary. And if you really had to carry the load, take the heavy one not in a bent position, but do it like weightlifters with a barbell - sit down and then get up with a burden.
Do not overcool your back, protect it from drafts. A large selection of fashionable and stylish vests will keep your back warm at any time of the year and under any circumstances.
Move more, do swimming, gymnastics, hang on the horizontal bar.
Having mastered all the secrets of gymnastics, self-massage and the prevention of osteochondrosis with folk remedies, share them with your office friends. So you can not only insure yourself against spinal diseases, but also help colleagues avoid back pain and increased fatigue. Be healthy!