signs of osteochondrosis Our spine resembles a pearl necklace -Vertebrae, like pearls, are connected to each other with the help of rigid ligaments. Between the vertebrae are the cartilaginous intervertebral discs, which do not allow contact with the vertebrae and play the role of shock absorbers between them. The spine usually consists of 32-34 vertebrae, which perform various tasks and belong to different departments of the spine. In total, the spine is divided into five divisions:

  • neck section, which consists of seven vertebrae;
  • thoracic region, which consists of twelve vertebrae;
  • lumbar region, which consists of five vertebrae;
  • Sacrum, which consists of five vertebrae;
  • The coccygeal department, which consists of three to five vertebrae.

Inside the vertebral column is the vertebral columnThe canal is a cavity that is formed by the arcs of the vertebrae. Through the spinal canal pass the nerve roots, blood vessels and spinal cord. The spine of a person is adapted to the upright, but it is the uprightness that is the factor that has a disastrous effect on our spine. The intervertebral cartilage daily experiences a huge load from the movements of a person and the vibration that occurs when moving. Over time, the cartilage deforms and ceases to perform its functions in full. A person begins to experience tension and pain in the back - the characteristic signs of osteochondrosis.

Diseases of the spine

Back pain is experiencing a huge amountpeople, regardless of age. More than 80% of people at least once in their lives have encountered the problem of back pain. Already in the 40-45-year-old age, diseases of the spine become one of the most common causes of disability. The cause of various diseases of the spine is the violation of the anatomical form and functional state of the spinal column. And such violations are caused by the way of life of modern man. Using the achievements of civilization, humanity leads a sedentary lifestyle. Most people do not need to exert muscular efforts, most people's nutrition is basically unbalanced, almost everyone is exposed to bad habits. All this leads to degenerative and dystrophic changes in vertebrae and intervertebral discs. Depending on what kind of changes occurred, this or that disease arises. In general, all diseases of the spine have similar symptoms - pain and muscle tension, only the localization of pain differs. But osteochondrosis is the most common disease - in 90% of cases it becomes the cause of back pain.

Clinical picture of osteochondrosis

Osteochondrosis is a disease caused bychanges in the intervertebral cartilage (chondron - means cartilage) with concomitant reaction of the body of the vertebra (osteon - bone). Deforming, the intervertebral disc thickens and becomes thinner. At the same time, the bone structure of the vertebral bodies contracts, the vertebrae begin to experience congestion. The depressed intervertebral disks deform even more, in some places they begin to stick out beyond the vertebral column. Sooner or later the disc clamps the nerve roots, which causes their inflammation. So there is a pain syndrome. Depending on which of the departments of the spine is damaged, there are several different types of osteochondrosis. There are osteochondrosis cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, widespread (when the lesion covers all parts of the spine). The most common are lumbar (more than 50% of diseases) and cervical (more than 25%) osteochondrosis. Often there are cases when several parts of the spine are affected - cervicothoracic osteochondrosis, lumbosacral. Initial signs of osteochondrosis of the spine are manifested by the appearance of dull pains and aches in the loins (with lumbar osteochondrosis), uncomfortable neck muscles, crunching in the cervical vertebrae (with cervical osteochondrosis). Often arising in chest osteochondrosis pains are perceived by patients as pain in the heart. In the future, pain is often given to the feet or hands; limbs become numb and become cold. Often the pain appears even in the fingers or toes. Back pain is aggravated by sudden movements or shaking (for example, while traveling in transport). It becomes impossible to perform any work with the torso tilt forward - with a bent back pain increases dramatically, but the patient does not always succeed in the vertical position. The more osteochondrosis develops, the more limited mobility and flexibility of the spine. Thin intervertebral discs reduce the distance between vertebrae, and the latter has less space for movement. In addition, the muscles around the affected area of ​​the spine are constantly in a tense state - the body tries to block the damaged vertebrae to prevent their further deformation. "Clamped muscles" deliver additional discomfort and pain, and contribute to an even greater limitation of mobility. All these symptoms can occur both at rest and during movement or physical exertion (there is additional pressure on the nerve roots). Diagnosis of osteochondrosis How is osteochondrosis identified if its symptoms at the initial stage can be taken for the symptoms of other diseases? Of course, the doctor will be interested in anamnesis. After listening to the patient and having conducted the examination, the doctor will send him for an additional examination. There are several different examination methods for the diagnosis of osteochondrosis. Radiography Examination of the spine with X-rays (spondylography) allows you to objectively assess its condition. X-ray signs of osteochondrosis are revealed already at the initial stages of the disease. Spondylography gives an idea of ​​the condition of the vertebrae and indirectly about the condition of the bony canals and intervertebral discs. Pictures are taken in a straight and a side view. If the doctor deems it necessary, functional shots are assigned in different positions - in the lateral incline position, in the flexion and extension position. If necessary, the patient is given a tomogram - a layered X-ray examination. In addition to the usual X-ray examination, special indications are used for contrast X-ray examinations of the spine. Such surveys include:

  • Pneumomielography - using as a contrast 20 to 40 milliliters of air. Air is introduced into the vertebral canal after spinal puncture;
  • Angiography - when 10-15 milliliters of contrast is injected into a vertebral or carotid artery, and then a series of images is taken in two projections;
  • Myelography - a coloring substance is used,Introduced into the spine to isolate the structure of the ridge. With the help of myelography, you can determine the pressure of the intervertebral disc on the spinal cord. The procedure lasts for half an hour, it is produced under local anesthesia. First, the anus is lowered with an anesthetic. Then, using a thin needle into the liquid filling the space near the spinal cord, a coloring opaque substance is injected. After the contrast is injected, the X-ray table slowly tilts, and the substance moves along the spine from the lower part to the upper one. After the end of the procedure, the patient needs to spend several hours lying down.
  • Discography - is similar to myelography, with the difference that the coloring substance is injected into the painful disc to determine if it is the cause of osteochondrosis.

Other methods of examination of the spineRadiography does not give the doctor the full picture to establish an accurate diagnosis. With its help, it is possible to judge reliably about the degree of deterioration of the vertebrae and their displacement. Unlike radiography, a computer tomogram gives a clear picture, from which one can judge the presence and location of the intervertebral hernia. This method of examination allows you to get a clear and detailed picture of the spinal column and shows all the changes in it from different positions and angles. At the same time the computer tomogram is a more gentle method, which is easily tolerated by patients. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - this method gives the most accurate to date image of the spine. This is possible due to the fact that the survey is not made by X-rays, but by a strong magnetic field. MRI is the preferred method of examination, because it allows to assess the condition of the spinal canal, nerve fibers, bones, muscles, ligaments; with its help you can see any changes that occur with osteochondrosis. Spine Disease Symptoms

Symptoms of osteochondrosis

Localization and character of painful sensations atosteochondrosis depends on which part of the spine is affected by the disease. Of course, the signs of cervical osteochondrosis differ in many ways from signs of lesions, for example, the lumbar spine. And yet, there are general symptoms of osteochondrosis that will tell you that you are sick:

  • making a sharp movement, turning his head tofailure, twisting the torso in conjunction with the tilt, or straightening up after the tilt - you suddenly feel a sharp and severe pain in the back, which is similar to a current stroke;
  • after the "shock" you for a while seem paralyzed and freeze, unable to move;
  • The muscles in the place where the pain arose are painfully strained;
  • if you press your fingers in the place of the spine where you felt pain, then the feeling of sharp pain will repeat;
  • the mobility of the spine becomes noticeably limited. It is difficult for you to find a position in which pain could have subsided;
  • if the posture you have accepted is unsuccessful, the pain is sharply increased.

There are also such symptoms that are typical for a certain type of osteochondrosis.

Cervical osteochondrosis

Symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis are easyconfuse with the symptoms of other diseases. When the cervical region is injured in the spine, the pain is transmitted into the hands, the back of the head; there are severe headaches that turn into migraines. There may be a strong, drilling pain in the neck or back of the head, which is worse when turning the head, coughing, sneezing. Pain from the neck can give in the shoulder and in the side of the chest. In some cases, the patient experiences not only a headache, but also dizziness, tinnitus, visual disturbances. In the case of disease progression, persistent impairment of the circulation of the brain or spinal cord is possible. When compressing (squeezing) the nerve roots in the lower segments of the cervical region, symptoms appear that are similar to the symptoms of angina pectoris - pain in the region of the heart, neck, scapula. Pain is aggravated by movement and is not stopped by cardiac drugs. The causes of osteochondrosis of the cervical region are due to the anatomical features of this segment of the spine. Cervical vertebrae experience a constant load, holding and often turning their head, while the size of the vertebrae of the cervical region is much less than the vertebrae of the remaining parts of the spine. We should not forget about the narrowness of the internal spinal canal. In the neck area is concentrated a huge number of nerves and vessels, including a large vertebral artery flowing inside the vertebral canal, feeding the brain. All this tightly adjoins each other in the cramped space of the cervical vertebrae. With cervical osteochondrosis with displacement of vertebrae, infringement of the nerve root occurs, its edema and inflammation develop rapidly.

Osteochondrosis of thoracic and lumbar spine

The spine in the thoracic region, together with the ribsserves as a framework protecting vital organs. The thoracic vertebrae have such a structure, due to which they remain inactive, therefore they are rarely subjected to degradation and deformation. As a consequence, pain in the thoracic spine is also infrequent. Signs of osteochondrosis of the thoracic region are often mistaken for manifestations of other diseases - it is confused with angina and even taken for myocardial infarction. When the thoracic spine is affected, the pain is shrouded in nature, and the patient may feel that it comes from the lungs, the heart or even the stomach. Precisely because the signs of breast osteochondrosis are "masked" for other diseases, differential diagnosis is of great importance when making a diagnosis. Lumbar osteochondrosis is nothing but changes in the intervertebral discs located, respectively, in the lumbar region, which consists of 5 large vertebrae. The lumbar joint connects the sacrum and the thoracic section. Osteochondrosis of the lumbar region is much more common than other types of osteochondrosis. This fact is explained by the fact that it is the lumbar spine of the person that is borne by the entire load of the body weight of a person, as well as the cargo that a modern person has to carry daily - portfolios, shopping bags and so on. That is why the doctor so often patients refer to the doctor not only with the osteochondrosis itself, but also with those complications that it entails, in particular, with intervertebral hernias. Intervertebral hernia - not so harmless phenomenon, in particularly severe cases, even paralysis of the limbs is possible.

Symptoms of lumbar osteochondrosis

People who have a doctor diagnosed with osteochondrosis of the lumbar region, mark the following complaints and symptoms:

  • Painful sensations in the lumbar region, andThe pain sometimes has a shooting character and gives to the buttocks and legs. Painful sensations at slopes or squats of the sick person amplify in times. The same happens with prolonged stay in an uncomfortable position, or sneezing, coughing and physical exertion.
  • Feeling numbness of the feet, especially the fingers.
  • Violation of the full functioning of the genitals, often in women there is a slight incontinence of urine.

Causes of lumbar osteochondrosis

Osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine causesquite specific. Doctors call the cause of the disease the uprightness of a person. However, of course, if this was the main and only cause of the disease, all people would suffer without exception. But in fact the disease develops only in the presence of certain provoking factors. Doctors call the following factors:

  • Violation of normal metabolism.
  • The presence of hypodynamia in a person.
  • Excess body weight of a sick person.
  • Systematic excessive physical exertion, especially associated with lifting weights.

The reason for the intense painosteochondrosis becomes a jamming of the nerve roots. This pinching occurs due to the protrusion of the intervertebral disc, but the gaps between the vertebrae, on the contrary, are considerably narrowed. The core of the disk gradually dries up and deforms, accordingly, the ability to depreciate significantly deteriorates.

Treatment of lumbar osteochondrosis

Osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine, bothand any other of his illnesses, needs a long and intensive complex treatment. Particularly difficult to treat is a complex and neglected form of the disease, burdened by the presence of numerous hernias. Treatment of lumbar osteochondrosis should be prescribed only by a qualified specialist. The doctor after the preliminary examination, based on the data received and the individual characteristics of each individual patient, will appoint the most appropriate treatment for him. Modern methods of treatment of osteochondrosis allow to find an individual approach to each person. As a rule, the treatment of lumbar spine osteochondrosis is as follows:

  • The procedure of acupuncture.
  • Complex massage, including a point massage.
  • Various types of heating - salt, UHF and electrophoresis.
  • Pharmacological preparations aimed at restoring cartilaginous tissue.

The main task of these procedures isrestoration of full blood circulation and elimination of stagnant phenomena and inflammatory processes in the lumbar region. It is also very important to remove swelling of the vessels, restore the normal process of metabolism in intervertebral discs, thereby stimulating the start of the process of natural restoration of cartilaginous tissue. It is also very important to relieve the associated osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine. signs of cervical osteochondrosis

Measures and means of prevention of osteochondrosis

It is also very important to know how you canprevent the occurrence of osteochondrosis of the lumbar region. Preventive maintenance of the disease will help to avoid many unpleasant minutes associated with the presence of the disease, its diagnosis and subsequent treatment. And, of course, we must not forget about that. That preventive maintenance is much cheaper than treatment of already developed disease. Correctly selected diet Food is extremely important for the normal functioning of all systems of the human body. Lumbar osteochondrosis was no exception. A special diet is not only an excellent preventive tool, but it also helps to alleviate the already existing disease in a person, thereby increasing the effectiveness of treatment. The main condition of a properly formulated diet for a person suffering from any disease of the spine, including osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine, is salt-free nutrition. The menu of the sick person should include such products as vegetables, fruits, low-fat meat. It is extremely important to completely exclude from the diet all fatty, sharp and fried foods, spices, salt and sugar. From drinks it is necessary to give preference to tea, decoction of dogrose and cowberry. Completely eliminate the use of coffee, carbonated and alcoholic beverages. Correct lying position and choice of bed To prevent the onset of the disease and successful treatment it is very important to know how to properly lie and, most importantly, what. Optimal choice will be a smooth and moderately hard bed. Do not fall into bigotry and try to sleep on the boards. It is much more reasonable to cover the bed with a thin shield made of wooden boards, on top of which you need to lay a thin mattress. In the event that a suitable mattress is not at hand, you can use several thin wool blankets instead. This measure is necessary to ensure that the back restores its physiological form, and the subluxations of the vertebrae that have occurred are straightened. However, be prepared for the fact that at first you will experience quite intense pain, which will continue until the vertebrae take a normal position. To facilitate this condition, the first time can be put under the painful joint of a roller of cotton wool. Thus, you remove the muscle tension and slightly weaken the pain. Very many people suffering from osteochondrosis of the lumbar region make the same mistake - they go to sleep on their backs. However, in this case it is much more reasonable to go to sleep on the stomach, pulling under the chest a knee bent in the knee. A flat, thin cushion can be placed under the belly. And only after lying in this position for at least half an hour, you can very carefully turn on your back, put your hands behind your head, fully extend your legs and spread their socks in different directions. In the event that the pain is too strong and you can not do all of the above, do exactly as you are able. Each time you will get better and better. In the morning, after waking up, getting out of bed to a person suffering from osteochondrosis is extremely difficult and often painful. In order to facilitate this process, doctors recommend the following. After you wake up, turn on your back, stretch your arms and legs several times. After that, start very gently to move your feet in a clockwise direction. After that, gently turn on your stomach, stretch again and very gently lower your legs one by one to the floor. After that, carry the weight to your feet, leaning on your hands. Get up also very carefully, without making sudden movements. It is equally important to sit properly. After all, if a person sits wrong, the heaviness is distributed unevenly and has an extremely negative effect on the spinal column. In order for this to happen, the human body should not rest on the lower back or the coccyx, but on the sciatic bumps, which, in fact, are for this purpose. However, this is possible only in one case - if a person sits on a solid surface. It is also very important to choose the right height of the chair - it should correspond to the length of the shin. Wrong sitting is also included in the main causes of exacerbation of osteochondrosis. In the event that you are forced to spend a lot of time sitting, every half hour, turn the body in both directions. Also, make sure to make five circular rotations, both the neck and shoulders. Keep your shoulders maximally deployed, and keep your head as straight as possible. Equally important is sitting at the wheel. The back should have a full support. Buy a special roller, which must always be laid between the back of the seat and the waist. During the ride, keep your back and head straight. Do not drive more than 3 hours in a row. Be sure to make regular stops. Get out of the car and perform simple physical exercises, such as raising and lowering hands, squats, turns and tilts. In the end, even a simple walk around the machine can have a positive effect on the condition of the spine and the muscular system. The same goes for watching TV or reading. The most important rule - do not stay long in the same static position - this has a very negative effect on the spine. Many people try to use folk methods of treatment of osteochondrosis. However, this should not be done, because the spine is too serious and complex. And in no case should not be experimented, wondering whether this or that recipe of folk medicine will help. After all, in case of failure, the price of the error will be too high. At best, there will simply not be any improvement. And at worst - a person can pay for the error of the opportunity to walk. In the event that you or your family have noticed any problems on the part of the spine, you need to seek help from doctors as soon as possible, and not to engage in self-medication. The possibilities of modern medicine are wide enough, and virtually any disease can be cured. The main thing is to diagnose it in time and start treatment. That is why in no case can not delay the visit to the doctor. Osteochondrosis, like any other disease, is most successfully treated at the very beginning of the disease, until other complications typical for this disease join it. In this case, the treatment of osteochondrosis becomes much more complicated and takes much longer. We advise you to read: