Cervical osteochondrosis: degrees, causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention + video

Speaking of osteochondrosis, we mean pathological changes in the intervertebral discs with dystrophic changes in the cartilaginous tissue. This pathology can affect all parts of the spine. In this case, cervical osteochondrosis occurs in about a quarter of all cases of this condition. As a rule, they suffer mainly patients of working age - from 30 to 50 years.

Anatomical features of

To understand why the development of osteochondrosis of the cervical vertebrae, you should familiarize yourself with the features of the anatomy of the cervical spine. It consists of 7 vertebrae. And if the vertebrae are relatively homogeneous in the thoracic and lumbar regions, then they are different in their structure. After all, in the cervical region, there are great in complexity and amplitude movements of the shoulder girdle and head. In addition, the mobile neck turns into a relatively static thoracic region. Therefore, 1, 2, and 7 vertebrae differ significantly between each other

The cervical spine, in addition to the spinal cord and spinal nerves, runs through the peripheral nerves originating from the brain. Some of them, such as the wandering, innervate the diaphragm and the organs of the abdominal cavity. In addition to nerves, there are major blood vessels. And if the blood supply to the carotid arteries and the outflow from the jugular veins do not suffer from osteochondrosis, the vertebral artery is often involved in pathology in the osteochondrosis of the neck. It passes through the holes in the transverse processes of 2-6 vertebrae, and it accounts for approximately 15% of the total volume of blood entering the brain. With cervical osteochondrosis, this artery can be spasmed or squashed by strained muscles or a displaced disc.

Causes of

Why the osteochondrosis of the cervical spine has developed in this particular case can not always be determined. It was established that osteochondrosis is not an independent disease. This is a pathological condition or syndrome caused by other diseases or negative factors, among which:

  • Heredity
  • Systematic disorders of posture in schoolchildren, office workers
  • Irrational nutrition with deficiency of vitamins and minerals
  • Sedative lifestyle
  • Frequent mechanical effects, for example, shocks, tremorsin drivers
  • Concomitant diseases of the kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, organs of the endocrine system
  • Weakened immunity.

Symptoms of

Osteochondrosis alone is a painless process. Dystrophic changes in the intervertebral discs are not felt by the patient. The disease manifests itself only when there are consequences of cervical osteochondrosis - displacement of the intervertebral disc in the posterolateral direction with irritation of nearby nerve fibers, impaired circulation on the vertebral artery. Then there are various sensitive, motor and neurological disorders. The osteochondrosis of the neck is distinguished by the following symptoms:

  • Neck pain
  • Nervous muscle strain
  • Restriction of cervical movements
  • Decreased sensation and volume of movements in the humeral girdle and upper extremities
  • Headache, dizziness
  • Gait shakiness due to coordination disorders
  • Nausea,desires for vomiting
  • Periodic increases in blood pressure
  • Visual impairment - sensation of darkening and flashing of flies before the eyes
  • Sometimes the pain or sensation of a coma in the throat,dry pain
  • Insomnia, or on the contrary, pathological drowsiness
  • Emotional lability - tearfulness, irritability.

Pain in cervical osteochondrosis is the leading symptom. It is the pain syndrome that causes the patient to see a doctor. The nature of the pain depends on which cervical segment is affected by osteochondrosis. When the upper cervical segments are infringed, the skin of the occiput, the crown and the superciliary region aches. If the pathology has developed in the middle and lower sections, then the cervical pain irradiates into the interlateral space, the shoulder girdle and the upper limbs.

Exacerbation of cervical osteochondrosis begins with cervicago - a sharp pain resembling a chamber. Later develops cervical radiculitis with pain, motor disorders and muscle tension. The main cause of exacerbations is hypothermia. Along with the local there is a general cerebral symptomatology, caused by the syndrome of the vertebral artery. Headache and dizziness can be so severe that the patient can lose consciousness.

cervical osteochondrosis

Flow characteristics

Osteochondrosis is a chronic pathology. And in the absence of treatment is steadily progressing. In connection with this, 4 degrees are distinguished, which reflect the symptoms and functional disorders in the cervical region.

  1. Intervertebral disc tissue thickens. Displacement of the disk is minimal, but already at this stage, the defibration of the outer fibrous disc shell is noted. In the cervical vertebrae, the hook-shaped processes are compensated. Manifestations are cervicalgia, cervicago.
  2. Narrowing of intervertebral spaces and lumen of the spinal canal. Pathological mobility leads to subluxation of individual vertebrae and to instability of the cervical region as a whole. Sensitive and motor disorders in the upper limbs. Syndrome of the vertebral artery.
  3. Further narrowing of the spinal canal and gaps between the vertebrae. The formation of disc hernias, resulting in increased symptoms.
  4. Irreversible structural disorders - spondylolisthesis( displacement of the vertebrae relative to each other) and spondylosis( pathological proliferation of bone tissue of the vertebrae).Destruction of disks with the expiration of their gelatinous nucleus. Persistent brain and motor disorders.


Also read: Hernia in the cervical spine Signs of a hernia of the cervical spine

Treatment of osteochondrosis of the neck is carried out using medicines and physiotherapy procedures. Also effective are massage, physiotherapy exercises, manual therapy and acupuncture. The main group of drugs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs( NSAIDs).And for cervical osteochondrosis, it is preferable to use topical NSAIDs in gels and ointments. In this regard, effective Fastum gel, Nurofen, Diklak gel, ointment Ibuprofen. Among the means for local treatment of cervical osteochondrosis are local irritants and chondroprotectors. Apizartron and Finalgon, irritating the skin, increase blood circulation in nearby areas and reduce pain. A Chondroxide Ointment increases the growth of chondrocytes - cells of cartilaginous tissue. Treatment can be supplemented by intake of immunostimulants and vitamin-mineral complexes.

Physiotherapeutic procedures( UHF, amplipulse, electrophoresis) have a similar effect - they eliminate pain, relieve muscle spasms, increase blood circulation and metabolism in the tissues of the neck. This is also facilitated by the massage of the collar zone with osteochondrosis. The neck is an easily harvested area. The slightest damage to the cervical region is fraught with serious consequences. Therefore, massage movements should be smooth, directed along the muscles. For the same reason, the fragility of the neck, all special measures( manual therapy, traction of the cervical department) should be carried out by experienced specialists with great care. And in the course of health gymnastics classes, preference is given to static loads with frontal and temporal region stops in the palmar surface of the hand, maximum flexion of the head forward and to the sides.

Prevention of cervical osteochondrosis is aimed at excluding provoking factors. Supercooling should be avoided. Office workers, programmers, avid Internet lovers are recommended 15-minute breaks to health improving gymnastics during each hour. And, of course, nutrition and avoidance of excess weight. And at the slightest sensations of pain and discomfort in the cervical region it is better to use the immobilizing collar of Shantz. In this case, attention should be paid to the treatment of existing chronic diseases of other organs and systems.

cervical osteochondrosis
  • Causes of
  • Symptoms of
  • Features of
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We advise you to watch a video of how to do exercises with osteochondrosis of the cervical region.