Compression and destruction of the intervertebral discs or cervical osteochondrosis

causes of cervical osteochondrosis

Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine (ICD code - 10 - M42) in the frequency of cases ranks second after the defeat of the intervertebral discs of the lumbar region. A high daily load or, conversely, poor physical activity cause negative changes in the vertebral structures.

What are the characteristics of cervical osteochondrosis? How dangerous is the compression and destruction of the intervertebral discs? What are the symptoms and treatment, methods of prevention, the consequences of an untreated disease?

Causes of occurrence

The deformation of the vertebral structures of the cervical spine is a consequence of the action of negative factors and pathological processes:

  • bad posture;
  • disruptions in metabolic processes against the background of improper nutrition;
  • spinal cord injury;
  • wear of the vertebral discs during the natural aging of structures in old age;
  • genetic predisposition to orthopedic diseases;
  • hypodynamia, prolonged use of the computer, which causes an overload of the neck muscles;
  • development of an infectious and inflammatory process during hypothermia, exposure to drafts;
  • defects in the development of the vertebral structures of the cervical area.

Factors that cause damage to vertebrae, cartilage and discs:

  • obesity;
  • training too intense;
  • the head is tilted backwards for a long time or lowered to the chest during work;
  • flat feet;
  • incorrect body position when working in a sitting position;
  • Frequent microtrauma of the cervical spine with too intense training.

First signs and symptoms

In the initial phase of the disease, the patient rarely associates more frequent headaches, shoulder discomfort, numbness of the neck with prolonged immobility with damage to the vertebral structures. Most often, there is no effective treatment, the pathology progresses.

symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis

In the second-fourth stage of osteochondrosis, the negative manifestations in the cervical area are more pronounced. In advanced cases, the negative signs spread to other parts of the body: hearing aids, eyes, upper limbs.

Doctors distinguish several types of characteristic symptoms:

  • root.Pain syndrome in the parietal, occipital, neck region, discomfort in the back muscles, shoulder girdle. An important point is the loss of shoulder muscle reflexes. Radicular syndrome is most often observed at the third or fourth stage of pathology, a significant violation of the condition of the vertebrae and discs, a noticeable decrease in the height of the bone structure;
  • muscle tonic.Painful sensations occur in the chest, in the heart area. Acute symptoms often occur in the inner arm muscles;
  • neurovascular.When the capillaries, the vertebral artery are compressed, the patient complains of headache and dizziness.

Stages of development:

  • .Under the influence of negative factors, small cracks appear in the intervertebral discs, the integrity of the nucleus pulposus is disrupted, the liquid gradually flows, there is a decrease in elasticity and the disc shrinks. A faint crunch of the vertebrae is heard when the head moves, pain, numbness of the cervical area when the body is in one position;
  • second.Pathology progresses, there is a violation of integrity, ruptures, decrease in density, thickness of the fibrous ring. The result of negative processes: extrusion of the core into the formed cracks and breaks. The patient's condition worsens, performance decreases. The strength of the headache increases, stiffness appears in the cervical spine, the face, neck, arms become numb;
  • third.Swelling of the disc, active compression of the structure, loss of elasticity lead to protrusion and herniated intervertebral disc. Neurological disorders appear, the fibrous ring breaks, the clinical picture is pronounced: reflex and radicular syndrome concerns. Many patients complain of weakness in the hands, fingers, decreased hearing and vision;
  • fourth.In advanced cases the discs are flattened, the images show the proliferation of osteophytes, compensatory phenomena develop to keep the spinal column in the usual position. The pain syndrome weakens slightly, but the stiffness of the cervical spine remains.


methods for diagnosing cervical osteochondrosis

The appearance of painful sensations in the cervical area, frequent dizziness, reduced mobility and sensitivity of the fingers, the development of other signs of deforming spondylosis - a reason to visit a vertebrologist, neurologist or orthopedic traumatologist. The doctor finds out the clinical picture, lifestyle, diet, a history of spinal injuries, chronic diseases. It is important to understand the causes of osteochondrosis, to identify the factors that cause degenerative-dystrophic changes in the discs between the vertebrae.

Next, the specialist assigns an exam:

  • - computer and magnetic resonance imaging;
  • Doppler ultrasound of blood vessels is performed in advanced stages, in the presence of pronounced neurological disorders, frequent fainting, numbness of the shoulder area, hands and fingers;
  • X-ray of the cervical spine (in the early stages of the pathology, the method is not very informative).

Effective treatments

In the early stages of the development of deforming spondylosis in the cervical area, there is enough special gymnastics, external agents with analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. The patient must monitor the posture. You shouldn't stay in the same position for a long time, you definitely need to warm up every hour, do neck exercises every day.

As the pathology progresses, local remedies and gymnastics are not enough to eliminate the negative symptom complex. The degenerative-dystrophic nature of the changes affects the mobility of the cervical area, the pain syndrome increases, protrusions appear, herniated discs, doctors identify all kinds of radicular and reflex symptoms of deforming spondylosis.

Important!Only a comprehensive approach to therapy in combination with smoking cessation, alcohol, diet changes can partially or completely correct the situation. It is important to eat well, include foods rich in calcium, phosphorus, fresh vegetables, cheeses, and drink enough fluids in the menu. In the absence of timely and competent therapy, there is a risk of patient disability.


The doctor selects drugs to eliminate negative manifestations of various kinds:

methods of treatment of cervical osteochondrosis
  • pain management. Names with an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect are effective. The best option is NSAIDs in the form of tablets, injections, gels and ointments. Also, you can take pain relievers as prescribed by your doctor;
  • elimination of swelling. Fluid retention in the tissues is eliminated by diuretics, dehydrating compounds, hormonal drugs. The intake of drugs of this group is strictly according to the doctor's prescription: powerful diuretics can provoke serious problems with the heart and blood pressure;
  • chondroprotector to restore the quality of cartilage. When the elastic tissue is damaged, the friction between the adjacent vertebrae increases, the density of the layer decreases, the swelling of the disc and the rupture of the fibrous ring are possible during compression of the vertebrae. Doctors prescribe drugs with a combined effect. The formulations contain not only glucosamine and chondroitin, but also anti-inflammatory ingredients. Various multi-component products give a good effect;
  • increased blood circulation in problematic vertebral structures. Doctors select drugs that thin the blood and formulations that dilate blood vessels;
  • fight muscle spasm. Against the background of weakened bone structures, crumbling cartilage tissue, the muscles try to maintain the correct position of the spine, excessive overload causes pronounced pain. Muscle relaxants are prescribed to relax the tissues;
  • activation of metabolism, enhancement of local immunity. The patient takes vitamin and mineral complexes, food supplements with calcium, biostimulants, antioxidants.

Physiotherapy procedures

Strengthening the impact on problem areas, activation of blood circulation, delivery of the components of the drug to the affected area, nutrition, reduction of inflammation - this is not a complete list of useful properties of physiotherapy sessions. The doctor prescribes a number of procedures in addition to taking medications and therapeutic exercises.

Effective interventions:

  • laser therapy;
  • darsonval;
  • electrophoresis with drugs;
  • diadynamic currents;
  • infrared radiation;
  • electrical stimulation of the affected muscles.

Corrective gymnastics

In case of osteochondrosis, it is important to maintain the mobility of the cervical vertebrae, strengthen muscles and ligaments. After the examination, clarification of the state of the affected structures, the doctor prescribes special exercises for the cervical spine. Simple actions keep structures elastic and flexible.

gymnastics for cervical osteochondrosis

Therapeutic exercises for the cervical muscles:

  • turn your head to the left, then to the right;
  • by tilting the head with a gradual increase in amplitude, back and forth;
  • circular movements. Initially the amplitude is minimal, gradually increase the "circle", but without the appearance of a pronounced crunch of the cervical vertebrae.

Perform all movements smoothly, jerking is prohibited. It is impossible to allow the vertebrae to creak strongly during classes, to experience acute pain. The amplitude must be gradually increased, otherwise injury to the cervical spine is possible. Simple but effective exercises must be performed not only during therapy, but also for the prevention of osteochondrosis. The frequency of classes is two to three times a day, the duration of gymnastics does not exceed five to seven minutes. Doctors recommend the obligatory daily operation of the complex for people who perform "sedentary" work.

Manual therapy

Doctors are cautious about reducing the cervical vertebrae. Most experts do not recommend manual therapy for osteochondrosis in this area. The slightest deviations during the procedure, sharper movements, improper application of the technique and the session can end in paralysis or fracture of the cervical vertebrae with serious consequences, even death.

Osteochondrosis "rejuvenates" every year. To avoid damage to bones and elastic structures, it is necessary to pay attention to the important part of the spine every day, perform simple exercises, change the position of the body more often during the working process, do not smoke and eat right. When characteristic signs of deforming spondylosis appear, it is necessary to contact an orthopedic traumatologist or vertebrologist.