Cervical osteochondrosis: symptoms and treatment

What is cervical osteochondrosis

The main causes, symptoms and prevention of cervical osteochondrosis. Bonus: in preventive gymnastics.

Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is a degenerative-dystrophic lesion of the intervertebral discs in the cervical spine. With age and in the absence of treatment and prevention, the disease progresses. Osteochondrosis is one of the most common diseases of the spine.

If you experience pain in this ward, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible, as progressive osteochondrosis causes serious deterioration in health, vision problems, persistent migraines, and may even provoke death.

Osteochondrosis is not necessarily an age-related change, it often affects young people.

Eight major causes of osteochondrosis

  • Inheritance,
  • Injuries,
  • Excessive physical activity,
  • age-related changes,
  • Metabolic disorders,
  • Sedentary work (hypodynamics),
  • Wrong body position during sleep,
  • Stress (psychosomatics).

If you have one or more symptoms, you should contact your doctor for treatment or prevention.

Causes of cervical osteochondrosis

The causes of cervical osteochondrosis can be varied. Not only age-related changes can provoke illness. The disease also affects young people who prefer sedentary work.

Inactivity is the most common cause of osteochondrosis. Lack of moderate exercise leads to muscle weakness and poor circulation. Further tingling of the nerves and the appearance of an intervertebral hernia are possible.

Factors contributing to the development of cervical osteochondrosis

  1. Disruption of the structure and location of the brain stem relative to the vertebral column and deformity of the first cervical spine.
  2. Acquired forms of
  3. deformity - kyphosis, lordosis, scoliosis and their combinations.
  4. Persons over 60 years of age. At this age, changes in the natural age of the spinal discs occur. Excess growth of bone growth.
  5. Poor posture due to inclined or prolonged uncomfortable posture.
  6. Injuries to the cervical spine.
  7. Improper muscle load.
  8. Obesity.

If the load on the muscles is not symmetrical, this can lead to deformity. Such changes are caused by lifting weights with one hand, carrying a bag on one shoulder, and using a very soft pillow while sleeping.

Degrees of osteochondrosis

Modern science knows three main stages in the development of cervical osteochondrosis. They differ from each other in the degree of spinal cord injury and the methods of treatment.

first degree osteochondrosis

It begins with the rupture of the intervertebral disc capsule and the appearance of microcellules in the anus fibrosis. This type is characterized by degenerative transformations of the cervical joints and changes in tissue structures.

Signs of first degree osteochondrosis:
  • suffers from pain in the joints of the neck and shoulder girdle, vasoconstruction occurs and blood circulation is disturbed;

  • onset of pain in the neck with a sharp twist, indicating compression of the nerve endings;
  • discomfort in the cervical region, temples, occipital region and persistent headaches;
  • Blurred vision, the appearance of flies and curtains in the eyes.

Second degree osteochondrosis

is ​​characterized by a reduction in the distance between the vertebral discs. This causes point pain with any load, making it difficult to bend or tilt.

third degree osteochondrosis

is ​​referred to as a chronic disorder of spinal muscular and muscular function. Significant changes in the structure of the spine are noticeable.

Lack of treatment at this stage can lead to stroke. Death is possible.

Signs of third-degree osteochondrosis:
  • Partial or complete paralysis of the neck and shoulder joints;
  • Decreased sensitivity of the upper extremities;
  • a herniated disc becomes visually noticeable;
  • Death of certain parts of the cerebral cortex due to circulatory disorders and insufficient oxygen supply.

Third stage of osteochondrosis requires surgery.

Symptoms of osteochondrosis in different parts of the spine

Symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis: Symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis
  • Acute pain in the neck, upper extremities,
  • headache,
  • fingers may be numb,
  • high pressure,
  • movement coordination disorder,
  • You feel solid,
  • Attacks of nausea are not excluded
  • When a nerve is punctured, pain is felt when swallowing,
  • Painful sensations in the teeth are possible.
Symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis:
  • Chest pain that can radiate to the heart, lungs, shoulder blades,
  • pain all over the spine,
  • rib pain,
  • shoulder pain,
  • spots in front of the eyes,
  • Tinnitus.

Osteochondrosis of the lumbar region:

  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Low back pain syndromes that run down the lower extremities
  • lumbago
  • hernia between the spine
  • Increased fatigue.
X-rays, CT and MRI, ultrasound, and neuromyography are prescribed in women with suspected osteochondrosis. They may recommend a mammologist and gynecologist to rule out symptoms similar to osteochondrosis.

Osteochondrosis in women

There are three major types of osteochondrosis in women as well as men:

  • Cervix,
  • waist,
  • breasts.

Women have more osteochondrosis of the cervical and thoracic regions than men. This phenomenon is caused by the fact that in men, by nature, the neck chest muscles are more strongly developed. Thus, these departments have the best support. Therefore, it is necessary, as far as possible, to strengthen the muscles of the back and neck with appropriate exercises.

Most commonly, cervical osteochondrosis occurs in women who lead a sedentary lifestyle or are engaged in a sedentary job (office work, salespeople, drivers), and osteochondrosis of the thoracic region is most common in women who have had colic since childhood.

Treatment of cervical osteochondrosis

Diagnosis and treatment of osteochondrosis

To make a correct diagnosis you need to make an appointment with a doctor. Other diseases can also be hidden by the symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis.

Cervical osteochondrosis does not have the ability to pass by itself and can progress to a fatal outcome, in the last, third stage.

Starting treatment on time can help you avoid serious, irreversible consequences.

Diagnosis of osteochondrosis

offers a list of specialist doctors to help you diagnose the problem.

  • General Practitioner (General Practitioner). Therapists conduct general diagnostics without treatment, prescribe general tests (urine, blood biochemistry). They take into account your individual complaints and then turn to the right specialist.
  • Neurologist. The neurologist treats the early and middle stages of cervical osteochondrosis. During the visit to the neurologist, an x-ray of the spine is usually performed. Appropriate treatment is selected for confirmed osteochondrosis.
  • Trauma surgeon. Consultation with this specialist is prescribed in case of changes in the tissues. Might prescribe MRI, spondylography, CT. Further treatment is also selected.
  • Neurosurgeon. In case of suspicion of interstitial hernia, a consultation with a neurosurgeon is prescribed, including CT and MRI results.
  • Physiotherapist. Cope with the elimination of clinical manifestations of osteochondrosis.
  • Rehabilitation specialist. Treatment by a rehabilitation therapist refers to the recovery period after surgery. Special therapeutic exercises (exercise therapy) are selected during this period.
  • Chiropractor. Prescribed to relieve pain.
  • Rheumatologist. Gives advice and determines the diagnosis of individuals with various forms of arthritis.
  • Oncologist. Oncologist visits are indicated for individuals with questionable CT and MRI findings. Consulting a specialist helps to confirm or rule out cancerous diseases of the bone tissue. A biopsy may be ordered.

Modern methods of treating osteochondrosis:

  • Surgical intervention (in case of irreversible changes,
  • )
  • osteopathy,
  • Manual therapy,
  • Physiotherapy,
  • massage,
  • Working with psychosomatics,
  • Reflexology,
  • Drug therapy.

Drug therapy

The goal of drug therapy is to relieve inflammation and pain. Properly selected medications restore blood circulation and nourish healthy tissue.

In the acute stage, drug therapy stabilizes the patient's condition and prepares him for the next stage of treatment. Ointments, muscle relaxants, corticosteroids and vitamin complexes are used.


Physiotherapy involves a combination of natural and technical effects on the body. Effectively relieves pain and restores physical activity.

Manual therapy

Manual therapy is effective if supervised by a good specialist.

Massage stimulates blood circulation and improves tissue nutrition. Manual therapy is convenient for home use (massage therapists and various applicators).

It is necessary to consult a specialist before using home manual therapy tools.


Reflexotherapy has an effect due to its effect on the body's biologically active points. It can be performed in the form of acupuncture, acupressure, sometimes moxibustion. If you choose this particular method of treatment, make sure you have a qualified specialist in front of you, as exposure to inappropriate biological points can lead to negative consequences.

Exercise Therapy

Physiotherapy exercises (LFK) for osteochondrosis are prescribed in the ineffective recovery phase. The purpose of exercise therapy is to strengthen ligaments and muscles, exercise helps to restore blood flow.

Properly selected exercises will help you avoid recurrence and deepening of the injury.

Exercises for Cervical Osteochondrosis

Finally, here are some exercises from the Physiotherapy Exercise Complex.

See your doctor before exercise.

Exercise therapy complex exercises can be uncomfortable, so before doing so, try to relax as much as possible and make sure your breathing is calm and measured.

Muscle overload is not recommended during exercise. Do as much as you can, then, after resting, return to exercise.

To achieve the final healing effect you need to perform up to 300 movements on the spinal column and 100 repetitions for adjacent sections.

When cervical osteochondrosis is recommended, avoid sudden movements of the cervix. Exercises are performed in a standing position, straight on the back, legs shoulder width apart (repeated 15 times):

  1. Turn your head to the left, hold for 10 seconds. Pressure on the shoulders, tightening of the neck muscles and resistance to pressure. Repeat the same movements to the right. Repeat the first exercise, bending back and forth.
  2. Turn your head to the right, try to reach the support with your chin, hold the movement for a few seconds. Repeat the exercise by turning left.
  3. Use your chin to draw numbers from 0 to 9 in the air.

Rear Exercises:

  1. Raise your head and hold for 10 seconds. Lower yourself and take a five-second break.
  2. Lift your chin toward the ceiling and hold for 10 seconds, then gently lower your head.

Side Lie Exercises:

  1. Lift your head and hold it parallel to the floor for 10 seconds. Then, lower your head gently, pausing for a few seconds.
  2. Repeat this exercise on the other side while lying down.