Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine

Symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis

Do you have an unpleasant neck pain accompanied by dizziness, general weakness and fatigue? All of this should be alarming for all people as the symptoms listed may indicate the development of cervical osteochondrosis.

It is worth treating such alarming symptoms with full responsibility, because in the absence of timely treatment the pathology can lead to more serious consequences, including intervertebral hernia.

What is cervical osteochondrosis?

Osteochondrosis of the cervix is a degenerative disease of the spine, during the development of which the structure of connective tissue changes.

The disease is often disguised as another type of disorder, but a timely visit to a specialist allows you to make a timely diagnosis and begin direct treatment.

Degenerative changes in the tissues of the cervical spine are most common in the medical history of adults (45-59) and the elderly (60-74).

Nevertheless, it is noteworthy: in modern society there is a rejuvenation of the disease, which is confirmed by the periodic diagnosis of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine in children and adolescents.

Importantly, osteochondrosis can occur both in isolation and with the defeat of other parts, namely the chest, lumbar, and sacral.

Causes of cervical osteochondrosis

Today it is impossible to name the exact causes of degenerative processes occurring in the intervertebral discs. There is no evidence that cervical osteochondrosis is an age-old phenomenon.

Numerous studies conducted by scientists from different countries have found that osteochondrosis of the cervical spine has predominantly provoking factors.

Among the predisposed causes of the development of neck osteochondrosis are:

  • Low levels of activity, inactivity, and a predominantly seductive lifestyle;
  • Types of work that involve static loading on the cervical spine;
  • Overweight, insufficient level of physical development;
  • Disruption of connective tissue development processes;
  • Chronic spinal injuries;
  • Spinal deformity, use of insufficiently comfortable pillows, mattresses for relaxation;
  • Genetic predisposition.

The vast majority of causes are related in one way or another to the natural processes of aging of body systems, as well as the probable development of bone and cartilage tissue pathologies.

What is the risk of cervical osteochondrosis?

Decreased levels of mobility and limited joint flexibility, loss of muscle elasticity, and other signs of body aging are inevitable, natural processes that accompany human ontogenesis.

Irritation of pain that occurs during movement much earlier than the natural age of aging often leads to loss of quality of life and even disability.

To determine the treatment method for cervical osteochondrosis, you need to consult a doctor. In the absence of professional, timely diagnosis and necessary treatment, the disease progresses, which can lead not only to a deterioration in well-being, but also to serious disorders of the nervous and vascular systems.

The main signs and symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis

The structure of the human skeleton, the ability to walk upright, and its impressive size have made some parts of the spine the most vulnerable, particularly the cervix.

Among the striking features of the structure of the cervical spine is the presence of the spine, mainly small and relatively small number of muscles, which is why it is in this area that such a disease as osteochondrosis occurs most often.

Pain is the most common syndrome of spinal disease. Depending on the affected area, it can concentrate:

  • Collar and / or shoulder area;
  • Along the entire cervical spine;
  • Not the anterior surface of the abdomen.

It is quite difficult to determine the primary signs of the disease independently, because in most cases they are insignificant and very nonspecific:

  • Pain in the headNeckMostly in the evening;
  • SeverityBack pain;
  • Slight numbnessTingling in the shoulders, in the hands;
  • ხრაშუნა,Click to turn it over.

Disease progression is accompanied by a number of already noticeable leading symptoms.

Vegetative-dystonic symptom

It is characterized by pain in the neck, especially felt in the back of the head.

Painful sensation often occurs during prolonged stay in the same position, for example, in the morning.

The muscles of the neck are tense, there are difficulties in moving to the side of the hand, firmness in the movements of the fingers.

Due to the compression of the vertebral arteries, neurological manifestations are often found:

  • Recurrent headaches;
  • Nausea;
  • Loss of consciousness

Spine symptom

Localization of the area - behind the left breast.

In the process of gradual disruption of the structure of the intervertebral discs, there is compression and, as a result, disruption of the nerve roots, which leads to narrowing of the arteries and veins, which in turn leads to the development of radical and ischemic syndrome.

Circulatory disorders cause:

  • Severe, migraine headache;
  • Dizziness;
  • Vision impairment, tinnitus;
  • Violation of autonomous functions.

In rare cases, there is a manifestation of cardinal syndrome, which is accompanied by compressive pain in the heart muscle, shortness of breath and arrhythmia.

The degree of development of osteochondrosis of the cervix and their characteristic symptoms

The development of the disease is quite slow, but at the same time it has 4 clearly defined stages:

  • First degree osteochondrosis of the cervix - the appearance of discomfort and slight pain during prolonged walking, in a static position. The onset of ring formation in the intervertebral discs;
  • Grade 2 osteochondrosis of the cervix - clear painful sensations. Manual therapy and appropriate medications are used to relieve pain;
  • Grade 3 cervical spine osteochondrosis - the presence of pronounced damage to the connective tissue of the affected area;
  • Grade 4 cervical osteochondrosis - the last stage in the development of the disease, which is characterized by damage to almost all parts of the spine.

The last stage of the disease development requires surgical intervention, which implies a long recovery.

Diagnosis of the disease

You should consult an orthopedist or neurologist to diagnose and treat cervical osteochondrosis.

As part of diagnostic measures, the specialist will determine mobility and pain in the neck, as well as assess the degree of sensitivity and detect other functional disorders.

It is common to distinguish between the most effective diagnostic methods:

  • X-ray of the cervical spine, performed in various projections;
  • Computed tomography (computed tomography);
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) if a hernia / protrusion is suspected.

In case of circulatory disorders it is possible to use additional rheoencephalography, as well as examination of the fundus.

Possible complications

Lack of timely treatment can lead to serious complications, including:

  • Protrusion of the intervertebral discs(Hernia / protrusion formation);
  • Intervertebral disc rupture,Accompanied by suppression of nerves and blood vessels, which can be fatal;
  • Radiculopathy(Damage to nerve roots), formation of osteophytes (vertebral body of the spine) with multiple paresis and paralysis.

How to treat cervical osteochondrosis?

Treatment of cervical osteochondrosis is determined by a specialist and depends on the degree of development of the pathology, the form of its course and the characteristics of the clinical manifestations of the disease.

Today, the most effective methods of treating the disease are:

  • Treatment by conservative methods, including medicinal / non-medicated;
  • surgery;
  • A complex combination of techniques.


Considers the influence of physical factors on the affected party. With an integrated approach and competent conduct of all procedures, improvement becomes apparent in the second or third month of treatment.

Among the most popular areas of physiotherapy prescribed for the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis are:

  • Electrotherapy;
  • Shock wave therapy;
  • Magnetotherapy;
  • Balneotherapy;
  • Laser therapy;
  • Vibration massage.

Neck massage during osteochondrosis

The massage should be performed carefully, without exerting force. Violation of massage techniques can lead to negative consequences.

The starting position of the massage is "inclined" or "back with straight back".

All existing massage techniques are based on techniques such as:

  • stroking - affects the surface layers of the skin. It is performed with the palms and fingers down, from the back to the level of the upper third of the spine;
  • Compression - affects the deeper layers of the skin in the upper third of the spine. It is performed with two fingers of the hand (thumb and forefinger), carried along the neck;
  • Rubbing - the main purpose is to warm the skin and increase blood flow to the desired location;
  • Mixing - Affects deeply deceived tissues, should be used with caution as uneducated use can aggravate the situation.

PhysiotherapyWith cervical osteochondrosis

There are some exercises for treating cervical osteochondrosis. The most effective of them are:

Stretching his head

Starting position: sitting / standing with straight back.

Performance rule: While maintaining the starting position, try to lower your shoulders as much as possible and raise your head up.

Performance intensity: at least 10 times (2-5 seconds), at least 3 times a day.


Inventory: Terry towel.

Starting position: sitting / standing, holding the neck with a towel, holding the hands on its ends.

Procedure: Alternately pull out the ends of the towel, gently massage the neck muscles.

ᲛImportant! During exercise it is necessary to ensure that the towel is not hung and the neck is not scratched.

In gymnastics (flexibility / extension, rotation, bending)

Starting position: sitting / standing with straight back.

Procedure: Perform a smooth bend / extension from the starting position, turning or tilting the head, first in one direction, then in the other.

Performance intensity: 5-7 movements in one direction.

Medications for cervical osteochondrosis

This is especially important during exacerbations, as it is through the cervix that important blood vessels pass, providing nutrition to the brain.

As a remedy, tablets, injections, ointments, as well as other topical agents prescribed by the attending physician may be used.

ᲛImportant! Self-medication with different groups of drugs is not allowed and can lead to disability, death.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

One of the most effective drugs, often used in the form of injections in osteochondrosis, but also available in the form of tablets, varnishes and ointments.

The main direction of action is to reduce pain, eliminate swelling and inflammation.

Muscle relaxants

Provides effective reduction of muscle tension, which significantly reduces pain.

The recommended treatment period is 2 to 4 weeks.

Anti-inflammatory, analgesic and warming ointments for cervical osteochondrosis

In order to increase their effectiveness, anti-inflammatory and analgesic substances contain steroid substances in their composition.

The action of warming ointments is aimed at relieving pain, as well as warming, which activates blood flow to the site of application of the drug.


They are used to slow down degenerative processes and accelerate connective tissue regeneration. Has a cumulative effect.

Recommended dosing regimen: 2 to 6 months.

Nutritional characteristics in the treatment and prevention of cervical osteochondrosis

Proper nutrition is undoubtedly an important component in maintaining the health of the body.

In the context of the prevention or treatment of cervical osteochondrosis, diet is indeed a supportive but at the same time a very important component.

The main goals of proper nutrition in the treatment or prevention of osteochondrosis are:

  • Eliminate the likelihood of deficiency of nutrients necessary for metabolic processes in the tissues of the intervertebral discs;
  • Maintaining optimal body weight;
  • Reduce the risk of developing vascular changes, prevent circulatory disorders.

Principles of diet

Nutrition for cervical osteochondrosis is based on the principles of rationality and functioning:

  1. Minimize Inhibitions - A healthy diet is varied, balanced and at the same time saturated with all the necessary substances.
  2. Adherence to a drinking regimen is an important component in preventing tissue degradation of the intervertebral disc.
  3. Reduce salt intake - eliminates the possibility of increasing the load on the blood vessels and maintains water and electrolyte balance.
  4. Limit the use of starch and sugar to eliminate the likelihood of metabolic disorders.

Prohibited and recommended foods

In the treatment and prevention of cervical osteochondrosis, nutrition requires the exclusion of products that block the body, such as:

  • Alcohol, which disturbs the water-electrolyte balance and causes tissue dehydration;
  • Fatty meats and smoked meats that are difficult to digest;
  • Acidic, spicy foods that increase inflammation;
  • Semi-finished products that adversely affect the digestive process;
  • Sweets, sugar that disrupts blood circulation.

The recommended diet includes mainly easily digestible foods of plant and animal origin, rich in proteins, complex carbohydrates and fiber, including:

  • Chicken, rabbit, lean beef and pork;
  • Fish and seafood;
  • Dairy products, eggs;
  • Different types of grains;
  • Whole wheat bread;
  • Fruits, vegetables, berries and herbs.

Preventive measures

The basis of human cervical spine health is a strong spine, the health of which is conditioned by:

  • Sufficient level of physical activity;
  • Maintaining optimal body weight;
  • Comfortable bed with anatomical cushions and quality mattress;
  • Maintain a correct posture;
  • A combination of long sitting with rest periods and physical warm-up;
  • Maintain proper nutrition.

In addition, it is recommended to avoid neck injuries and, of course, unbearable weight lifting.