Osteochondrosis of the cervical vertebrae is a pathological process in which the nutrition of the spinal discs is disturbed, which leads to their gradual damage. With further progression of the disease, the intervertebral discs lose their shape and stop performing their main functions. The ability of the spine to withstand physical exertion is lost.
Methods of treatment
Effective treatment of cervical osteochondrosis consists of an integrated approach to the disease, combining drug treatment and physiotherapy. If these methods do not give a positive effect, surgical intervention is resorted to.
Conservative treatment consists of taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, vitamins, muscle relaxants. The former are designed to reduce inflammation and pain. If the pain is mild, topical ointments or gels will help. The use of vitamins helps to improve blood circulation, which leads to better nutrition of the brain.
But any medicine will not be enough when the cause of osteochondrosis is in the person's lifestyle and remains unchanged. If the disease arises from constant work at the computer, it is necessary to include some physical exercises in the working rhythm to warm the neck.
Physiotherapy methods give good results:
- water treatments;
Hirudotherapy and manual therapy significantly relieve discomfort.
As a prevention during sedentary work, it is recommended to periodically do self-massage, dispersing stagnant blood and ensuring the flow of nutrients to the brain. You should also eat regularly, get enough rest at night and control your weight.
Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is well corrected in the initial stages, before the appearance of the vertebral artery syndrome and cardialgia.
Treatment is aimed at eliminating pain, restoring blood supply to the brain and slowing the progression of the disease. The patient is treated by a neurologist. Conservative therapy is as follows:
- Applicationnonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugslocal and systemic. Ointments, gels, tablets and injections cope well with the pain of osteochondrosis.
- In the acute stage of the disease, accompanied by severe pain, it is usedparavertebral block- local application of drugs (anesthetics and corticosteroids).
- Drug treatment is a combination of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antispasmodics,analgesics and vitamin complexes of group B.
- For intense pain that affects the nervous and mental state of the patient, tranquilizers can be prescribed. In case of prolonged pain (more than 4 weeks), they are replacedantidepressants. These drugs allow you to stabilize the patient's mental state.
- In the acute phase, it can be used to reduce nerve root compressionmuscle relaxants.
- To maintain cerebral circulation prescribedvasodilators, as well as means to improve metabolism in nervous tissue).
When conservative treatment is ineffective for several months and the disease progresses, they sometimes resort to surgical intervention.
Medical treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine involves the use of various drugs.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (medications) are used as symptomatic treatment, to relieve inflammation and eliminate pain during an exacerbation of the disease.
The course of taking NSAIDs for osteochondrosis of the cervical spine usually does not exceed 6 weeks. Medicines have only a symptomatic effect, and after the end of the course, the pain may return again. Often, NSAIDs are used in combination with antispasmodics, which help relieve muscle tension in the paravertebral area.
Pain and muscle tension are effectively eliminated by local application of anesthetics. Blockades are widely used from a combination of anesthetics with corticosteroid drugs, which in addition to the analgesic effect have an anti-inflammatory effect.
As a local anesthetic, a solution is used that includes substances that limit the impulse flow in the irritated nerve endings and block its passage through the innervated areas.
Glucocorticosteroid therapy can adversely affect the production of your own hormones. Therefore, modern medicine is much less likely than before to use drugs from this group in the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis, and only if there are serious indications.
Hormonal drugs when ingested block the inflammatory process inside the cells.
important!With long-term use, glucocorticosteroids contribute to the destruction of cartilage, so they must be combined with chondroprotectors.
Medicines containing corticosteroids quickly relieve pain, but at the same time negatively affect many internal organs. The course of hormonal treatment rarely takes more than 7 days, because with longer use, loss of bone mass and the development of osteoporosis are possible.
As a result of the destruction of the intervertebral discs, the displacement of the vertebrae and the inflammatory process, the vessels in the tissues of the body are narrowed. You can improve circulation with the help of warming, topically irritating ointments.
When using such means, due to the excitation of the nerve endings, the blood flow in the problem area increases, which helps to improve the tissue nutrition process. After applying the ointment, the treated area of the skin becomes red due to active inflow. Since such drugs have a tonic effect, it is recommended to use them during the day.
Of the warming ointments, the most popular product is based on butoxyethyl ether of nicotinic acid. As an alternative, ointments with capsaicin and dimethylsulfoxide are used..
In addition to ointments, special patches impregnated with active substances are used as a local irritant. For example, the composition of the well-known pepper patch includes hot pepper extract, belladonna, lanolin oil. These components have an irritating effect, relieve muscle spasm and increase local blood circulation. At the same time, the supply of oxygen to the cells and tissues is accelerated, due to which the pain disappears.
There is an active discussion around these drugs. Not all doctors use chondroprotectors in the treatment of osteochondrosis. These drugs contain glycosaminoglycans and chondroitin sulfates, which form the structural basis of the intervertebral discs. It is believed that chondroprotectors prevent the destruction of the cartilage of the spine and joint surfaces.
The composition of such preparations may contain chondroitic acid, mucopolysaccharides, animal cartilage, glycosaminoglycans, etc.
reference.Some experts believe that the effect of these drugs is insignificant, although it differs from the placebo effect, and the achieved result is not comparable to their high price.
Preparations to improve blood microcirculation
This group of drugs promotes the dilation of blood vessels. Medicines improve blood microcirculation, eliminate the violation of venous outflow, normalize metabolic processes, stimulate regeneration and increase the frequency of nerve impulses. As a result, blood circulation normalizes, metabolic processes in soft tissues improve and the degree of their swelling decreases, brain activity is restored.
In osteochondrosis, the attending physician may prescribe the intake of individual vitamins or vitamin complexes. Special attention is usually paid to the vitamins of group B (B1, B6 and B12). Their intake improves the nutrition of nerve fibers, supports metabolic processes in the cartilage tissue and gives it elasticity, improves blood circulation and the work of the central nervous system, stimulates metabolic processes.
In addition to B vitamins, providing the body with ascorbic acid is of prime importance. With its regular intake, the process of bone and cartilage tissue regeneration is improved, toxins are eliminated, carbohydrate, protein and mineral metabolism processes are regulated. May partially reduce the need for additional intake of vitamins B1, B2, A and E.
It is indicated in the absence of a visible effect in the treatment of the disease using conservative methods, as well as in the development of complications.
Indications for surgical treatment of cervical osteochondrosis:
- spinal stenosis due to a herniated or bulging disc - "pinching" of the spinal cord and/or nerve roots, resulting in pain, spasms, weakness or numbness;
- cervical spondylolisthesis - a condition in which the vertebrae are displaced along the horizontal axis relative to each other, slide during movement and cause pressure on the nerve roots and spinal cord;
- disc herniation - depending on the severity of symptoms, the severity of the patient's condition and the effectiveness of conservative therapy.
Massage is one of the main methods of treatment. In this case, it is not only a useful, but also an indispensable procedure. First you need to take a professional course. To achieve the greatest effect, it is desirable to conduct at least 10 sessions. With cervical osteochondrosis, massage can achieve the following effects:
- pain relief and muscle spasm relief;
- reduction of swelling;
- muscle strengthening;
- restoration of normal tone;
- improvement of blood supply and nutrition of the intervertebral discs;
- increased conduction of nerve impulses;
- improvement of metabolic processes;
After a professional course, you can perform simple tricks yourself at home. The peculiarity of the procedure for cervical osteochondrosis is the passive stretching of the muscles from the overstressed position in combination with massage elements. Application of the technique is necessary after warming up the spasmodic muscles with a bath, hot compress or kneading.
For self-massage, the same techniques are used as in the professional version. These are patting, kneading, point strokes, patting, rubbing. The massage is performed with warm hands. Massage oil should be used to improve gliding. The sequence of the technique is as follows:
- a pat.
Ending the self-massage session should also be stroking. It is important that there is no severe pain during the procedure.
reference.In addition to the traditional massage for osteochondrosis of the cervical vertebrae, other techniques are also used, for example, acupressure or vacuum massage. In the second case, medical banks or special vacuum devices are used.
Massage is very useful for cervical osteochondrosis. However, there are a number of factors that are absolute contraindications:
- blood diseases;
- malignant or benign neoplasms;
- active stage of tuberculosis;
- the presence of many warts and moles on the body;
- spider veins on the back.
There are also temporary contraindications:
- infectious diseases;
- exacerbation of chronic processes.
If the disease has already developed and been diagnosed, the first step after the elimination of pain and neurological symptoms with the help of drug therapy is a course of physiotherapy, as an integral part of the complex treatment. The moderate loading of the neck muscles in remission contributes to the strengthening and formation of the muscle corset that supports the intervertebral discs.
The main way to prevent cervical osteochondrosis, as well as weakness of the cervical region, is to strengthen the neck muscles. This will help therapeutic exercises. To get tangible results, you need to perform at least 2-3 exercises 2-3 times a day. Starting position - sitting with a straight back.
- Exercise number 1.Tilt your head slightly forward and place your hands on your forehead. Then press your palms on your forehead and without moving your neck, hold the position for 30 seconds.
- Exercise number 2.Tilt your head back and slowly rotate left and right for 1 minute. This exercise improves blood flow in the veins.
- Exercise number 3.At the same time, raise your shoulders, trying to bring them closer to your ears, and then lower them to their original position. Then successively - one shoulder down, the other up. Total duration is 2 minutes.
- Exercise number 4.Bring your palms together above your head with your elbows out to the sides. Press your palms firmly together for 2-5 seconds, then relax your hands. Repeat 3 times.
- Exercise number 5.Make smooth tilts of the head forward - when exhaling, backward - when inhaling (3 times).
The gymnastic complex ends with a self-massage - rub the neck with rotational circular movements.
It is a set of non-medicinal therapeutic and diagnostic techniques aimed at eliminating certain diseases of the spine.
reference.Usually about 10 sessions are held with an interval of 2 days. After the first procedures, the patient may feel a slight pain, which is considered normal. But if the pain does not disappear in the future, you should stop the course. Constant pain indicates either low professionalism of a specialist or an incorrect diagnosis.
At the first visit, an experienced osteopath always performs a diagnostic palpation of the cervical region. The doctor determines the most painful places, assesses the condition of the muscle tissue and the skin. The success of further treatment will depend on a properly conducted examination.
The session begins with warming up the muscles and a light massage. The doctor then stretches the muscles, reducing spasms in the cervical segment. At this stage, the patient should not feel pain. The therapist then proceeds directly to the manipulation.
This is the most painful part of the procedure. The doctor with considerable effort presses the cervical vertebrae, trying to push them back. Often during such manipulations, patients hear a frightening crack, but this is considered normal. At the end of the session, the chiropractor performs a soothing massage.
Immediately after the session, sudden movements of the head, tilts and deviations should be avoided. If possible, it is better to lie down for half an hour.
important!A doctor using manual therapy techniques must master them perfectly to exclude harm to the patient.
Acupuncture affects the body in a certain area by inserting needles into biologically active points. In this case, a reaction occurs, expressed in the targeted production of hormones that regulate metabolic processes and the state of immunity. Thanks to this, inflammatory processes are actively suppressed.
The therapy is effective in cervical osteochondrosis. Under the influence of the procedure, the blood vessels of the neck expand, blood circulation improves, the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the brain increases, headaches, tinnitus, vertigo disappear, and the flow of the anti-inflammatory hormone cortisol into the bloodstream increases.
Traditional medicine has many recipes that can relieve pain and unpleasant symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis. But although these recipes relieve the condition, they do not eliminate the cause of the disease, so they cannot abandon other measures.
Compresses and tinctures are the most popular means. They warm up the muscles, improve blood circulation, relieve pain.
Recipe 1.A mixture of lard, horse chestnut, turpentine, agave and vodka. Cooking method:
- 3 tablespoons of horse chestnut;
- 100 g of American agave;
- camphor oil - 50 ml;
- purified turpentine - 30 ml;
- vodka - 200 ml;
- unsalted lard - 50 grams.
Grind and mix the ingredients, then put in a dark place for 9 days. To use, apply a thin layer on brown bread and apply to sore spot. If a burning sensation appears, the compress is removed. After the discomfort subsides, you can repeat the procedure.
Recipe 2.Calendula tincture.
It is necessary to take a glass bottle, pour into it 50 g of calendula and pour a glass of camphor spirit. Then add a glass of cologne and a glass of vodka. Place the closed bottle in a dark place and let it sit for several weeks. The resulting tincture is rubbed into the sore spot.
Osteochondrosis is easier to prevent than to treat. All achievements in the fight against the disease will be reduced to zero if the patient continues to lead the same lifestyle: moving little, not doing sports, gaining excess weight. This can again lead to pathologies of the intervertebral discs and exacerbation of osteochondrosis.