Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine

symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis

Do you have uncomfortable neck pain accompanied by dizziness, general weakness and fatigue? All of this should be a wake-up call for any person because any of 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 cause the formation of more serious consequences, including an intervertebral hernia.

What is osteochondrosis of the cervical spine?

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

The disease is often disguised as a violation of another kind, but a timely visit to a specialist allows you to diagnose in time and start direct treatment.

Degenerative changes in the tissues of the cervical spine are most often found in the medical history of people of mature age (45-59) and older (60-74).

Despite this, it is worth noting: in modern society, there is a resurgence of the disease, which is confirmed by the periodic diagnosis of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine in children and adolescents.

Important it is important that osteochondrosis occurs both in isolation and in combination with the defeat of other parts, in particular, thoracic, lumbar and sacral.

Causes of cervical osteochondrosis

Today it is impossible to mention the exact reasons for the occurrence of degenerative processes occurring in the intervertebral discs. There is no confirmation that cervical osteochondrosis is a senile phenomenon.

Numerous studies conducted by scientists from different countries have proven that osteochondrosis of the cervical spine has mainly provocative factors.

Among the predisposing reasons for the development of osteochondrosis of the neck, there are:

  • low level of activity, inactivity and a predominantly sedentary lifestyle;
  • types of work involving a static load on the cervical spine;
  • overweight, insufficient level of physical development;
  • violation of connective tissue development processes;
  • chronic spinal cord injuries;
  • spinal deformity, use of fairly comfortable pillows, mattresses for rest;
  • genetic predisposition.

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

What is the risk of cervical osteochondrosis?

A decrease in the level of mobility and limited flexibility of the joints, loss of muscle elasticity and other signs of aging of the body are inevitable, natural processes that accompany a person in ontogeny.

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

To determine how to treat cervical osteochondrosis, you need a professional consultation from your doctor. In the absence of professional diagnosis, in time and the necessary treatment, the disease progresses, which can cause not only a deterioration in well-being, but also serious disruptions in the functioning of the nervous and vascular system.

The main signs and symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis

The structure of the human skeleton, the ability to walk straight, and the impressive size of the head have led to the fact that some parts of the spine are the most vulnerable, particularly the cervix.

Among the striking features of the structure of the cervical spine, it is worth noting the presence of vertebrae, mostly small in size and a relatively small number of muscles, in connection with which is in this area a disease such as osteochondrosis most oftenhappens.

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

  • in the clavicle and / or shoulder;
  • along the entire back of the cervix;
  • not the anterior surface of the sternum.

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

  • pain in the areaneckmainly in the evening;
  • severity,backache;
  • slight numbnesstingling sensation in the shoulder, hands;
  • crackle,clicking when you turn your head.

Progression of the disease is accompanied by a number of already obvious main symptoms.

Vegetative-dystonic symptoms

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

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

The neck muscles are tense, there is difficulty in moving the hand to the side, stiffness in the movements of the fingers.

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

  • recurrent headaches;
  • nausea;
  • faint

Spinal symptoms

Localization of the area - on the left behind the chest.

In the process of gradual disruption of the structure of the intervertebral discs, compression occurs and, as a result, violation of the nerve roots, which leads to narrowing of arteries and veins, which in turn leads to the formation of radicular and ischemic syndrome.

Circulatory disorders cause:

  • severe, migraine headaches;
  • dizziness;
  • visual impairment, tinnitus;
  • disorders of autonomic functions.

In rare cases, the manifestation of a cardinal syndrome is traced, accompanied by compressive pain of the heart muscle, shortness of breath and heart rhythm disorders.

Stages of development of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine and their characteristic symptoms

The process of disease development proceeds quite slowly, but at the same time there are 4 clearly traced stages:

  • grade 1 osteochondrosis of the cervix - the appearance of discomfort and slight pain during prolonged walking, static position. Initiation of seal formation in intervertebral discs;
  • second degree cervical osteochondrosis - bright painful sensation. Manual therapies and appropriate medications are used to eliminate the pain;
  • grade 3 osteochondrosis of the cervix - the presence of pronounced connective tissue lesions of the affected area;
  • 4th degree osteochondrosis of the cervical spine - the final stage of disease development, characterized by damage to almost all parts of the spine.

The final stage of disease development requires surgical intervention, which requires a long recovery.

Diagnosis of the disease

In the presence of characteristic symptoms to diagnose and treat osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, you should consult an orthopedist or neurologist.

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

Among the most effective diagnostic methods, it is customary to distinguish:

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

In case of circulatory disorders, reoencephalography may be additionally used, as well as a fundus examination.

Possible complications

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

  • extension of intervertebral discs(hernia formation / extension);
  • rupture of the intervertebral disc, accompanied by constriction of nerves and blood vessels, which can be fatal;
  • radiculopathy(damage to nerve roots), formation of osteophytes (thorns in the vertebral body) with the appearance of paresis and multiple paralysis.

How to treat osteochondrosis of the cervical spine?

Treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervix 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 manifestation of the disease.

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

  • treatment with conservative methods, including medication / non-medication;
  • Surgical intervention;
  • a complex combination of techniques.


Assumes the effect of physical factors on the affected area. With an integrated approach and competent performance of all procedures, improvements become apparent already 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 for osteochondrosis

The massage should be performed carefully, without the use of force loads. Violation of the massage technique can cause negative consequences.

The starting position for the massage is the "leaning" or "sitting with one straight back" position.

All existing massage techniques are based on techniques such as:

  • stroke - affects the surface layers of the skin. It is performed with the palms of the hands and the tips of the fingers down from the back of the head, at the level of the upper third of the back;
  • squeezing - affects the deep layers of skin in the upper third of the back. It is performed with two fingers of the hand (thumb and forefinger), carried across the neck;
  • rubbing - the main purpose is to warm the skin and increase blood circulation to the desired area;
  • mixture - affects deeply stretched tissues, should be used with caution, as illiterate use may worsen the situation.

Physiotherapywith osteochondrosis of the cervix

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


Starting position: sitting / standing with straight back.

Execution order: while maintaining the starting position, try to lower your shoulders as low as possible while extending the top of your head.

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


Inventory: silk towels.

Starting position: sitting / standing, grab the neck with a towel, grab the edges with your hands.

Procedure: alternately pull the edges of the towel, gently cooking the neck muscles.

Important! During exercise, it is necessary to make sure that the towel does not slip and the neck does not burst.

Gymnastics (flexion / extension, curves, curves)

Starting position: sitting / standing with straight back.

Order of execution: from the starting position, perform a gentle bend / stretch, turn or tilt the head, first in one direction, then in the other.

Performance intensity: 5-7 movements in one direction.

Remedies for osteochondrosis of the cervix

It is especially important during a deterioration, as it is through the cervical spine that important blood vessels pass, providing nourishment to the brain.

As a treatment tool, tablets, injections, oils, as well as other local agents prescribed by the attending physician can be used.

Important! Self-medication with drugs of different groups is unacceptable and can lead to disability, death.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

One of the most effective medicines, often used for osteochondrosis in the form of injections, but also available in the form of tablets, patches and oils.

The main direction of action is the reduction of pain, elimination of swelling and inflammation.

Muscle relaxants

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

The recommended treatment period is 2 to 4 weeks.

Anti-inflammatory, analgesic and warming ointment for cervical osteochondrosis

To increase their effectiveness, anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs contain steroid substances in their composition.

The action of heating oils 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: from 2 to 6 months.

Characteristics of nutrition in the treatment and prevention of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine

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

In the context of preventing or treating osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, diet is, though an auxiliary ingredient, but at the same time a very significant ingredient.

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

  • eliminating the likelihood of lack of nutrients necessary for the implementation of metabolic processes in intervertebral disc tissues;
  • maintaining optimal body weight;
  • reducing the risk of developing vascular changes, preventing circulatory disorders.

Principles of diet

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

  1. Minimize inhibitions - a healthy diet is varied, balanced and at the same time saturated with all the necessary substances.
  2. Compliance with the drinking regimen is an important component in preventing degradation of intervertebral disc tissue.
  3. Reducing salt intake - eliminates the possibility of increased load on blood vessels and maintains the balance of water and electrolytes.
  4. Limit the use of starch and sugars, in order to eliminate the possibility of metabolic disorders.

Prohibited and recommended food

Nutrition in the treatment and prevention of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine requires the exclusion of such products that block the body as:

  • alcohol that upsets the water-electrolyte balance and provokes tissue dehydration;
  • fatty meats and smoked meats that are difficult to digest;
  • acidic, spicy foods that increase inflammation;
  • semi-finished products that adversely affect digestive processes;
  • sweets, sugars that disrupt blood circulation.

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

  • chicken, rabbit, lean beef and pork;
  • Fish and seafood;
  • dairy products, eggs;
  • cereals of various kinds;
  • black bread;
  • fruits, vegetables, berries and herbs.

Preventive actions

The basis of the health of the human cervical spine is a strong spine, the health of which is due to:

  • a sufficient level of physical activity;
  • maintaining optimal body weight;
  • comfortable bed with anatomical pillows and a quality mattress;
  • maintaining proper posture;
  • a combination of prolonged sitting with periods of rest and physical warm-up;
  • adherence to proper nutrition.

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