Cervical spine osteochondrosis

cervical osteochondrosis symptoms

Do you have unpleasant neck pain accompanied by dizziness, general weakness and fatigue? All of this should be a warning to everyone, as any of the symptoms listed can indicate the development of cervical osteochondrosis.

It is worth treating these 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 cervical spine osteochondrosis?

Cervical osteochondrosis is a degenerative disease of the spine, in which the connective tissue structure changes.

The disease is often disguised as a violation of a different kind, 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 frequently found in the medical history of older (45-59) and elderly (60-74) people.

Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning: 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.

It is important that osteochondrosis can occur either alone or in combination with the defeat of other parts, in particular the thoracic, lumbar and sacral parts.

Causes of cervical osteochondrosis

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

Numerous studies carried out by scientists from different countries have established that osteochondrosis of the cervical spine has predominantly triggering factors.

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

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

The overwhelming majority of reasons are, in one way or another, linked to the natural processes of obsolescence of the body's systems, as well as the probable development of bone and cartilaginous tissue pathologies.

What is the danger of cervical osteochondrosis?

Decreased level of mobility and limited flexibility of joints, loss of muscle elasticity and other signs of aging in the body are unavoidable natural processes that accompany a person in ontogenesis.

The discomfort of pain that occurs during movement long before the natural aging age often leads to loss of quality of life and even disability.

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

The main signs and symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis

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

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

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

  • in the collarbone and/or shoulder;
  • throughout the entire cervical spine;
  • not the anterior surface of the sternum.

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

  • area painneckespecially at night;
  • gravity,back pain;
  • slight numbnesstingling in shoulder, hands;
  • crunch,clicking while turning the head.

The progression of the disease is accompanied by a series of main symptoms that are already noticeable.

Vegetative-dystonic symptom

It is characterized by sharp pains in the neck, especially felt in the area just below the nape of the neck.

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

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

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

  • recurrent headaches;
  • nausea;
  • fainting.

spinal symptom

Area location - left behind chest.

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

Circulatory disorders cause:

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

In rare cases, the onset of a cardinal syndrome, accompanied by compressive pain of the heart muscle, shortness of breath, and disturbances in the heart rhythm, is seen.

Degrees of development of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine and its characteristic symptoms

The disease development process occurs very slowly, but at the same time it has 4 clearly outlined stages:

  • 1st degree cervical spine osteochondrosis - occurrence of discomfort and mild pain during prolonged walking, static position. The beginning of seal formation in the intervertebral discs;
  • 2nd degree cervical spine osteochondrosis - bright painful sensations. To eliminate pain, manual therapy and appropriate medications are used;
  • third-degree osteochondrosis of the cervical spine - presence of pronounced lesions in the connective tissue of the affected area;
  • 4th degree cervical spine osteochondrosis - late stage of development of the disease, characterized by lesions in almost all parts of the spine.

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

disease diagnosis

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

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

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

  • Cervical spine radiography, performed in several projections;
  • CT (computed tomography);
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) if hernia/protrusion is suspected.

In case of circulatory disorders, reoencephalography can be used additionally, as well as the examination of the fundus of the eye.

Possible complications

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

  • protrusion of intervertebral discs(hernia formation / protrusion);
  • rupture of the intervertebral disc, accompanied by pinching of nerves and blood vessels, which can be fatal;
  • radiculopathy(damage to the nerve roots), the formation of osteophytes (spines in the vertebral body) with the manifestation of numerous paresis and paralysis.

How to treat cervical spine osteochondrosis?

The treatment of cervical osteochondrosis is determined by a specialist and depends on the degree of evolution of the pathology, the form of its evolution 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 drug / non-drug;
  • surgical intervention;
  • a complex combination of techniques.


Presumes the effect of physical factors on the affected area. With an integrated approach and competent management of all procedures, improvements become evident in the second or third month of treatment.

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

  • electrotherapy;
  • shock wave therapy;
  • magnetotherapy;
  • balneotherapy;
  • laser therapy;
  • vibrating massage.

Neck Massage for Osteochondrosis

Massage must be performed with care, without the use of force loads. Violation of massage technique can have negative consequences.

The starting position for the massage is the "lying down" or "sitting with your back straight" position.

All existing massage techniques are based on techniques such as:

  • caressing - affecting the surface layers of the skin. It is performed with the palms of the hands and fingertips down from the nape of the neck to the level of the upper third of the back;
  • tighten - affecting the deep layers of skin in the upper third of the back. It is performed with two fingers of the hand (thumb and index), held on the neck;
  • friction - the main purpose is to warm the skin and increase blood flow to the desired area;
  • kneading - affects deep tissues, should be used with caution, as the use of illiterate people can aggravate the situation.

Physiotherapywith cervical osteochondrosis

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


Starting position: sitting / standing with a straight back.

Execution order: Keeping the starting position, try to lower your shoulders as far as possible while stretching the top of your head upward.

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


Stock: terry towel.

Starting position: sitting / standing, hold the neck with a towel, grasp the ends with the hands.

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

Important! During exercise, it is necessary to ensure that the towel does not slip and does not rub against the neck.

Gymnastics (flexion/extension, twists, bends)

Starting position: sitting / standing with a straight back.

The order of execution: From the starting position, perform gentle flexion/extension, rotate or tilt your head, first in one direction, then in the other.

Actuation intensity: 5-7 movements in one direction.

Drug for cervical osteochondrosis

It is especially important during an exacerbation, as important blood vessels pass through the cervical spine, providing nutrition to the brain.

As a form of treatment, tablets, injections, ointments, as well as other topical agents prescribed by the treating physician can be used.

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

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

One of the most effective medications, often used for osteochondrosis in the form of injections, but also available in the form of pills, patches and ointments.

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

muscle relaxants

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

The recommended treatment period is 2 to 4 weeks.

Anti-inflammatory, analgesic and warming ointments for cervical osteochondrosis

To increase their effectiveness, anti-inflammatories and analgesics contain steroid substances in their composition.

The action of warming ointments aims to relieve pain, in addition to heating, which activates the blood flow at the site of application of the drug.


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

Recommended dosage regimen: 2 to 6 months.

Nutritional characteristics in the treatment and prevention of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine

Proper nutrition is an undeniably important component of maintaining the body's health.

In the prevention or treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, diet is, although an auxiliary, but at the same time a very significant component.

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

  • elimination of the probability of deficiency of nutrients necessary for the implementation of metabolic processes in the tissues of the intervertebral discs;
  • maintain ideal body weight;
  • reducing the risk of developing vascular changes, preventing circulatory disorders.

Diet principles

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

  1. Minimizing 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 intervertebral disc tissue degradation.
  3. Reduce salt intake - eliminates the likelihood of increased load on blood vessels and maintains water and electrolyte balance.
  4. Limit the use of starches and sugars in order to eliminate the likelihood of metabolic disorders.

Prohibited and recommended foods

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

  • alcohol that disturbs the electrolyte balance and causes tissue dehydration;
  • fatty and smoked meats that are difficult to digest;
  • acidic and spicy foods that increase inflammation;
  • semi-finished products that adversely affect digestion processes;
  • sweets, sugar 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;
  • whole grain bread;
  • fruits, vegetables, fruits and herbs.

Preventive actions

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

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

Also, it is recommended to avoid neck injuries and, of course, to lift unbearable weights.