Cervical degenerative disc disease: symptoms, treatment at home

Cervical osteochondrosisCervical osteochondrosis, or spondylosis, is caused change the shape and structure of the vertebrae. Despite the fact that cervical short enough relative to the total length of the spine, it is almost the most important part of the spine. Each pair of adjacent vertebrae forms an intervertebral holes through which extend and are sent to every muscle and organ of the upper half of the body the nerve roots. Through the other hole in the lateral processes of these vertebrae - are the vital blood vessels providing blood flow to the brain.

Causes of degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine

Causes of osteochondrosis are:

  • injuries
  • "sedentary" work behind the monitor, located below the level eyes
  • physical work associated with the carrying of
  • long periods at the wheel of a car,
  • work "on the phone" without using the remote devices (in this case, the operator presses the phone to his ear by shoulder)
  • constitutional features (torticollis, congenital changes in cervical vertebrae, short neck)

The formation of pathological changes of the vertebrae

Osteochondrosis at the edges of the vertebral bodies start to form a small wedge that can injure nearby structures. Most often this occurs in response to excessive load on the cervical, and not merely a result of "aging" of the intervertebral joints (recall that earlier it was considered to be a degenerative osteoarthritis natural "age-related" disease, and osteoarthritis). As the progression of the disease occurs seal zamechatelnyh of the vertebral plates and reduced height of intervertebral discs. The drives were the norm play the role of shock absorber between the vertebrae, and additionally prevent damage to the spinal roots. With progressive degenerative disc disease is the protrusion (herniation) of the nucleus pulposus of the intervertebral disc, which is in the process of the disease is increasing pressure while simultaneously weakening the "deterrent" from all sides of the ligaments. This herniation can also compress the spinal structure and cause neurological manifestations of the disease.

What are the symptoms of cervical degenerative disc disease?

Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine with pain

Any pain in the neck cause to suspect pathology of the cervical spine. By increasing the intensity of the pain syndrome is divided into 4 stages, at first the patient feels numbness, tingling, feeling of "tightness" in the area of specific muscle groups, at the fourth stage – the most severe - the pain is so intense that they lead to immobility of the patient and the loss of health.

In addition to the pain syndrome in the cervical and occipital region, the patient said "mirrored" (radiating) pain in the upper limbs, subscapular lateral areas of the chest.

Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine with radicular syndrome

On involvement of the nerve roots say when pain, numbness and tingling spread to the area of the lower jaw, upper back, forearm and the fingers. When the patient draws attention to the fact that it "it was like pins and needles" in hand, uncomfortable sleep. Marked morning stiffness in the joints of the fingers, lasting no more than 10-15 minutes. With the development of radicular syndromes in the examination, there may be a decrease in muscle strength of the upper extremities.

Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine "syndrome vertebral artery"

On the involvement of blood vessels (compression of them the herniation or protrusion of osteophytes) say, when a patient complains of frequent headaches, especially after a long stay in a certain position, when tilting the head (for example, when swimming breaststroke), if worried about noise in the ears and dizziness. This clinical situation is well detected by ultrasound (with the "Doppler mode"). Ultrasound determines the tortuosity of the vertebral arteries, narrowing their lumen. In this case speech can go about operation as expressed by the change of blood flow in vertebral arteries – a risk factor for stroke.

Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine with "cardiac (cardiac) syndrome"

This syndrome causes the patient to apply in the first place to the cardiologist, because the main complaints relate to pain in the left side of the chest, the subscapular region, which weaken or intensify when you perform physical exertion or changing body position. After exclusion of myocardial infarction and other heart diseases the patient comes under observation and treatment by a neurologist and orthopedist.


To clarify the diagnosis used four methods: radiography, Ultrasound, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging.

The most affordable method is still the x-ray the cervical, the most informative is x-ray in lateral projection ("side view"). This method allows a first approximation to establish the existence of injury, gross structural changes of the vertebrae.

Ultrasound examination (sonography) is performed to Refine the status of the vertebral arteries. Using this method you find out is not out the bloodstream, and if so, to what extent and what kind of obstacles arose and where they are located.

Computed tomography (CT). Allows you to more accurately assess the condition of the bone structures, the degree of bone density allows us to see smaller osteophytes (bony growths) than is possible with radiography.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This survey is indispensable for suspected gruzevich of protrusions, the exact localization of a spinal cord injury and the degree of damage. This study is necessary if the question of operational (surgical) treatment of diseases of the cervical spine.

Treatment of cervical degenerative disc disease


Standard set of tools for the treatment of cervical degenerative disc disease reflects treatment goals: relieve pain, removing painful muscle spasm and inflammation of the nerve roots, increasing the mobility of the spine. To achieve these purposes, first and foremost, using pain medications (ibuprofen), NSAIDs - non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Movalis), muscle relaxants (mydocalm). It should be remembered that self-medication drugs from these groups can be dangerous, as it is likely incorrect interpretation of symptoms and the underestimation of side effects of these drugs. Extensive use of local (cutaneous) drugs from among the NSAIDs in the form of gels, and the subsidence of the pain, these same tools can be applied in the form of ointments.

For the treatment of degenerative disc disease on a deeper, basic level, used drugs from the group of chondroprotectors containing glucosaminsulfat and chondroitin sulfate. These nutrients restore the cartilage structure of the vertebrae, prevent their further damage. The treatment is long, the effect persists for many months.

Cervical degenerative disc disease has significant differences from the pathology of other parts of the spine. Pain in the neck in this case can be triggered not by signals from the afflicted spinal nerves, and painful chronic muscle tension – all together it is called muscular – tonic syndrome. This is a completely benign condition, well treatable by the same set of drugs: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Airtel, voltaren) muscle relaxants, with intramuscular injection of these blockages with the use of steroid (diprospan). Typically, the physician elicits sharp pain when probing the so-called "trigger" points along the entire cervical spine and in the muscles of the upper shoulder girdle. More often this pathology occurs in women, most of them under the age of 40 years. In spite of the pain syndrome, the neurovascular structures are intact, the blood flow region of the head is not suffering.

Manual therapy

This method of non-drug treatment may be effective in the recent (often the result of a minor injury, subluxation) pain in the neck not accompanied by dizziness, other changes in the nervous system and the circulatory system. To resort to manual therapy is permissible only after a thorough examination, besides the doctor performing this procedure should have ample experience in the field of traumatology and orthopedics. When "chronic" forms of the disease the application of manual therapy is dangerous! Known two methods of this type of intervention:

  • manipulation (abrupt short impact of considerable force, aimed at removing subluxations, the well-known "bone clicks");
  • mobilization (the method is based on a gradual stretching of the neck after warm-up and relax the muscular system of the neck).

Also used a combined method based on the combination of two basic. It is important to remember that in addition to these contraindications, manual therapy is prohibited in all diseases accompanied by increased blood pressure, any thyroid pathology and otolaryngology.

Treatment of cervical degenerative disc disease at home

Therapeutic exercises with cervical osteochondrosis

The first and most important rule for beginners to do physical therapy – do not exercise through pain. Needless to say, you should not start in the "acute" period, when the pain just appeared. Another important recommendation is to avoid sudden movements and circular movements in the cervical spine.

Each lesson should begin with a short easy self-massage of the neck muscles. This is followed by "warming up" workout:

  • Hands are lowered along a trunk, shoulders even, back straight (you can check your posture, slightly leaning the heels, shoulder blades and buttocks against the wall). Walk in place 1 min. throughout the stop, 1 min on the toes, 1 min – on heels.
  • Original position – the same. Compressible hands into fists, raised-lowered shoulders, arms straight. Movements are slow, do 20 repetitions, lifting last longer than 5 seconds. Watch to not "pinch" the muscles of the neck.
  • Original position – the same. Tilts his head turns to the right, then to the left. The movement of smooth, single tilt 8 accounts at the end of the slope is held for 8 seconds.
  • Original position – the same or sitting on a hard chair. Smooth tilts his head forward, at the point – hold for 8 seconds
  • Original position – the same or sitting on a hard chair. Slowly tilts his head forward to lock the chin to the chest, then slowly turn your head to the right (for 4 accounts) and left (4 accounts). To prevent overexertion of the muscles.
  • Original position – the same or sitting on a hard chair. 4 accounts raise the shoulders, then on 4 accounts smoothly them down. 10 repetitions.
  • Original position – the same or sitting on a hard chair. Raise the shoulders, but now execute a circular motion from front to back, on 8 accounts. 10 repetitions.
  • Align your back, check your posture (see exercise 1). 4 accounts reduce the blade behind his back, trying to put them together at the end point is delayed for 8 seconds, then return to starting position.


As already mentioned, hypertonicity of the neck muscles is the first and often the main reason for the development and progression of cervical degenerative disc disease. Rational selection of pillows and mattresses, ensuring a relaxing and comfortable position during sleep is no less important than exercises, physiotherapy treatment and medication.

When choosing a mattress, pay attention to the composition of the filler (suitable products are at least half made of coconut, that is with sufficient degree of rigidity). Soft spring mattresses don't provide sufficient spine straightening. The most optimal position for sleeping is on your side, pull one or both knees to the stomach. The cushion shall be placed in such a way as to fill all the space between the shoulder, the ear and the mattress, the parietal part (top) of the head is on the same horizontal line with the spine. Avoid too high and too low, and soft pillows. Ideal – a polyurethane product is ergonomic, that is, in this case, with a small squeeze-roller with one hand.

General guidelines

Pay attention to your posture. While walking or standing the right is a position where the rib cage comes forward, and the stomach.

Avoid prolonged stay in a sitting position. Known simple rule for the prevention of cervical degenerative disc disease: after every 60 minutes of work required 10-15 minutes walk or workout.

The job must have a high headrest or backrest.

In the sitting position the feet should rest on the floor, and the neck should not be tense. With this purpose, use special orthopedic devices: cushions for the neck when riding in the car, a pillow under your back.

Avoid lifts weights. If necessary, get down on your knees, push heavy object to the body and then slowly stand up, using the power of the leg muscles, but not the "thrust" of the back.

Do not lean with straight legs. Use supports, work surfaces in order to bring the subject to himself and not to bow his face to the subject. Homework try to do sitting on a chair or exercise ball.

If you want to use a MOP, broom or a rake, do not strain the arms, back and neck, do not bend sideways.

Avoid swimming in breaststroke style.