Cervical degenerative disc disease: symptoms and treatment

Cervical osteochondrosis is a very common disease in the modern world. Many people have it at an early stage, but do not even know it. Spread osteochondrosis of the neck was due to the fact that people have become more sitting and less moving. Let's take a closer look at the causes of this unpleasant disease and the ways of dealing with it.


What is cervical osteochondrosis?

So, cervical osteochondrosis - degenerative-dystrophic disease of the cartilage tissues of the musculoskeletal apparatus. The disease is characterized by pathological changes in the structure of cartilage, which lead to the violation of the anatomical structure of the elements of the spine, break the movement of the skeleton and cause pain. The disease can affect any part of the spine, but because of excessive mobility and miniature size of the vertebrae, the cervical segment is most commonly affected from this disease. Neck daily experienced an impressive load. Head turns and even the fact of its retention causes the vertebrae and intervertebral discs to work hard. From regular exposure to the outside of the intervertebral discs become thinner, they appear microcracks. Over time, reduced their height, they begin to change in thickness downward, and cease to perform its main function – cushioning the vertebrae.

Causes of cervical degenerative disc disease

The reasons for the development of the disease, primarily caused by age-related aging and growing destruction of bone and cartilage. You can also call the following causes of osteochondrosis:

the vertebrae
  • posture
  • reduction in motor activity as a result of a sedentary lifestyle
  • weight, which is the result of metabolic disorders, exerts load on the intervertebral discs
  • hereditary factor
  • long-term physical load
  • vertebral anomalies

Symptoms of cervical degenerative disc disease

Cervical degenerative disc disease has specific manifestations. This is due to anatomical features of the cervical segment of the spine. Patients often complain of pain of varying intensity, growing from a long stay in one position. To pain often increase other symptoms:

  • weakness in the upper extremities
  • numbness and tingling of the hands
  • stiffness when moving the head
  • dizziness (it says that damaged items affected artery)
  • tingling lips
  • feeling a lump in my throat

Signs of cervical degenerative disc disease

In medicine it is customary to divide the symptoms of degenerative disc disease based on the nature of symptomatic manifestations, merged into a single syndrome. There are 4 such syndrome:

  • radicular indicates a pinched nerve fibers, which causes severe pain, as well as a set of autonomic symptoms (dizziness, weakness, lump in the throat);
  • the vertebral artery is damaged, the clamp elements of a large vertebral artery, which is the cause of severe headaches, dizziness;
  • vertebral – provokes pain in the neck;
  • cardiac – disguised as angina, manifested by severe chest pain similar to a heart attack.

Stage of development cervical degenerative disc disease

1 degree of degenerative disc disease

diagram of the spine

Is characterized by the beginning of the destruction of intervertebral disks. In the fibrous ring cracks, broken strength and elasticity of the disc decreases its height, whereby there is a compression of the nerve roots. There is a characteristic aching pain. Sometimes at stage 1 (preclinical) this pain may be absent, and osteochondrosis occurs with a moderate discomfort in the neck.

2 the degree of osteochondrosis

If osteochondrosis of 1 degree was not treated or treatment is not effective, there is a osteochondrosis of 2 degrees, chronic. The pain becomes constant, the destruction and compaction of the intervertebral disc continues and leads to a slight dislocation of the cervical vertebrae. With cervical degenerative disc disease at this stage may develop a syndrome of falling head. This syndrome is characterized by severe pain, and one must support the head in a fixed state, in order to reduce the pain.

3 the degree of osteochondrosis

Fibrous ring was almost destroyed, leading to complications of degenerative disc disease — protrusion of the intervertebral disc or intervertebral hernia. On the 3rd stage of osteochondrosis of the intensity of the pain may decrease because the affected cartilage in the disc between the vertebrae is simply not there and therefore there is no source of pain, but a pinched nerve root remains, so the pain does not go away.

Diagnosis of cervical degenerative disc disease

If you suspect the presence of cervical degenerative disc disease should be promptly referred to a medical facility. Integrated diagnostics will help to identify the disease, to assess its extent and to understand the causes of the pathology development. the Preliminary diagnosis is based on inspection and palpation – osteochondrosis marked tension of the neck muscles, in some cases, a visible deformity of the spine. After an objective diagnosis, the doctor sends the patient for further study. To confirm the diagnosis used the following diagnostic methods:

  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • radiography (lateral and straight)
  • computed tomography

To determine the cause of disease may further appoint: ultrasound examination of the nearby organs, EKG heart, duplex scanning of blood vessels, blood and urine.

Treatment of cervical degenerative disc disease

Treatment of osteoarthritis requires a comprehensive approach. To temporarily eliminate the pain use painkillers, but the basis of therapy are physical therapy, massage. Massage helps to relieve hypertonicity of the muscles, amplifying painful sensations. The procedure also restores normal blood circulation, improving the supply of damaged tissues. According to the results of a course of massage to relieve tension from the cervical, redistributed the load on the spine. Medication. Medicines to relieve pain and inflammation, restore circulation and eliminate spasms in the neck muscles. This can be done in the following groups of drugs: corticosteroids, analgesics, muscle relaxants, etc. Physiotherapy. In addition to taking medications to relax around neck muscles, eliminate spasms and normalizing blood circulation will help physiotherapy: acupuncture, effect laser, magnetic, UHF-therapy, phonophoresis, etc. massage Physiotherapy. Special exercises will help the patient to strengthen the muscular frame, align the posture and improve blood flow to the upper part of the spine. In the case of late stages of degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine or the lack of effectiveness of conservative techniques require surgical intervention.

Prevention of cervical degenerative disc disease

To prevent the development of cervical degenerative disc disease recommended: if you are sedentary work you have to do five-minute breaks every hour to avoid stress on the neck; not to make sudden head movements, to monitor the posture; avoid hypothermia; exercise, swimming; eat right; sleep should be on the firm mattress and low pillow, the angle of neck flexion should not be more than 15 degrees; after the age of 25 avoid shock loads on the spine (jumping, running). In any case, the appearance of symptoms - you should visit your doctor. Do not self-medicate!