As you know, osteochondrosis is a chronic pathology caused by degenerative-dystrophic changes in the structure of the spine. Unfortunately, osteochondrosis affects 8 out of 10 people among the adult population.
Pathology can begin in youth (20-25 years), gradually becoming more complicated with new manifestations. In general, lumbar, thoracic and cervical osteochondrosis are distinguished.
Symptoms of the disease
Osteochondrosis lesions of the cervical spine are characterized by:
- Boring soreness in the neck and occiput ( cervicalgia );
- If the vertebral artery is affected, then there is a disruption in the activity of the nerve centers responsible for the normalization of pressure indicators, therefore, hypertension is often a pathology accompanying osteochondrosis;
- In the process of developing cervical osteochondrosis, the artery of the spine is compressed, which provokes the onset of symptoms such as extraneous sounds in the ears, dizziness and visual disturbances, paroxysmal aching headaches;
- Heart pains radiating to the scapula and neck, similar to soreness of angina pectoris.
Lumbar osteochondrosis is characterized by symptoms:
- Severe soreness resulting from compression of the spinal nerve roots, as well as the venous-arterial highways that deliver food to the spinal cord;
- With the defeat of the lower lumbar roots, the disease is accompanied by pain of a shooting character on the outside of the legs, which turns into a reduced sensitivity of this zone;
- Often, lumbar osteochondrosis is manifested by shooting soreness, going from the lower back to the legs, later this symptom is replaced by a decrease in sensitivity in the lower extremities;
- With the development of complications in the form of an intervertebral hernia, manifestations such as weakness in the legs, low back pain, decreased muscle tone and sensitivity of the legs, weakness of the leg muscles (paresis) occur.
Manifestations of chest osteochondrosis:
- With upper lesions, pain is observed in the abdomen, chest, shoulder and scapula;
- The lower lesions are accompanied by decreased sensitivity of the lower thoracic vertebrae, accompanied by dysfunctions of the low-basal organs. Soreness increases with movement or sneezing;
- In rare cases, thoracic osteochondrosis causes spinal compression, which is characterized by local-encircling pain radiating to the intercostal space, abdomen, groin or lower extremities, weakness and numbness in the legs, disturbances in the activity of low-pelvic organs.
In the treatment of osteochondrosis, a whole range of therapeutic techniques is used:
- Drug therapy;
- Physiotherapy (massage procedures, physiotherapy exercises , etc.);
- Diet therapy;
- Corrective therapy;
How to treat cervical, thoracic and lumbar osteochondrosis at home
Each of the methods of anti-osteochondrosis therapy is aimed at relieving pain with its subsequent elimination, at normalizing the course of vertebral structural processes and at restoring radicular spinal activity.
Drug therapy for osteochondrosis is based on several areas:
- Symptomatic therapy – aimed at eliminating the pain and involves taking anti-inflammatory drugs such as Feldene , diclofenac or ibuprofen, lornoxicam or Xefocam , Meloxicam and nimesulide . Along with anti-inflammatory drugs, patients are prescribed muscle-relaxing drugs from the group of muscle relaxants like Midocalm , Diazepam , etc.;
- Treatment aimed at normalizing krovotsirkulyatsii , involves the use of vasodilators, among which are especially popular Aktovegin , Valium , Pentoxifylline , Trental , ksantinola nicotinate and other means of similar effect;
- Reconstructive therapy of cartilage tissue is based on the intake of chondroprotective drugs such as Teraflex , Structum , Chondroitin Akos , Chondroxide and similar drugs;
- Vitamin therapy – based on the intake of drugs such as Duovit , Dekamevit , Milgamma , Neurovitan , Alfacalcidol , Vigantol , Aquadetrim and other vitamin complexes;
- Treatment with antidepressants is used to relieve anxiety and depressive conditions that often occur in patients with limited movement and pain of osteochondrosis origin. For this purpose, I use drugs like Amitriptyline, Duloxetine , Sertraline , etc.
- Therapy with herbal preparations often helps to significantly alleviate the condition of patients, since such drugs restore the immune defense, sleep and body strength, and prevent depression. One of the best drugs in this group is Piaskledin 300.
Quite effective in the fight against osteochondrosis and physiotherapy measures, which:
- Help in eliminating pain syndrome;
- Increase the amplitude of motor capabilities;
- Improve and facilitate the course of immune processes;
- Normalize blood circulation ;
- Normalize substance-exchange processes;
- Provide a decrease in the therapeutic dosage of anti-inflammatory nonsteroidal and analgesic drugs.
Physiotherapy comes in many varieties. In anti-osteochondrosis treatment, the following is most often used:
- Electrotherapy involves carrying out procedures associated with exposure to electric current, such as electrophoresis, galvanization, electrical sleep, darsonvalization and others using special devices (“ESMA”, “Potok” , etc.);
- Shock wave therapy is carried out with devices that convert an electrical impulse into an ultrasound wave, which, acting on the spine affected by osteochondrosis, accelerates the healing of damaged bone and cartilaginous tissues, eliminates pain and swelling;
- Balneotherapy involves the use of mineral waters and mud, after which the blood supply improves, pain is stopped and material metabolism is normalized;
- Magnetotherapy – this device is based on the use of a constant magnetic field created by special inductors, which are placed on the affected vertebral areas;
- Laser therapy is based on the use of special lasers, which, acting on the affected tissues, contribute to their recovery.
All physiotherapeutic techniques carry out symptomatic treatment of osteochondrosis, relieve inflammation and pain, reduce the course of treatment and the dosage of medications taken.
Since anti-osteochondrosis therapy is complex, it involves a balanced diet.
For patients with a similar disease, it is extremely important to limit the intake of fluids, salt, simple carbohydrates. They need to remove from the diet:
- Beverages such as cocoa, coffee, and strong tea;
- Pickles and spicy dishes;
- Foods that are too rich in extractives (mushrooms, fatty fish, poultry, meat, etc.).
Since the destruction of intervertebral cartilage occurs in osteochondrosis, animal proteins are needed to restore them, which are rich in dairy products, lean varieties of fish or meat.
Especially useful for such patients is jellied meat or broth prepared on the basis of boiled bones of beef or pork legs. This broth is rich in collagens, which provide bone and cartilage tissue with additional strength.
Therapeutic gymnastics plays an equally important role in the treatment of osteochondrosis, moreover, it is considered the most effective method of combating the destruction of bone and cartilage cells, helps to strengthen muscle and joint tissues, provides mobility of the spine and helps in the restoration of damaged tissues.
When performing exercise therapy exercises, several simple conditions should be observed:
- Movements should not cause severe bouts of pain or any discomfort, if such an effect takes place, it is necessary to discuss the situation with a doctor;
- You cannot perform exercises during periods of exacerbations of the disease, otherwise the pain symptom may increase or complications develop;
- You need to perform the exercises smoothly, avoiding sudden movements.
The set of necessary exercises is selected by the doctor in accordance with the patient’s condition and the degree of development of osteochondrosis.
Massage procedures improve blood circulation, have a relaxing effect on the patient’s muscles. Massage begins with light strokes, then goes into rubbing, kneading. The massage can be done by hand or using special objects like cups.
Cupping massage for osteochondrosis helps to relieve muscle tension and activate metabolic processes in the affected tissues by improving blood flow and lymph flow . No less therapeutic effect is possessed by acupressure, which involves an effect on active vertebral points.
Traditional medicine can also help in the treatment of osteochondrosis, in the arsenal of which there are many recipes for various rubbing and compresses. Thanks to folk remedies that increase blood flow, it is possible to relieve pain and relax muscles.
Such funds are based on:
- Essential oils (fir, etc.);
- Melted pork lard;
- Camphor alcohol;
- Badger fat;
- The poison of bees, snakes;
- Medicinal roots and herbs like aloe, birch or horseradish leaves, garlic, ginger, and red pepper.
They are combined with alcohol, iodine, turpentine, which results in an irritating local effect. Mustard baths perfectly relieve sudden acute pain (200 grams of powder per bath of water).
A good addition to home treatment for osteochondrosis will be the use of orthopedic accessories that provide complete relaxation of the spine during a night’s rest.
Therefore, during sleep, you need to take the correct and comfortable body position.
High-quality orthopedic mattresses and pillows can help with this . Through the use of such devices during the night, the spine will be completely relaxed, which will ensure the elimination of symptoms and the improvement of the patient’s condition.
Osteochondrosis can be treated independently, the main thing is to observe the regularity, sequence, complexity of procedures and coordinate all actions with a specialist.