Headache with cervical osteochondrosis

Cervical osteochondrosis is an extremely common disease. It is diagnosed in varying degrees of severity in 90% of people over 65 years of age and is a natural process of age-related deformation of cartilage and bones of the cervical spine. Hence the name of this phenomenon, consisting of the Greek foundations “oste” (bone) and “ chondra ” (cartilage). Sometimes this pathology is asymptomatic, but most often manifests itself as unpleasant sensations. Pain – the main symptom of cervical osteochondrosis. MedAboutMe will talk about one of the most frequent manifestations of this disease – a headache, as well as methods of treatment and prevention.

Causes of pain in the neck and head with cervical osteochondrosis

The spinal column in the neck consists of 7 vertebrae connected to the sides by the joints. Separate the vertebrae between the cartilaginous discs, which ensure their mobility. With age, the intervertebral discs dry out, deform, lose elasticity and cannot fully provide cushioning for loads on the spine. The deterioration of the depreciation function of the discs leads to deformation of the vertebrae, the appearance of bone growths (osteophytes) on them, which injure the nerves and blood vessels. Ligaments, tendons and muscles are also affected. All this causes pain in the neck, head, shoulder girdle and shoulder blades.

In addition to age, there are other reasons for the development of cervical osteochondrosis and pain associated with it:

  • neck injuries;
  • prolonged tense and uncomfortable position of the head (work at the computer, at the table, holding the handset by the shoulder);
  • genetic predisposition;
  • smoking;
  • overweight and sedentary lifestyle.

Symptoms of Cervical Headache

Manifestations of cervical osteochondrosis are quite varied (dizziness, numbness of the extremities, crunching when turning the head, impaired mobility of the neck and hands), but the main symptom of this disease is pain. Cervical (Latin cervicalis – cervical) headache is one of the most frequent consequences of osteochondrosis. It indicates a lesion of the upper vertebrae of the neck. The attack is usually preceded by a feeling of tension and dull pain in the neck, which gradually spreads to one side of the head, reaching the temple, and is often felt in the region of the eye.After a certain time, it can cover the entire head.

Symptoms   Cervical headache is very similar to manifestations of migraine. It is important to correctly diagnose the cause of this phenomenon, since the treatment of migraine as a vascular disease is fundamentally different compared to the treatment of headache as a consequence of osteochondrosis. An x-ray examination of the cervical spine, together with the clinical picture of the disease, allows the doctor to confirm the diagnosis of cervical osteochondrosis and initiate appropriate treatment or exclude the indicated pathology and look for other causes of pain.

Treatment of osteochondrosis headache

The effectiveness of the treatment of any disease is determined by the possibility of eliminating the cause of its occurrence. Headache with cervical osteochondrosis is not an independent disease, but a sign of spinal pathology. However, osteochondrosis, which is a natural consequence of the aging of the body, cannot be cured. In this case, patient care is aimed at slowing down the destructive processes, improving the condition of the bone and cartilage tissues of the spinal column, which, in turn, can significantly reduce the manifestations of painful symptoms.

This task is achieved by a combination of drug treatment, physiotherapy, massage, therapeutic gymnastics. The main drugs for cervical osteochondrosis are chondroprotectors –   drugs containing chondroitin and glucosamine, which contribute to the restoration of cartilage. To relieve inflammation and pain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed ( Nimesulide , Voltaren ,   Diclofenac   and etc.). Their effectiveness increases with concomitant local treatment – the imposition of ointments of drugs of the same group and physiotherapy. Drug treatment also includes the use of antispasmodics, drugs that improve cerebral circulation, and vitamin complexes.

Physiotherapy procedures are prescribed with caution, as there are a number of contraindications for them, for example, gynecological diseases in women. Massage and other manipulations in most cases, experts do not recommend because of possible additional injuries. Pain in the head and neck is often reduced with a special orthopedic collar (Schantz collar), which relieves the load from the cervical spine and fixes the head in the correct position.

Therapeutic gymnastics to eliminate and prevent pain

The most important element in the treatment and prevention of headache in the pathology of the cervical spine is remedial gymnastics, which allows you to relieve tension, improve blood supply and metabolic processes of this part of the body, strengthen the muscles and ligaments that support the spinal column. The most useful for neck specialists are static exercises that train the muscles of the neck by alternating tension and relaxation.

Each of the exercises below should be performed 4 times, alternating 8-10 seconds of tension and 8-10 seconds of relaxation. The head during the execution of all exercises should be in an upright position, and the arms retracted to the sides should be strictly perpendicular to the body along the line of the bent elbows:

  1. Place your palms locked in the lock from above in the center of the head (hands are separated to the sides). Clasp the clutched palms down, while resisting the head.
  2. Place the hand fist under the chin, make the same pressing movement from the bottom while resisting the head. Head – strictly vertically.
  3. Do the same with the clutched palms on the back of the head (center), and then on the forehead.
  4. Place the palm of your side in the side of the temple, apply pressure while resisting with your head. Head does not tilt.
  5. Do the same on the opposite side of the head.

There are a number of other useful exercises for the neck. When performing any of them, experts advise you to follow these rules:

  • do not make sudden movements, perform all exercises slowly and smoothly;
  • do not perform rotational exercises, which may increase pain in the neck and head;
  • to achieve a significant improvement in well-being, you need to do it daily
  • do not leave therapeutic exercises even after the pain has receded.

Diet for cervical osteochondrosis

Diet   in osteochondrosis, it is designed to help slow down the degenerative processes in the bone and cartilage tissues and to maintain the normal functioning of the spine, which, in turn, will reduce the risk of headaches. The main requirements of this diet:

  • low calorie food by reducing the amount of fat and increasing the proportion of cereals, vegetables and fruits;
  • sufficient amount of protein (dietary meat, legumes, nuts);
  • inclusion in the diet of natural chondroprotectors (aspic, jellied fish, dishes containing gelatin and gelling agents);
  • eating foods with a high content of vitamins and minerals necessary for the normal functioning of the musculoskeletal system: calcium (dairy products, nuts, lettuce), phosphorus (fish, eggs), magnesium and vitamins (fruits, berries, seeds);
  • reducing the amount of salt, alcohol, spices, strong tea and coffee consumed;
  • elimination of canned foods, confectionery, carbonated beverages, products containing oxalic acid.

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