Osteochondrosis is a change in the tissues of the spine associated with dystrophy, abrasion of the intervertebral discs, the vertebrae, ligaments and joints themselves. The disease provokes back pain. According to the WHO, 80% of people over 30 have osteochondrosis, but sometimes they appear earlier.
The causes of osteochondrosis are many: large loads on the back and legs or immobility, injuries, pregnancy, obesity, curvature of the spine, bad habits, a genetic predisposition, aging, sleeping on an uncomfortable pillow or bed, stress and poor ecology.
In 60% of cases, lumbosacral osteochondrosis appears. The second most popular is cervical. Most often occurs in athletes, movers and clerks.
The disease manifests itself brightly. There is pain in the affected area, the fingers or toes are numb, the head is spinning and sore. And if you can not treat it in any way, then the symptoms will be strengthened, and the disease will provoke protrusion and hernia. The latter, in turn, lead to loss of sensitivity of the limbs, loss of the functions of the pelvic organs, paralysis, impaired breathing and functioning of the peritoneal organs, heart and blood vessel problems.
Without timely and proper treatment, death from osteochondrosis is about 10%.
In advanced cases, the treatment is carried out surgically. But, basically, conservative methods are used: drug therapy, massage, physical and manual therapy. Spa treatment, as a rule, is rarely considered as the main one, although such therapy combines all of the above methods. The main thing is to choose treatment according to the profile of vertebral neurology.
Vertebroneurology in the sanatorium
What to look for when choosing a sanatorium?
A stay in a dispensary is a period of rehabilitation aimed at restoring the functioning of the musculoskeletal system and the body as a whole. Sanatorium treatment reduces, and in some cases completely eliminates relapses and puts an end to the disease. This is because the methods used are not aimed at relieving symptoms, but at restoring them – restoring mobility, activity, and adjusting important functions. The duration of the sanatorium programs is from 12 to 60 days.
In the resorts there are no working problems, a calm environment and unique natural factors, for example, mountain or sea air, healing mud or water – all this has a healing effect.
View of Kislovodsk waterfalls
A ticket to a sanatorium or boarding house should be chosen together with the attending physician. He will select the specialization of the health resort, will orientate on suitable climate and terrain. But also do not forget about the reviews, so as not to run into the Soviet repair and service. For example, very good reviews at the Plaza sanatorium in the city of Kislovodsk. Evaluate the room equipment, food, spa, clinical and diagnostic base, the availability of procedures and medical factors that the doctor has designated for you.
How is osteochondrosis treated in sanatoriums?
- Mud therapy – therapeutic mud normalizes blood circulation and removes toxins, reduces pain and cramping. Basically, they use applications on the problem area.
- Reflexotherapy – gives relaxation, reduces increased muscle tone and normalizes hormonal levels. The essence of the method is the setting of special needles on biologically active points that are responsible for the functioning of the musculoskeletal system.
- Balneotherapy – procedures restore metabolic processes in the ligamentous apparatus of the spine, improve blood circulation, calm the nervous system. Applied in the form of immersion in baths: salt, nitrogen, hydrogen sulfide, radon, carbon dioxide, iodine-bromine, and also use an underwater shower and a Charcot’s shower. The sanatorium “Luch” has its own pump room with mineral waters “Slavyanovskaya” and “Essentuki-4” and balneotherapy in it is effective.
- Hirudotherapy – eliminates inflammation, swelling and pain. Leeches are placed on the neck, thoracic or lumbar, which also helps reduce the risk of thrombosis.
- Physiotherapy – used to eliminate discomfort and pain, improve the nutrition of tissues and cells. The main methods: short-pulse analgesia, electrophoresis, galvanization, magnetic and laser therapy, ultrasound.
- Therapeutic massage – relieves cramps and pain, eliminates pinching of nerves and increases muscle tone.
- Underwater traction is the most effective method for the correct distribution of vertebrae along the entire length, which helps in eliminating stagnation and stress. Use vertical or horizontal traction in pools with sea, salt, mineral water, brine. In the sanatorium “Plaza” this method of treatment is widely used.
The correct diet also plays a big role, especially for patients with extra kilos. Indeed, overweight increases the load on the disks, ligaments, and so the disease progresses faster. High-calorie foods are excluded – sweets, flour, fatty meat and alcohol. Prescribe a diet with a high content of calcium, magnesium, vitamin B – these components strengthen the musculoskeletal system. Therefore, the menu will have a lot of fish, seafood, low-fat meat, cabbage, spinach, seeds, nuts, dried fruits, eggs, dairy and sour-milk products.
The doctor answers: the most popular questions about osteochondrosis
Will it pass by itself?
Independently, without treatment, dystrophic and degenerative processes cannot stop and even more so disappear. The pain, yes, subsides for a while, and periods of exacerbation give way to relief. But the problem itself does not go away, and an integrated approach is needed to it. Osteochondrosis can be completely cured, but only with the complete exclusion of provoking factors and compliance with all the doctor’s prescriptions.
How to relieve a headache?
This symptom is inherent in cervical osteochondrosis. It is unsafe to eliminate it yourself – it is better to consult a doctor. In some cases, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs help, as well as simple exercises:
Can osteochondrosis be warmed and does it help?
In the acute stage, heating is prohibited. This is an inflammatory process that already enhances blood flow – the muscles expand, and there is a risk of pinching of the nerve roots. Warming increases inflammation and swelling.
Outside of the acute period, and with the permission of the doctor, you can use warming procedures – a bath, ointments, massage. They enhance blood circulation, improve metabolism in tissues, increase the body’s resistance to negative factors.
Will exercise therapy help with osteochondrosis?
As part of complex therapy – of course. This is an effective method aimed at strengthening the muscles and ligaments. Helps relieve pain, increase flexibility, mobility, improves mood and vitality. The complex must be selected individually.
Do I need an orthopedic pillow?
With cervical osteochondrosis, this thing is especially useful – it unloads and stabilizes the cervical vertebrae, helps to avoid the clamping of arteries and nerves during sleep, and eliminates the negative effect of the bone on the intervertebral discs. Symptoms such as headache in the morning, dizziness, and a feeling of stiffness go away.
Do chondroprotectors, ointments and plasters help?
By themselves, no, but as part of complex therapy – yes . They help relieve inflammation, relieve congestion and swelling and improve mobility. But in the acute stage, not all such drugs are allowed, and it is better not to self-medicate.
Is massage effective?
Of course, the procedure gives a good effect, but you need to approach it wisely. It is impossible to prescribe a massage on your own – with a hernia or during an exacerbation, you can do harm – clamp nerve endings or provoke even greater progress in pathology.
In the recovery period and without exacerbations, it is worthwhile to carry out a therapeutic massage. It uses techniques aimed at removing muscle clamps, pinching, swelling, as well as relaxing and increasing blood circulation.
Osteochondrosis is easier to prevent than to treat. Follow these guidelines:
- Move and walk more. Prolonged sitting is harmful to the spine.
- Do not overload the neck and back – do not lift weights, do not carry bulky objects on you.
- Dose the use of your computer and gadgets, as frequent use may impair posture.
- Organize the right place to sleep – choose a bed with an orthopedic mattress and pillow.
- Do not overeat and give up bad habits, as excess weight increases the load on the spine, and smoking and alcohol adversely affect the state of the intervertebral discs – cause vasospasm and impair nutrient intake.
- Exercise every morning – movements provide normal circulation and nutrition of tissues, cartilage, discs of the spine.