Osteochondrosis and Fitness

Many probably heard about a disease such as osteochondrosis. The word itself comes from the Greek words “osteon” – “bone” and “chondros” – “cartilage”, and means “an inflammatory disease associated with qualitative changes in the body”.

Previously, osteochondrosis was observed mainly after 35-40 years. However, recently he has significantly rejuvenated.

The causes of the disease can be heredity, a sedentary lifestyle, a long stay in uncomfortable positions (sitting at the wheel, at the computer, etc.), metabolic disorders. In such positions, the blood supply and nutrient supply to the tissues surrounding the spine are several times worse than usual.

Osteochondrosis can also occur due to excessive physical exertion on the spine, for example in athletes.

The essence of osteochondrosis is painful changes in the intervertebral discs, their deformation, a decrease in height, and stratification. Then the adjacent vertebrae, intervertebral joints and ligamentous apparatus of the spine are involved in the process.

Allocate osteochondrosis of the cervical, thoracic and lumbosacral spine.

With cervical osteochondrosis, aching, squeezing, tearing (sometimes burning) pains arise in the back and side of the neck, in the back of the head, in the shoulder and shoulder blades; it’s hard to move your head. Sometimes people complain of numbness of the hands at night and are forced to get up and stretch their muscles 3-4 times a night. Often these conditions are combined with increased irritability, depression. People suffering from cervical osteochondrosis can hardly tolerate weather changes: pressure drops and air humidity. In this case, headaches, pains in the heart area that mimic angina may occur.

With thoracic osteochondrosis, as with cervical, in some cases pain may occur in the heart and behind the sternum, pressing pain between the shoulder blades. Often, such patients come to a cardiologist, believing that they have started some kind of heart disease. In fact, this is one of the many manifestations of osteochondrosis.

With lumbosacral osteochondrosis (the most common), there are pains, burning and “backache” in the lower back, girdle pains, numbness of the legs and cramps of the calf muscles (!)

Almost everyone wants to get in shape sooner or later.
People begin to engage in sports and fitness, and if you do not take into account a number of rules, those with osteochondrosis are available can complicate this problem quite a lot.

Firstly, in acute pain, classes are not recommended. Gymnastics and other physical activities should be abolished until the pain goes away. After reducing acute pain, a complex of simple and feasible exercises should be performed, such as stretching, post-isometric relaxation (relaxation after prestressing), and breathing exercises. It is advisable to conduct classes regularly.

On the contrary, during the period of remission, physical exercises will help to form a “muscle corset”, which will help maintain the correct posture while unloading the most vulnerable back parts of the spine in sitting and standing positions, while working around the house and in the summer cottage.

During classes, exercises that imply axial load on the spine, as well as jumping, jumping and explosive exercises, are contraindicated.

It is worth paying special attention to the work sitting at the table and lifting weights. In the process of working at the table, you need to get up and make at least a few steps around the room as often as possible.
Periodically (preferably every 30 minutes) sipping at the table or at the table.

In a sitting position, it is important to reduce back muscle tension. To do this, you need to rely on the back of the chair, which should be above the shoulders, and the seat – rigid and even. The height of the chair should be equal to the length of the legs (if the feet do not reach the floor, put a bench under your feet); seat depth should be at least 4/5 of the thigh length.

The height of the desktop should correspond to growth: the cover of the table should be at the level of the elbow of the bent arm; under the table should be a place for outstretched legs. During sitting, it is necessary to change the position of the legs – to bend and straighten them.

Raising various objects, it is not necessary to lean toward them; it is better to sit down, keeping your back straight; and then bend your knees so that the entire weight of the object (even if it is light) falls on the muscles of the legs, and not on the spine, and smoothly stand up. You should also take small children in your arms: not bending over to them, but squatting!

In conclusion, pay attention to the shoes. High heel is a serious stimulator of exacerbations of osteochondrosis. The fact is
that a high heel changes the position of the spine due to the forward inclination of the pelvis, which provokes pain. Soft shoes should be worn more on flexible and thick soles with a heel height of 3-4 cm and a wide toe.

Since osteochondrosis of the spine is a chronic disease, characterized by periods of exacerbation and periods of remission (when there is a temporary weakening or disappearance of the manifestations of the disease), the main task in the treatment of this disease is to extend the period of remission, to prevent exacerbations of the disease.

Health to all!

Erdenko Dmitry – specialist in physical rehabilitation; Candidate Master of Sports; prize-winner of the championships of Russia in martial arts; graduate student of the Russian State University of Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism; fitness instructor, personal fitness trainer; Presenter of Russian fitness conventions and fitness forums; the author of fitness programs “Martial arts fitness”, “Zen balance”, “Aerobics and fitness at home”, “Fitness in the office”; host of the video programs “Aerokik”, “Taichi with the ball”.

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