Our vertebrae are often subjected to various injuries and overloads, as a result of which processes occur that lead to the appearance of various growths of bone tissue on the vertebrae (they are called osteophytes).
Such growths put pressure on the nerve endings, contribute to the narrowing of the canal inside the vertebrae, and limit the ability of individual vertebrae to move. A similar degenerative clinical picture develops in vertebral spondylosis.
What is spondylosis?
Spondylosis is a degeneration in the vertebral segments, accompanied by the formation of osteophytes, due to dystrophic changes in the intervertebral discs.
The formation of growths has a protective origin, since such formations increase the contact area between the vertebrae.
In a healthy spine, the disc is responsible for this, but when, under the influence of various factors (for example, osteochondrosis), the disc undergoes dystrophic changes, the function of reducing the vertebral load is assigned to the osteophytes.
Many factors contribute to the development of spondylosis:
- Injuries or pathologies (osteochondrosis, fractures, cracks, microtrauma);
- Substance exchange failures or disorders of the endocrine system (diabetes, obesity, acromegaly, etc.);
- Static overload with short-term or over-long vertebral loads;
- Physical inactivity (sedentary work, inactivity);
- Inflammatory processes (viral infections, tuberculosis, rheumatoid arthritis, immunodeficiency, etc.);
- Elderly age.
Spondylosis disorders are classified according to several criteria. So, according to the location, pathology is lumbosacral, thoracic and cervical.
According to the degree, such spondylosis forms are distinguished:
- Lightning-fast – begins sharply and abruptly and has a very unfavorable course;
- Rapidly progressive degree – when the spondylosis processes are characterized by a short duration of development;
- Moderately progressive – occurring with periodic phases of exacerbations;
- Slowly progressing – when spondylosis processes form absolutely imperceptibly and for a very long time.
In addition, experts also identify separate stages of development:
- Stage I is characterized by the presence of lordor-kyphosis changes, the patient feels a slight limitation of vertebral mobility. The X-ray shows many growths, but they still do not go beyond the perimeter of the vertebra;
- Stage II of spondylosis is characterized by impaired mobility of the vertebrae, which limits the patient’s performance, up to group 3 of disability. Radiography reports that the growths begin to go beyond the boundaries of the vertebrae;
- Stage III is characterized by a blockage of mobility due to the formation of a staple from bone tissue. This stage is often characterized by group 2 disabilities. In some cases, the vertebrae grow together so that the patient is not capable of self-care, then 1 disability group is assigned. The X-ray image shows the fusion of osteophytes, resembling a bracket, you can see the narrowing of the spinal canal and the shortening of individual vertebrae.
The diagnostic process for spondylosis is based on X-ray examination, computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging.
Symptoms and Signs
The clinical picture of spondylosis is localized depending on the location of the vertebra. The main manifestation of pathology is considered to be pain syndrome and a significant limitation of mobility.
Spondylosis of cervical localization is characterized by:
- Occipital pain when turning the head, often spreading to the eyes, ears, lower jaw and shoulders, such soreness often occurs in the morning due to blood circulation;
- Headaches often occur after static stress, accompanied by extraneous noise in the ears or dizziness, flies or fog in front of the eyes;
- Motor restrictions and stiffness in the cervical vertebrae, which occur more often in the morning, but if the neck does not turn due to the brace, then the restriction of movements is constantly observed and affects the patient’s ability to work;
- The tone of the cervical muscles is due to compensatory spasms, prolonged tension is fraught with atrophy of muscle tissues;
- Fainting occurs mainly in severe stages of spondylosis, they are usually short-lived and caused by impaired vascular activity. If there is strong arterial compression, then the access of blood to the brain stops and its oxygen starvation begins.
The following clinical picture is characteristic of thoracic spondylosis:
- Pain syndrome in the thoracic vertebral region, mainly between the shoulder blades of constant intensity and aching character. The pain syndrome is especially pronounced in the morning or after an afternoon nap, intensifying after bending or turning the body;
- Pain syndrome in the chest of a different nature (acute shooting, paroxysmal, dull, angina-like, aching). The pain intensifies after deep breathing, long walking or being in one position, when raising hands or coughing, with sudden movements or probing the costal region;
- Sensitivity problems such as numbness, goose bumps, a burning sensation in the chest, or a noticeable tingling sensation;
- Restriction of mobility in the arms and thoracic spine;
- Intraorganic lesions, manifested by pain in the heart, stomach, kidneys and other organs;
- Sleep problems;
- Rapid breathing;
- Thoracic scoliosis;
- Hypertonicity of the spinal muscles;
- Lesion of the legs associated with excessive fatigue of the lower extremities, goose bumps and tingling, weakness and burning.
Lumbosacral spondylosis is characterized by long-term and asymptomatic development. Later, patients are worried about the following signs:
- Lumbar pain of a constant aching nature, often manifested after a long walk or standing. In the fetal position, the pain subsides;
- Lumbar stiffness significantly affects the range of motion of the patient, and if bone braces are formed, then the person can no longer serve himself;
- Problems with sensitivity in the gluteal and lumbar region, in the legs, in the perineum, and even in the genitals;
- Pain syndrome in the calves, manifested in the process of walking and associated with the tension of the calf muscles in the legs. When the torso is tilted forward, the pain in the calves subsides.
Pain is considered the main manifestation of spondylosis. In accordance with the localization of the pain syndrome, there is:
- Sacralgia – pain in the tailbone;
- Sciatica – pain caused by decreased blood circulation caused by innervation disorders in several vertebral sections at once;
- Lumbodynia – pain in the back, radiating to the buttocks, perineum, legs;
- Cervicalgia is pain in the neck.
Neurological syndromes of the disease
Most patients with spondylosis experience pain and sensory disturbances. Such manifestations often cause the development of symptoms of tension:
- Wasserman – pain in the lower back in the leg when it is extended in the hip joint;
- Neri – back pain when bending the head;
- Dejerine – increased back pain with physical exertion or coughing;
- Ankylosing spondylitis – lifting one leg, the patient feels pain in the other limb;
- Bragarda – raise the straightened leg and bend the back of the foot, then the pain in the hip will become more intense;
- Lasegue – raise the straightened lower limb up, standing straight, then there will be severe soreness in the thigh.
Static autonomic disorders
With spondylosis, patients are often concerned about autonomic disorders, manifested by soreness, which increases with weather changes.
A similar pain syndrome can be stabbing, itching or burning in nature.
Against the background of vertebral immobility, static disorders develop. Against this background, in patients with cervical spondylosis, lordosis is straightened , and with lumbar localization of spondylosis, in addition to vertebral curvatures , hernial processes also develop .
Spondylosis is also characterized by manifestations of a visceral nature:
- Abdominal syndrome occurs against the background of upper lumbar spondylosis, it is characterized by signs such as pain in the hypochondrium on the right and in the epigastric region, the patient loses his appetite, he is worried about belching and constipation;
- Cardiac syndrome is associated with soreness in the heart due to thoracic spondylosis.
How is spondyloarthrosis deformans treated?
The tactics of therapy is based on a set of specific measures aimed at eliminating symptomatic manifestations. The therapeutic process includes medication and physiotherapy, manual and acupuncture, as well as exercise therapy.
Drug therapy involves taking painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs like Diclofenac, Ibuprofen, Ketorolac, etc. Such drugs help to increase mobility and eliminate swelling and inflammation.
To improve tissue microcirculation and prevent puffiness, physiotherapeutic procedures such as massage, electrophoresis , etc. are shown .
Surgical treatment is aimed at achieving spinal stability and eliminating compression. Operations can be performed using several methods: laminectomy, discectomy, laminotomy, fusion, disc implantation, etc.
If spondylosis is at the 1st degree of its development, then it is quite possible, along with the main therapy, to use folk methods.
According to experts, an excellent therapeutic effect in the initial stages is achieved with the help of hirudotherapy. Aloe, lingonberry leaves, burdock compresses help well.
Exercise therapy exercises
Therapeutic and gymnastic classes are considered the mainstay of therapy for the first stage of spondylosis. Exercise therapy helps to strengthen the back muscles, which will prevent further progression of the pathological process.
Exercise therapy specialists recommend performing the elements of gymnastics regularly and for a long time, only then the training will relieve the excruciating pain and other spondylosis symptoms.
If osteophytes have formed on the cervical vertebrae, then it is recommended to put your right hand on the back of the head and rest your head against it, while resisting with your hand. Maintain the pressure for about 5-6 seconds, then change your hand.
If the spondylosis processes are localized in the area of the thoracic vertebrae, then it is recommended to do the following:
- Raise the stick over your head, then lower it back behind your back, freeze for 5-6 seconds. and go back;
- Stand up straight with your hands down. Raise the limbs up through the sides, at the same time stretch your head, but you cannot bend the lumbar region.
If spondylosis is localized on the lumbosacral vertebrae, then exercise therapy instructors recommend doing smooth twisting of the body in different directions from a supine position on the back.
In addition to the above elements, you can perform movements from the basic complex:
- Lying on your stomach on the floor, raise the upper half of the body;
- Swing your legs back and forth, do not bend your back;
- Squats with correct posture and legs apart at shoulder level;
- Lying on the floor with your stomach, stretch your arms forward, lift them up, stopping for 4-5 seconds, while keeping your back straight.
The main requirement for patients with spondylosis is the ability to maintain posture, this will help increase the effectiveness of exercise therapy.
Along with traditional therapeutic methods, patients with spondyloarthrosis are shown dietary nutrition that prevents excess calcium salts in the body.
It is necessary that the patient receives the norm of vitamins, minerals and proteins. But the consumption of tea or coffee is unacceptable, as is the presence in the diet of stone-forming products such as smoked meats, salt or spicy foods. It is also recommended to limit vegetable and animal fats.
If deforming spondylosis is not treated on time, then this is fraught with chronic pain syndrome, incontinence (urine or feces) or disability. Therefore, it is extremely important to start therapeutic measures in a timely manner.
Preventive measures against spondylosis are based on a balanced diet, remedial gymnastics, and an active lifestyle.
It is equally important to monitor weight and correct posture, to avoid overload and hypothermia. In the presence of osteochondrosis, it is imperative to undergo its treatment.
If professional activity is associated with permanent sitting, then once an hour you must get up and stretch, when dragging heavy objects, you should correctly distribute the load on the vertebrae. It is recommended to avoid activities in a bent position.