What is osteochondrosis, how to live with it and can it be avoided?

If you have been diagnosed with osteochondrosis, do not be alarmed. No one has died from this disease yet. Although, of course, when for no reason, the neck, shoulders and back begin to hurt, arms and legs go numb, tinnitus and dizziness appear – it’s not pleasant enough.

Today, when every second inhabitant of the Earth suffers from osteochondrosis, doctors seriously thought: “Maybe this is not a disease at all, but an adaptive reaction of the body?” Be that as it may, osteochondrosis gives a person a lot of inconvenience. And most often, women over 30 get it from him.

What it is?

Despite the fact that “chondros” in Greek means “cartilage”, osteochondrosis most often means not all damage to cartilage, but only problems with spinal cartilage. With osteochondrosis, the intervertebral discs – special cartilage structures that provide our spine with flexibility and mobility, become defective. It all begins with this. When osteochondrosis progresses, irreversible changes occur already in the vertebrae themselves.


The main cause of osteochondrosis is an incorrect distribution of the load on the spine, which leads to a change in the cartilage tissue in places of excessive pressure. Anything can provoke the disease: the vertebrae “knocked out” as a result of an injury, weakened back muscles, stoop and lateral S-shaped curvature of the spine, dragging and dropping weights, and simply prolonged holding an uncomfortable posture.

Osteochondrosis can develop not only in people with poor posture, engaged in mental work, but also those who are physically well trained – for example, athletes and movers. In addition to purely mechanical causes, the development of osteochondrosis is also caused by metabolic disorders (for example, calcium and phosphorus), a lack of trace elements and vitamins (magnesium, manganese, zinc, vitamins D and F). It is possible that hereditary predisposition plays an important role in this.

What’s happening?

When lifting weights, jumping, falling and the like influences on the intervertebral discs, the maximum load falls. As a result, these cartilaginous discs are constantly injured, and they cannot cure themselves. As you know, cartilage tissue, like nervous tissue, is practically not restored. Damaged intervertebral discs lose their elastic properties over time, flatten, and the distance between the vertebrae decreases. And this means that the nerve roots extending from the spinal cord are pinched, pain occurs. At the same time, swelling appears in the area of ​​the clamping of the neurovascular bundle, which leads to its even greater infringement and intensification of pain. If the intervertebral disc has already begun to collapse, it ceases to depreciate, is even more injured, and gradually the spine loses its flexibility. In 95% of cases, the cause of lumbosacral radiculitis is osteochondrosis of the intervertebral disc.

How to recognize

The main sign of osteochondrosis is pain. Depending on where the damaged intervertebral discs are located, the neck, shoulder, arm, back, and even chest can be hurt. Sometimes a person thinks that he has problems with his heart, but in fact, it is a nerve pinched as a result of osteochondrosis. Along with pain, a person often feels overstrain and numbness of muscles. If the blood vessels that feed the brain are squeezed, headache, dizziness, tinnitus, double vision, nausea and vomiting appear.


With such complaints, you need to contact a neurologist or traumatologist. He will conduct an examination of the spine, and if necessary, prescribe a radiography, computed or magnetic resonance imaging. Check how things are with cerebral circulation.


Treatment of osteochondrosis is a long process that requires a person to have great willpower and free time. There are enough methods to combat the disease: pills (not always effective), manual therapy, massage and therapeutic exercises. Someone prefers to be treated with traditional medicine – can massage, hirudotherapy (leeches), traction, acupuncture, metal therapy and bee venom. In cases where osteochondrosis is complicated by a herniated disc, a person is sent for surgery.


For the prevention of radiculitis and osteochondrosis, experts advise the following:
Timely conduct correction of spinal curvature and posture disorders in early school age.
Actively engage in sports, which will form a muscle corset. No “standing” near the wall and “trying” to sit directly will not replace your muscles, which themselves must take care of your posture, even when you do not think about it. Follow a diet with foods that are high in calcium and magnesium (fish and other seafood, cabbage, spinach, beans, nuts, seeds, peas, wholemeal bread and fresh milk from healthy cows) and a full range of vitamins. Fight overweight. When carrying heavy loads, ensure an even load on both hands, carrying backpacks instead of bags. Lifting weights only using the legs, not the spine, as weightlifters do. Avoid twisting the spine while moving the load. And – hanging, hanging, hanging on the horizontal bar, not only stretching the spine, but also strengthening the arms.

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