Widespread osteochondrosis of the spine – all about this disease

The spine has three main functions:

  1. The pivot is the axis of the human body, the foundation on which “all structures rest” if you compare it with a building.
  2. Protective – creates a secure cover for the spinal cord.
  3. Amortization – occurs due to “pads” – intervertebral discs. Their structure allows to mitigate dynamic and static loads on the pole.

Human health is directly related to the condition of the spine. Knowledge about diseases of the column, the causes of their occurrence, prevention, treatment will help improve the condition of the spine. And, therefore, to improve the quality of life.

What is common spinal osteochondrosis

Intervertebral discs age and wear out with age. Disorders in the tissues of the discs are also caused by sharp loads on the spine and an improper lifestyle. Changes in the condition of the discs, the location of the vertebrae relative to each other provokes osteochondrosis.

If problems in the spine occur in two or more of its parts, then this indicates a disease with widespread osteochondrosis.

This form of the disease is considered severe. According to statistics, about thirteen percent of patients with osteochondrosis have this diagnosis. More often the defeat of this ailment is observed after forty years. Experts note that the disease is “getting younger”.

The main causes of the disease

The vertebrae and intercostal discs, like other tissues of the body, constantly renew themselves . For new cells to be healthy and ready for a full load, they must be properly nourished.

The discs have no vessels and are nourished from adjacent tissues. For it to be sufficient, it is necessary to improve blood circulation in the tissues around the disc through muscle activity. Adequate physical activity is essential for the health of the spine.

The following factors cause painful manifestations in the spine:

  • age-related changes,
  • corset muscle dystrophy,
  • spinal injury
  • insufficient physical activity,
  • transferred operations,
  • excessive physical activity,
  • food with an imbalanced balance of essential substances,
  • osteochondrosis of one part of the spine loads other parts and provokes disturbances in them , the presence of rheumatoid factor.


The set of symptoms can be varied, depending on which areas of the spine are affected by the disease. The first signal may be recurrent back pain. Their appearance is more often from a sudden movement, falling or lifting weights.

The nature of the pain can be:

  • slight discomfort
  • dull pulling pain signals,
  • lumbago with intense pain load.

Cervical spine: signs of the disease

It is expressed by discomfort in the interscapular zone, shoulders. Painful sensations can be in the chest, upper section and in the arms. Numbness and tingling are observed in these places.


  • the timbre of the voice changes,
  • frequent headaches
  • hypertension or hypotension,
  • dizziness
  • violations of coordination of movement,
  • deterioration of dental health,
  • impaired vision and hearing.

Manifestations in the thoracic region

  • Pain on movement of the chest caused by sneezing, deep breathing, laughing.
  • Limited movements of the neck, arms, trunk.
  • Intercostal neuralgia worries.
  • Functional disorders of internal organs.

In the lumbar

  • Feeling of pain when walking.
  • Difficulty urinating and defecating.
  • Tingling and burning sensations in the legs and back.
  • Sometimes spontaneous muscle spasms, weakness in them
  • Concerned about sexual dysfunction.

Diagnostic measures


To clarify the diagnosis, anamnesis is taken. A careful analysis of the patient’s complaints is made. This takes into account the age of the patient.

X-ray examinations

Such research is of several types in terms of complexity and accuracy.

  1. X-ray of the spine – shows if there is damage to the intervertebral discs, changes in the vertebrae. An x-ray of the entire spinal column or segment is performed where pain is disturbed.
  2. Myelography – the condition of the spinal canal is determined, hernias are diagnosed. During examination, a contrast agent is injected into the canal. This method is dangerous due to the possible reaction of the body to the contrast agent and in the fact that the possibility of some damage to the spinal cord during its administration is not excluded.
  3. Computed tomography is the safest, most modern diagnostic method. During the examination, they receive complete detailed information about the state of the spine, which allows an accurate diagnosis to be established, and this is important.

If there is a hernia, then the patient in some cases can determine its location and then be sure to seek medical help:

  • Numbness in the little and fourth toes indicates a problem in the eighth segment.
  • If the third and index fingers go numb, then the hernia is at the level of the sixth and seventh vertebrae.
  • Numbness of the thumb and forefinger – a hernia is diagnosed at the level of the fifth and sixth vertebrae.

See also: Treatment of vertebral artery syndrome in cervical osteochondrosis.


  1. As a result of aging discs, they change. The space between adjacent vertebrae is reduced and they are displaced. The role of keeping them in the correct position is taken over by the muscles and, as a result, are in tension.
  2. The body, in order to protect the vertebrae with a thinned and not flexible enough spacer from deformations, builds thickenings at their edges – osteophytes. These formations fix the vertebrae, partially immobilizing them to varying degrees.
  3. Displaced vertebrae in the cervical spine can compress the vertebral arteries and thereby impair cerebral circulation. As a result, a whole bunch of diseases arise, because the brain controls many processes.
  4. A modified disc, when squeezed by the vertebrae, can form a hernia. If this trouble happened in the thoracic and cervical spine – painful sensations in the hands, their weakness. It will be more and more difficult to perform precise movements with your hands.
  5. A hernia of the lumbar spine can lead to paralysis of the lower limbs, urinary problems and sexual dysfunctions.
  6. Compression of the nerve due to changes in the lumen between the vertebrae causes inflammation. This leads to pain and deterioration of the functions of the organ responsible for the injured nerve.

Treatment during exacerbation and remission

This diagnosis indicates that treatment is imperative and the sooner the better. With the persistence of the doctor and patient, success is possible.

Conservative treatment is indicated if there are no health complications.

It includes:

  1. Diet
  2. Drug treatment, drugs are used:
    • analgesics – Piroxicam Tramadol Finalgon ointment,
    • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) – Diclofenac, Indomethacin,
    • antidepressants – Desipramine , Amitriptyline, Imipramine .
  3. Physiotherapy
  4. Complex therapy, which may consist of the following procedures prescribed by a doctor:
    • electrostimulation,
    • acupuncture,
    • laser therapy,
    • magnetopuncture ,
    • vacuum therapy,
    • pharmacopuncture ,
    • manual therapy.
  5. Surgery – if there are complications from the disease, such as a hernia or sciatica. Often, surgery is used with a late visit to the doctor.

One of the schemes used in recovery

  • Appointment of the correct motor regime.
  • Examination is mandatory tomography.
  • The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Immobilization – immobilization of problem areas, for example, the use of a cervical collar.
  • Manual therapy is used.

If a visit to a doctor was timely, a complete cure is possible. In any case, as a result of treatment, it is possible to stop pathological changes in the spine and relieve pain.

Some differences

During an exacerbation:

  • Medical elimination of pain and acute inflammation.
  • Immobilizing the site with a problem – a corset, a collar.
  • Novocaine blockade is performed .

When the condition of a patient suffering from widespread osteochondrosis goes into remission, the doctor prescribes procedures that load the body somewhat. It can be manual therapy and remedial gymnastics and others.


The doctor prescribes a set of special exercises for the patient. They are aimed at strengthening the entire spine, strengthening the muscles supporting the spine, are gentle and should be performed under the supervision of an experienced instructor. During exacerbations, physiotherapy exercises are not prescribed.

Exercise reduces pain, improves blood circulation in the tissues around the vertebrae, and has a general health-improving focus. The course is designed for a month of classes.

The instructor will explain which exercises can only be performed on a solid foundation. There are movements that are recommended to be done in bed when you wake up.

The exercises are complemented by the recommendation to sleep only on a firm mattress and, if possible, go swimming. Breaststroke style and backstroke are especially shown.

At the end of the course of treatment, you should lead a healthy lifestyle and follow a diet. It is necessary to create payloads on the spine that are approved by the doctor. Widespread osteochondrosis requires careful attention to your health.

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