The consequences of this disease are fraught with the risk of disability and loss of mobility. At the same time, paying attention to the most insignificant signs of pathological changes, back discomfort and other symptoms, such serious consequences can be avoided. This will help and knowledge of the causes, categories of people at risk of this disease. These are several arguments why it is time for people at the age of forty to think about the likelihood of common osteochondrosis.
Description of the disease
Pathology is common for people over 45 years old. It affects both men and women. Under certain conditions and lifestyle, common osteochondrosis develops in patients of younger age groups due to overload, primary diseases and other provoking circumstances.
About 13% of all episodes of osteochondrosis occur in a common form of the disease.
The disease is considered chronic and is characterized by changes in properties and structure, as well as the anatomical position of the vertebrae and intervertebral discs.
A feature of the common form of osteochondrosis is that it affects entire areas of the spinal column. Pathology can cover several such sites or individual vertebrae in the cervical, lumbar or thoracic spine at once.
There are two forms of common osteochondrosis – extensive and moderate.
This disease in both forms is at risk of a transition to a generalized form, in which the disease affects every spinal vertebra. In addition, the consequences in the absence of proper treatment can be renal and liver dysfunction, earlier aging of connective tissues, the formation of an intervertebral hernia, cardiovascular abnormalities, urination problems, and impaired metabolism.
When the vertebrae of the cervical artery are pinched, problems with local blood flow and lymph circulation can occur. As a consequence of this, especially with damage to the blood vessels of the cervical spine, memory problems occur, migraine appears, and vision deteriorates.
Anatomical changes in the vertebrae provoke a curvature of the back, resulting in additional pressure on the organs of the chest cavity and abdomen.
Hence, the risk of respiratory diseases and complications in the gastrointestinal tract increases.
Causes of Common Osteochondrosis
Age-related changes in the tissues of the musculoskeletal system most often provoke the development of this anomaly. The vertebrae that have lost their flexibility are prone to displacement, and as a result of this, bone tumors form on them.
In addition, the causes of common osteochondrosis can be:
- Inactivity and sedentary work;
- Abrupt interruption of intense training;
- The consequences of congenital malformations of the spinal column;
- Postural curvature due to excessive exercise or workload;
- The development of scoliosis;
- Disorder of hormonal functions;
- Impaired metabolism;
- Frequent hypothermia;
- Lack of solar radiation;
- Injury and vibrational stress on the vertebrae of the back.
Most of the reasons belong to the groups of causes of a mechanical and nutritional nature – they make up the category of primary factors. As a secondary disease, this disease can occur as a result of the inflammatory process, infectious diseases, pathologies of the musculoskeletal system (arthritis, arthrosis, hernias, and so on).
The very first and most tangible sign with a common form of osteochondrosis is pain. In the early stages, it is pulling in nature with extensive manifestation along the entire height of the back.
Subsequently, the pains become debilitating, periodic, and then stable. As the pathology develops, the pain syndrome acquires an acute piercing character, often with cutting or stitching sensations.
If in the process of the disease there is a pinching of the nerve roots, then the pains become aching and intense.
Other characteristic signs of this disease are:
- Frequent dizziness;
- Deterioration of vision;
- Stable shortness of breath as physical activity increases or when walking fast;
- Difficulties with hearing – partial moderate deafness, tinnitus, sounds of periodic whistling;
- Shortness of breath and acute forms of respiratory disease;
- Sounds of crunch during physical activity in the spine;
- Silence in the upper limbs and legs;
- Decreased joint mobility
- Moderate lameness.
For individual sections of the back are characterized by their clinical signs. So, with the localization of the disease in the neck, problems of the respiratory system, dizziness and increased blood pressure more often occur. The condition of the teeth and eyes worsens, the timbre of the voice may change.
With an exacerbation of the disease in the thoracic spine, numbness of the upper and lower extremities is added to these symptoms. Pain occurs when sneezing or laughing, intercostal neuralgia, movements of the arms, trunk and neck are limited.
If the pathology of the lower back is affected, the temperature may rise, difficulties are experienced with tilting and turning the body, there is genital dysfunction, urination problems appear, and stitching sensations in the legs.
Methods of diagnosis
In addition to the clinical picture in establishing an accurate diagnosis and in order to distinguish the disease from similar pathologies, the following clinical examinations, analyzes and instrumental examinations are prescribed:
- Laboratory blood tests – samples of general, detailed analysis and biochemistry;
- Examination of urine tests;
- Palpation of the spinal column;
- Percussion (tapping) of the spine;
- X-ray to detect curvature, damage and anatomy of the vertebrae;
- Computed tomography to determine the general condition of the entire spine;
- Myelography – to establish pathologies of the spinal canal, detection of hernias, protrusion.
The anamnesis complements the diagnostic picture – a set of information obtained when describing the sensations by the patient himself, as well as the conclusions of the doctor based on it.
Treatment of a common form of osteochondrosis
The course of effective treatment of common osteochondrosis in this disease includes a set of measures, procedures and tools.
Such therapy aims to:
- Elimination of pain;
- Removal of inflammation;
- Restoration of the structure of spinal tissues;
- Rehabilitation of mobility and back functions.
In the first stages of treatment, the main task is to eliminate the pain syndrome. And for this purpose, drugs of groups of anesthetics and anti-inflammatory non-steroidal medicines are prescribed:
- It is long;
To relieve muscle tension and spasms, sedative agents such as antispasmodics and sedatives are indicated. These include Midokalm, Sirdalud, Baclofen, as well as Gidazepam, Eglonil.
Painkillers and relief blockades are prescribed using novocaine or lidocaine. They prevent the spread of pain and limit the area of the inflammatory focus. For this, antibiotics (penicillin, amoxicillin) and sulfa drugs are added to the drugs, most often streptomycin sulfate.
The restoration of tissues of the spinal column with common osteochondrosis is promoted by the course of chondroprotective agents. They improve the flexibility of cartilage, promote the production of collagen and elastin, and trigger the natural processes of regeneration and restoration of functions in the spinal vertebrae. Only a doctor can prescribe drugs. This group includes Rumalon, Chondroxide, Glucosamine, Chondroetin, Aflutol, Arthra, Teraflex.
In order to normalize blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain and spinal cord, vasodilator preparations are shown – Trental, Actovegin, Berlition.
Physiotherapy and exercise therapy
Along with medical methods, physiotherapy methods are also highly effective in the common form of osteochondrosis:
- Exposure to magnetic and low-frequency radio waves;
- Mud therapy;
- Massage treatments
- Sharko shower;
- Laser therapy.
At the same time, at all stages of the disease, it is useful to perform exercises from a special treatment-and-prophylactic complex:
- Smooth turns of the head and neck first, then the thoracic and lumbar. Legs should remain in place;
- Inclined forward, sideways and backward until the first discomfort in the back;
- Rotational movements of the legs and arms with flexion in the knee, hip, elbow and shoulder joints.
The first cycle of exercise therapy is best performed under the supervision of a doctor. The complication and increase in the intensity of classes should increase with the appearance of a feeling of lightness in the back, joints and the whole body.
Prevention of common osteochondrosis
With a tendency to curvature of the spine, it is advisable to use furniture with hard upholstery, a bed with an elastic mattress. It is necessary to spend less time in a sitting position, which is important for office workers and drivers.
You should sleep in a position comfortable for your back. It is imperative to avoid increased physical exertion, training, weight lifting. With a long stay in one position, it is more often to change the position of the legs, to do the tilting of the head.
Only with the comprehensive observance of all these measures, with the timely detection of symptoms of common osteochondrosis and knowledge of the basics of therapeutic measures, it is possible to avoid the serious consequences of this disease. But the main thing is to apply this knowledge clearly, in stages and in full in their lives.
Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews.
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