Vertebral artery syndrome in cervical osteochondrosis features, treatment

Vertebral artery syndrome in cervical osteochondrosis refers to serious diseases, with characteristic symptomatic signs. Experts recommend seeking help at the initial stages of the development of the disease, in order to prevent the formation of serious complications. Ignoring clinical signs and lack of treatment can lead to disability and disability.

The concept of pathology

Vertebro-basilar insufficiency is represented by a complex of symptoms that arise under the influence of insufficient intake of beneficial substances in brain cells.

The problem occurs with patency disorders of the blood lines localized near the spinal column, behind.


Vertebral artery syndrome, arising as a complication of cervical osteochondrosis, means the degenerative changes in the spinal column inherent in the older age period. The characteristic features of the disease include outbreaks of headaches, which are formed due to compression of nerve tissues and vessels of the spine. The pathological process can also occur in young people, characterized by rapid development.

Doctors distinguish several stages of pathology:

  1. Functional – circulatory disorders in the brain are minor. A constant lack of blood circulation in certain areas is not observed.
  2. Organic – stable circulatory failure is recorded in certain areas of the brain. Lack of professional assistance provokes the development of irreversible changes.

Education sources

The formation of cervical osteochondrosis of the vertebral artery syndrome is due to some conditions divided by specialists into a congenital and acquired type. The first subgroup includes anomalies in the development of arterial arteries. The patient may have extra bends in the vessels, a pronounced narrowing of their gaps. Such deviations pose a danger to the patient.

The second subgroup includes mechanical injuries of the spinal column, neoplasms, various diseases in the organ. Common problems are represented by osteochondrosis of the neck and its consequences: protrusions, hernias. As the disease develops, the leading artery is compressed, the primary signs are manifested by dizziness. The source of the pathology is not only the compression of the vessel by the intervertebral cartilaginous disks, but also the formed osteophytes – growths of bone tissue.

Symptomatic features

Clinical signs, as consequences of cervical osteochondrosis, are presented by the following indicators:

  • constant outbreaks of headache, reminiscent of a migraine, aggravated by any physical activity;
  • a decrease in hearing acuity with an extraneous hum in one of the ears, in some patients there is partial deafness;
  • problems with the functionality of the vestibular department – at the time of sudden movements there is an attack of dizziness, with a temporary loss of coordination.
  • changes in indicators of vision lead to its deterioration, the appearance of black dots in front of the eyes, discomfort in the organs of vision;
  • unstable functionality of the cardiovascular department – accelerated heartbeat, arrhythmic abnormalities, increased blood pressure;
  • violation of the functionality of the autonomic nervous department – there is thirst, a feeling of hunger, hot flushes;
  • the formation of oculosympathetic syndrome – with a slowdown in the reaction of the eyes to changes in light, the occurrence of ptosis;
  • problems with swallowing, severe nausea with bouts of vomiting;
  • short-term loss of consciousness.

If you ignore the characteristic symptomatic manifestations and the lack of professional help, the pathology can be complicated by the transient version of the ischemic attack.

Deviation is the cause of nausea with vomiting, increased marks of blood pressure, a state of weakness. Periodically, dysfunctions of the motor, sensory part of the body may occur.

Patients can independently suspect the development of the pathological process according to certain characteristics:

Headache attacks – uncomfortable sensations in the cervical spine radiate from the back of the head to the temporal region, can have a different level of severity. In certain positions of the head, the pain syndrome can completely disappear, at the moment of motor activity it can increase. To the characteristic signs of the disease, experts attribute pain at the time of palpation examination of the cervical vertebrae. The duration of discomfort can take from a few minutes to 2-3 hours.

Dizziness attacks – clinical manifestations occur after a night’s rest or a long stay in a horizontal position. Dizziness may occur after using high pillows. The use of the Shants orthopedic collar allows one to determine the existing type of pathological process – if the symptoms disappear when it is worn, then it can be said that cervical osteochondrosis with vertebral artery syndrome develops.

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Hearing problems – the formation of an extraneous hum in one of the ears reports the formation of an ailment from the same side. When remission is achieved, patients complain of small noises in the low frequency range. Before the occurrence of the next attack, the noise effect increases several times. The deviation is considered to be characterized by an increase in intensity at night and in the morning hours. The severity of the noise changes in accordance with the position of the head.

Short-term loss of consciousness – prolonged compression of blood vessels provokes fainting conditions. Negative manifestations occur with prolonged exposure of the neck in a straight state with the head laid back. Before loss of consciousness, the patient is followed by an attack of dizziness, partial loss of sensitivity of the face, temporary loss of vision in one of the organs of vision.


The determination of the present vertebral artery syndrome in cervical osteochondrosis begins with a palpation examination, collecting information about the symptomatic features, the time of their occurrence, and the level of severity. After a preliminary diagnosis is made, the patient is given directions for instrumental diagnostics:

  1. X-ray images – show pronounced changes in the localization of the joints, intervertebral discs. The data obtained are generalized and do not give a complete picture of the disease.
  2. Dopplerography – the technique helps to determine the level of narrowing of the gaps of the arterial vessels, structure anomalies, the presence of non-standard bends.
  3. MRI, CT – are among informative methods of examination, help to identify the slightest deviations in the structure of bone, soft tissues, arteries. According to the information received, the stage of the disease, the necessary therapeutic measures are determined.
  4. Biochemical blood tests – show hidden inflammatory reactions, if necessary, the resistance of pathogenic microflora to antibacterial substances is determined.

Features of therapy

The fight against the syndrome implies a comprehensive approach to the problem, includes medication, physiotherapy, the use of orthopedic products, massage sessions, exercise therapy, and surgical correction.

In the acute phase, the patient is recommended to use the Shants collar in order to reduce the load on the problem area. The orthopedic product is selected by the attending physician taking into account the nuances of the passing pathology, the general condition of the body.

Changes in the patient’s lifestyle

To obtain maximum effectiveness from all types of therapy, experts advise the patient to review their habits:

  • reduce the amount of salt used – per day the allowable amount should not exceed 5 grams;
  • control your own body weight – if necessary, reduce weight by diet menu and sports;
  • get rid of addiction to alcohol, tobacco products;
  • periodically check your cholesterol level;
  • avoid stress, unpleasant situations.

In the treatment of the syndrome, the following pharmacological subgroups are used:

  1. Metabolites – drugs improve metabolic processes at the cellular level: Mildronate, Idrinol, Medatern, Trimetazidine, Mildroxin, Melfor.
  2. NSAIDs – solve the problem of inflammatory processes, tissue swelling, pain, are used to treat the underlying disease. Treatment is carried out by Celecoxib, Nimesulide, Nise, Lornoxicam.
  3. Decongestants – cervical osteochondrosis provokes compression of not only arterial, but also venous vessels, provoking impaired blood outflow with subsequent formation of swelling in the tissues. Common medicines are Diosmin, Troxerutin, Troxevenol, Venorutinol, Normoven.
  4. Neuroprotectors – stabilize the work of nerve cells, prevent their death. Therapy is carried out by Cerebrolysin, Actovegin, Mexidol, Omaron, Cerebrovital, Nootropil.
  5. Restoring blood circulation – stabilization of blood circulation occurs both in the vertebral arteries and in the vessels of the brain. The treatment is carried out by Pentoxifylline, Vinpocetine, Instenon, Cinnarizine, Vincamine, Nimidopine.

All drugs are prescribed by the attending physician according to certain schemes, experts prohibit self-medication – an improperly selected drug or dosage can provoke undesirable results.

Manipulations help to quickly get rid of the painful sensations that arose with the syndrome. The basis of the blockade is Novocain or Lidocaine, antispasmodic, glucocorticoid drugs can be added. Blocking nerve endings leads to decreased sensitivity.

Novocainic blockade is not carried out in the presence of the following factors:

  • pronounced deformation changes in the spinal column at neck level;
  • chronic form of osteochondrosis;
  • infringement of the intervertebral discs, intolerance of the medications used.
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Procedures cannot lead to a full recovery, their action is aimed at getting rid of uncomfortable sensations. Blockades are carried out in short courses, at the time of the transition of the disease into an exacerbation phase. They can be prescribed in conjunction with injections of chondroprotectors – to improve metabolic processes in cartilage, reduce the level of swelling.

Exercise therapy, massage sessions

Massage is prescribed after the exacerbation, to reduce muscle tension, reduce compression of certain sections of the vertebral arteries. The procedures are held in a hospital, clinic, therapy includes 10-14 sessions, can be extended according to the recommendations of the attending physician. Experts warn that treatment in questionable massage rooms can provoke various complications: complete compression of the vessels, thromboembolism of the pulmonary arteries.

The course of exercise therapy is carried out after the massage. The technique of exercises is explained in detail to the patient by the instructor at the first meetings, in the future a lightened version of physiotherapy exercises is carried out at home.

With an exacerbation of the pathological process, separate procedures are used, presented:

  • electrophoresis – using ganglion blockers;
  • phonophoresis – with the appointment of analgesics;
  • Darsonval apparatus – with the treatment of the occipital areas;
  • diadynamic currents – manipulations are carried out for 5 minutes;
  • ultrasonic action in a pulsed mode.

After the exacerbation is removed, electrophoresis with a solution of iodine, Novocaine, Papaverine, Eufillin is allowed. Good results are shown by acupuncture, galvanization, magnetotherapy, laser therapy. Duration, number of sessions is prescribed by a doctor, during the procedure, control over the reaction of the body is periodically carried out.


It is distinguished by sufficient effectiveness due to a direct effect on the primary sources of the development of the disease. At the moment, surgical correction involves the use of:

  • removal of bone growths formed during osteochondrosis;
  • changes in the localization of disk hernias;
  • excision of the abnormal bone ring completely or partially surrounding the vertebral artery.

If the narrowing of the lumen in the vessels is provoked by a compression associated with secondary pathologies in the form of atherosclerotic disease and other conditions, then the following interventions are used:

  • endarterectomy – excision of the problematic gap on which atherosclerotic growths are localized;
  • stenting – an expanding skeleton is introduced into the affected artery, supporting the vessel in a standard state.

After surgery, the rehabilitation period includes physiotherapeutic procedures, drug therapy, exercise therapy, massage sessions. Preventive measures against possible relapses are mandatory.


Prevention of the development of vertebral artery syndrome in cervical osteochondrosis includes recommendations:

  • Reducing the load on the spinal column, increasing motor activity to reasonable aisles, reducing the time spent in a statistical position. Hiking, small workouts during working hours, morning exercises will help prevent the formation of cervical osteochondrosis.
  • Patients should constantly monitor posture, body weight, solve the problem of nicotine, alcohol addiction, review their usual diet. Timely seeking professional help will eliminate the occurrence of the syndrome.
Shishkevich Vladimir
Shishkevich Vladimir
Orthopedic doctor, traumatologist
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