How to treat osteochondrosis at home Medications, exercise therapy, diet, massage

Therapy for osteochondrosis is to eliminate the symptoms, achieve a stable remission. A patient with cervical, thoracic, lumbosacral pathology is hospitalized for acute back pain, usually caused by displacement of the intervertebral disc. In all other cases, treatment of osteochondrosis takes place at home. It consists in the use of pharmacological preparations, compliance with a gentle regimen, physical education and gymnastics.

What is osteochondrosis

Osteochondrosis is a degenerative-dystrophic pathology that progresses rapidly without medical intervention. Under the influence of negative factors, the intervertebral discs lose their ability to retain moisture. This leads to a violation of trophism, a deficiency of nutrients in the cartilage tissues. The intervertebral discs become dense, thinner, their surface is covered with radial cracks.

They are no longer able to perform a cushioning function, which leads to instability of the vertebral structures, their displacement beyond the boundaries of the spinal canal. The vertebral bodies are also deformed – bone growths (osteophytes) are formed on them.

Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologistShishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews.

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Disorder of trophic intervertebral discs occurs due to excessive physical exertion, a sedentary lifestyle. In older people, pathology appears due to the natural aging of the body – a decrease in collagen production, a slowdown in regeneration processes. The following diseases can also provoke the development of osteochondrosis:

  • autoimmune pathologies – rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus;
  • endocrine diseases – hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus;
  • hematopoiesis, circulatory disorders, metabolic disorders.

The prerequisites for the destruction of the intervertebral discs are obesity, smoking, wearing high-heeled shoes, congenital and acquired abnormalities of the structure of the spine.


At the initial stage of development, the pathology is asymptomatic. There are weak aching back pain after exercise, disappearing after a short rest. But over time, their intensity increases. Pain intensifies when bending, bending, climbing stairs. Other characteristic signs of osteochondrosis appear:

  • crunch, clicks when walking or changing body position;
  • restriction of movements.

At the stage of remission, back pain is weak. Uncomfortable sensations arise with hypothermia, weight lifting, change of weather.

Ways to treat osteochondrosis at home

Preparations with which it would be possible to restore the destroyed disks and vertebrae have not yet been synthesized. Therefore, the treatment of osteochondrosis is aimed at preventing the progression of the disease. All methods used in the treatment are based on the acceleration of blood circulation, replenishment of nutrient reserves in cartilage and bone tissues.

To improve the well-being of the patient allows the wearing of orthopedic appliances. For cervical pathology, Shants collars are used; for chest and lumbar osteochondrosis, soft bandages with a warming effect or elastic corsets with rigid inserts made of plastic and metal are used.

Medication Therapy

The first-choice drugs in the symptomatic treatment of osteochondrosis are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Intramuscular administration of Ortofen, Ksefokam, Movalis solutions allows to stop acute pain.

If the pain syndrome is slightly expressed, then you can get rid of it by taking pills. This is Ketorol, Nise, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac, Etoricoxib.

Weak discomfort is eliminated by local application of gels and ointments – Voltaren, Fastum, Arthrosilen, Nimesulide, Finalgel.

Drugs used in the treatment of osteochondrosisNames of medicinesTherapeutic action
GlucocorticosteroidsDiprospan, Kenalog, Phlosterone, Dexamethasone, MethylprednisoloneThey stop inflammatory processes, have analgesic, antiexudative, immunosuppressive effects
Muscle relaxantsBaclofen, Baclosan, Midokalm, Sirdalud, TizanidinThey relax skeletal muscles, eliminate compression by muscle spasms of the spinal roots, blood vessels
ChondroprotectorsArthra, Structum, Teraflex, Alflutop, DonPartially restore the cartilage tissue of the intervertebral discs, exhibit anti-inflammatory, analgesic activity
Ointments with a warming effectViprosal, Capsicam, Finalgon, Apizartron, NayatoksSubcutaneous receptors irritate, distracting a person from pain, improve blood circulation and microcirculation

Physical exercise exercises

Acceptance of chondroprotectors and physiotherapy will not give such a therapeutic effect as daily physical therapy and gymnastics classes. A set of exercises is developed individually for the patient by an exercise therapy doctor. Not only the localization of the pathology, but also the physical preparation of the patient, the x-ray stage of osteochondrosis are taken into account. The complex necessarily includes the following exercises:

  • with damage to the cervical structures – tilts, turns, rotation of the head;
  • with damage to the thoracic and lumbar discs – inclinations, body turns, walking with the knees raised high.

The main tasks of exercise therapy are improving blood supply to tissues with nutrients, strengthening the muscular back frame to stabilize the discs and vertebrae. But when doing the exercises, microtrauma of the vertebral structures is unacceptable. Therefore, all movements should be smooth, slightly slowed down, with a small amplitude.

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Therapeutic diet

For any pathologies of the musculoskeletal system, nutritionists recommend limiting the use of salt and spices in the diet, which often leads to the formation of edema. Food should not be salted during cooking, but with food. Of the spices, you need to choose only those that do not change the water-electrolyte balance in the body, for example, cinnamon, cardamom, dry paprika.

It is necessary to limit, and it is better to completely abandon fried, smoked products, convenience foods, fast food.

The most useful for osteochondrosis food is steamed or stewed in a small amount of water. It is advisable to include a little oily fish (salmon, herring) in the daily menu to remove cholesterol from the blood vessels.

Massage for osteochondrosis

Classical, segmental, acupressure is used in the treatment of osteochondrosis to eliminate muscle hypertonicity and restore optimal blood circulation. The masseur acts on spasmodic muscles, performing rubbing, stroking, uses vibrating, chopping movements. Neurologists recommend visiting a massage room not only for treatment, but also for the prevention of painful relapses.

Manual or hardware vacuum massage is also in demand. When conducting medical procedures, glass, ceramic, plastic, bamboo cans are used. They are installed on biologically active points, and then are slightly displaced along the surface of the body. The combination of vacuum and mechanical action allows you to get rid of all the symptoms of the disease in 5-7 sessions.


Mixtures for compresses are prepared immediately before the procedure. They are distributed with a thick layer on the skin, covered with plastic wrap and a warm cloth, the bandage is fixed with a gauze or elastic bandage. If the mixture contains no substances with a local irritating effect, then it is left overnight. Compresses with tincture of cinquefoil, red pepper, essential oils hold for about 1-2 hours.

Most often, fresh leaves of burdock, horseradish, dandelion, plantain, and cabbage are used for the procedures. They are crushed, add a tablespoon of honey and evenly distributed on the skin. Compresses with sea salt eliminate well stiffness. A teaspoon of salt is diluted in 0,5 cups of warm water, moistened with a sterile napkin and applied to the area of ​​pain.

Infusions and decoctions

Doctors recommend with osteochondrosis drink at least 2,5 liters of fluid per day. In addition to water, fruit drinks and compotes, you can use infusions of medicinal plants. To prepare a vitamin drink, put 5 dry rosehip berries, viburnum, lingonberries, juniper, barberry in a thermos, pour 2,5 cups boiling water. After 3 hours, the infusion is cooled, filtered, taken 100 ml 3 times a day after meals.

A lingonberry decoction is also useful. Pour a tablespoon of dry plant material into a small saucepan, pour 0,5 l of hot water, bring to a boil. They simmer under the lid for about 10 minutes, cool. Take 3 tablespoons 2 times a day after meals.


At home, you can make applications with ozokerite or paraffin – substances that retain heat well. They are sold in pharmacies in the form of crystalline powders. About 100 g of the granular mixture is melted in a water bath at a temperature of 50-60 ° C, and then cooled to 40 ° C. They take a wooden flat scapula or a wide brush and apply a layer of warm mass on the skin over the affected vertebral structures. After it dries a little, they distribute the same amount of ozokerite or paraffin. In total 3-4 layers are applied. From above, the solidified mass is covered with a film, a thick cloth and left for 1 hour.


Most therapeutically effective in osteochondrosis of any localization of grinding with saber. In a container of dark glass with a volume of 1 liter put half a glass of crushed dry rhizomes and a glass of grass. Pour vodka or diluted equal amount of water with 96% alcohol to the neck. Insist in a warm place for 2-3 months, periodically shaking the jar. Do not filter, and as necessary, pour a couple of tablespoons of brown liquid and rub into the back for pain.

If desired, you can add a pod of red pepper or 2-3 cloves of garlic when insisted. People with sensitive skin should not grind with vodka, but with vegetable oil.

Healing baths

In the treatment of osteochondrosis, salt baths are used that have a restorative and tonic effect on the patient’s body. 200 g of sea salt are dissolved in 2 l of hot water. The bath is filled with warm water, the concentrated solution is poured, and thoroughly stirred. The duration of the procedure is no more than half an hour. Then take a shower and rub it thoroughly with a towel.


So that the intervertebral discs do not begin to collapse, it is necessary to exclude from the usual lifestyle all the factors that provoke their destruction. You can not be in one body position for a long time, subject the spine to excessive loads. Doctors recommend quitting smoking, replenishing the diet with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Anatoly Kudravets

Anatoly Kudravets, Orthopedic Traumatologist. He works with severe cases, practices operative methods of treating connective tissues