Osteochondrosis of the 1st degree of the lumbar spine is a degenerative-dystrophic disease that occurs due to flattening of the intervertebral discs. Pathology is asymptomatic in 60% of cases, therefore, remains unnoticed by a person. In other patients, osteochondrosis is clinically manifested by mild discomfort in the lower back.
Diagnosing pathology of the 1st degree is quite difficult. When conducting the most informative x-ray examination on the images obtained, specific signs of osteochondrosis may be absent.
Characteristic features of the disease
Osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine of the 1st degree is considered the starting point, after which the pathology begins to progress, involving in the dystrophic process all new structures of the spinal column. The destructive and degenerative changes that have arisen in the intervertebral discs are still insignificant and do not have a pronounced effect on the functioning of the musculoskeletal system.
The destroyed areas of the intervertebral discs usually cannot be restored, especially in elderly patients due to the slow regeneration of cartilage due to natural causes. But young people, with due diligence, following all the doctor’s recommendations, can improve the condition of the discs. They have fast recovery processes, metabolism is accelerated, and enough collagen is produced in the body.
Unlike the pathology affecting the cervical or thoracic vertebrae, lumbar osteochondrosis of the 1st degree is clinically manifested even in the early stages. In the lower back there are discomfort during severe exertion, for example, after lifting weights or intense sports training. They are very similar to muscle strain, so they are mistaken for physical fatigue. The fact that there are problems with the spine, can suggest the accompanying symptoms of osteochondrosis of the 1st degree of the lumbar:
- the appearance of weak, pulling, aching, pressing pain in the lower back with hypothermia, overwork, a sharp change in weather or during the flu, SARS, intestinal infections;
- a feeling of stiffness of movements began to arise when tilting or turning the body;
- sensitivity is gradually upset, there are sensations of numbness and tingling, “creeping creeps.”
At the final stage of osteochondrosis of the 1st degree, soreness of the lower back is observed more often, and its intensity increases. The appearance of discomfort is already predisposed not by heavy physical exertion, but simply by a long walk or gardening.
Each degree of osteochondrosis corresponds to its own radiographic stage. This helps to diagnose the pathology, but often causes confusion in patients. The degree characterizes the features of symptoms, and the stage – structural and morphological changes in the spine. Lumbar osteochondrosis corresponds to both 1 (preclinical) radiographic stage and the second. Therefore, when studying the obtained images, the neuropathologist may not detect destruction of the intervertebral discs. But more often the cartilaginous tissue densification typical of stage 2 is detected. The stability of the spine is preserved, but an increase in the hooked processes of the vertebral bodies is already clearly visible. The intervertebral disc is minimally displaced, but a violation of the structure of the fibrous capsule has occurred.
If tissue destruction provoked even a slight aseptic inflammatory process, then it can be detected using MRI or CT performed without using contrast.
The most serious danger of lumbar osteochondrosis of the 1st degree is its smooth transition to the next stage of development. If this happens, then the patient is diagnosed with a pathology of the 2nd degree, which is difficult to conservative therapy. In this case, not only can not partially restore the disks – there are difficulties with stopping the destructive-degenerative process.
Any destruction of tissues, including cartilage, often accompanies inflammation. It is weak, sluggish, not disrupting the work of the vertebral lumbar segments. But the inflammatory process becomes the cause of the attachment of a bacterial infection. And this predisposes to faster tissue breakdown.
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With lumbar osteochondrosis of the 1st degree, intervertebral jumpers begin to be damaged. Such changes are not reflected in the patient’s well-being, but they provoke an accelerated formation of an intervertebral hernia.
The main methods of treatment
The treatment of osteochondrosis of the 1st degree of the lumbar is complex and lengthy. Since many patients do not experience uncomfortable sensations, some of them neglect medical recommendations. Therefore, they again turn to a neurologist with persistent lower back pain, indicating damage not only to the disks, but also to the vertebral bodies. Doctors always warn patients about a long therapeutic course. The prognosis for recovery will be favorable when using several methods to improve blood circulation in the lower back. This contributes to the flow of nutrients into damaged tissues, accelerates metabolism and regeneration.
At the final stage of osteochondrosis of the 1st degree there are weak aching pains. In most cases, their elimination does not require the use of systemic drugs – tablets and injection solutions. You can get rid of pain with ointments or gels. They are rubbed into the lower back with the appearance of uncomfortable sensations 1-2 times a day.
|A group of drugs for external use used in the treatment of lumbar osteochondrosis of the 1st degree||Name of medicines|
|Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs||Voltaren, Arthrosilen, Ketoprofen, Nise, Nimesulide, Fastum, Ibuprofen, Indomethacin, Dolgit|
|Means with a warming, locally irritating, distracting effect||Capsicam, Finalgel, Apizartron, Viprosal, Nayatoks, Efkamon, Bom Bengue, Gevkamen, Arthro-Aktiv|
All patients take drugs or dietary supplements, which include chondroitin and / or glucosamine. Chondroprotectors stimulate the restoration of cartilage, which is microtraumatic during movement.
At the same time, glucosamine and chondroitin strengthen ligaments and tendons, increase the quality of synovial fluid. With pathology 2 or 3 degrees, taking these drugs is useless. Neurologists prescribe chondroprotectors to patients with lumbar osteochondrosis of the 1st degree, when regeneration of intervertebral discs is possible. The highest therapeutic efficacy is characteristic of Teraflex, Structum, Arthra.
Physical therapy helps to prevent further destruction of the intervertebral discs, to get rid of all the uncomfortable sensations in the lower back. This is the only effective method of therapy with which you can restore the previous functional activity of the spine. Thanks to daily exercises, the muscular corset of the back is strengthened, blood circulation in the area of damaged discs is accelerated, and local immunity is increased.
Exercises for training are selected by the doctor of exercise therapy, based on the physical preparation of the patient and the results of radiography. Under his control, the first classes are held. The doctor shows how to perform the exercises correctly so that the lumbar spine is not exposed to excessive loads.
All physiotherapeutic procedures help to improve blood circulation in the lower back:
This result can be achieved by conducting a course of acupressure, classic, vacuum massage. Mud therapy, hirudotherapy, and manual therapy help normalize the blood supply of tissues with nutrients and oxygen.
If a person has osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine of the 1st degree, then, no matter how strange it sounds, he is very lucky. Only at the initial stage of development does pathology lend itself well to conservative therapy, and the prognosis for recovery is favorable.
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