Osteoarthrosis of the lumbar spine

Almost every person at least once faced with the appearance of back pain, but not everyone thinks that this may be the first sign of a dangerous disease. Osteoarthrosis of the lumbar spine is associated with destructive processes in the cartilage and bone tissues, pathology can also affect the cervical and thoracic regions. The disease can be stopped in the early stages, so it is important not to miss the first signs and start treatment in a timely manner.

What happens to the peripheral and lumbar joints of the spine?

In osteoarthritis of the peripheral joints and lumbar joints of the spine, deformational changes in the bone structure are observed. At the same time, primary inflammatory processes and thinning of the cartilage occur in the joints. The main symptom of osteoarthritis of the lumbar, thoracic and cervical joints of the spine is pain discomfort, which without proper treatment progresses as the disease progresses.

The joint is responsible for performing the motor function due to hyaline cartilage, which is an elastic vitreous mass with a thickness of 1 to 8 mm. Between him and the tendons is fibrous cartilage, capable of stretching and contracting, while it is experiencing great stress. Its composition comprises 80% of water and 20% of organic elements and salts. Features of the composition and structure of the cartilage of the lumbar, cervical spine can provide the following functions:

  • ensures the quality of adhesion of joints in contact;
  • reduces the effects of friction and reduces the degree of abrasion of bone surfaces;
  • compensates for stress on the joint, reducing the risk of damage and destruction.

With osteoarthritis of the peripheral joints, lumbar and cervical spine, fluid is lost by the cartilaginous tissue, which leads to dehydration and disturbance of its nutrition. As a result, the cartilage loses its elasticity, becomes thinner and becomes incapable of ensuring the fulfillment of the above functions. The following disorders are observed in the structure of the spine:

  • softening of cartilage;
  • the appearance of erosive changes affecting the surface of the fibrous cartilage;
  • thickening of the trabeculae of bones;
  • change in bone structure;
  • the formation of bone growths.

A person with osteoarthritis begins to experience severe pain at the location of the lumbar, thoracic or cervical joints of the spine. Over time, without treatment, limited movement and loss of performance occurs. Often with osteoarthrosis of the lumbar spine, cysts localized in the sacral zone develop. After prolonged sitting, the patient may experience symptoms in the form of severe aching pains or backache.

Causes of problems with the lumbar and cervical spine

There are many reasons for the development of osteoarthritis of the peripheral joints, lumbar and cervical spine. Among them are often pathologies of an infectious nature, which lead to inflammatory processes of an exudative or purulent nature. Symptoms often associated with previous injuries and diseases of the spine of a chronic nature, which are characterized by degenerative pathogenesis, are often associated with the onset of symptoms.

The main causes of the disease include:

  • autoimmune disorders;
  • infectious diseases in the form of tick-borne encephalitis, extrapulmonary tuberculosis, syphilis, osteomyelitis, genital infections;
  • traumatic consequences, including after old fractures;
  • underdevelopment of vertebral joints;
  • osteoporosis;
  • metabolic disorders;
  • endocrine system diseases, diabetes mellitus, gout;

All causes of osteoarthritis of the lumbar, cervical or thoracic spine are divided into primary and secondary. The first group is considered as an independent pathology, the second is always associated with injuries, inflammatory processes and other circumstances that led to the destruction of cartilage tissue. Symptoms and treatment of osteoarthritis of the spine depends on the area of ​​localization, the nature of the course and stage of the disease.

What symptoms should I look for?

The first symptom of osteoarthrosis of the peripheral joints, thoracic and cervical spine is the appearance of pain. It is localized paroxysmal in nature and manifests itself at the site of cartilage tissue damage. Increased discomfort is observed after a long stay in the same position, or after increased physical activity.

The following symptoms are characteristic of osteoarthrosis of the lumbar, cervical or thoracic type:

  • pain in the spine;
  • articulation deformation;
  • swelling;
  • deterioration of blood circulation due to excessive pressure on the walls of blood vessels;
  • the presence of migraines and toothache, constant malaise;
  • limited movement due to severe pain discomfort in the cervical, lumbar or thoracic spine:
  • the presence of crunches when performing a sharp movement.

In the first stages, a symptom in the form of pain can occur periodically, but over time, without proper treatment, it becomes constant and prevents a person from living normally.

Features of types of osteoarthrosis of the spine: lumbar, cervical and thoracic

Treatment and its content depends on the type of osteoarthrosis. The following classification of the disease according to location criteria:

  • lumbararthrosis – manifests itself in the form of pain in the lumbar spine and sacrum;
  • cervicoarthrosis – pathological processes affect the cervical spine;
  • dorrsarthrosis – localization of symptoms occurs in the thoracic region of the spine.

Cervical osteoarthritis of the department appears due to spasms of muscles localized in the neck and humeral girdle. The most common cause of development is a sedentary lifestyle or a high level of physical activity on the neck area. Pain discomfort may occur in the occipital region, aggravated by tilting or trying to turn the head. At the advanced stages and untimely treatment, the patient may experience the effect of “flies” before the eyes, problems with vision are detected and he is disturbed by tinnitus, and neuralgic problems are often diagnosed.

With osteoarthritis of the lumbar region, the pain is localized in the sacrum and lumbar region. Common causes of the disease are injuries, anatomical congenital or acquired abnormalities, overweight.

The pain is aching in nature, can give to the buttocks and thigh area.

Thoracic osteoarthrosis is characterized by the appearance of pain in the area of ​​the shoulder blades. She wears a aching look, the patient experiences stiffness and limited movement. In the later stages, a feeling of numbness and malfunctioning of the internal organs may appear.

Features of diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis of osteoarthritis to prescribe the correct treatment is based on clinical signs. The doctor conducts a study of the anamnesis, the circumstances of previous injuries, pathologies of the endocrine system. Symptoms of osteoarthritis are similar to signs of arthritis and osteochondrosis, therefore, instrumental examinations are mandatory.

Radiography provides a large amount of information by which changes in cartilage and bone surfaces are analyzed. With the help of CT, violations of the structure of bone tissues are established, and resonance imaging demonstrates the destruction of tendons, ligaments and surrounding tissues.

The treatment of the symptoms and consequences of osteoarthritis of the cervical spine and lumbar spine is complex, involves a combination of drug therapy, physiotherapy to stop the progression of the pathology and improve the patient’s condition.

To ensure better treatment of peripheral joints and lumbar circulation during treatment, ointments with a warming effect such as Capsicam, Finalgon, Viprosal allow. Medical appointments are related to taking the following drugs:

  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – Diclofenac, Ibuprofen, Nimesulide, available in the form of tablets, injection solutions, rectal suppositories,
  • glucocorticosteroids — Diprospan, Hydrocortisone, Triamcinolone;
  • chondroprotectors — Teraflex, Structum, Don.

All means for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the peripheral joints and lumbar are aimed at preventing further destructive processes and maximizing the preservation of joint functions. Treatment of the lumbar region and peripheral joints involves using the capabilities of diets, reducing physical activity, wearing medical orthoses to ensure fixation.

A good treatment result is observed after undergoing physiotherapy, the list of which is quite extensive today. With peripheral and lumbar osteoarthritis, magnetotherapy, shock wave treatment, laser exposure, electrophoresis with medical preparations have proven themselves well.

When the first symptoms of osteoarthritis of the peripheral joints and lumbar spine appear, consult a doctor. Treatment of pathological changes in cartilage is aimed at stopping the destructive processes and reducing pain discomfort of the patient. As prevention of osteoarthritis, actions are taken to prevent injuries and excessive loads, dieting and a sufficient level of physical activity.

Osteoarthrosis of the spine

Osteoarthrosis of the spine – dystrophic and degenerative changes in the spine, characterized by pain. The disease limits the motor activity and the ability to work of patients, usually occurs in the elderly. Osteoarthrosis changes the tissue of the cartilage and bone located nearby, the affected area swells and pain begins. With the progression of the disease, osteophytes and spurs form on the bone tissue. May affect cervical, thoracic, or lumbar.


Osteoarthrosis of the spine appears due to the following reasons:

  • A large load on one of the spine, often associated with the profession (lifting heavy objects, sedentary lifestyle, bent neck for a long period of time);
  • Pathology of the spine with improper load distribution. These are kyphosis, lordosis, scoliosis, etc.
  • Inflammation in one of the spine;
  • Injuries
  • Pathologies of an innate nature;
  • Hormonal changes;
  • Hernia;
  • The presence of problems with metabolic processes;
  • External factors (adverse environmental conditions, poor quality of drinking water).

Initially, pathological changes occur in cartilage cells (chondrocytes). As a result, the disks between the vertebrae and the joints suffer: the cells die here, which affects the full production of collagen. Those cells that continue to produce collagen cannot cope with the load and retain water and proteins in the right amount in cartilage.

Cartilages lose their elasticity, cease to be elastic, there is a restriction of motor activity, pain begins.

As the disease progresses, osteophytes grow in the joints, and damage to the muscles and ligaments occurs. Muscles atrophy and become inflamed. Deformation of the affected area can already be seen visually.

Symptoms of the disease

Symptoms in people with the disease are similar whether they are osteoarthritis of the peripheral joints and spine or osteoarthritis of the lumbar spine. Symptoms of the disease include:

  • Strong pain in the affected area. They occur in the form of seizures, after being in static poses, after physical exertion. If a person got up and stretched, the pains go away, but as the disease progresses, they become permanent;
  • The patient is deformed joints;
  • During the period of exacerbation, the affected area swells;
  • Due to the deformation of the vertebrae, blood vessels are constricted, blood circulation worsens. This leads to migraines, toothache;
  • The patient constantly feels unwell;
  • Limited movement due to pain in the cervical or thoracic region;
  • Affected vertebrae give a crunch with sudden movements.

Types of osteoarthrosis

The disease is divided by the location of the affected area into 3 main types:

  • Lumbararthrosis – manifests itself in pain in the lumbar region and sacrum.
  • Cervicoarthrosis is a type of disease that affects the neck.
  • Dorsarthrosis – it is characterized by localization in the thoracic spine.
Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologistShishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews.

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It occurs due to frequent spasm of the muscles of the neck and shoulders. Typically, the cause is a sedentary lifestyle, a large physical load on the neck, a sedentary lifestyle.

It is characterized by pain in the neck and back of the head, aggravated by tilting or turning the head. With osteoarthritis in a neglected state, the patient may have flies in front of his eyes, his vision will fall, he will feel dizzy and ring in his ears. Disorders of a neuralgic nature are possible.


The patient complains of severe pain in the sacrum and lower back. The main causes of occurrence: injury; congenital malformations; scoliosis; overweight, etc. At risk are people who spend a lot of time sitting or standing, overloading the knees and hip joint. Osteoarthrosis of the sacral spine will not occur if work or exercise is done every 30-60 minutes. The nature of the pain is aching, gives to the thigh or gluteal muscles. At first, the pain only bothers a person when moving, eventually begins to haunt constantly, even at night. Pain begins due to severe spasm of the muscles and osteophytes. The legs and hips can become numb, the patient does not feel well.


The disease is characterized by painful aching in nature, which is localized between the shoulder blades. Then patients note the stiffness of movements that occurs in the morning. Often the patient feels numbness of the thoracic region, the functioning of internal organs is disrupted.


The treatment of the disease is complex. The faster the patient goes to the doctor and begins to treat the disease, the sooner the positive dynamics will go. The main methods of treating osteoarthritis:

  • The use of medicines;
  • Orthopedic impact;
  • Manual methods;
  • The course of physiotherapy.


This technique is based on the elimination of the inflammatory process and pain. Doctors use hormonal drugs, muscle relaxants, painkillers.

Orthopedic Therapy

Doctors stretch the spinal column, removing the clamps of nerves, increasing blood flow. In addition, special orthopedic appliances are used (for example, Shants collar, bandage, corset). With their help, excess load is removed from the vertebral region, which prevents the disease from developing.

Manual therapy

In order to prevent the spine from deforming, doctors recommend using massage. Its effect on the body: increased blood flow, elimination of pain, restoration of nutrients to tissues and cartilage, relieving muscle spasms.


The combination of these methods in combination with exercise therapy makes the muscle corset stronger, relieves pain, improves joint function. After the exacerbation is removed, acupuncture, treatment with leeches, applications based on paraffin and therapeutic mud are used.

With all the rules of treatment and frequency, the symptoms of the disease recede, and spinal osteoarthritis stops progressing. But if an MRI scan shows that the disease continues to develop, then the patient is shown surgical intervention. It should be understood that damaged nerve endings will not be restored, therefore, timely treatment is the key to high treatment effectiveness.

Author: Petr Vladimirovich Nikolaev

The doctor is a manual therapist, orthopedic traumatologist, ozone therapist. Methods of exposure: osteopathy, post-isometric relaxation, intraarticular injections, soft manual technique, deep tissue massage, analgesic technique, craniotherapy, acupuncture, intraarticular administration of drugs.

Spondylodiscitis of the spine – what is it and how is it treated

What is uncovertral arthrosis of the cervical spine?

Osteoarthrosis of the spine

Osteoarthrosis of the spine is a degenerative disease associated with a primary lesion of the facet (located between the vertebrae) joints. In the Yusupov hospital, all the conditions for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the peripheral joints and spine are created:

  • The rooms are equipped with exhaust ventilation and air conditioning;
  • Patients are provided with diet food and personal hygiene products;
  • Diagnosis of diseases is carried out using the latest equipment from leading manufacturers;
  • Doctors carry out complex therapy of the disease with effective drugs registered in the Russian Federation;
  • The medical staff provides professional care for seriously ill patients, is attentive to the wishes of patients and their relatives.

Severe cases of osteoarthritis of the spine are discussed at a meeting of the Expert Council with the participation of professors and associate professors, doctors of the highest category. Leading rheumatologists, vertebrologists, rehabilitologists collegially develop individual tactics for each patient. In 85–90% of cases, spinal osteoarthritis affects men and women after 60–65 years. However, the disease can be found in 25-30 years. Most often, osteoarthritis of the cervical spine is found. The lumbar and thoracic vertebrae are less affected.

Types of osteoarthrosis of the spine

These types of osteoarthritis are distinguished:

  • Primary, or idiopathic – affects the cartilage of the joints for no apparent reason;
  • Secondary – develops as a result of existing diseases, dysplasia of the joints or as a result of the inflammatory process, trauma, endocrine disorders;
  • Localized – affects one joint;
  • Generalized – characterized by multiple lesions of the joints;
  • Deforming – accompanied by changes in the ends of the bones that are in contact with the joints, leading to pronounced changes in the shape of the joints, impaired function and the appearance of severe pain.

Uncovertebral cervical osteoarthrosis is one of the varieties of deforming arthrosis. The pathological process develops in the arched joints, affects 1-2 vertebrae of the cervical spine. Bone growths form on their posterolateral surfaces.

Causes of Osteochondrosis

Osteoarthrosis of the spine can develop under the influence of the following provoking factors:

  • Heavy physical exertion, combined with uniform movements (weight lifting during sports or work);
  • Static loads on the cervical spine during sedentary work;
  • Sedentary lifestyle;
  • Overweight.

With osteochondrosis of the spine, the facet (arched) joints are primarily affected. Their synovial capsule is richly innervated by the articular nerves, which are branches of the posterior branches of the spinal nerves, and small additional nerves from the muscle branches. Faceted joints, due to their vertical orientation, have very little resistance to compression effects, especially when bent. In extension conditions, facet joints account for 15 to 25% of the compression forces. They can increase with degeneration of the disc and narrowing of the intervertebral space.

Osteoarthrosis of the spine of any localization develops if functional overload occurs. It is more often observed in older people, since they have less anatomical and functional reserves and spinal form disturbances are more common. In the normal vertebral motor segment, which includes the three-joint complex, 70–88% of the gravity falls on its front sections, 12–30% on the rear, mainly intervertebral joints.

With a change in the position of the articular facets, redistribution of gravity within the spinal motor segment occurs. The mechanical load on the cartilaginous surfaces increases. In case of damage to the discs, the weight load gradually transfers to the intervertebral joints. It reaches from 47 to 70%. Due to overload, the following changes occur in them sequentially:

  • Synovitis with accumulation of synovial fluid between facets%
  • Articular cartilage degeneration;
  • Stretching the capsule of joints and subluxation in them.

Continued degeneration due to weight and rotational overloads, repeated microtraumas, leads to fibrosis around the joints and the formation of subperiosteal osteophytes. They increase the size of the upper and lower facets, which take the form of a pear. Over time, the joints degenerate sharply, almost completely lose cartilage.

The degeneration process often occurs asymmetrically. This is manifested by the uneven load on the facet joints. Due to the combination of changes in the disk and facet joints, there is a sharp restriction of movements in the corresponding motor segment of the spine. The transverse, interspinous and rotator muscles under the influence of impulses from the affected vertebral segment reflexively strain, which leads to the formation of the muscular-tonic syndrome.

The development of spinal osteoarthritis in young people is usually preceded by trauma, increased mobility of segments of the spine or congenital malformations of the skeleton:

  • Non-proliferation of the arches of the lumbar vertebrae;
  • Sacralization – fusion of the first sacral and fifth lumbar vertebrae;
  • Lumbarization – loss of the relationship of the first sacral vertebra with the sacrum and the formation of an additional lumbar vertebra;
  • Violation of articular tropism – an asymmetric arrangement of arched joints.

In young people, spinal osteoarthrosis is rare.

Symptoms of osteoarthrosis of the spine

Features of the anatomical structure of facet joints determine the most frequent development of osteoarthrosis of the cervical and lumbar spine. Patients are concerned about pain, which increases with extension and decreases with flexion. It can also give along the spine, in the buttock or shoulder. Sometimes the pain extends to the limb, but does not extend below the popliteal fossa or elbow.

Facet pain can be cramping. Patients report the appearance of short-term morning stiffness. Its duration varies from 30 to 60 minutes. The pain increases by the end of the day, intensifies from prolonged standing, extension, especially if it is combined with a tilt or turn to the sick side, with a change in body position. The pain will decrease when unloading the spine – slightly bending it, taking a sitting position, using the support (stand, railing).

Diagnosis of osteoarthrosis of the spine

Vertebrologists of the Yusupov hospital carry out the diagnosis of the disease using a clinical examination of patients and additional examination methods. On examination, the smoothness of the cervical or lumbar lordosis (bending of the spine, convex forward), rotation or curvature of the spine in the cervicothoracic or lumbosacral regions is visible. On the sore side, tension of the paravertebral muscles, the square muscle of the back is noted. Over the affected joint, local soreness can be detected. When probing, the muscle tension around the intervertebral joint is determined. Sometimes in chronic cases, neurologists reveal some weakness of the rectifiers of the spine and the muscles of the popliteal fossa.

An X-ray examination and computed tomography reveal an increase in the intervertebral joints, the presence of bone growths (osteophytes) on them. Using radionuclide scintigraphy with active osteoarthritis, isotope accumulation in the intervertebral joints is detected. The final diagnosis is made after a diagnostic periarticular blockade with a local anesthetic. Reducing back pain after blockade confirms the diagnosis of osteoarthrosis of the spine.

Treatment of osteoarthrosis of the spine

Given the leading role in the development of spinal osteoarthritis of degenerative processes of the intervertebral joints, doctors at the Yusupov Hospital use structurally modifying therapy (chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine sulfate). These drugs help slow down the degeneration of cartilage. Chondroprotectors begin to be used already in the early stages of the development of pathology. The effect usually manifests itself after 2-8 weeks from the start of treatment and persists for 2-3 months after discontinuation of treatment.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (meloxicam, diclofenac, nurofen) have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects in osteoarthritis of the spine. The mechanism of their action is to suppress the enzyme cyclooxygenase, which plays a leading role in the production of prostaglandins, which increase inflammation and are involved in the formation of pain.

With the development of reflex muscle-tonic syndrome, muscle relaxants are prescribed. By eliminating muscle tension, muscle relaxants interrupt the vicious cycle: pain – muscle spasm – pain. Treatment begins with the usual therapeutic dose of drugs and continues with pain. The therapeutic course is several weeks. Patients with significant back pain in the Yusupov hospital undergo therapeutic blockades with the introduction of glucocorticoid hormones and local anesthetics into the cavity of the facet joints.

Non-drug treatment is widely used:

  • Magnetotherapy;
  • Sinusoidal modulated currents;
  • Ion galvanization with painkillers (procaine or lidocaine);
  • Phonophoresis with hydrocortisone to relieve inflammation and edema;
  • Massage and therapeutic exercises.

With the ineffectiveness of conservative therapy, surgery is performed. The most effective method of treating spinal osteoarthritis is radio frequency destruction, in which the pathological process is eliminated by exposure to the electromagnetic field of the wave frequency in the immediate vicinity of the affected joint. Using this technique, you can act on several sick segments of the spine at once. The procedure is effective in 80% of cases, does not require the use of general anesthesia and an incision on the skin. Its duration does not exceed 30 minutes. After that, the patient leaves the hospital on his own after about 1 hour. Radio-frequency destruction of the medial branches of the posterior roots of the spinal nerves effectively denervates the facet joints and provides high-quality long-term pain relief.

Prevention of osteoarthritis of the cervical and lumbar spine consists in the following measures:

  • Maintaining normal body weight;
  • Refusal to lift weights;
  • Avoidance of spinal injuries, including sports;
  • Proper organization of the workplace, excluding the non-physiological position of the spine;
  • Sleep on an orthopedic mattress with a small pillow;
  • Regular physical therapy exercises aimed at increasing the range of motion in the spine and strengthening the back muscles.

Back pain does not need to be endured or treated independently. When a pain syndrome appears, make an appointment with a vertebrologist at the Yusupov Hospital. After the examination, the doctor will select the appropriate treatment. The specialists of the rehabilitation clinic will create an individual set of gymnastic exercises that will prevent the exacerbation of the disease.

Causes, symptoms and treatment of osteoarthrosis of the spine

Osteoarthritis of the spine is a rather serious disease for people of any age. It brings flour during movement and significantly reduces the quality of life. The thing is that with this disease, not only the destruction of the cartilage tissue occurs, but also the deformation of the joints, resulting in tension in the surrounding muscle tissue. According to statistics, the disease is more affected by the elderly. And most often, its development is associated with inevitable age-related changes in the body in the interval between 40 to 70 years.

Osteoarthrosis, as a rule, has a chronic form, is divided into primary and secondary. And the difference lies in the causes of the disease, and this division applies to any joint in the human body. Under the primary, degenerative and dystrophic processes in the structure of the cartilage tissue of the joint, which arose as a result of age-related changes and large loads on the joint, are considered. By secondary they mean changes due to overload, injuries and illnesses. It is also important to clarify that osteoarthritis of the spine is usually called osteochondrosis.

Read about dorsal disc protrusion here.

Description of the disease and its causes

The human spine consists of vertebrae and intervertebral discs. These discs carry a huge functional load with every movement. Therefore, their health plays an important role. Under the influence of numerous factors, these intervertebral joints begin to lose their functional abilities. It is the cartilaginous tissue that becomes less elastic, microcracks appear on it, the distance between them decreases. After that, the discs cannot fully absorb and withstand the daily static load.

The causes of osteoarthritis include:

  • age-related changes in the body;
  • lack of good nutrition;
  • large physical activities associated with working conditions or with sports;
  • lack of an active lifestyle;
  • severe hypothermia, which are permanent;
  • endocrine system diseases (e.g., diabetes mellitus);
  • overweight (obesity);
  • the presence of Paget’s disease;
  • infectious diseases;
  • injuries of a different nature.

All these factors provoke a violation in the synthesis of cartilage tissue of the discs. Even osteoarthritis of the spine due to deformation of the vertebrae and pinching of the nerve roots brings pain. The muscle around the areas of the spine affected by osteoarthritis begins to become inflamed and sore from overvoltage. This destruction of the cartilage tissue is most discomfort when the discs of the lumbar spine are affected. He is the most mobile of all departments, and he has the greatest load.

Symptoms of osteoarthrosis of the spine

With osteoarthritis or osteochondrosis, patients note primarily painful sensations and a decrease in motor activity in certain parts of the spine. This is especially expressed in the inability to make the usual movements. Often this disease is asymptomatic, there are cases when it is accidentally detected during an X-ray examination. Often notes a strong spasm of the muscles on the back and their soreness. This occurs due to pinching of the nerve endings and a decrease in the distance between the vertebrae as a result of degenerative-dystrophic processes.

Also, symptoms of osteoarthritis of the intervertebral discs include pain and immobility during sleep. This can last up to 30 minutes and prevent the patient from sleeping normally. During movement, a crunch may occur, and this is due to degenerative changes. This especially happens when the patient lies down on a hard surface in an unusual position of the body. After a crunch or click, the pain can quickly go away. Symptoms of osteoarthritis can temporarily disappear, and the condition of the joints can improve. But in any case, if there are signs of osteoarthritis, you need to seek help from a doctor who will accurately diagnose and prescribe treatment.

Treatment of osteoarthrosis of the spine

Treatment of osteoarthritis of the spine should be prescribed by a doctor after a series of studies.

Thus, any therapy will be more effective, because the state of the intervertebral discs and the stage of their damage will become known. If severe pain and muscle spasm in the back are present, then treatment should first be aimed at eliminating the symptoms. And here it is very important to understand that to normalize the metabolic processes in the joints, it is necessary to eat properly and fully. Diet should be rich in meat products and natural vegetables.

Further, it is necessary to try to strengthen the muscular corset of the back and move a lot. For this, there are various physical exercises that a doctor should prescribe. These exercises are usually aimed at warming up the joints, reducing muscle tension and improving their blood supply through soft tissues. Swimming, cycling, moderate skiing are well suited for all this. Even with this diagnosis, massage is prescribed, which again improves blood circulation of tissues and joints, can relieve muscle pain and spasm.

Osteoarthrosis of the spine: symptoms, treatment methods

Osteoarthrosis of the spine is a degenerative state of cartilage discs in the intervertebral joints. Joints connecting the vertebrae gradually wear out throughout life. Thinning and deformation of the articular cartilage layer is accompanied by proliferation of bone tissue of the vertebral bodies. All components of the intervertebral joint can be involved in the pathological process. Cartilage degeneration gradually progresses, bone growths are formed, ligaments and muscles are affected, which causes pain and leads to limited mobility.

Destructive changes in cartilage discs occur gradually over many years, so osteoarthritis of the spine is considered an age-related disease. Statistics show that almost all people over 70 suffer from this pathology.

Risk Factors

Age-related destruction of cartilage discs is considered the main and natural cause of pathology.

But the disease can develop at any age with a hereditary predisposition or a history of spinal injuries. Also, unbalanced loads on the spinal column contribute to the onset of the disease. Moreover, pathological changes such as flat feet and scoliosis are often diagnosed as concomitant diseases.

There are a number of factors that lead to a loss in the ability of the intervertebral cartilage to retain moisture, which leads to its thinning and deformation. These include the following pathological circumstances:

  • hypothermia;
  • mechanical injury;
  • overload of the lumbar or cervical spine (professional sports, lifting
  • weight lifting, sedentary work);
  • inflammatory processes in the intervertebral joints;
  • genetic predisposition to diseases of the musculoskeletal system;
  • congenital malformations of the vertebrae;
  • overweight;
  • orthopedic diseases (asymmetry of the limbs, flat feet, scoliosis);
  • chronic joint diseases;
  • endocrine disorders.

Signs of pathology

The main clinical symptom of osteoarthritis of the spine is pain that occurs or intensifies with movement, which is localized in the affected area. Its intensity depends on the stage of development of the disease. Over time, mobility in various parts of the spine is limited, posture changes, lameness may appear.

Common symptoms of osteoarthrosis:

  • soreness and difficulty in movement during loads and weather changes;
  • crunching in joints during movements;
  • morning stiffness, which disappears after a warm-up;
  • back pain at the end of the day, especially after physical work (after
  • recreation);
  • swelling of the affected areas;
  • increased fatigue of the spinal muscles.

People suffering from this disease are usually weather-sensitive, that is, they react to changes in the weather (atmospheric pressure, temperature and humidity).

Osteoarthrosis of the cervical spine

The collar and lumbar zones are most often affected. Dystrophy of the cartilage discs of the neck can develop at any age, often as a result of professional activities (office work at the computer, driving a car).

Typical manifestations of the disease are the following symptoms:

  • crunching and stiffness during movements in the cervical spine;
  • headaches in the occipital region and migraine character;
  • dizziness;
  • feeling of “creeping creeps” on the hands;
  • sharp pain when bending and turning the head, giving to the shoulder and arm, which patients
  • defined as “electric shock”;
  • numbness of the fingers during exertion.

This type of arthrosis poses a serious threat to health, as it leads to infringement of the cervical nerves and impaired cerebral circulation.

Lumbar section

Arthrosis of the lumbosacral region is typical for people engaged in heavy physical labor. And also the development of the disease is possible against a background of congenital pathology or after injuries.

A characteristic sign of pathology is pain. It has the following manifestations:

  • aching lower back pain when walking, extending to the thigh or buttocks;
  • pain in the sacral zone with bending and changes in posture;
  • pain and difficulty moving after prolonged sitting;
  • night back pain associated with impaired blood supply to the joints (decreased in the first hours of sleep).

Peripheral joints

Peripheral joints are most often deformed in women during menopause. Arthrosis occurs on the wrists, fingers and toes, less often the elbow, shoulder and ankle joints are affected. The disease develops slowly, so external symptoms appear at a late stage.

  • swelling and deformation of the joints;
  • characteristic crunch and pain during extension and flexion;
  • the feeling that the bones are rubbing against each other.

Thoracic and vertebral costal joints

The joints of the thoracic spine experience less stress when moving and lifting weights than the cervical or lumbar. The disease in these areas can occur after suffering bone tuberculosis or arthritis of various etiologies. These rare forms of arthrosis are often detected at a late stage after an X-ray examination or magnetic resonance imaging.

  • chest pain that occurs after prolonged standing;
  • “Chest lumbago” – a sharp intense pain in the chest, radiating to the region of the shoulder blades, often provoked by movement;
  • soreness of the respiratory movements.

The main methods of therapy for osteoarthritis of the spine

Removal of pain and correction of factors aggravating the course of the disease are the main objectives of treatment.

An important element in the treatment of the disease is the elimination of excess weight.

Pharmacological methods

Drug therapy should be aimed at relieving pain and activating metabolism in cartilage. For this, drugs of the following pharmacological groups are used:

  1. Chondroprotectors (chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine).
  2. Analgesics of central action (paraceramol, tramadol).
  3. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, ketoprofen, diclofenac).

Local Therapy

The following tools apply:

  • anti-inflammatory and analgesic ointments containing indomethacin, butadion, voltaren, troxevasin, gels (fastum gel, diclofenac, nise, arthrosilen 5%);
  • warming and vasodilating ointments (apizartron, menovazin, gevkamen, finalgon).

Nonpharmacological methods

The following measures contribute to the normalization of body weight, strengthening muscle tone and improving joint mobility:

  1. Diet (low-calorie, enriched with trace elements and vitamins A, E, D).
  2. Physiotherapy exercises, morning exercises, swimming.
  3. Physiotherapy (electrical stimulation, drug electrophoresis, heat therapy).
  4. Massage.
  5. Sanatorium-resort treatment (hydrogen sulfide, “pearl” baths, climatotherapy, mud therapy).
  6. Use of orthopedic corsets.

During physical education it is necessary to exclude movements that cause pain. Exercises “with overcoming pain” can cause an exacerbation of the disease and worsening.

It is important to remember that treatment should be prescribed by a doctor after examination and diagnosis.


Modern medicine has effective methods of treatment and rehabilitation of osteoarthritis of the spine, which can restore the health of young patients. In older people, this disease is a natural pathology due to age-related cartilage dystrophy. In advanced cases, arthrosis can cause disability. The systematic treatment of this disease prevents its progression, improves joint mobility and prevents complications.

Shishkevich Vladimir

Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews. It specializes in the treatment of diseases in orthopedic, traumatological, vertebrological profiles