How to treat osteochondrosis - causes, symptoms

80% of people experience osteochondrosis in varying degrees of manifestation. It affects not only adults and the elderly, but also young people. Considering the prevalence of the disease, every person should know about methods of its treatment and prevention.

symptoms of osteochondrosis

What is this disease?

Osteochondrosis is degeneration of the intervertebral discs, degenerative processes in the joints, ligaments, and muscles that surround them. The discs act as shock absorbers in the spine between individual vertebrae (there are 32-34 of them). They are also responsible for their mobility.

Negative factors, which we will discuss below, lead to cracking and destruction of intervertebral discs. They lose elasticity and the spine loses flexibility. The discs are surrounded by tissues with nerve fibers, so dystrophic and degenerative processes are accompanied by pain.

Causes of osteochondrosis

Muscle spasm and dystrophy

The discs are surrounded by muscles responsible for the stability of the spine. Over time, some spasm due to constant tension, others atrophy due to lack of stress.

This happens because a person day after day:

  • makes monotonous movements;
  • performs physically difficult work;
  • spends a lot of time immobile.

As a result, spasmed muscles compress the intervertebral disc, and atrophied muscles cease to support it.

Blood supply problems

The nutrition of the discs also depends on the work of the muscles surrounding the spine. With normal muscle tone, the required volume of nutritious synovial fluid enters the intervertebral joint.

Lack of fluid in the body

The condition of cartilage tissue is affected by the amount of fluid that a person absorbs per day. With its deficiency, cartilage quickly dries out, and ideally it should consist of 80% water.

Metabolic disease

Problems with the endocrine system affect the condition of cartilage tissue. Osteochondrosis is often caused by a deficiency or excess of vitamins and calcium.

Stressful conditions

Nervous tension causes muscle spasms, including those supporting the spinal discs. Normally, after tension, muscles relax. If stress haunts a person constantly, this does not happen. Muscle tissue tightly compresses the cartilage between the vertebrae, gradually destroying them.

stress leads to osteochondrosis

Risk factors

  • Genetic background.
  • Nervous tension.
  • Constant physical activity.
  • Sedentary work, sedentary lifestyle.
  • Passion for junk food, excess weight.
  • Bad habits that lead to metabolic disorders in cartilage tissue.
  • Diseases of the musculoskeletal system.

Stages of development

Stage I

The core of the intervertebral disc becomes dehydrated. It becomes lower, and its fabric cracks. Painful sensations are almost unnoticeable. Discomfort may occur if the patient takes an unusual position or exercises.

Stage II

Disc tissues flatten and bulge. Due to this, the distance between the vertebrae decreases and the spinal nerve roots are pinched. The fibrous membrane is destroyed, so fluid is poorly retained in the core of the disc. When moving, characteristic clicks and crunching sounds appear in the spine. Due to pinched nerves, pinpoint pain occurs, which increases with active movements.

Stage III

The cartilage lining between the discs gradually wears off and becomes thinner. At this stage, the symptoms manifest themselves intensely - in the form of acute pain. Only painkillers for neuralgia can quickly stop them.

IV stage

The damage is so severe that the joints become immobile. A complete loss of mobility of the vertebral joints is possible. Due to pronounced degenerative processes, the space between the vertebrae is overgrown with bone tissue. These growths injure neighboring tissues and compress nerves, which causes acute pain.

diagnosis of osteochondrosis

Classification and symptoms


There are 7 vertebrae in this section, they are located close to each other, and the neck muscles are relatively weak. Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is a fairly common disease. When this section is affected, the patient feels pain both in the entire neck and in certain parts of it, for example, in the collarbone or behind the ears.

The most characteristic symptoms:

  • headache, heaviness in the back of the head, dizziness;
  • tingling in the hands;
  • the neck is most often tense;
  • when you turn your head, the vertebrae click and crunch;
  • periodically there is a sore throat, a feeling of a lump in the throat;
  • due to muscle tension in the cervical region, it is difficult to move the arm to the side or raise it.

Manifestations of an insidious disease do not always correspond to its location. The problem may lie in the cervical vertebrae, and pain may occur in the chest or shoulder. Some patients complain of discomfort in the heart area.

pain with cervical osteochondrosis


In the lumbar region there are the lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal vertebrae. This section is most susceptible to shock absorption and motor loads, which is why lumbar osteochondrosis is so common. Painful sensations occur in the lumbar region. Most often these are aching pains that intensify with active turns, exercises or long periods of sitting.


  • the spine is limited in movement;
  • the patient may feel discomfort in the hip with spasms;
  • dryness, flaking of the skin on the legs, and goosebumps are noted;
  • periodic acute shooting pains may occur;
  • During sleep, a person cannot take a comfortable position, since he is uncomfortable in any of them.

Additional symptoms: fatigue, constant fatigue, malaise. Some patients report problems with urination and discomfort in the kidney area. In men, potency may suffer; in women, the uterus and ovaries may suffer.

symptoms of lumbar osteochondrosis


It affects 12 vertebrae located in the thoracic region. Most often this is a complication of scoliosis.

Main symptoms:

  • girdling pain that becomes stronger if you move actively;
  • tingling sensation in the heart area;
  • feeling of fullness in the armpits;
  • restriction of shoulder movements;
  • shortness of breath, difficulty breathing.

Acute pain appears between the ribs, in the sternum, in the area of one of the shoulder blades. There may be numbness in the fingers, hand, and forearm.


At home, it is almost impossible to determine the location of the problem. Special medical equipment will help you correctly collect anamnesis, and only a doctor can determine the symptoms and treatment.

For diagnosis use:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging is the most accurate method of obtaining objective information about the condition of tissues.
  • X-ray of the spine.
  • Computed tomography.
massage for osteochondrosis

How to treat the disease?

Unfortunately, it is impossible to quickly get rid of symptoms at home. Treatment involves an integrated approach.

General recommendations:

  • observe bed rest during exacerbation of pain;
  • avoid physical activity;
  • wear a supporting corset, bandage, belt.


During periods of exacerbation the following is prescribed:

  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs;
  • chondroprotectors;
  • muscle relaxants;
  • B vitamins.

Applications using anti-inflammatory ointments also help relieve the inflammatory process. They have a local anesthetic effect.

Prescription of drugs should be done exclusively by a doctor. Doing this on your own is strictly prohibited.


To strengthen the muscle corset, the doctor prescribes exercises that need to be performed at home daily. They depend on which part of the spine is affected. Physical activity improves blood circulation and allows the muscles to properly support the spine.


One of the most effective methods in the treatment of this disease. Quickly, in 7-10 sessions, you can restore tone to muscles that have begun to atrophy, as well as relax tense muscles.

therapeutic exercises for osteochondrosis


Treating osteochondrosis is difficult and takes a long time. It is easier to monitor the condition of the spine and not lead to serious damage. To do this, you need to lead a healthy, active lifestyle and moderately load the spine.

Other preventative measures:

  • Watch your posture, don't slouch.
  • Do exercises at home to keep all muscle groups toned.
  • Perform exercises to relax the muscles of the back, shoulders, and neck.
  • Attend yoga classes and therapeutic massage sessions.
  • Do not lift heavy objects, distribute the load evenly across your arms.

We wish you to get rid of osteochondrosis forever and keep your back and neck healthy.