Causes of headaches, numbness of fingers, tingling in the heart sometimes should be sought not in the place of their localization, but in the neck. Osteochondrosis of this section affects the condition of the head and shoulder girdle, as well as the organs of these areas.
This is a degenerative disease of the connective tissue intervertebral discs, which serve as shock absorbers in the spine. Depending on the level and extent of the lesion, the corresponding symptoms develop.
The cervical region is the most mobile and vulnerable part of the spinal column. Exposure to unfavorable factors leads to malnutrition of cartilage, thinning of discs, the formation of a hernia or overgrowth of bone tissue. Nerve roots are compressed, blood flow in the paravertebral vessels is disturbed.
The factors that can lead to osteochondrosis are very diverse:
- sedentary lifestyle, lack of training for the muscular-ligamentous apparatus;
- long-term forced postures with increased stress on the neck - seated work with a bowed head;
- neck injuries;
- metabolic disorders;
- incorrectly selected pillow and mattress;
- systemic connective tissue diseases;
- hereditary predisposition.
The following causes directly affect the development of disease symptoms:
- displacement of the intervertebral disc develops quite rarely, but this condition leads to the development of paralysis;
- decrease in disc height - flattening leads to a decrease in the diameter of the intervertebral foramen, as a result of which the nerve roots are compressed;
- herniated intervertebral discs are protrusions that can compress the root;
- osteophytes are located on the sides of the vertebral bodies, irritate the adjacent muscles, cause their edema, increased tone, which increases the load on the disc and leads to a decrease in its height. If the growths are directed to the canal of the vertebral artery, then this will cause its narrowing.
Symptoms of the disease
Cervical osteochondrosis is characterized by a grouping of symptoms into syndromes, which determine the clinical manifestations and complaints of patients.
The manifestations of signs are associated with the condition of the bone or cartilage tissue of the vertebrae. To accurately diagnose this syndrome, all of its symptoms must be present:
- change in mobility in the cervical spine;
- pain on movement;
- violation of the morphological structure of the discs and vertebral bodies.
The absence of one of the signs allows one to suspect another disease with similar symptoms. A decrease in mobility without changing morphology is observed with myositis - muscle damage. Pain is common in many other diseases.
Vertebral artery syndrome
The symptoms that make it up are as follows:
- compression of an artery and impaired blood flow in its trunk, which leads to dizziness, tinnitus, fluctuations in blood pressure, nausea or vomiting;
- irritation of the nerve processes of the artery is manifested by a severe headache like migraine, decreased sensitivity, numbness, flashing "flies" before the eyes, temporary unilateral decrease in vision;
- brain hypoxia, or oxygen starvation, is expressed by decreased performance, fainting, lethargy, drowsiness, decreased attention, in severe cases, even depression.
Damage to the vertebral artery causes a decrease in blood supply to the corresponding parts of the brain. But a similar syndrome can be observed with other pathologies - atherosclerotic vascular lesions, their compression by growing tumors, inflamed tissues.
The appearance of signs of angina pectoris, pain in the region of the heart does not always indicate the pathology of this organ. These may be signs of cervical osteochondrosis, which include:
- chest pain;
- shortness of breath;
- rapid fatigue and weakness.
In this situation, they act by the method of exclusion - they diagnose heart diseases using an ECG, as a result of which no changes characteristic of angina pectoris are detected. Angiography shows no atherosclerotic narrowing of the arteries.
These symptoms are unilateral and are associated with damage to the roots of the corresponding pair of spinal nerves. They are characterized by pain, paralysis or paresis, impaired sensitivity on the corresponding side.
The first and second roots are characterized by pain or numbness in the occipital region. The third pair is manifested by numbness and a feeling of fullness of the tongue, difficulty swallowing and chewing, impaired sensitivity behind the auricles.
Compression of 4 pairs results in hiccups, collarbone pain and throat pain when swallowing. The fifth pair is expressed in the limitation of movement in the shoulders, the sixth - pain and numbness in the shoulder blades and forearms.
The seventh causes numbness in the hands, more often the index and middle fingers, the eighth causes paresis and impaired sensitivity in the ring finger and little finger.
The pathological process is very rarely limited to one pair of nerve roots, often several are affected at once, which confuses the clinical picture and leads to difficulties in diagnosis.
Lack of treatment or the wrong choice of method can lead to complications in the form of hernial protrusion, rupture of the disc and a sharp displacement of the vertebra, which can result in disability or death.
Justification of the diagnosis is possible after an X-ray examination in frontal and lateral projection. The images clearly show a decrease in the height of the disc, narrowing of the intervertebral foramen and pathological bone growths.
When diagnosed, cervical osteochondrosis symptoms, treatment at home, can occur if the patient follows the prescribed regimen and does not have a complicated course of the disease.
Modern medicine offers several directions of therapy:
Taking certain groups of drugs is aimed at eliminating the symptoms of the disease, improving cartilage nutrition, and antioxidant protection.
After the appropriate diagnosis, the doctor will determine how to treat cervical osteochondrosis, drug treatment, you cannot prescribe yourself.
The following groups of drugs are used:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They eliminate pain and inflammation and reduce proliferative processes. Drugs in this group can be prescribed in tablets, but intramuscular administration is possible in the acute period. It is not recommended to use them for a long time, taking them at maximum dosages for more than a week leads to the development of non-steroidal stomach ulcers and causes toxic liver damage.
- Chondroprotectors begin to be used from the moment the diagnosis is made. For the manifestation of their effect, the reception must be very long.
- To a greater extent, this applies to tablet forms and capsules for oral administration. Injection drugs are prescribed in courses, their effect is faster. They contain glucosamine, which affects the metabolism in cartilage tissue, and chondroitin, which slows down disc destruction. There are also natural chondroprotectors - these are dishes with gelatin - jellied meat, jelly, as well as fish.
- Vasodilator drugs eliminate vasospasm, improve blood flow in muscles, and help reduce inflammation.
- Diuretics are used when symptoms of exacerbation of cervical osteochondrosis appear. Treatment is carried out in a short course to relieve inflammatory edema and nerve compression.
- Vitamin preparations are aimed at antioxidant protection of cartilage tissue, damaged nerves, and brain cells. This requires A, E, C vitamins. Group B is needed to improve the condition of peripheral nerves. Vitamins B6 and B12 are alternated every other day. The intake of hyperdosis of B vitamins in a short course is effective.
- If, cervical osteochondrosis has worsened, ointments for treatment will help to eliminate pain syndrome, have a warming effect and improve blood flow. It is applied in a very small amount using a special massager to the affected area.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory ointments have a slight local analgesic effect. Unlike tablets, they can be used for a longer time.
This method is used as an adjunct to the main treatment. Physiotherapy acts selectively on the affected area, relieves pain, swelling and inflammation, improves microcirculation and local immunity.
The following methods apply:
- Electrotherapy produces a local warming effect, which improves blood circulation and relieves swelling. But this method is contraindicated for those who have pacemakers and metal implants.
- Induction magnetic fields act for about 20 minutes on the pathological focus, relieve pain and inflammation.
- Laser therapy activates bioelectrical processes in nerve tissues, improves their regeneration. The procedure is performed on the sites of the inflamed roots of the spinal cord, no more than 2 minutes per zone.
- Balneotherapy - the use of therapeutic mud, mineral waters, ozokerite. It is carried out during the period of exacerbation and remission in order to prevent and consolidate the effect of treatment.
This method cannot be used in the acute period of the disease and should not be performed exercises overcoming pain. All of them are produced smoothly, without jerks. You cannot throw your head back and make circular movements. If there is a herniated disc, then consultation of a neurologist or neurosurgeon is required.
A set of exercises for osteochondrosis of the cervical spine:
- Warm up. For 2-3 minutes, walk in place with a full foot, on toes, on heels (how to treat a heel spur).
- Stand up straight, gradually tighten your fists, arms, shoulders, hold for half a minute, relax and swing your hands.
- Carefully tilt the head to the left and right shoulder, linger in each position for 10 seconds.
- In a sitting or standing position, raise your shoulders straight up, then, as if straightening, lower them slightly backwards.
- Standing or sitting, slowly lower your head down and touch your chin to your chest. Slowly take the starting position.
- Extend your arms to the sides, clench your fists. Rotate with brushes 4 times in each direction.
- Stand up, spread your arms to the sides. Make a rotational movement in the elbows alternately back and forth.
- A circular motion in the shoulder joint is performed in the same way.
- Relaxation - raise your arms up and drop them freely, relaxing as much as possible.
An experienced massage therapist will tell you how to treat osteochondrosis of the cervical spine at home using massage and self-massage.
The basic principles are as follows:
- all actions are performed with fingertips;
- you need to move from the spine to the periphery;
- you cannot apply force, only light massaging actions;
- all movements are performed smoothly, without haste.
Usually rubbing, kneading, stroking the neck is used.
It is used for narrowing of the spinal canal by hernias, which is accompanied by compression of the vessels and nerves of the spine.
The indication is also the instability of the cervical spine. The presence of a hernia is not an indication for surgery.
In this case, they proceed from the effectiveness of drug treatment, the patient's condition, the severity of symptoms of osteochondrosis. Hernia removal is carried out with a scalpel or in a more modern way - using a laser.
But often, after surgical treatment, the symptoms of the disease disappear for a while, and later resume.
In order not to wonder how to cure osteochondrosis of the cervical spine at home, you need to prevent the disease. In the first place is posture correction. Slouching creates additional stress on the cervical vertebrae, causing an inflammatory reaction
You should also avoid a prolonged forced position with your head bowed when there is a high load on this department.
If you have to be in an uncomfortable position for a long time at work, you should periodically do neck exercises. You should also choose the right pillow for sleeping.