Such damage to the spine, or rather, intervertebral discs, like osteochondrosis, is increasingly common in our time. This is one of the diseases from which absolutely no one is immune. The risk increases with age, however, young people can also suffer from osteochondrosis.
Particularly unpleasant is the fact that in the absence of proper treatment, osteochondrosis actively provokes the development of a whole range of concomitant diseases. Among them are arterial hypertension, neuralgia, increased intracranial pressure, metabolic disorders, limited mobility of the head and back, and a number of others. Sometimes the condition of patients reaches critical, there is a serious risk to life.
In representatives of different sexes, the course of osteochondrosis has its own characteristics. Of the five patients with osteochondrosis, three are women. The weaker sex at the same time suffers from more pronounced symptoms, and is also much more likely to experience side effects of the disease. This trend is explained by the specifics of the work of the female body.
Features of the disease
According to statistics, osteochondrosis in women affects mainly the cervical region. This is because the cervical vertebrae are much more fragile than others. Also in the neck area are extremely fragile muscles and a fairly thin bone structure. Due to this, constant pressure, load on the spinal column have a faster and stronger effect on this area.
Women often do work that is considered risky in terms of osteochondrosis of the neck: a cashier, a seamstress, a computer operator, an accountant. At the same time, it is extremely difficult to notice the initial stages of the development of the disease, since the patient may not feel any serious pain or special discomfort. Meanwhile, by the time symptoms are detected, osteochondrosis can already lead to significant degenerative processes, disrupt the functioning of the nervous system and blood flow, and this is fraught with deterioration in the nutrition of brain tissues.
It is extremely dangerous if, in addition, a woman encounters one or more of the following manifestations.
- menopause and related problems of cell metabolism in cartilage and bone tissues;
- genetic predisposition to osteochondrosis, other similar diseases;
- hematopoietic problems;
- hormonal disruptions;
- metabolic disease;
- scoliosis, curvature of posture;
There are a number of factors that, with prolonged exposure, will inevitably lead to illness. In view of the characteristics of the organism, quite specific causes of the development of osteochondrosis in women can be distinguished separately. They are based on three stages of the development of the disease in ascending order.
- First stage. It is provoked by a regular overstrain of the muscle fibers of the neck due to being in an uncomfortable position.
- Second phase. It is caused by the onset of tissue degeneration in the intervertebral discs, as well as the vertebrae themselves. There is a feeling of numbness, deterioration of the sensitivity of the limbs, limited mobility of the spine.
- Third stage. Associated with the development of intervertebral hernia. Motor activity is blocked, fibrous rings are torn. The pain covers the neck, head, thoracic region, the vertebral artery syndrome develops.
The main provocateurs of female osteochondrosis include the following:
- strong emotional and physical stress;
- forced regular and prolonged stay in a position in which the neck is pinched or there is a need to tilt the head forward;
- spinal injury;
- increased pressure on the spine (for example, during pregnancy, overweight);
- abnormal changes in the structure of the skeleton;
This is a group of general causes that contribute to the development of the disease, but without the first group of factors they are not capable of provoking it.
- hormonal disorders;
- age-related degenerative changes;
- autoimmune, vegetative problems;
- frequent hypothermia of the body;
- excess weight;
Symptoms of the disease
Symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis appear in women in the same way as in men. Below are the main ones.
- The main alarm is pain. Cervical osteochondrosis is characterized by frequent aching or paroxysmal acute pain in the neck (less often - the back of the head, as well as on the face). The sensation intensifies if you try to move your head.
- Often there is limited mobility, spasms of the neck, thoracic region.
- After the age of 50, many patients experience tinnitus, impaired vision, hearing, and intense snoring.
- Sometimes the disease causes a strong crunch when turning the neck.
- Another common symptom is dizziness, a gradual loss of coordinated movements.
The very first signs of the disease should lead the woman to an understanding of the need to urgently take action. A set of diagnostic and therapeutic methods can only be selected by a doctor, so the listed symptoms are a reason for urgent medical attention.
The condition is considered especially dangerous if a constant state of lack of air, a feeling of a coma in the throat, stuffy ears, clouding in the eyes are added to these manifestations.
The elimination of the disease or its main symptoms is necessarily preceded by a full diagnosis. For this, computed tomography, ultrasound and doppler, and sometimes x-ray machines are involved. A prerequisite is the preventive diagnosis of osteochondrosis in older women, the rest should be resorted to if a disease is suspected.
Effective therapeutic measures are based on an integrated approach, as well as taking into account the individual characteristics of a particular clinical case. Based on the stage of development of osteochondrosis, certain approaches may be effective.
The following points must be taken into account in the treatment of women:
- the presence of diseases of the cardiovascular system;
- the quality of the endocrine system.
Therapy with classical medicines is the standard, simplest, but at the same time very effective approach. However, drug treatment of cervical osteochondrosis is carried out in women only if more benign options have shown their ineffectiveness.
Before turning to medical preparations, a woman is invited to turn to herbal infusions (chamomile, dandelion roots, celandine), natural compresses (from wax, burdock or horseradish leaves, garlic cloves, cottage cheese with vinegar, honey). They also resort to aroma baths, lifestyle and nutrition correction, stress relief.
They cover the lack of effectiveness of these drugs with classical medicine. These are analgesics, as well as non-steroidal drugs. The intake of both groups of drugs is always carried out taking into account the phase of the menstrual cycle.
At the end of the cycle, with an increase in pain sensitivity, a decrease in the body's defenses, the dose of analgesics increases. For menopausal women, analgesics are consistently recommended at higher dosages. At the same time, for pregnant women, as well as at the beginning of the menstrual cycle, analgesics are taken to a minimum.
The specificity of the treatment of female osteochondrosis is the regular intake of sedatives. Mood swings, irritability, as well as stress greatly interfere with the progress of any therapeutic or preventive technique, if we are talking about a weaker field.
The most difficult cases include the additional intake of chondroprotectors, as well as corticosteroids.
Properly selected gymnastic complexes are an integral component of a balanced therapy. Treatment of the consequences of cervical osteochondrosis in women is focused, among other things, on the return of mobility to this part of the body, and here it is the exercise therapy complex that is the main help.
Specific exercises are always selected by the doctor. In this case, both classical (tilts and turns of the head, rotation of the shoulders) and specific movements can be involved. Often, yoga poses are used to eliminate pain. Such treatment is also allowed at home, if the complex is performed regularly and clearly according to the prescriptions of doctors.
Along with exercise therapy, cervical massage, manual therapy, and a special diet work well against osteochondrosis. These methods of exercise can give an additional effect. The mode of massage sessions for women is selected taking into account the cycle. Also, with special care, a massage technique for women during menopause is determined.
After recovery, it is extremely important to follow preventive measures with the utmost clarity. This will help to avoid relapses, and they are common with osteochondrosis, mainly due to the repeated influence of causative factors.