Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine: causes, symptoms and treatment

Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine in a man

According to statistics, more than 80% of the world's population suffers from a disease such as osteochondrosis, which affects different parts of the spine. Each type of pathology has its own symptoms and factors leading to the occurrence. And the pathology of the cervical spine is no exception. The factors that led to the fact that you have osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, symptoms and treatment of the disease - these issues should be resolved by a qualified specialist. At the first sign of discomfort, contactneurologist. . . A timely selected course of treatment will avoid serious and unpleasant consequences.

What is osteochondrosis of the cervical spine?

The first thing worth mentioning is the age of the patients who are diagnosed with the disease. Until recently, the pathology was detected in elderly people, but now the younger generation is faced with a problem and comes to doctors. The disease is pathological changes in the intervertebral discs and dystrophy of the spine in general, especially without treatment. The cervical region is the most mobile and consists of 7 vertebrae, each of which consists of an annulus fibrosus and nucleus pulposus. The vertebrae affected by osteochondrosis lose their usual mobility and flexibility. There is a redistribution of the load, as a result of which the fibrous rings can move and crack. Without treatment, osteochondrosis of the neck will lead to the formation of intervertebral hernias and other consequences.

Stages of osteochondrosis (short description)

Like any disease, cervical osteochondrosis has stages of development that are taken into account by the doctor when drawing up a treatment plan and which the patient must know in order to seek help on time. There are 4 stages:

  • The first is characterized by slight and mild pain that increases with head rotation.
  • The second stage is characterized by: intense pain syndrome, in which discomfort can pass from the neck to the arms. At this stage, the nerve endings are pinched, as a result of which the person, in addition to pain, feels weak, he develops a general feeling of poor health.
  • At the third stage, the pain syndrome does not go away and radiates to the arms or shoulders; an intervertebral hernia can also be diagnosed. In some cases, there is a loss of hand sensitivity and decreased neck mobility.
  • At the fourth stage, not only changes in the damaged vertebra are diagnosed, but its almost complete destruction. The patient is constantly tormented by severe pain, tinnitus appears, he begins to poorly navigate in space.

Symptoms of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine in men and women may differ due to physiology, which must be taken into account by the doctor when drawing up a treatment plan.


Cervical osteochondrosis occurs under various, but very specific circumstances. During treatment, the doctor must find out the cause of the pathology in order to begin to fight not only the symptoms, but also the factor that provoked the disease.

Heavy weight

Excess weight puts stress on the body. The larger it is, the stronger the load. Very often, excess weight provokes the development of osteochondrosis, since there is a strong injury to the spine from overloads, especially in diseased areas. When a disease is detected, one of the first steps in overweight patients is to get rid of it. Together with complex treatment, of course.

Seated work, lack of mobility

Sedentary work, a sedentary lifestyle, lack of moderate physical activity are factors that lead to poor posture, incorrect distribution of the load on the cervical and other parts. Very often, office workers and those who just like to sit on the couch at home take the wrong position, thereby exacerbating the problem.

Previous spinal injuries

Injury can happen for any reason, most often car accidents and accidents. The neck is also one of the most vulnerable areas for divers and professional swimmers. With a neck injury, many parts and areas of this spine are damaged: muscles, ligaments, sympathetic trunk, intervertebral discs and joints, as well as spinal roots. Any trauma suffered can both provoke the emergence of osteochondrosis in the already "diseased" part of the cervical spine, and lead to the appearance of osteochondrosis as a consequence.

Mental disorders

An unstable mental state, stress and constant anxiety are the causes of many health problems, including they become provoking factors of cervical osteochondrosis. Many patients who complain of pain syndrome also report signs of depression, constant fatigue and emotional exhaustion. Mental disorders themselves can both arise due to the presence of osteochondrosis, and aggravate the disease. Cervical osteochondrosis is a disease that physically affects the condition of the vertebrae, discs, ligaments and soft tissues around. Due to the displacement of the vertebrae and narrowing of the channels, less oxygen enters the brain and blood flow is disturbed, which leads not only to the appearance of physical ailments, but also to mental disorders.

Poor physical fitness

Every day, certain and, as a rule, the same muscles are involved in our movements, and those that remain motionless gradually lose elasticity and mobility, which, when exposed to external factors, can lead to injury, including the neck. Moderate physical activity is essential for everyone to strengthen the muscle corset and reduce the risk of injury. Other causes of cervical osteochondrosis include metabolic disorders, excessive physical activity, heredity and pathologies and diseases of the body.

Symptoms of the disease

Cervical osteochondrosis can be easily distinguished from pathology in other parts of the spinal column by its symptoms. This happens because the vertebrae in the neck are very close and the symptoms are pronounced when any problem occurs, including osteochondrosis. Cervical osteochondrosis: symptoms - now more about the main thing:

  • pain syndrome of varying intensity can be localized both in the neck and in the head, shoulders, arms, etc. ;
  • weakness, numbness and poor sensitivity of the hands due to pinching of the nerve roots;
  • Difficulty turning the head and the appearance of a crunch when turning (this happens due to structural changes in the intervertebral discs);
  • feeling unwell, weakness, general malaise due to impaired blood flow and insufficient oxygen saturation;
  • the last stage is characterized by hearing and vision impairment.

If symptoms appear, you should consult a doctor and start treatment.

Why is osteochondrosis dangerous?

If the disease is not treated, then the entire body is at risk of serious complications. The small cervical region contains a large number of nerves and arteries that connect and feed the brain and organs and systems below the neck. If the functioning of the cervical vertebrae is impaired, then the nutrition of the whole organism will also be impaired. Cervical osteochondrosis can lead to impaired motor activity, stroke, heart ischemia and other diseases of the cardiovascular system, as well as protrusion and problems with vision and hearing.

Treatment of cervical osteochondrosis

In order to start treatment, the doctor needs to take a history, find out the causes and time of the onset of neck discomfort and conduct the necessary examinations to get a complete clinical picture of your health. How and how to treat cervical osteochondrosis and whether it can be cured, only the doctor will tell, so do not delay the visit and sign up for a consultation with a therapist or neurologist.


One of the first steps is the selection, prescription and administration of medications: painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, in order to relieve pain syndrome and existing inflammations and infections. The type and number of drugs are selected individually.


Any physiotherapy procedures are aimed at relieving pain syndrome, muscle spasms and reducing inflammation. As physiotherapy, they are used: acupuncture, manual manipulation, hirudotherapy, shock wave therapy, etc.


Therapeutic exercises are prescribed to patients after the exacerbation stage passes. These measures are aimed at restoring the normal functioning of the cervical spine and at avoiding deterioration of the condition.

Home treatments

Home methods of treatment may include self-massage and exercise therapy, which must be selected and prescribed by specialists. The procedures can be performed only after the technique is shown by the attending physicians.


Neck massage is carried out without strong pressure and turns, movements should be smooth and carried out along the lymph flow. Experts use a variety of techniques that include stroking, squeezing, rubbing, and kneading. Professional massage should be performed only by specialists. Surgery is chosen only when conservative methods do not work. Treatment of cervical osteochondrosis is usually carried out at home and gives the necessary result and getting rid of symptoms only if the recommendations and the course prescribed by the doctor are followed.


Doctors recommend choosing furniture (chairs, armchairs, etc. ), as well as a sleeping place with good spinal support. It is recommended to sleep on an orthopedic mattress and low pillows. A sauna, a steam bath and a hot shower will help relieve muscle spasms (if there are no contraindications). As physical activity, swimming, yoga, walking are recommended, but it is necessary to exclude a strong load on the spine (running, jumping, lifting weights, etc. ). If you have a sedentary job, then take breaks more often and do a little gymnastics.