Osteochondrosis is a dangerous disease of the spine, which, if complicated, can permanently worsen the quality of life. This pathology is significantly "younger": various forms of the disease are increasingly common in young people.
Lumbar osteochondrosis: symptoms and drug treatment
Osteochondrosis is called the deformation of the intervertebral discs, cartilage and bones of the spinal column.
Depending on the location, cervical, thoracic and lumbar (lumbosacral) osteochondrosis is distinguished.
The causes of the disease are quite diverse:
- upright posture;
- spinal injury;
- flat feet;
- work associated with lifting weights;
- frequent changes in body position;
- spinal overload;
- prolonged stay in uncomfortable positions;
- obesity and low physical activity;
- poor nutrition, accompanied by a deficiency of nutrients;
Symptoms of lumbar osteochondrosis
- First of all, the disease makes itself felt by the pain syndrome. The pain is aching in nature;
- In the lower extremities there is a feeling of ache, and later - numbness;
- Due to discomfort, motor activity is significantly reduced;
- The pain gets worse when lifting heavy things, strenuous exercise, sudden movement, and even sneezing/coughing.
Diagnosis of osteochondrosis of the lumbar
The conclusion is made by the neurologist, based on the patient's complaints. The doctor examines the spine in different positions, at rest / in motion. An X-ray, CT or MRI should be ordered to confirm the diagnosis. Based on the results obtained, a whole complex of treatment is prescribed: medicines, exercise therapy, massage, physiotherapy procedures.
Treatment of osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine with medicines
Medicines should stop the acute process, relieve symptoms, partially restore damaged tissues of the intervertebral discs.
The medicines used are classified according to the type of action:
- Painkillers - eliminate acute pain;
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) - relieve swelling and inflammation;
- Muscle relaxants - relax spasmodic muscles;
- Glucocorticoid hormones - prescribed in the absence of the effect of other drugs;
- Chondroprotectors - stimulate the regeneration of cartilage;
- Means for accelerating metabolism / blood flow;
- Minerals and vitamins - improve nerve conduction.
Medication treatment for exacerbations
During this period, it is most important to relieve pain. Therapy begins with injections, and then continues with tablets. It is very important to start treatment in a timely manner, since inflammation can block the vessels and nerves of the affected spine.
Pain is relieved with analgesics and NSAIDs. Opioid analgesics are most effective but have side effects. NSAIDs are safer in this regard, so they are prescribed more often.
Both analgesics and NSAIDs inhibit the production of prostaglandins, substances involved in the inflammatory process and responsible for pain.
NSAIDs relieve discomfort and inflammation. There are products for external use (gels, ointments), internal (tablets, capsules) and in the form of injections (for intramuscular, subcutaneous, intravenous administration).
Muscle spasm is a response to inflammation. Muscle tension increases the pain. Muscle relaxants relax the muscles, respectively, reduce the severity of the disease.
The dosage is selected individually. Therapy with these lasts 2-3 weeks or until the symptoms disappear.
Blockade with anesthetics is a chipping of the affected area. They can give injections with glucocorticoid drugs. The analgesic effect lasts up to 3 days.
Glucocorticoid hormones have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. But these are used only in the absence of the effect of less aggressive drugs. Most often, complex drugs are prescribed, one of the components of which are hormones. Hormonal treatment is associated with a high risk of side effects, therefore, it is prescribed for the shortest possible time.
Preparations for external use
With exacerbation of lumbar osteochondrosis, various gels / ointments are used that have a warming and local warming effect. They can also be anti-inflammatory. Ointments and gels reduce the severity of the symptoms of the disease.
Vasodilators - vasodilators
Muscle spasm and pain provoke constriction of blood vessels. To exclude such a phenomenon, a drug is prescribed that dilates blood vessels and improves tissue trophism.
Treatment during remission
During an exacerbation, only those medicines are used that relieve the symptoms of the disease of the lumbar spine, but do not affect its causes. Restorative measures should be carried out in combination with symptomatic therapy. However, osteochondrosis does not always manifest itself acutely, for example, when the thoracic region is affected, the disease progresses slowly and is chronic. Therefore, in some cases, treatment does without potent drugs.
Chondroprotectors help to restore the functions of the intervertebral discs of the lumbar. They saturate the cartilaginous tissues with useful substances and restore elasticity to the discs.
Chondroprotectors stop the process of cartilage destruction, stabilize their condition. But these drugs need to be taken for a long time, sometimes for life. The effect occurs at least six months after the start of therapy. Chondroprotectors are used both externally and internally, as well as in the form of injections.
Two active substances are taken as the basis of such drugs - glucosamine and chondroitin. The medicine may include either one of these substances, or both at once, as well as be supplemented with other active substances.
Examples of chondroprotectors:
- based on glucosamine;
- based on chondroitin;
- with glucosamine and chondroitin;
- with glucosamine, chondroitin and vitamins;
- ampoules for injection.
Drugs to improve blood flow and metabolism
B vitamins, in particular B1, B6 and B12, as well as ascorbic acid, have a beneficial effect on the peripheral nervous system. Complex vitamin preparations may be prescribed. Vitamin-mineral complexes are prescribed as general strengthening.
A preventive course with such drugs will support the health of the spine. Enough 2-3 courses per year to reduce the risk of exacerbation of the disease.
Prolonged discomfort depresses a person, can cause stress and even depression. In order to prevent the deterioration of the psycho-emotional state, preparations of motherwort, valerian, combined herbal medicines are prescribed.
If mental disorders are severe, antidepressants are used. Sleeping pills are prescribed to improve the quality of sleep.