Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine.

neck pain with osteochondrosis

Cervical osteochondrosis is a type of dystrophic changes in the intervertebral discs of the neck.

Not only the discs themselves are adversely affected, but also the vertebrae, soft tissue, and cartilage. The main feature of the cervical region is the fact that its vertebrae do not have the most reliable structure compared to other regions, which makes this area very vulnerable. The vertebrae are very close to each other, as well as to the arteries that supply the human brain.

If there is a displacement of the vertebrae, then there is a high probability of compression of the bundles of nerves and arteries, which will inevitably lead to the appearance of a hernia between the vertebrae and the protrusion, ie. changes in the structure of the vertebral disc.

What it is?

Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine (Osteohondroz) is a degenerative-dystrophic lesion of the intervertebral discs, as a result of which the discs themselves, the vertebrae and the joints of the cervical spine are damaged, and a decrease in the height of the intervertebral discs. . The disease progresses if left untreated and can lead to headaches, poor circulation, and even hernias. Like osteoporosis, the disease occurs due to a violation of mineral metabolism, as a result of which the bones and joints weaken.

Why does osteochondrosis appear?

Although traditional medicine considers degenerative changes in the intervertebral discs of the cervical spine to be a disease, from the point of view of osteopathy, this is only a manifestation of deeper disorders in the body.

Thus, the true causes of cervical osteochondrosis are:

  1. Muscle spasms. . . Spasmodic reactions of the muscles of the back, chest and press can lead to the fact that certain parts of the body are very tense. As a result, the general equilibrium position of the body is disturbed, causing a change in the position of the spine. The deformities can touch the cervical region or other parts of the spine, causing osteochondrosis of the thoracic, cervical and lumbar regions.
  2. Poor posture. . . Scoliosis, slouching, round back, kyphosis, and other postural disorders, even mild, cause a serious imbalance of the spine. As a result, the load on the intervertebral discs is distributed unevenly, which causes their deformation and increased wear. The vertebrae begin to converge, causing an infringement of nervous processes, cervical osteochondrosis develops quite quickly. Alterations in posture caused by a change in the natural position of the ribs have similar consequences.
  3. Innervation disorder. . . A decrease in the sensitivity of the nerve roots leads to pathological changes in their structure, as a result of which the patient goes unnoticed displacement and deformation of the cervical vertebrae. After all, pain is absent due to sensitivity disorders.
  4. Diseases of the internal organs.. . . The incorrect position of the internal organs, their displacement and descent due to various dysfunctions leads to a violation of the general balance in the body. As a result, this drastically affects the position of the spine: the cervical and lumbar vertebrae are displaced and deformed, which leads to corresponding types of osteochondrosis.
  5. Violation of blood supply. . . Since the vertebral discs do not have a direct connection to the circulatory system, they receive nourishment from the surrounding tissues. Violation of the blood supply to the cervical spine leads to the fact that the discs do not receive enough fluid for rehydration (restoration of shape due to moisture absorption), renewal of cartilage tissue. As a result, their wear and tear is accelerated, there is a decrease in the distance between the vertebrae of the cervical spine, which leads to osteochondrosis.


The attending physician should determine the degree of development of cervical osteochondrosis, based on the history, as well as the examination of the patient. There are only four degrees:

  1. First grade. . . The disease is in the bud, the patient has a slight pain in the neck, which may be more intense if the person begins to turn his head.
  2. Second grade. . . The patient may complain of very severe pain in the cervical spine, which can be localized to the upper extremities. The clinical picture shows that at this stage of the development of the disease, pinching of the nerve bundles is observed, causing severe pain. Headache, weakness, and general malaise are also noted.
  3. Third degree. . . The pains become almost incessant and also radiate to the shoulder or arm. Some patients are diagnosed with a herniated disc, which leads to loss of sensation in the upper extremities. On examination by a doctor, there is a marked decrease in mobility of the cervical spine, as well as tenderness.
  4. Fourth grade. . . At this stage of the disease, the intervertebral disc is almost completely destroyed. In its place, connective tissue appears, which leads to a worsening of the patient's condition. He begins to feel more pain, noise in his head, and poor orientation in space. This suggests that the artery is pinched, which interferes with the brain's natural nutrition.

First signs

How osteochondrosis of the cervical spine manifests itself:

  • radicular syndrome - against the background of compression of nerve endings, pain occurs, spreading from the neck to the shoulder blades, forearms and covering the anterior wall of the chest;
  • muscle weakness in the arms, noticeable swelling of the neck;
  • when moving the head, a characteristic crunch is heard;
  • weakness, chronic fatigue, drop in blood pressure;
  • lack of coordination, often dizzy, attacks are accompanied by nausea, vomiting;
  • impaired vision and hearing, noise, ringing in the ears;
  • numbness of the extremities, tongue;
  • frequent migraines;
  • in women aged 45-65 years, during sleep, pain, numbness, tingling appear in the upper extremities, attacks can be repeated several times a night.

Symptoms of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine.

Important symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis are dizziness, headaches, sudden increases in blood pressure.

The diagnosis of the disease is difficult, the pain sometimes does not appear and the symptoms are erased, in addition, the uncontrolled use of strong painkillers masks the signs of the disease. A patient who does not feel pain is considered healthy, and this continues until the development of irreversible processes in the tissues of the neck joints.

Headache with cervical osteochondrosis.

The most common causes of headache in the pathology we are describing:

  1. Vascular spasms of the brain;
  2. Pinched nerve roots;
  3. Reflex increase in intracranial pressure.

You feel that the pain may be paroxysmal, constant, stabbing, and dull.

Dizziness with cervical osteochondrosis.

Dizziness can be due to:

  1. Inflammation in the middle or inner ear;
  2. Vascular spasms of the brain;
  3. Alterations in the transmission of nerve impulses;
  4. Problems with the vestibular apparatus;
  5. Diseases of the cardiovascular system.

There are no clear criteria for dizziness in osteochondrosis. However, there are systemic and non-systemic vertigos, they have obvious differences.

It is recommended to know the differences between systemic and non-systemic dizziness, this will help to independently determine the causes of an unusual state:

  1. Systemic dizziness is a sensation of circular movement of the surrounding objects or of the body, which is a consequence of the disruption of the vestibular apparatus, visual analyzers and receptors in the joints, muscles and epidermis (osteochondrosis of various etiologies);
  2. Non-systemic dizziness is a feeling of lightheadedness, a feeling of lightheadedness, insecurity of being upright. In case of non-systemic dizziness, the sensation of circular rotation is absent, and this is an important difference between the compared signs.

A person experiencing dizziness of one of these types should be examined by an experienced physician, first by a neurologist or (if there is a suspicion of ear and nasopharyngeal disease) by an otolaryngologist.

The reason for emergency hospitalization, not associated with osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, is the identification of the patient (except for dizziness) of such signs as:

  1. Paralysis of the facial muscles and numbness of a part of the shoulder girdle;
  2. Severe headache against the background of deteriorating health;
  3. Movement coordination disorders;
  4. Loss or extinction of knowledge.

Blood pressure in cervical osteochondrosis

The connection of cervical osteochondrosis to sudden increases in blood pressure has long been established. The cervical vertebrae have important nerve endings and blood vessels.

A distinctive feature of high blood pressure in cervical osteochondrosis is a combination with the following symptoms:

  • Headache;
  • Pain in the extremities and chest;
  • Decreased sensitivity in the neck area;
  • The appearance of sudden increases in pressure after stress, muscle tension, prolonged awkward postures and other similar situations.

These signs must be taken into account when differentiating hypertension of various origins.

Sudden jumps in blood pressure and rapid deterioration in health are the basis for seeking emergency medical help.

Osteochondrosis syndromes.

Osteochondrosis consists of the following syndromes:

  1. Vertebral. . . It is also called vertebral, which indicates that bones and cartilage tissue are involved in the pathological process. This leads to the formation of such symptoms: limitation of motor activity of the neck, pain when turning it, radiological changes in the image of the cervical spine. It is the simultaneous appearance of these signs that constitutes vertebral syndrome. A similar set of clinical signs is seen in myositis (pathology of muscle tissue), and painful movements accompany many other pathologies.
  2. Cardiac syndrome. . . It is manifested by a burning sensation in the chest area, the appearance of shortness of breath. The person feels his heartbeat fast, becomes tired and irritable. This image is also typical of cardiological pathology, for example, for angina pectoris, coronary syndrome, heart attack. An accurate conclusion about the causes of such symptoms can be made after the patient undergoes an ECG.
  3. Root syndrome. . . The cervical region innervates 8 pairs of nerves, each of which has roots, the place where the nerve exits the vertebra. When they are involved in osteochondrosis, the patient feels a decrease in sensitivity or vice versa - severe pain. There may be numbness in the occiput, either painful, decreased sensitivity of the tongue, behind the ear, pain in the supraclavicular region. Sometimes there are violations of swallowing, movements in the waist of the upper extremities, numbness of the fingers.


If there are clear signs of cervical osteochondrosis on the face, the doctor prescribes certain methods to make sure that the diagnosis is correct:

  1. X-ray of the cervical spine. This method is advisable in the early stages of the disease, but may prove useless in advanced forms.
  2. CT (computed tomography). It allows you to see structural changes in the vertebrae, but with this method it is impossible to determine the size of the hernia between the vertebrae.
  3. Magnetic resonance. It is considered the most effective diagnostic method for determining cervical osteochondrosis. It is possible to determine the size of the hernia between the discs, as well as the degree of its development.
  4. Your doctor may also order a duplex ultrasound to determine if your arteries are not working properly.

Complications of the disease.

What is the danger of cervical osteochondrosis?

  • frequent migraine attacks;
  • heart rhythm disturbance, atherosclerosis;
  • bulge, intervertebral hernia, bony growths of the vertebrae;
  • serious pathologies of the brain;
  • narrowing of the lumen of the vertebral artery, leading to the development of VSD, cerebral hypertension, disability;
  • spinal stroke.

First aid at home with exacerbation of osteochondrosis.

For severe pain, pain relievers can be used. If pain relievers don't provide relief, NSAIDs can be taken.

Means are often used to "distract", for example, the Pepper Plaster, which does not heal, but only warms the inflamed area and distracts from pain. In case of edema in the area of inflammation, the patient can drink an herbal infusion or a diuretic for 3-4 days. Can osteochondrosis be cured with such methods? These measures are only temporary; To treat the causes, you should consult a doctor.

How to treat osteochondrosis of the cervical spine?

At the initial stage of development, osteochondrosis can be cured without drugs, it is enough to review the diet, daily regimen and regularly perform a number of special exercises. With advanced forms of the disease, effective treatment is possible only with the use of various drugs that help stop degenerative changes in the vertebrae.

The complex of therapeutic measures should include physiotherapy: drug electrophoresis, ultrasound, magnetotherapy, laser therapy. These methods help to cope with pain, inflammation, swelling of tissues, improve metabolic processes and blood circulation.

Drug treatment

The main methods of treating osteochondrosis of the cervical spine are drug treatment, physical therapy, massage of the cervical collar area, therapeutic exercises for cervical osteochondrosis are especially effective. The main groups of drugs used for this disease include:

Name Principle of operation
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). They reduce pain, help relieve aseptic inflammation and edema of the damaged nerve root.
Drugs that improve the rheological properties of blood and blood flow. It improves the nutrition of damaged nerve roots and improves blood flow to the brain.
Vitamins B. Improves metabolic processes in nervous tissue.
Muscle relaxants. These are medications that relieve muscle spasms.
Chondroprotectors. These are glucosamine and chondroitin. These are drugs that restore cartilage tissue, even in the damaged intervertebral disc.

When taking pills for osteochondrosis, it should be remembered that a significant effect of drug treatment with pills will be only if you combine it with other methods, including exercise. It should also be borne in mind that the treating physician should prescribe how to treat the disease based on its stage and other signs.

Many doctors consider that the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis with injections is effective, since it allows a more rapid action on the endings of the nerves and causes a minimum of secondary reactions. At the same time, it is better to take vitamins in pill form, since there is no difference for assimilation, but injections can be painful.

Injections used for treatment:

  • intramuscular injections cause a general strengthening and anti-inflammatory effect;
  • The locks are injected directly into the affected area, which produces a quick effect.

Ointments and gels for external use.

This is the most accessible group of drugs for use at home. They are divided into painkillers to relieve inflammation, warm up, and relieve pain.

With cervical osteochondrosis, not all ointments are effective, moreover, due to their availability, they are sometimes used unreasonably and without taking into account the peculiarities of the pathogenesis. Before using any medicine, it should be examined by a doctor.

Exercise therapy

Physiotherapy for cervical osteochondrosis should be done without acute exacerbation. The greatest effectiveness of this technique is during the recovery period. There should be no discomfort or pain while running the complex!

Exercise number 1 Lying on your stomach, put your hands on the floor, raise your head and torso, your back should be straight. Stay in this position for 1-2 minutes. Lower yourself slowly to the ground. Repeat 2-3 times.
Exercise number 2 Lying on your stomach, stretch your arms along your body, turn your head to the left, try to touch the ground with your ear, and then turn your head to the right. Repeat 6-7 times in each direction.
Exercise number 3 In a sitting position, while inhaling, lean forward and try to touch your head to your chest, then exhale, bend back, and tilt your head back. Repeat 10-15 times.
Exercise number 4 While sitting, place your palms on your forehead, apply pressure with your palms on your forehead and your forehead on your palms. Continue this exercise for 30 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.
Exercise number 5 Slowly turn your head first in one direction and then the other. 10 rotations in each direction. Watch for dizziness. When it appears, the exercise stops.
exercises for cervical osteochondrosis

Massage for cervical osteochondrosis.

The massage should be done carefully, without effort. Inexperienced and unprofessional massage can end in failure. The movements should extend to the cervical region, the neck area and part of the back. The massage is performed in the prone position, in extreme cases, sitting.

The techniques are based on the following techniques:

  1. Stroking. Impact on the superficial layers of the skin. With the palms of the hands or fingertips from the head to the upper third of the middle of the back. The strokes from the base of the neck can also be done in a zigzag pattern;
  2. Squeezing. Impact on the deep layers of the skin in the upper third of the back. The fingers (thumb and index finger) along the neck make movements to grasp the skin, reminiscent of squeezing. This is done carefully, the tissues near the vertebrae are not affected;
  3. Trituration. The purpose of the procedure is to warm the skin and increase blood flow to the neck area. This is done with extreme caution. Impact on the spinous processes of the vertebrae is not allowed. Rubbing can be replaced with movements reminiscent of sawing or with circular movements;
  4. Kneading. It is of limited importance, since it affects very deep tissues, which can aggravate the pathology.

Self-massage for cervical osteochondrosis is performed sitting in a comfortable position. Methods of stroking, circular rubbing on the neck or shoulders are used. It is advisable to combine the self-massage method with rubbing in various ointments that increase blood flow and relieve pain in the kneaded area.

massage for cervical osteochondrosis


Along with taking medications, the patient must undergo physiotherapy procedures. They increase the effectiveness of medications and promote the restoration of the joints and intervertebral discs.

  1. Electrophoresis: ions of the anesthetic drug penetrate the sore spot due to the action of an electrical current.
  2. Laser therapy: it has anti-inflammatory properties, it guarantees an improvement in blood circulation, through exposure to light.
  3. Magnetic therapy - relieves swelling of tissues, has an analgesic effect.
  4. Ultrasound - there is an improvement in metabolic processes, relieves pain, relieves inflammation of damaged areas.

Various procedures are used in the form of physical therapy. The doctor prescribes the treatment, based on the indications and the absence of contraindications.

physiotherapy for cervical osteochondrosis

Home remedies

Alternative treatment should be used in addition to drug therapy and physical education, unconventional methods will not help to completely get rid of the disease.

What to do with cervical osteochondrosis at home:

  1. Pour boiling water over a fresh horseradish leaf, cool slightly, fasten the inside to the neck, fix with a natural thin cloth. The procedure is carried out before going to bed, leave the compress overnight.
  2. Grate raw potatoes on a fine grater, mix in equal proportions with warm liquid honey. Use the mixture for compresses, the procedure should be carried out 1-2 times a week.
  3. Mix a raw egg with 100 ml of sunflower oil, 20 ml of vinegar and 20 g of flour, remove the mixture in a dark place for 48 hours, remove the film from the surface. Means smear the inflamed area before going to bed, store in the refrigerator.
  4. In May, collect pine shoots up to 2 cm long, cut into thin slices and fold in a dark glass container. For 1 part of the raw material, take 2 parts of sugar, remove the drug in a dark place for 2 weeks. Drink 5 ml of the mixture three times a day, do not swallow immediately, keep it in the mouth for 2-3 minutes. Course duration: 15-20 days, repeat 2-3 times a year.
  5. Grind 150 g of peeled garlic and 400 g of blueberries, put the mixture in a glass container, add 800 ml of honey after 24 hours, mix. Take 5 ml of the drug three times a day before meals.

Cope with severe pain, extract excess salts with a cabbage leaf smeared with honey, fix the compress on the neck with a warm scarf and leave it overnight.


The use of applicators is one of the methods of therapy for diseases of the spine, including osteochondrosis.

The impact of the device on the cervical spine normalizes metabolic processes, relieves pain, increases muscle tone, improves blood circulation, increases the conductivity of nervous tissue, etc.

applicator for the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis

Manual therapy

Manual therapy is based on the principle of restoring motor functions and mobility between the vertebrae.

Initially, the manipulations consist of a light relaxing massage, then the doctor applies more and more force, acts on the vertebrae by pressing and turning the neck.

manual therapy for cervical osteochondrosis


The spine is the foundation of the entire human body. When diagnosing any pathology associated with the spine, specialists seek to eliminate it therapeutically. Any operation on the spine is life threatening.

With cervical osteochondrosis, surgical intervention is allowed under the following indications:

  • intervertebral hernia, spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis;
  • lack of results of therapy when exposed for more than six months;
  • the formation of osteophytes.

Modern medicine offers many ways to perform surgery with minimal risks to the health and life of the patient.


Cervical osteochondrosis is a disease that develops, first of all, with an improper lifestyle. Consequently, disease prevention is a healthy lifestyle.

You can reduce your risk of developing OHSS by:

  • exclude provoking factors;
  • exercise regularly;
  • do not resort to vigorous physical activity;
  • get rid of bad habits;
  • try to be as less nervous as possible;
  • Eat well.

Compliance with preventive measures will help speed up the healing process and eliminate the likelihood of relapse. Older people and those with a hereditary predisposition are advised to consistently adhere to prevention. Compliance with a diet, performing simple exercises will definitely bring a positive result. Yoga and swimming are also helpful.