About the causes, symptoms and treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine

causes of cervical osteochondrosis

How to cure osteochondrosis of the cervical spine and what is the reason for its appearance? This issue worries those women and men who are forced to deal with new health problems on a daily basis: from annoying discomfort in the neck area to severe headaches and other troubles.

The main reason for the development of the disease is the reduction of the distance between the vertebrae due to the destruction of the cartilage tissue between them.

For reference.Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is a degenerative-dystrophic progressive disease that is widespread due to excessive mobility of the spinal cord in the neck. Osteochondrosis of the spine is caused by uncontrolled physical activity, injuries and a weak corset of muscles. All of these reasons ultimately lead to the development of cervical osteochondrosis.

Etiology of the disease

The main reason why cervical osteochondrosis develops is the reduction in the distance between the vertebrae due to the gradual destruction of the cartilage tissue between them. Any failed position causes the vertebrae to move and the veins and nerves to constrict.

The most common causes of osteochondrosis:

  • Genetic predisposition to disease.
  • Overweight and metabolic disorders.
  • Frequent infections, intoxication of the body.
  • Poor, inadequate diet with minimal intake of vitamins, minerals and fluids, leading to spinal deformities.
  • Curvature of the spine, trauma, bruises, fractures, poor posture (osteochondrosis of the initial part).
  • Flat feet and instability in spinal segments, including cervical spine bodies.
  • Work associated with lifting heavy loads or frequent changes in body position (jerks, turns).
  • Sedentary lifestyle, bad ecology.
  • Performing heavy work with an underdeveloped musculoskeletal system, leading to vertebral deformity
  • Prolonged forced body position, nervous effort and stress.
  • "Wrong" sleeping pillows that change the position of the cervical spine.
symptoms of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine

A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of disease.

It is important to remember that the onset of osteochondrosis may not be noticed. Therefore, in case of any discomfort in the neck area, it is necessary to contact an expert in a timely manner.

The following causes of osteochondrosis are theoretical but are encountered in practice:


Associated with tissue trophism disorders during the aging process, which primarily refers to the intervertebral discs and vertebrae, where a large number of blood vessels pass.


Along with hormonal disorders in the body, degenerative changes (osteochondrosis) also occur, with the participation of intervertebral discs in the process.


Observed violation of segmental circulation and metabolism of water and salt. This is followed by degenerative changes in tissues and organs, including osteochondrosis of the neck.


An infection that occurs on the intervertebral discs of the cervical spine and surrounding tissues disrupts the diffusion of lymph fluid and leads to a change in the nutrition of the tissues and cervical spine. This is what causes degenerative changes in the spine, characteristic of osteochondrosis.


The inversion of vector forces of bioelectric fields in the intervertebral disc occurs due to injuries, overload and temperature changes. Eventually, osteochondrosis of the spine appears, and it is usually polysegmental.


Injuries and significant overloads of the spine lead to disturbances in the integrity of the annular fibrosus and degeneration of the cervical spine.


This refers to congenital anomalies of the spine and its individual structural parts. At the same time, healthy vertebrae of the cervical spine receive a double load, which leads to their rapid wear and the development of osteochondrosis of the neck.


Primary pathological changes relate to muscle tissue due to congenital or acquired factors. Uneven muscle contraction in one plane provokes osteochondrosis of the neck.

Stages of the disease

Cervical osteochondrosis has four stages of disease. They are characterized by specific symptoms and changes that affect the cervical region:

stages of development of cervical osteochondrosis
  1. Grade 1damage to the nucleus pulposus occurs as a result of metabolic disorders. It becomes less elastic, dries and cannot cope with the loads in the cervical spine. In stage 1, the patient does not feel pain, only occasionally stiffens. The treatment of a cervical lesion at this stage is the most effective, a simple course of massage helps.
  2. Grade 2damage to the annular fibrosus, microcracks appear on the lateral and posterior surfaces of the spinal disc. A patient with pathology at this stage begins to feel neck pain.
  3. Grade 3bone structure undergoes changes, annular fibrosus is deformed and torn. All nearby tissues, nerves and blood vessels suffer, the patient feels shortness of breath, sounds in the ears and head. Osteochondrosis of the neck in the 3rd degree is characterized by the appearance of painful pain in the back of the head, turning the head becomes very difficult.
  4. Stage 4there is a degenerative renewal of the spine, the process takes about a year. In a deformed vertebra, there is a change in the growth of bone tissue (it grows in width). The diseased spine gradually turns into a static, painless, frozen bone column.

Only timely prevention of osteochondrosis will help prevent the development of the disease.

Primary manifestations of osteochondrosis, including polysegmental, occur after the age of 35, and the older a person is, the more often patients complain to a specialist about neck pain. The most common causes of pathology today are a long stay at the computer and driving a car. Such forced positions of the spine lead to destabilization of the spine.

Typical clinical manifestations

The symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis have a pronounced personality and differ from the symptoms of the disease in other parts of the spine. This is due to the structural characteristics of the vertebrae and the fact that they are much closer than in the thoracic and lumbar region. Therefore, even in the most insignificant pathologies, cervical osteochondrosis is felt faster.

The following signs of cervical osteochondrosis are the most typical:


The first symptom that lets a person know about the onset of a neck problem. It can be localized: neck, nape, shoulder, upper arm. If the nerve root is involved in a pathological process, which is "responsible" for the innervation of the upper arm, unpleasant sensations resembling pain appear. Occipital pain occurs with a strong spasm of the neck muscles attached to the occipital bone. In addition, blood flow is disrupted, which provokes symptoms of poor blood supply to the brain.

Weakness in hands

clinical manifestations of cervical osteochondrosis

This symptom is caused by damage to the nerve root and fibers that perform motor function and innervate the arm muscles.

Symptoms may include weakness and tenderness in the hands.

Poor sensitivity in the hands

This symptom is caused by damage to the sensitive nerve fibers that innervate the skin.

Crunching and restricting door movement

These are characteristic symptoms that indicate "drying out" of the intervertebral disc. In addition, there is proliferation and degeneration of bones in the small joints between the cervical vertebrae.

Poor coordination

Symptoms indicate that cervical osteochondrosis is progressing. Both the nerves and the spinal artery are constricted, and by the formation of fibrous tissue and the movement of the vertebrae, blood flow deteriorates, leading to symptoms indicating poor supply to the cerebellum and brain. In severe cases, the following symptoms develop: hearing loss, numbness of the tongue, vision problems.

As you can see, osteochondrosis is by no means a harmless disease, as the symptoms eloquently indicate.

Principles of therapeutic interventions

Treatment of cervical osteochondrosis in men and women is based on stopping all the symptoms of the disease and eliminating the causes of cervical osteochondrosis. Symptoms are mainly related to the compression of nerve fibers and blood vessels, so it is primarily important to eliminate edema, inflammation and establish a normal blood supply. Cervical osteochondrosis in the initial stages is successfully withdrawn with the use of physiotherapy exercises, when they do not resort to medication.

The success of treatment depends only on the teamwork of qualified doctors.

With the development of cervical osteochondrosis, the local therapist, who is almost always approached initially, does not help much. As a rule, its treatment is only symptomatic, but it is not able to fully detect and eliminate the cause of the disease. Therefore, the success of treatment depends only on the teamwork of qualified physicians: vertebral neurologist, neurologist, surgeon, physiotherapist and massage therapist.

methods of treating cervical osteochondrosis

It is important to start treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine at the earliest stage, otherwise in 2-3 stages there is a strong change in the spine and the treatment will be long, difficult and not always effective. Medications, physical therapy, massage and remedial gymnastics are the mainstay of treating neck problems.

Drugs used for cervical osteochondrosis:

  1. NSAIL.
  2. Vitamins.
  3. Drugs that improve blood flow.
  4. Muscle relaxants.
  5. Chondroprotectors.

Treatment of cervical osteochondrosis is carried out by the following physiotherapeutic methods:

  • Ultrasound (relieves pain, improves metabolic processes).
  • Electrophoresis (drug delivery to the problem area).
  • Laser therapy (relieves inflammation and improves blood circulation).
  • Magnetotherapy (relieves tissue swelling).

Cervical osteochondrosis should not be underestimated. Very often men and women have mild discomfort in the neck, especially when sitting at a computer for a long time or in any other forced position. You do not need to take medication at the beginning, but try to eliminate the cause or occasionally do light exercises (at work or at home). Indications for surgical treatment: lack of effect of conservative treatment (drugs, physiotherapy, gymnastics), constant pain, myelopathy, impaired cerebral circulation.