Symptoms and treatment of cervical osteochondrosis

Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is the result of a sedentary lifestyle and poor nutrition. The first signs of the disease can appear as early as 25 years of age; If treatment is not started, serious complications may occur. An integrated approach is used in the treatment of the disease: drug treatment, diet therapy, physical therapy and physiotherapy.

symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis

Causes of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine

Cervical osteochondrosis is a degenerative-dystrophic change in the discs and intervertebral joints, which leads to a decrease in neck mobility and the appearance of severe pain. The main reason for the development of the disease is a violation of mineral metabolism, which makes bones and joints less strong. ICD-10 code – M42, M50–54.

Why does cervical osteochondrosis occur?

  • sedentary and overweight lifestyle;
  • bad posture, scoliosis;
  • rheumatism;
  • flat feet;
  • VSD;
  • bad diet.

Injuries, bruises of the spine, excessive physical activity and stress can provoke the development of deformation of the cervical vertebrae. In women, osteochondrosis often occurs during pregnancy, menopause - against the background of hormonal changes, the amount of calcium decreases, bone tissue becomes fragile.

Important! The predisposition to osteochondrosis is hereditary.

General symptoms and signs

With a constantly increased load on the cervical vertebrae, muscle spasm occurs, the vessels of the cervical spine are compressed, blood circulation is disrupted, disruptions in metabolic processes occur: the structure of the intervertebral discs changes, they are deformed and begin to protrude further the spinal column.

How osteochondrosis of the cervical spine manifests itself:

  • radicular syndrome - against the background of compression of the nerve endings, pain occurs that spreads from the neck to the shoulder blades, forearms and covers the anterior wall of the chest;
  • muscle weakness in the arms, significant swelling of the neck;
  • when you move your head you hear a characteristic crunch;
  • weakness, chronic fatigue, changes in blood pressure;
  • lack of coordination, often dizziness, attacks accompanied by nausea, vomiting;
  • deterioration of vision and hearing, noise, ringing in the ears;
  • numbness of the limbs, tongue;
  • frequent migraines;
  • in women between the ages of 45 and 65, pain, numbness and tingling in the upper limbs appear during sleep; attacks can be repeated several times during the night.

With cervical osteochondrosis, nutrition and blood supply to the brain are disrupted, neurotic disorders occur: anxiety, irritability, mood swings, sleep disorders.

Classification of cervical osteochondrosis

As osteochondrosis develops, it goes through several stages of development, each of which has characteristic signs. In the photo you can see what the affected part of the spine looks like at different stages.

Degree of development of the disease:

  1. Osteochondrosis of the 1st degree - the initial stage occurs without particularly pronounced symptoms, the person is bothered by rare and minor pains when turning and tilting the head, the back muscles quickly get tired.
  2. Osteochondrosis of the 2nd degree: the vertebrae become unstable, a nerve is pinched, unpleasant sensations in the neck become pronounced, radiating to the shoulder and arm. Additional symptoms are increased fatigue, frequent headaches in the occipital region, distraction.
  3. Osteochondrosis of the 3rd degree: the pain becomes chronic, covers the upper back, arms, severe muscle weakness is observed, the limbs become numb, an intervertebral hernia develops, and attacks of dizziness often occur.
  4. Osteochondrosis of the 4th degree: complete destruction of the intervertebral discs occurs, they are replaced by connective tissue, the pathological process covers several segments of the spine. A lack of coordination occurs, dizziness attacks become more frequent and tinnitus appears.
pain with cervical osteochondrosis

Acute osteochondrosis is a consequence of the chronic form of the disease, characterized by a strong attack of acute pain that occurs suddenly after waking up.

Which doctor should I contact?

If signs of cervical osteochondrosis appear, it is necessary to visit a neurologist; in some hospitals there is a vertebrologist, a specialist who treats diseases of the spine.

Diagnostic methods

Advanced forms of osteochondrosis have a pronounced clinical picture, which allows making an initial diagnosis already during the initial examination. Instrumental diagnostic methods will help identify the degree of degenerative changes in the vertebrae.

Main types of examinations for osteochondrosis:

  • X-ray– the method is effective only in the early stages of development of the pathology;
  • magnetic resonance imaging– the structure of bone structures, the size and direction of development of intervertebral hernias and the condition of the spinal cord are clearly visible on the screen;
  • CT– the method is less effective than MRI, as it does not provide precise information on the presence and size of hernias;
  • double-sided scanning– allows you to see blood flow disorders;
  • electroneurography– shows the presence of pinching, inflammation and other nerve damage;
  • rheoencephalogram– prescribed for problems with the blood supply to the brain.
diagnosis of cervical osteochondrosis

For a targeted and in-depth study of the condition of certain vertebrae, discography is performed: a contrast agent is injected into the intervertebral disc, which allows you to see the smallest changes in the tissues and distinguish scar changes from a hernia.

Methods for the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis

In the initial stage of development, osteochondrosis can be cured without drugs, it is enough to review the diet, daily routine and regularly perform a set of special exercises. In 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 necessarily includes physical procedures: electrophoresis with drugs, ultrasound, magnetic therapy, laser therapy. These methods help to cope with pain, inflammation, swelling of tissues, improve metabolic processes and blood circulation.

First aid

Painkillers will help relieve pain due to osteochondrosis. You can warm the affected area with mustard or pepper plaster.

To reduce swelling of inflamed tissues, drink rosehip decoction and other diuretics. Massaging the inflamed area with an ice cube will help relieve severe neck pain; continue the procedure until the skin becomes slightly red.


Physical therapy is prescribed during the recovery period; during an exacerbation of osteochondrosis, exercise is contraindicated; gymnastics is simple, you can do it at home and you need to do it regularly.

Bubnovsky's gymnastics for the treatment and prevention of cervical osteochondrosis:

  1. In a standing position, freely lower your arms along your body. Tilt your head forward, try to reach your chest with your chin, fix the position for a count of 3. Tilt your head back, with your chin pointing upwards, count to 3. Return to the starting position.
  2. In a standing position, turn your head to the right, left and fix the position at each extreme point for several seconds. Repeat 3 times on each side.
  3. In a standing position, tilt your head to the right, left, try to reach your shoulder with your ear and hold the position for 30 seconds. He performed 6 repetitions in each direction.
  4. Standing, hands on the belt, chin parallel to the floor, leaning forward. He turns his head, rests his chin on his shoulder, turns his torso slightly, hold the position for half a minute. Perform 6 repetitions in each direction; you may experience slight pain in your spine.
  5. In a sitting position, back straight, hands on knees. Extend your arms straight to the sides, move them slightly back, simultaneously tilt your head back, return to the starting position, repeat 5 times.
  6. In a sitting position, turn your head to the right, place the palm of your left hand on your right shoulder, elbow parallel to the floor, right hand resting on your knee, return to the starting position. Perform 6 repetitions in each direction.
  7. In a sitting position, raise your arms above your head, connect them well, bend your elbows slightly, turn your head to the side until a slight pain appears, fix the position at the extreme point for a few seconds. Repeat 6 rounds in each direction.

Take a 30-second break between exercises. Before starting gymnastics, you need to take a warm shower and perform several smooth tilts of the head in different directions to warm up the muscles. After completing the exercise, light stretching will help avoid discomfort the next day.

Pharmacological treatment

Drug therapy for osteochondrosis is aimed at eliminating unpleasant sensations, restoring spinal mobility and slowing down degenerative changes in tissues. Acute pain attacks are relieved with injections of NSAIDs or corticosteroids, while the chronic form of the disease is treated with ointments and tablets.

How to treat osteochondrosis:

  • NSAIDs– products in the form of tablets and products for external use, eliminate swelling and pain;
  • corticosteroids– relieve acute pain syndrome;
  • B vitamins– restore metabolic processes in tissues;
  • chondroprotectors– promote the restoration of cartilaginous tissue;
  • drugs to improve blood flow and brain nutrition;
  • nootropics– improve brain function and memory;
  • muscle relaxants– eliminate muscle spasms;
  • For local treatment, ointments and gels with anti-inflammatory and warming effects are used.

In order for drug therapy to be effective, it is necessary to combine it with physical therapy and adhere to a diet, otherwise no drugs will help get rid of osteochondrosis.

Important! If conservative treatment has no effect, surgery is prescribed.

Folk remedies

Traditional treatment should be used as a complement to drug therapy and exercise; unconventional methods will not help completely eliminate the disease.

What to do for cervical osteochondrosis at home:

  1. Pour boiling water over a fresh horseradish leaf, cool slightly, apply the inside on the neck, secure with a thin natural fabric. Perform the procedure before going to bed, leaving the compress on overnight.
  2. Grate raw potatoes on a fine grater and mix them in equal proportions with hot liquid honey. Use the mixture for compresses, carry out the procedure 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, place the mixture in a dark place for 48 hours, remove the film from the surface. Apply the product to the inflamed area before going to bed and store in the refrigerator.
  4. In the month of May, pine shoots up to 2 cm long are harvested, cut into thin slices and placed in a dark glass container. For 1 part of raw material, take 2 parts of sugar, put the medicine in a dark place for 2 weeks. Drink 5 ml of the mixture three times a day, do not swallow immediately, keep it in your mouth for 2-3 minutes. The duration of the course is 15–20 days, repeated 2–3 times a year.
  5. Grind 150 g of peeled garlic and 400 g of cranberries, put the mixture in a glass container, after 24 hours add 800 ml of honey, mix. Take 5 ml of the drug three times a day before meals.
folk remedies for the treatment of osteochondrosis

A cabbage leaf smeared with honey will help you cope with severe pain and eliminate excess salts; secure the compress on your neck with a warm scarf and leave it overnight.

Massage for cervical osteochondrosis

Massage helps to strengthen muscle tone, improve blood circulation in the tissues, in severe forms of osteochondrosis the sessions are performed by a specialist. In mild forms of the disease, self-massage will help prevent: treatment is carried out at home.

Massage technique:

  1. Warm up your muscles– with both hands, run intensively along the back, the lateral surface of the neck from top to bottom. Heating time: 2 minutes.
  2. Press the edge of your palm onto the lower part of your neck,move with smooth movements to the area of \u200b\u200bhair growth, then to the shoulder joints.
  3. Make circular rubbing movements with the fingertips of both handsin the occipital region from the hairline to the forearms - from the spine to the ears and back.
  4. Pinch your neck muscles from bottom to top, then in the opposite direction.
  5. Stroke from the back of the head to the shoulder blades– carry out after any type of exercise.

Important! Do not massage protruding vertebrae, lymph nodes, or carotid arteries.


The purpose of the osteochondrosis diet is to provide the body with collagen and protein; these substances take part in the synthesis of cartilaginous tissue; most of them are found in aspic, jellied fish and jelly.

Prohibited products Authorized products
  • any alcoholic beverages;
  • fatty meats, refractory fats, smoked meats;
  • soups with rich broths;
  • hot and spicy dishes, canned food, marinades;
  • mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup;
  • radish, radish, horseradish, onion, garlic;
  • fast food, semi-finished products;
  • fast carbohydrates - sweets, baked goods, pasta made from premium flour;
  • Potato;
  • limit salt intake to 5 g per day.
  • dietary meats;
  • fish, seafood;
  • fermented milk products;
  • cereals;
  • light soups;
  • wholemeal bread;
  • honey, jam, jam, pastille, nuts, dried fruit, oatmeal cookies;
  • fresh and cooked fruit and vegetables;
  • egg;
  • vegetable oils;
  • natural juices, green tea, fruit drinks.

Important! To avoid dehydration of the intervertebral disc tissue it is necessary to drink at least 2. 5 liters of pure non-carbonated water per day.

Possible consequences and complications

In the cervical region, the vertebrae are located close to each other, the height of the intervertebral discs is small, therefore various complications of osteochondrosis occur even with minor degenerative changes in the bone tissue.

Why is osteochondrosis of the cervical spine dangerous?

  • frequent migraine attacks;
  • heart rhythm disorders, atherosclerosis;
  • protrusion, intervertebral hernia, bony growths of the vertebrae;
  • serious brain pathologies;
  • narrowing of the lumen of the vertebral artery, leading to the development of VSD, cerebral hypertension and disability;
  • spinal stroke.
complications with cervical osteochondrosis

Important! With advanced osteochondrosis, compression of the spinal cord occurs, which can be fatal.

Contraindications for cervical osteochondrosis

To lead a full life with osteochondrosis, it is necessary to avoid actions that can provoke pain and exacerbation of the disease.

What not to do with cervical osteochondrosis:

  • sleep on a very hard or soft mattress, on a high pillow;
  • weght lifting; if you have to lift something heavy, you must do it with a straight back and bent knees;
  • carry a bag over one shoulder;
  • when the pathology worsens, carry out active movements of the head and neck;
  • smoking, drinking alcohol;
  • walk without a scarf in cold weather, sit in a draft, near an air conditioner;
  • remain in an uncomfortable position for a long time, sitting;
  • wear high heels;
  • break your neck.
ban on alcohol and cigarettes for cervical osteochondrosis

Thermal procedures - heating compresses, visiting a bathhouse, heating with a blue lamp - can be carried out only in the remission phase of the disease. During an exacerbation, the heat will relieve the pain only for a short time, but soon the unpleasant sensations will return and the degree of their manifestation will increase.

Disease prevention

To maintain the health of the spine it is sufficient to follow simple prevention rules.

How to avoid cervical osteochondrosis:

  • get rid of excess weight;
  • do gymnastics every morning, go swimming, do yoga, dance;
  • spend more time outdoors, morning walks are especially useful;
  • eat well, control salt intake, follow an alcohol consumption regime;
  • when you work sedentary, do a neck warm-up every hour and watch your posture;
  • keep your neck warm;
  • get enough sleep, avoid physical, mental and emotional fatigue.

Sleep properly. Only your head, neck and shoulders should rest on the mattress cushion, and a small pillow should be placed under your feet. It is better to sleep on your back or in the fetal position, in case of exacerbation of the disease only on one side. The mattress is orthopedic, of medium hardness, the pillow is rectangular, orthopedic, 15-20 cm high. With the correct position of the body during sleep, the spine is straight, there are no deviations in different parts, the muscles are relaxed.

Cervical osteochondrosis is a chronic, slowly progressive disease; signs of the disease do not appear immediately. A competent combination of traditional and folk methods of treatment, gymnastics and diet will help to cope with unpleasant symptoms, and simple preventive measures will help to avoid relapses of the pathology.