Osteochondrosis of the cervix - causes, symptoms and methods of treatment

Dizziness, pressure fluctuations, paleness, heartache - all of which often come from back problems. 80% of the population suffers from osteochondrosis of the cervical spine of varying severity, and according to statistics, men face it earlier than women: at the age of 45-50 years. If you do not start treatment at an early stage, the pathology becomes irreversible.

What is osteochondrosis

Pathology is associated with dystrophic changes in the cartilage between the vertebrae, in which the soft tissues become firm and the amortization decreases.

Osteochondrosis affects the chest, lumbar region, but more often than others - the cervix. The reason is the heavy load on vertebrae 1-7, weak muscles, poor nutrition and choosing the wrong pillow to sleep on.

Mechanism of damage to the cervical vertebrae

the mechanism of development of cervical osteochondrosis

Osteochondrosis develops when the process of cartilage tissue nutrition, mineral metabolism is disrupted. The strength of bones and joints decreases, the ligaments lose their elasticity. The shape and structure of the disk varies; under the influence of loads, it collapses. The beads are joined, their surfaces are wiped. Pathology causes such complications:

  1. Compression of vessels passing through 1-7 vertebrae causes hypoxia (oxygen starvation) of the brain.
  2. Development of problems in the work of the respiratory system, blood vessels, heart, vision loss.
  3. Impaired blood circulation to the brain leads to neurocirculatory (vegetative-vascular) dystonia.
  4. Decreased neck mobility - when bones form in the vertebrae.
  5. Cerebellar dysfunction, spinal cord compression - leads to death in the advanced stage of the disease.
Stages of cervical osteochondrosis

Pathology develops slowly. In the preclinical stage, the distance between the vertebrae decreases, they press on the soft disk. Then it becomes thinner, the fibrous ring is destroyed, its nucleus swells. An extension is formed, then a hernia. The beads rub against each other, change shape and show growth on them. Nerves and blood vessels are suppressed.

Initial stage of cervical osteochondrosis

Cracks appear in the fibrosus ring, the capsule ruptures and the pulposus nucleus is damaged. Osteochondrosis of the cervix makes itself felt when the head is turned, when the nerve endings are compressed, the blood vessels narrow and blood flow suffers. There is pain in the back of the head, the back muscles get tired quickly.

2 stages of pathology

The degenerative process in the discs takes place, the capsule ring is completely destroyed. The height between the vertebrae decreases, they become unstable and pinch the nerve roots of the spinal cord. Flexibility and mobility of the neck decreases. At this stage, the disease can still be treated without surgery.

Recent stages of osteochondrosis of the neck

stages of development of cervical osteochondrosis

In stage 3 pathology, disc elongation develops, which leads to a hernia, the pulp ring swells and comes out. The vertebrae of the cervix and their axis are displaced, the nourishment of the brain suffers. In addition, in the final stages (3 and 4) of the pathology, the following processes begin:

  • intervertebral discs are destroyed, which are replaced with connective tissue;
  • movement of the neck and shoulder joints is lost;
  • from rubbing on the surface of the vertebrae, growths are formed, nerve fibers are injured;
  • the sensitivity of the hands decreases due to problems with their nervousness.
Symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis

The patient's condition depends on the stage of the disease. First, there is rare pain when turning or lowering the head, tension in the back muscles. After that, the person experiences constant fatigue. The pain worsens and becomes more frequent. Increases further weakness, dizziness, tinnitus, decreased visual acuity. All signs of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine are divided into 3 groups:

  • Irritable reflex syndromes- neurodystrophic, muscular and vegetative-vascular manifestations.
  • Radical compression- accompanied by pressure on nerve endings, one of the main symptoms is acute pain when turning the head.
  • Spinal Artery Syndrome- occurs when the vessel that supplies the brain structures narrows.

Neurotic disorders

The brain is poorly supplied with blood, its work and state of the nervous system are impaired. Often headache, insomnia torments, which causes a state of fatigue, apathy. Then the following symptoms appear:

signs and symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis
  • increased sweating;
  • emotional calm (mood instability);
  • increases irritability;
  • dizziness;
  • depression;
  • impaired concentration;
  • tinnitus;
  • "flies" before the eyes;
  • ankth;
  • tremor (tremor) of limbs;
  • panic attacks;
  • disorders of the vestibular apparatus: nausea, vomiting, gait instability, spatial disorientation, impaired coordination.

General clinical signs

Osteochondrosis of the cervical vertebrae causes headaches, visual disturbances. In stage 2 pathology, patients complain of tinnitus, a lump in the throat, weakness of the arm muscles, numbness of the tongue. When you turn your neck and tilt your head, a crisis is heard, black spots appear before your eyes. With vertebral artery syndrome, other symptoms appear:

  • migraine from the neck to the forehead;
  • darkening before the eyes;
  • grief of the head;
  • hearing loss;
  • increase in blood pressure;
  • tingling sensation in fingers.
Symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis in women The clinical picture does not depend on gender, but women aged 45-65 are more likely to experience numbness of the extremities during sleep, tingling, and pain in the hands. Attacks are repeated several times during the night.

Causes of cervical osteochondrosis

Pathology develops under the influence of a high load on the vertebrae, which causes muscle spasm. Sedentary work often leads to this - on a computer, on a vehicle.

People with postural disorders are at risk. Other causes of cervical osteochondrosis:

  • nervous tension, frequent stressful situations;
  • hypodynamics - lack of physical activity, low activity;
  • neck muscle weakness;
  • hereditary predisposition;
  • spinal cord injuries;
  • rheumatism;
  • excessive physical activity, weight lifting;
  • unhealthy diet;
  • metabolic disorders;
  • causes of cervical osteochondrosis
  • Frequent neck hypothermia;
  • age-related changes in the musculoskeletal system, cartilage tissue;
  • congenital malformations of the cervical spine;
  • autoimmune pathologies affecting cartilage tissue;
  • overweight;
  • bead instability.


The doctor examines the patient's complaints, evaluates the behavior, muscle tension. The diagnosis is clarified using an X-ray of the neck in 4 projections: the photograph shows the position of the vertebrae, the displacement. The stage of the disease and latent pathologies are detected by such methods:

  • Magnetic resonance- the most effective method, shows in detail the degenerative changes in the bones, hernias, extensions, rupture of the ring fibrosis. It can be prescribed instead of radiography, but examination is expensive.
  • Duplex ultrasound scan- to assess arterial blood flow disorders.
  • Computed tomography- does not detect the size and area of ​​hernias, is described in the early stages to determine the narrowing of the spinal cavity, displacement of cervical spine segments, marginal tissue growthsof bone.

Treatment of cervical osteochondrosis

The goals of therapy are to restore blood flow, nourish tissues, relieve the symptoms of hypoxia, and stop the destruction of vertebrae and discs. It is important to strengthen the muscular corset that supports the neck and restore joint movement. Treatment tactics are chosen according to the stage of the disease:

  • Beginner- massage, gymnastics, physiotherapy, taking chondroprotectors and medicines that improve blood circulation.
  • Stage of osteochondrosis 2-3- drug treatment, remedial gymnastics, massage.
  • Irreversible degenerative changes with destruction, vertebral deformity- surgical intervention and symptomatic drug therapy.
  • Exacerbation of chronic osteochondrosis of the cervix- injections or tablets of painkillers, spasms.

Help with strong feelings of pain

Apply a spatula or warming oil to the neck. Active heating of a particular area distracts from the pain, increases blood flow to the tissues. The ointment is applied in a very thin layer using an applicator. Other ways to relieve pain in osteochondrosis:

  • Analgesics in tablets- have a moderate effectiveness, are contraindicated in case of problems with blood clotting.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs- tablets are taken if there is no analgesic effect, as this group of drugs adversely affects the stomach and liver.
  • Injections- given in case of severe acute pain, the effect appears after 15 minutes. NSAIDs, myotropic antispasmodics are used for intramuscular injections. In severe cases, a blockage is made.

Conservative therapy for osteochondrosis of the neck

In 1-2 stages of the disease without symptoms of brain hypoxia, treatment is performed at home. The basis of therapy is gymnastics and massage. They improve blood flow, strengthen muscles. Other methods:

  • Medications- Oral medications and injections for exacerbations, oils and lotions the rest of the time.
  • Physiotherapy- courses with 7-10 procedures during forgiveness.
  • Folk remedies- as an additional method of treating osteochondrosis.
  • Diet therapy- foods that are rich in fatty acids, magnesium, calcium are included in the diet. Exclude salt, smoked meats, pickles and spicy foods, fast food.


Treatment for cervical osteochondrosis during an exacerbation is aimed at relieving unpleasant symptoms, stimulating blood flow and nutritional tissues.

During the remission period, drugs are used that improve the quality of the cartilage, preventing the fall of the vertebrae. Medicines are used internally and internally. The main groups of funds are as follows:

  • Muscle relaxants- relieve muscle spasm, relieve pain, apply within a month.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)- applied internally and internally, relieve pain, swelling. The tablets are used for no more than 10 days.
  • Analgesics- they relieve pain but do not relieve inflammation and are weaker than NSAIDs.
  • Chondroprotectors- protect and restore cartilage tissue.
  • Sedatives- often prescribed for women who have osteochondrosis of the cervix complicated by severe neurotic disorders.
  • Nootropics- affect the cerebral circulation, help fight dizziness.
  • Vitamin and mineral complexes- improve metabolism in nerve tissues.


During remission, treatment of neck osteochondrosis is based on local procedures that improve blood flow, metabolism, relieve pain, inflammation. The patient does gymnastics every day, the plan of which is drawn up by the doctor. The main treatments are:

  • Manual therapy- directing the position of the vertebrae and adjusting them with massage. A course with 5-10 sessions takes place 2-4 times a year. At home, light massage is allowed by tapping and rubbing the cervical area and collar from top to bottom for 7-10 minutes to relieve muscle spasm.
  • Drug electrophoresis- drugs used to relieve pain and improve blood circulation, which with electricity reach quickly to the desired point.
  • Magnetotherapy- aims to remove the edema.
  • Acupuncture- improves blood flow, relieves inflammation. It is performed in courses of 8-10 sessions in 1-2 days.
  • Shants collaris ​​a controversial method of eliminating the symptoms of osteochondrosis, as the load is removed from the muscles but they do not tighten. The product adjusts the neck and stretches the back, increasing the distance between its segments. They wear the collar for 3 hours a day for a month.

Exercise therapy for osteochondrosis of the cervical vertebrae

Outside periods of deterioration, the patient is indicated to perform therapeutic exercises. Strong head bends forward and backward, rotation is stopped. Each exercise is done no longer than a minute, without sudden movements, jerk. If discomfort or pain occurs, the session is stopped. Proven Cervical Spine Exercises:

  • Slowly turn your head left and right, steadily looking at a point in front of you: this way you control a small amplitude of motion. Do 10-15 times in each direction, gradually bringing to 30.
  • Place your palm on your forehead and apply pressure as you try to tilt your head forward. Count to 5 and relax. Repeat 10 times.
  • Place your right palm over your left temple, press down to tilt your head towards your shoulder. Count to 5, let go Do 10 times on each side.
  • Lying on your stomach, spread your arms along your body. Raising your head slightly, slowly turn it so that your ear touches the floor. Make 10 movements on each side.

Surgical treatment of cervical osteochondrosis

If the nerve roots are affected, there is a hernia with a rupture of the ring, the vertebrae are destroyed and there is no result from the main therapy, an operation is performed.

Symptoms of a serious condition: paralysis of the hands, muscle atrophy, stroke. Main treatment methods:

  • Facetectomy- endoscopic removal of the joints followed by fixation of the vertebrae, which will be immobile.
  • Coupling discectomy- prescribed for serious deforming changes. During the operation, the soft disk is removed, the vertebrae are joined to stop their destruction. Cons: limited mobility of the cervical spine, long rehabilitation.
  • Spinal Joint- removal of fragments of a destroyed disc, bone processes, insertion of an artificial graft and fixation of beads with screws. The recovery period is one year, the patient is shown wearing a corset.
  • Corpectomy- removal of the destroyed vertebra and adjacent discs, performed in the absence of any effect by other methods.

Folk remedies for cervical osteochondrosis

For severe pain, take 1 teaspoon. alcohol and camphor, add 2 drops of iodine and rub the left and right areas of the spine (do not touch the column itself) for 3-5 minutes. This is done 1-2 times a day.

Other popular recipes in addition to the main therapy:

folk remedies for the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis
  1. Pour 500 g of knitted with water (2 l), boil, leave. Pour the cooled liquid through the cheesecloth into a prepared bath, take it for 15-20 minutes. The procedure is performed at night, it relaxes and soothes. The course is 7-10 sessions.
  2. Mix 1 tbsp. lsythat of birch, St. John's wort, mint leaves. Grind, pour a glass of water, boil for 5 minutes. Drain, mix with butter and vegetable oil (75 g each). Put the oil in a thin layer on the neck, cover with plastic and a scarf on top. Hold for an hour. Procedures are performed daily for 2 weeks.
  3. Pour 100 g of berries with vodka (600 ml). Insist in a cool place for a week. Rub the neck with this medicine 2 times a day for 10-15 days.


Patients over the age of 40 should take calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D and magnesium preparations once every six months - they improve the condition of bones, ligaments and cartilage. The diet includes fatty fish, shrimp, mussels, nuts, legumes, spinach, cheese, milk. Other preventive measures:

  • when working sitting, change the position of the neck more often, stretch it every hour;
  • choose a comfortable pillow;
  • go swimming, yoga;
  • avoid lifting weights, jumping sports, running;
  • Avoid neck hypothermia.