signs of osteochondrosis

Our spine resembles a pearl necklace - vertebrae, like pearls, are connected to each other via a rigid ligament. Cartilage between the vertebrae are intervertebral discs that are not allowed to touch the vertebrae and act as shock absorbers between them. The spine usually consists of 32-34 vertebrae, which perform a variety of tasks and relate to different parts of the spine. Total spine are five divisions:

  • cervical, which consists of seven vertebrae;
  • thoracic region, which consists of twelve vertebrae;
  • lumbar region, which consists of five vertebrae;
  • sacral segment, which consists of five vertebrae;
  • coccygeal department, which consists of three to five vertebrae.

Inside the spinal column is the spinal canal - a cavity, which is formed by the vertebral arches. Through the spinal canal are the nerve roots, blood vessels and spinal cord.

Human spine adapted to walking upright, but that bipedalism is the factor that is detrimental effect on our spine. The intervertebral cartilage daily experience tremendous strain on human movement and vibration when driving. Over time, the cartilage is deformed and cease to perform its functions in full. The man begins to feel the strain and back pain - typical symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Diseases of the spine

Back pain is experiencing a huge number of people, and, regardless of age .  More than 80% of people at least once in his life faced with the problem of back pain .  Already in the 40-45 years of age disease of the spine become one of the most common causes of disability .  The cause of various diseases of the spine becomes a violation of the anatomical shape and the functional state of the spinal column .  And due to such violations of the way of life of modern man .  Using the achievements of civilization, mankind leads a sedentary lifestyle .  Most people do not need to exert muscular force, the power of many largely unbalanced, almost everyone is exposed to bad habits .  All this leads to a degenerative and dystrophic changes in the vertebrae and intervertebral discs .  Depending on what changes have occurred, there is a particular disease .  Basically all diseases have similar symptoms of the spine - pain and muscle tension, differs only localized pain .  But that osteochondrosis is the most common disease - in 90% of cases it causes back pain .

The clinical picture of osteochondrosis

Osteochondrosis - a disease caused by changes in the intervertebral cartilage (chondron - meaning cartilage) with concomitant reaction of the vertebral body (osteon - bone). Deforming, the intervertebral disc is compressed and becomes thinner. This results in compression of the bone structure of the vertebral bodies, the vertebrae begin to experience congestion. Pinned intervertebral discs deform even more, in some places they begin to stick out beyond the boundaries of the spine. Sooner or later, the disc pinched nerve roots, causing their inflammation. So there is pain.

Depending on which of the spine is damaged, there are several different kinds of degenerative disc disease. There are osteochondrosis of the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, common (when the lesion covers all parts of the spine). The most common are the lumbar (more than 50% of diseases) and the neck (25%), osteochondrosis. Often there are cases when affected several parts of the spine - cervical-thoracic osteochondrosis, lumbosacral.

Initial signs of osteochondrosis manifest appearance of dull pain and ache in the lower back (with lumbar osteochondrosis), uncomfortable tension of the neck muscles, cervical vertebrae in a crunch (with cervical osteochondrosis). Often occurring in breast osteochondrosis pain perceived by patients as pain in the heart.

In the future, the pain often begin to give in the feet or hands; limbs numb and become cold. Often, the pain occurs even in the fingers or toes. Backache increases with sudden movements or vibration (for example, during a trip in transport). It becomes impossible to carry out any work with the trunk bent forward - with bent back pain increases sharply, but go into the vertical position of the patient is not always succeeds.

The more developed osteochondrosis, the more limited the mobility and flexibility of the spine. Istonchёnnye intervertebral discs reduce the distance between the vertebrae and the latter remains less room to move. In addition, the muscles around the affected area of ​​the spine are constantly in a state of tense - the body tries to block the damaged vertebrae to prevent further deformation. "Caught muscles" deliver additional discomfort and pain, and promote even greater limitation of mobility.

All of these symptoms can occur at rest and during movement or physical effort (there is additional pressure on the nerve roots).

Diagnosis of osteochondrosis

How osteochondrosis identified if the symptoms at an early stage can be mistaken for symptoms of other diseases?

Of course, the doctor will be interested in history. After listening to the patient and conducting examination, the doctor will send him to additional tests. There are several different methods of examination for the diagnosis of degenerative disc disease.


Examination of the spine X-ray (spondylography) allows you to objectively assess his condition. Radiographic signs of osteoarthritis are identified at the early stages of the disease. Spondylography gives an idea about the state of the vertebrae and indirectly - on the state of the bone canal and intervertebral discs. Pictures are taken in frontal and lateral projections. If the doctor sees fit, functional images are assigned in different positions - in the position of the side slopes, in flexion and extension.

If necessary, the patient make the tomogram - layer X-ray examination. In addition to conventional X-ray examination, in particular the testimony of used contrast X-ray examination of the spine. These surveys include:

  • Airmyelography - using as contrast from 20 to 40 milliliters of air. Air is injected into the spinal canal after the lumbar puncture;
  • Angiography - when in vertebral artery or carotid administered 10-15 milliliters of contrast, and then in two projections is a series of images;
  • Myelography - used colorant introduced into the spinal column to highlight the structure of the ridge. With myelography can determine the strength of the intervertebral disc pressure on the spinal cord. The procedure lasts within half an hour, make it under local anesthesia. First cut away painkiller lower back. Then, using a fine needle in a fluid that fills the space around the spinal cord is introduced the coloring substance is opaque. After injection of the contrast X-ray table is slowly tilted, and the substance is moved along the spine of the lower portion of the upper. After the procedure the patient must spend several hours lying down.
  • Discography - is similar to myelography, with the difference that the coloring agent is injected into the painful disc to determine whether it is the cause of osteoarthritis.

Other methods of examination of the spine

X-ray does not give a complete picture of a doctor to determine the exact diagnosis. With it, you can be fairly judged largely on the degree of deterioration of the vertebrae and their displacement. Unlike X-rays, CT scan gives a clear picture of which can be judged on the availability and location of the intervertebral hernia. This method allows you to get a clear survey and detailed image of the spinal column and displays all changes in it from different positions and angles. This CT scan - a gentle method that is easily tolerated by patients.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - This method provides the most accurate picture to date of the spine. This is possible thanks to the fact that the survey is carried out not by X-rays, but with the help of a strong magnetic field. MRI is the preferred method of examination, because it allows you to assess the condition of the spinal canal, nerves, bones, muscles, ligaments; it can be used to see any changes that occur in osteochondrosis.

 spine disease symptoms

Symptoms of osteoarthritis

The location and nature of the pain in osteochondrosis depends on what part of the spine is exposed to the disease. Of course, the signs of cervical degenerative disc disease are very different from signs of damage, such as the lumbar spine. Yet, there are common symptoms of osteoarthritis, which will prompt that you are ill:

  • making a sudden movement, turning his head to the full, making a twisting of the torso coupled with a slope or tilt after straightening up quickly - you suddenly feel an acute and severe pain in the back, which is similar to electric shock;
  • after the "shock" you for a while as if paralyzed and freezes, unable to move;
  • the muscles in the place where there was pain painfully tense;
  • if you press the fingers of the hand in the place of the spine, where you feel the pain, the feeling sharp pain again;
  • the mobility of the spine becomes noticeably limited. You find it hard to find a position at which the pain would subside could;
  • if the pose adopted by you fails, the pain increases sharply.

There are some symptoms that are characteristic of a certain type of degenerative disc disease.

Cervical osteochondrosis

Symptoms of degenerative disc disease of the cervical easily confused with symptoms of other diseases . When it struck in the spine cervical pain passed into the hands, back of the head; there are severe headaches, turning into a migraine.

You may experience severe, piercing pain in the neck or back of the head, which is enhanced by turning the head, cough, sneeze. The pain of the neck can give in the shoulder and side of the chest.

In some cases, the patient has not only headaches, but dizziness, tinnitus, visual disturbances. In the event of progression of the disease possible persistent poor circulation to the brain or spinal cord.

If the compression (squeezing) of the nerve roots in the lower segments of the cervical spine, symptoms similar to the symptoms of angina - chest pain, neck and shoulder blades. Pain increases with movement and is not stopped heart medications.

The reasons are due to degenerative disc disease of the cervical anatomical features of this segment of the spine. Cervical vertebrae are experiencing a constant load, hold and often turning his head, the size of the vertebrae of the cervical vertebrae significantly less than the remaining parts of the spine. We should not forget about the narrowness of the internal vertebral canal.

In the neck area are a huge number of nerves and blood vessels, including the passing of the spinal canal in large vertebrates arteries feeding the brain. All this fits tightly together in the cramped space of the cervical vertebrae. When osteochondrosis cervical vertebra with displacement occurs infringement nerve root, it is developing rapidly swelling and inflammation.

Osteochondrosis of thoracic and lumbar

The spine in the thoracic ribs is coupled with the frame, protects vital organs. Thoracic vertebrae have such a structure through which remain inactive, so they are very rarely subjected to degradation and deformation. As a consequence - a pain in the thoracic spine are also found infrequently. Symptoms of degenerative disc disease of the thoracic often mistaken for symptoms of other diseases - it is confused with angina pectoris and even mistaken for heart attacks.

With the defeat of the thoracic spine pain is surrounding nature and the patient may seem like it is coming from the lungs, heart or stomach. It is because of the fact that symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis "masked" by other diseases of great importance in the diagnosis of a differential diagnosis.

Lumbar osteochondrosis there is not nothing like the changes of intervertebral discs, which are, respectively, in the lumbar region, which consists of 5 large vertebrae. Lumbar connects the sacrum and thoracic. Osteochondrosis of the lumbar occurs much more frequently than other types of degenerative disc disease.

This fact is explained by the fact that it is the human lumbar spine bears all the load weight of the human body, as well as of cargo that modern man must endure on a daily basis - briefcases, shopping bags and so on. That is why a doctor so often, patients go to the doctor not only by osteochondrosis, but also with those complications that it entails, in particular, with a herniated disc. Herniated discs - not such a harmless phenomenon, in severe cases can even paralysis.

Symptoms of lumbar degenerative disc disease

People who have a doctor diagnose the presence of the lumbar degenerative disc disease, note the following signs and symptoms:

  • Pain in the lumbar region, and sometimes the pain is shooting character and gives to the buttocks and legs. Pain when bending or squatting sick person worse at times. The same thing happens with prolonged stay in an uncomfortable position, or sneezing, coughing and physical activity.
  • Numbness of feet, especially the fingers.
  • Violation of the full functioning of the genitals, often in women there is a slight incontinence.

The causes of lumbar degenerative disc disease

Osteochondrosis of the lumbar reason is quite specific. Doctors called the cause of the disease of human bipedalism. But, of course, if it was the main and the sole cause of the disease, hurt all men without exception. Actually, the disease develops only when certain trigger factors. Doctors call the following factors:

  • Violation of normal metabolism.
  • The presence of human inactivity.
  • Overweight sick person.
  • Systematic excessive exercise, especially those associated with heavy lifting.

The reason for the intense pain in osteochondrosis becomes pinched nerve roots. This occurs due to jamming because bulging intervertebral disk, but the gaps between the vertebrae, in contrast, is significantly narrowed.

The core of the disc gradually shrink and warp, respectively, significantly deteriorates the ability to amortization.

Treatment of lumbar degenerative disc disease

Osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine, as well as any other of his disease, needs long-term and intensive complex treatment. Especially difficult to treat complex and advanced forms of the disease, burdened by the presence of multiple hernias.

Treatment of lumbar degenerative disc disease should be prescribed only by a qualified technician. The doctor, after a preliminary examination on the basis of the data obtained and the individual characteristics of each patient, prescribe the most appropriate treatment for him. Modern methods of treatment of degenerative disc disease allow us to find an individual approach to each person.

As a rule, the treatment of degenerative disc disease of the lumbar is as follows:

  • The procedure of acupuncture.
  • Complex massage, including a point.
  • Various types of heating - salt, UHF and electrophoresis.
  • Pharmacological agents to restore cartilage.

The main objective of these procedures is to restore full blood circulation and elimination of the lumbar stagnation and inflammatory processes. It is also very important to remove the swelling of blood vessels, restore the normal process of metabolism in the intervertebral discs, thereby stimulating the launch of the process of natural regeneration of cartilage tissue. It is also very important to remove the associated osteochondrosis of the lumbar muscle spasms.

 signs of cervical degenerative disc disease

Measures and means of prevention of osteochondrosis

It is also very important to know how to prevent the occurrence of degenerative disc disease of the lumbar. Prevention of the disease will help to avoid a lot of unpleasant moments associated with the presence of the disease, its diagnosis and subsequent treatment. And, of course, we must not forget.