What is cervical osteochondrosis, its causes and symptoms, treatment

By osteochondrosis, we mean pathological changes in the intervertebral discs and degenerative changes in the cartilage. This pathology can affect all parts of the spine. Meanwhile, cervical osteochondrosis occurs in about a quarter of these cases. Usually, it mainly affects patients of working age - from 30 to 50 years old.

Consult a doctor about cervical osteochondrosis

anatomical features

To understand why cervical osteochondrosis occurs, you should be familiar with the anatomy of the cervical spine. It consists of 7 vertebrae. If the vertebrae in the thoracic and lumbar regions are relatively homogeneous, then their structures are different. In fact, in the neck region, the movements of the shoulder girdle and head are of great complexity and magnitude. In addition, the active neck enters the relatively stationary chest area. Therefore, 1, 2 and 7 vertebrae are significantly different from each other

Through the cervical region, in addition to the spinal cord and spinal nerves, peripheral nerves originating from the brain are also passed. Some of them, like the vagus nerve, innervate the diaphragm and abdominal organs. In addition to nerves, major blood vessels also pass here. If the blood supply through the carotid artery and the outflow through the jugular vein is not osteochondrosis, then the vertebral artery is usually associated with osteochondrosis of the neck. It passes through holes in the transverse processes of 2-6 vertebrae and accounts for about 15% of the total blood entering the brain. In cervical osteochondrosis, this artery may spasm or be pinched by tight muscles or a displaced disc.


Why cervical osteochondrosis develops in this particular case cannot always be determined. It has been determined that osteochondrosis is not a separate disease. This is a pathological condition or syndrome caused by other diseases or negative factors, including:

  • genetic
  • Systemic posture violations among schoolchildren, office workers
  • Malnutrition, lack of vitamins and minerals
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • Frequent mechanical shocks, e. g. from the driver, shaking
  • Accompanying diseases of kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and endocrine system organs
  • decrease in immunity.


On its own, osteochondrosis is a painless process. The patient does not feel dystrophic changes in the intervertebral disc. This disease occurs only when the consequences of cervical osteochondrosis are present - displacement of the intervertebral disc in the posterolateral direction, irritation of nearby nerve fibers, impaired blood circulation through the vertebral arteries. This is when various sensory, motor and neurological disorders arise. Osteochondrosis of the neck has the following symptoms:

  • neck pain
  • Pathological tension of neck muscles
  • Limit movement in the neck area
  • Decreased sensitivity and range of motion in the shoulder girdle and upper body
  • headache, dizziness
  • Unsteady gait due to coordination impairment
  • nausea, vomiting
  • intermittent rise in blood pressure
  • Visual impairment - a darkening and flickering sensation in front of the fly
  • Sometimes sore throat or feeling like a lump, toothache
  • Insomnia, and vice versa, morbid somnolence
  • Mood instability - tearful, irritable.

Pain in cervical osteochondrosis is the main symptom. It is pain syndrome that drives patients to see a doctor. The nature of the pain depends on the segment of the cervical spine affected by the osteochondrosis. When the upper neck is violated, the skin on the back of the head, the top of the head, and the glabella is damaged. Neck pain radiates to the interscapular area, shoulder girdle, and upper extremities if the pathology occurs in the lower middle.

Worsening of cervical osteochondrosis begins in the cervical spine - a severe pain similar to back pain. Subsequently, cervical sciatica develops into pain, dyskinesia, and muscle tension. The main cause of exacerbation is hypothermia. Due to vertebral artery syndrome, in addition to local, cerebral symptoms are noted. Headache and dizziness can be so severe that the patient may lose consciousness.

Traffic characteristics

Osteochondrosis is a chronic disease. And it is progressing steadily without treatment. In this regard, 4 degrees are distinguished, reflecting symptoms and dysfunctions in the neck region.

  1. Disc tissue thickening. Displacement of the disc is minimal, however, at this stage, the outer fibrous disc sheath is already sheet-like. In the cervical spine, the uncinate process increases compensatory properties. Manifestations - cervical pain, cervix.
  2. Narrowing of the intervertebral space and spinal canal. Pathological mobility leads to subluxation of individual vertebrae and overall instability of the cervical spine. Upper extremity sensory and motor disorders. Vertebral artery syndrome.
  3. The space between the spinal canal and the vertebrae is further narrowed. The formation of a herniated disc and therefore the increase in symptoms.
  4. Irreversible structural disorders - spondylolisthesis (displacement of vertebrae relative to each other) and spondylosis (pathological growth of bone tissue in the vertebrae). Destruction of the intervertebral disc when the nucleus pulposus matures. Persistent brain and movement disorders.


Treatment for osteochondrosis of the neck is done using medication and physical therapy procedures. Massage, physical therapy exercises, manual therapy, and acupuncture are also effective. The main drug group is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). In addition, for cervical osteochondrosis, topical NSAID gels and ointments are preferred. In a method of topical treatment of cervical osteochondrosis, topical irritants and chondroprotective agents are shown. Treatment can be supplemented by ingesting immunostimulants and vitamin-mineral complexes.

Physiotherapy procedures (UHF, Amplified Pulse, Electrophoresis) have similar effects - they eliminate pain, relieve muscle spasms, increase blood circulation and metabolism in neck tissues. This can also be facilitated by massaging the collar area for osteochondrosis. The neck is a vulnerable area. The slightest injury to the cervical spine can have serious consequences. Therefore, the massage action should be smooth and follow the muscles. All special measures (manual therapy, cervical traction) should be carefully performed by an experienced specialist for the same reasons of a fragile neck. During recreational gymnastics, static loads are prioritized, the forehead and temporal regions are located on the palmar surface of the hand, and the head is flexed maximally forward and to the sides.

The purpose of preventing cervical osteochondrosis is to eliminate predisposing factors. Hypothermia should be avoided. Office workers, programmers, avid internet users are advised to take a 15-minute break every hour for wholesome gymnastics. Of course, good nutrition and avoid being overweight. And when there is the slightest pain and discomfort in the neck area, it is best to use the Shants collar. At the same time, attention should be paid to the treatment of existing chronic diseases in other organs and systems.

Cervical Osteochondrosis: Symptoms, Signs, and Treatment

Diseases such as osteochondrosis are very common today, and in many people, it causes feelings of fear and extreme fear. As medical practice has shown, there are several main reasons for the emergence of this disease, which is usually caused directly by the patient. To avoid this disease and prevent it from happening, you need to understand its main symptoms and causes.

Causes of cervical osteochondrosis

In most cases, cervical osteochondrosis presents as a degenerative disc disease. As practice has shown, the appearance and development of this disease occurs against the background of metabolic disturbances that occur in the region of the cervical spine. In this condition, the structure and structure of the individual vertebrae and discs changes dramatically.

The course of cervical osteochondrosis is slightly different than osteochondrosis that affects other areas (we're talking about lumbar and thoracic osteochondrosis). This disease is more dangerous because it contributes to the direct invasion of the spinal nerves in the brain, thereby disrupting the blood supply to the cerebrovascular vessels due to direct invasion and compression of the blood vessels. .

Also, the structure of the vertebrae in the cervical region (in this case, more closely intertwined) is slightly different from the structure of the other vertebrae, so with any change in pathology, one of the vertebrae will normally be markedly differentDestroys the function of the entire spine. This is why patients with cervical osteochondrosis may suffer from the following obvious symptoms: frequent dizziness, impaired sensitivity of the muscles and skin of the hands, neck, face, persistent headache, ringing in the ears and ringing in the ears or unpleasant tinnitus. Head, hearing or vision disturbances, increased fatigue, unsteady gait, loss of coordination, etc.

Therefore, you need to pay close attention to the occurrence of cervical osteochondrosis due to:

  • lifting heavy objects and loads;
  • work directly related to constant changes in body position - we are talking about stretching, bending, circular movements, turning;
  • Active sport and physical education;
  • Improper body posture when lying, sitting, standing and lifting and bearing weights;
  • genetic predisposition;
  • adverse weather conditions.

The main symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis

Often, the symptoms of osteochondrosis in the early stages of its presentation may not manifest in any way. The disease has entered a more advanced stage, with frequent cramping pains starting with any movement of the head and neck. However, the symptoms of osteochondrosis are varied and can be explained by degenerative changes and disturbances in the cartilage structure, or as a result of severe compression of the intervertebral disc due to displacement of the vertebral artery.


The most important and first symptom of cervical osteochondrosis is pain, which may pass quickly in the first stage and then become chronic. The pain may appear in the occipital muscles, shoulder and neck area and become more intense when turning or tilting the head and neck. Depending on the location of the lesion, the pain can be painful and permanent. It may subside for a while, or be shooting and sharp. In addition, any movement of the head and neck can become difficult over time, which is related to persistent muscle tension in the neck area.

When the arteries of the spine are squeezed by cartilaginous tissue, discs, or tense muscles, a person may suffer from cervical migraines (headaches caused by lack of oxygen to the tissues and reduced blood circulation), intense throbbing pressure upwards, short-term consciousnessLoss and damage, tinnitus, hearing impairment, "fly" in front of eyes, visual impairment. Headaches are sometimes accompanied by vomiting or nausea.


Cervical osteochondrosis may be accompanied by nausea. In addition, nausea is associated with impaired circulation in the blood vessels of the brain. Many times, a person loses appetite and as a result the body lacks nutrients and loses overall weight. In more severe cases, the disease is accompanied by vomiting, which occurs when the head is tilted, turned, or even just walked. As already mentioned above, this is due to the disruption of the blood flow process and the lack of oxygen supply to the inner ear, where the center of balance is located.

lack of air

Symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis include symptoms such as lack of air. It appears in direct lesions in the neck region and manifests as irritation of the phrenic nerve. As a result, a person becomes difficult to breathe, the patient does not have enough air, lacks oxygen, the shortness of breath begins to torment, and severe suffocation may even occur.

Often, a lack of air accompanies snoring, especially when the head is in an uncomfortable position at rest. This condition causes a person to wake up very tired and completely collapsed, beset by general malaise and weakness. Being in this state for a long time can lead to decreased concentration, memory impairment and irreversible changes in brain tissue.

Ringtones and Tinnitus

Symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis are sometimes tinnitus and noise. It's just that the vestibular organs are rich in blood from the vertebral arterial system. This is why, with the inflammation of the neck area, a disruption of the inner ear function occurs, and as a result, a person suffers from tinnitus and tinnitus. Sometimes hearing impairment is added to the symptoms described.

Pharyngeal signs

Cervical osteochondrosis can also manifest in this way. A person is often disturbed by unpleasant and persistent sensations such as dryness and sweating of the throat, difficulty swallowing, scratching and itching, and foreign body sensation. All of these symptoms are directly related to the invasion of spinal vessels and nerve trunks.

Visual impairment

The most common and common symptom of cervical osteochondrosis is vision loss. This is because the visual analyzer is rich in blood not only due to the carotid arteries but also due to the vertebral arteries. When these arteries become compressed, vision impairment occurs. Additionally, patients may complain of:

  • low pressure;
  • Cerebral atherosclerosis;
  • inability to focus on one topic;
  • "swimming" or flashpoint;
  • There is a feeling of gauze or mist in front of the eyes.

In this case, doing eye exercises or wearing glasses will not show a positive effect. Vision can only be improved with proper treatment.

sudden loss of consciousness

The most dangerous and unpleasant sign of cervical osteochondrosis is unexpected loss of consciousness. This is due to a temporary stoppage of blood flow through the arteries of the brain. Thus, in response to the stimulation of the nerve endings, a pronounced arterial spasm is obtained, which occurs on one side of the deformation process of the vertebral bone.

But after losing consciousness, if you have time to lie down and raise your legs to improve blood supply to the brain and increase blood flow to your legs, you can recover quickly.

unstable pressure

The symptoms of osteochondrosis do not end with the above symptoms. Blood pressure cramps or instability usually occur due to impaired blood supply. Furthermore, stress either dropped sharply or increased conversely. The person's condition is deteriorating and he needs to rest completely.


Osteochondrosis is often accompanied by dizziness. In this case, the phenomenon may be spontaneous. Dizziness is caused by insufficient oxygen reaching the inner ear canal. These channels are located in the brain and are entirely responsible for balance. Dizziness can occur with any movement of the neck or head. Often rise sharply from a lying position.

How is osteochondrosis treated?

If a person notices one or more of the above symptoms and develops symptoms behind him, his initial action should not be to self-medicate on the advice of relatives or friends, but to see the appropriate doctor promptly. Action by experts is aimed at conducting tests to determine the main cause of osteochondrosis, as well as to select the correct treatment.

The treatment of the disease is complex, considering the condition of the patient and its extent. During treatment, your doctor may prescribe therapeutic exercises, massage, and use of medications designed to eliminate the cause of inflammation and relieve pain.

therapeutic treatment

Drug treatment regimens are represented by the following groups:

  • Chondroprotectant - can stop the destruction of cartilage and help restore cartilage tissue.
  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) - Effective in eliminating inflammation and pain, with low risk of side effects, possibility of long-term use.

The use of ointments to treat osteochondrosis symptoms is very popular, but not very effective. Usually, treatment is done with ointments from the NSAID group or ointments containing irritants.

Group B vitamins are used to combat osteochondrosis.

folk remedies

Formulation of rubs and ointments for the treatment of osteochondrosis:

  • lemon. In one lemon juice, you need to add as much iodine as you squeeze out the juice. mix. This composition is for external use only. Soak a cotton swab in this solution and draw a band along your entire spine every night.
  • Honey rub. Mix a cup of honey, alcohol, aloe vera juice and radishes. Add to 1 tbsp. l. Mix dry mustard. Apply compression for a few hours.
  • Vinegar and eggs. Mix the vinegar with an egg: Add the vinegar to the egg and let it dissolve completely. Then add 90 grams. Stir in butter. A homogeneous white substance should appear, similar to oil. Rub the solution onto the painful area.
  • Sichuan peppercorns with camphor and bile. This will require 300 grams. Medical bile and a few bottles of camphor wine. Combine ingredients in a glass bowl, add 3 peppers and cook for a week. Apply compress for 5-7 hours. Shake the paste thoroughly before use.

Like all other diseases, osteochondrosis is more easily preventable than completely cured. In order to never get this disease, you need to lead a healthy lifestyle by alternating different exercises. Nutrition must be enhanced and complete, and smoking should not be the norm. By following simple rules, you will have a better chance of living into old age without reducing quality of life and suffering.