The main symptoms of osteochondrosis
Osteochondrosis - dystrophic processes that occur in articular cartilage and adjacent bone tissue. Doctors define this disease as a degenerative-destructive lesion of the vertebrae and intervertebral discs: they lose moisture, height and elasticity decrease.
If a few decades ago the articular cartilage began to break down in people over 40 years old, today the disease is even in puberty.
Doctors give many reasons for such an unpleasant trend. An unhealthy lifestyle, together with an unfavorable environmental situation, a deterioration in living standards, leads to premature wear and deformation of bone and cartilage structures.
Constant presence in an unnatural position, a sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition accompany every person. Few people think about the prevention of osteochondrosis, neglecting physical exercises, a balanced diet and an approach to maintaining one's health in general. The result of such unconsciousness is usually sad.
The main causes of osteochondrosis
Experts still debate how many true factors exist in causing the disease. Specific reasons are:
- individual predisposition;
- segmental circulatory disorders;
- acquired changes with age;
- damage to the fiber ring;
- constant loads;
- Bad habits;
- failure of the body during menopause;
- sedentary work.
Stages of development of osteochondrosis
Osteochondrosis is divided into stages, taking into account the clinical symptoms, the degree of tissue damage and the extent of the patient's discomfort. The pathological process takes place in four phases:
- preclinical. First, the basic level of support of the intervertebral discs decreases, their elasticity and elasticity deteriorate. No changes can be seen on the X-ray. The patient may be disturbed by slight fatigue, slight discomfort, stiffness, dizziness, headache;
- Stage of discogenic sciatica. The fibrous ring slowly begins to deform (cracks, protrusions appear). The pain becomes sharper and more sudden, the discomfort is more palpable. There is a symptom like "lumbago", the limbs begin to go numb;
- Stage vascular-radicular. The fibrin ring completely loses its shape. From this point on, hernias can form. X-rays are very revealing. The subjective sensations of patients are pronounced (pain, sharp pain attacks, constant discomfort). Muscle cramps often occur and performance drops sharply. When the nerve fibers suffer, the first signs of dysfunction of the internal systems are inevitable;
- With a decrease in the height of the vertebrae, friction begins between them. Osteophytes can act as a compensatory mechanism. These are specific osteogrowths that allow strengthening the area where the friction was most intense. However, osteophytes can provoke inflammation of the surrounding soft tissues and aggravate the pathological picture.
Symptoms of the disease: focus on patient well-being
Osteochondrosis is characterized by a whole galaxy of different symptoms. This is due to the vastness of the pathological process itself and its influence on most organs of the human body. There are several main syndromes that are manifested in patients with osteochondrosis:
- static syndrome. When the vertebrae lose their shape, the posture inevitably changes. There are signs of kyphosis, scoliosis, lordosis. Discomfort is accompanied by a feeling of stiffness;
- neurological syndrome. The defeat of the nervous tissue leads to paresthesia (disorders of sensitivity) of various zones, accompanied by a feeling of numbness, tingling, "crawling";
- vascular syndrome. Due to the compression (squeezing) by the deformed vertebrae of large vessels and capillaries, blood circulation is disturbed. Result: nausea, dizziness, pallor, signs of oxygen starvation;
- trophic symptom. Since tissue nutrition is disturbed (due to compression of small vessels), trophic ulcers can appear on the surface of the skin.
The first manifestation of cervical osteochondrosis is a headache. Analgesics do not relieve pain. Usually, the pain begins in the parietal zone and gently flows to the temporal region. Over time, the patient feels discomfort and numbness in the shoulder girdle.
Due to a violation of the blood supply to the brain, a person may experience dizziness, nausea, and increasing tinnitus. As a rule, when the nutrition of the optical zone is disturbed, visual acuity decreases sharply.
Older people can suddenly lose consciousness, have problems with memory and coordination. Rare symptoms are shortness of breath, anxiety, hiccups.
The thoracic region is least affected. One of the main causes of pathology is scoliosis and improper work at the table (that is, sedentary work). From the beginning of the development of the disease, the patient feels a dull, aching pain. Progressing, the disease provokes other symptoms: chest pain, numbness, paresthesia, aching pains in the liver and kidneys.
In terms of differential diagnosis, deformation processes in the thoracic region can be confused with myocardial infarction and intercostal neuralgia. This ECG and a more thorough examination (absence of cyanosis, pallor, earthiness of the skin) enable an accurate diagnosis to be made.
The most common form of osteochondrosis. This is because this area of the spine accounts for the most stress. This is where hernias occur most often, which aggravate the clinical picture.
The main symptoms: persistent pain, sore muscles, discomfort, rare pain in the back, paresthesia, which subsides from time to time, and then reappears. The sensitivity of the skin on the feet, legs and thighs may change.
A common cause of osteochondrosis of this department is trauma, mechanical compression and heavy physical exertion. One of the most unpleasant consequences of lumbosacral deformities is the "slipping" of the vertebrae and problems with the work of neighboring organs.
What will say pain in osteochondrosis
Depending on where the deformation processes are most intense, the nature and specificity of the pain will depend. The main feature: damaged vertebrae pinch the nerve roots and cause pain in the area for which the nerve plexuses are responsible.
Problems can be classified as follows:
- Cervical department - headache, "shackled" neck and shoulders, impaired vision, breathing and other important functions;
- Thoracic region - pain in the heart, shooting in the arm and internal organs, impaired digestive function, arrhythmias, problems with the endocrine system. The pain is always strong, sharp;
- Lower back - pain, constant pain, dysfunction of the genitourinary system, pelvic congestion, reproductive disorder.
The doctor must collect the most complete medical history. During the examination, the specialist's palpation determines the areas where the pain is most pronounced.
X-ray examination is revealing. Especially in the last stages of the disease.
Modern diagnostic methods include MRI, CT, which allow the most accurate study of the processes of destruction of cartilage and bone tissue. Also, using this technique, it is convenient to diagnose hernias and other soft tissue defects near the focus of the disease.
For differential diagnosis of osteochondrosis of the thoracic region, the ECG is used. Necessarily the patient conducts a general analysis of blood and urine.
Work on the computer and the emergence of osteochondrosis
Osteochondrosis is an insidious disease. It affects both the "office plankton", constantly sitting at the computer, and hard workers who subject their health to extraordinary loads. Irrational work, neglect of the rules for the prevention of osteochondrosis and an unhealthy lifestyle lead to the rapid destruction of bone and cartilage tissue.
Today's youth generation is unnecessarily "computerized". Many medical professionals cite this as one of the main reasons why osteochondrosis is so prevalent and affects the very young. Top tips from experts:
- It is necessary to monitor your posture and position at your desk;
- Even with hard work, it is important to take a break and "knead" the body;
- You cannot tolerate discomfort while sitting at the computer. The body, especially the back, should be comfortable;
- Active Lifestyle. Work or leisure time at the computer should be alternated with sport or light gymnastics.
Wrong way of life
An unbalanced diet provokes osteochondrosis. Harmful food attacks on several "fronts" at once. First of all, obesity, provoked by fast food and similar snacks, is one of the main causes of spinal dysfunction. And the deposited salts and other harmful elements in the bones only aggravate the problem and accelerate the destructive processes.
Alcohol and smoking have a similar effect. Harmful substances act at the cellular level and have a destructive effect on bone tissue and cartilage surfaces, which are most sensitive to nicotine.
By reviewing your lifestyle, diet and eliminating bad habits, you can prevent the occurrence or progression of osteochondrosis. Being able to move easily and freely is a real luxury, a gift of nature for every human being. Unfortunately, the value of painless movement only becomes apparent when the pathological process immobilizes the human body.
Taking care of your health today is a happy, fulfilling life tomorrow.