Cervical osteochondrosis

Spine diseases can be very unpleasant. In the case when they affect the cervical spine, there is a likelihood of complications in the spinal cord and brain. Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine often leads to headaches, changes in the functioning of internal organs, and circulatory disorders.

Doctors divide the development of cervical osteochondrosis into three stages. At the first and second stages, degenerative-dystrophic changes in the vertebral discs (their drying out, flattening) appear. In this case, the structure of the disks themselves does not change.

neck pain - symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis in a woman

At the initial stage, the symptoms of the disease are just beginning to appear. At the second stage, their manifestation is more specific, while intensifying with head movements, severe fatigue and stress. The third stage is the appearance of pathological processes of the vertebral disc (osteophytes), a rupture of the fibrous ring is observed, which leads to the prolapse of the nucleus of the vertebral disc and, as a consequence, the formation of a hernia of the cervical spine. At the third stage, the pain is observed continuously, while the movements of the head and shoulders are difficult, the person is not able to perform standard household operations.


One of the main symptoms of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is pain in the back of the neck, which is caused by pinching or inflammation of the nerve roots. In this case, the pain usually radiates to the cervical-collar zone, shoulder, forearm and under the scapula. The pain can spread to the left or right hand and cause some fingers to become numb.

In addition to pain, cervical osteochondrosis is characterized by:

  • dizziness,
  • "Flies" before the eyes,
  • hearing impairment
  • decreased memory
  • headache localized in the back of the head and temples.

If the disease lasts for several years, then vascular atherosclerosis and discirculatory encephalopathy (a serious decrease in mental capacity) may be added to it.

With a circular movement of the head, a patient with cervical osteochondrosis usually hears a characteristic crunch.

The reasons

The main cause of cervical osteochondrosis is the incorrect position of the body in a sitting position. In addition, when performing daily operations in an inclination forward, during construction and repair work with your head thrown back, it is also easy to acquire symptoms of this disease. This is due to the fact that excessive stress on the neck can change the structure of the cartilaginous tissue, which can lead to pathological changes in the intervertebral discs. In addition, the reasons for the development of cervical osteochondrosis can be a violation of calcium metabolism in the body, hereditary factors, trauma, severe hypothermia, increased sports.


It is possible to completely cure and prevent the re-development of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine only with a complete change in lifestyle, constant prophylaxis and spa treatment. In practice, few people achieve this.

At the first stage of the development of osteochondrosis, the patient is usually helped by conservative non-drug treatment. At the same time, it is necessary to correct posture, pay more attention to the correct equipment of the workplace, and often interrupt for simple physiotherapy exercises. Swimming, increased physical activity, and the intake of vitamin and mineral complexes can have a positive effect on the entire musculoskeletal system.

In the case when treatment was started in the second or third stages of the disease, the main task is to relieve pain. In advanced cases, surgical methods of treatment can be prescribed to stabilize the damaged vertebrae, but such cases are individual and modern physiotherapy often helps to avoid this.

Physiotherapy methods

In cases where drug therapy is contraindicated or has not shown the necessary positive effect, the methods of physiotherapy of classical and alternative medicine are used in the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis. First of all, they are aimed at eliminating muscle spasms, inflammation and pain.

Reflexology.The essence of the method is to stimulate biologically active points by introducing special thin needles into them to a certain depth. The procedure is painful and helps relieve pain in the spine. A full course of reflexology consists of several sessions.

Massage.The classic method for eliminating muscle pain and improving blood flow.

Shock wave therapy (SWT).It is able to restore blood flow and eliminate osteophytes, restores the normal structure of the cartilage tissue. The positive effect is observed after 1–2 sessions. The course of shock wave therapy is usually up to ten procedures and can be prescribed as part of complex therapy.

Physiotherapy. A number of certain daily exercises help to strengthen the muscles of the cervical spine, which, in turn, can reduce the stress on this area. Exercise therapy is indicated at all stages of diseases, as well as as a preventive measure. A set of such exercises may include:

  • head turns to the sides;
  • head tilts forward and backward;
  • lifting the shoulders;
  • alternate tension of the flexors and extensors of the neck with a stationary head position.

Exercises must be repeated 5-7 times. The duration of the lesson is 15–20 minutes.

The set of exercises is always selected by physiotherapy specialists, taking into account the specifics of the disease and the condition of the patient.

Food and lifestyle. Both in the process of conservative treatment and after surgery, it is recommended to eat foods rich in calcium and vitamins, to correct habitual postures and posture in general, orthopedic pillows and a mattress.


It is necessary, if possible, to avoid hypothermia and infectious diseases, prolonged stay at the computer in one position. If you are going on a long journey, use a cervical support cushion that can reduce muscle tension. For daily sleep, it is recommended to use orthopedic pillows and a mattress that can ensure the correct position of the head.