Many patients do not know how to understand that you have osteochondrosis, but at the same time they are happy to make such a diagnosis for themselves. Meanwhile, the causes of pain in the back, lower back or neck can be many. These can be curvature of the spinal column, disruption of the internal organs, tumors, infections, instability of the position of the vertebral bodies, etc. Therefore, you should not self-diagnose. Seek medical attention in case of pain.
There is no reliable algorithm for how to recognize osteochondrosis without special examinations. But there are certain clinical signs that make it possible to suspect this disease. We will talk about them in the material brought to your attention. In the meantime, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the mechanism of development of osteochondrosis.
Degenerative dystrophic disease of the cartilaginous tissue of the intervertebral discs - this is what scientifically called osteochondrosis. As it develops, it leads to dorsopathy, which is complicated by dorsalgia, sciatica, sciatica, sciatica, lumbago and other syndromes associated with damage to various tissues.
Osteochondrosis is a consequence of maintaining a wrong lifestyle of a person. The contributing factors are:
- excess body weight - each kilogram creates an additional depreciation and mechanical load on the cartilaginous tissue of the intervertebral disc;
- a sedentary lifestyle without regular exercise on the muscular frame of the back;
- eating large amounts of carbohydrates, refined foods;
- wearing tight, uncomfortable clothes and shoes;
- incorrect posture, the habit of stooping, hunching, tilting the body in one direction or another;
- incorrect setting of the foot in the form of flat feet or clubfoot;
- curvature of the spinal column;
- sedentary work or heavy physical labor;
- smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages;
- insufficient consumption of clean drinking water during the day.
All these factors slow down the microcirculation of blood in the capillary network in the thickness of the muscle tissue. It is unable to carry out a full-fledged diffuse exchange with the cartilaginous tissues of the intervertebral discs. They don't have their own circulatory system. This is how the mechanism of destruction of the surface of the fibrous ring (this is the outer shell of the disc) is launched. It forms a deposit of calcium salts. They prevent the receipt of fluid from the outside. Therefore, the fibrous ring begins to draw fluid from the nucleus pulposus located inside it. This gelatinous body is responsible for maintaining the normal height and shape of the intervertebral disc. Therefore, with the loss of fluid, the nucleus pulposus loses its ability to maintain the height of the disc. The second stage of osteochondrosis develops - protrusion.
At the third stage, the fibrous ring ruptures and part of the nucleus pulposus comes out. This is a herniated disc. It presses on the surrounding soft tissues, provokes an inflammatory reaction, etc.
The fourth stage of osteochondrosis is the sequestration of the intervertebral hernia. Part of the nucleus pulposus is separated or it exits entirely through the resulting rupture of the fibrous ring. If the hernia enters the cavity of the spinal canal, then its sequestration requires an emergency surgical operation. Otherwise, a person may remain disabled with paralysis of the body for the rest of his life.
As you can see, this is a very serious disease, which needs to be diagnosed in a timely manner. The sooner complex treatment is started, the higher the chances of a complete restoration of the integrity of the intervertebral disc and its functions.
When the first signs of osteochondrosis appear, you can make an appointment with a vertebrologist or neurologist. Doctors will conduct an examination and manual examination. They will make an accurate diagnosis and recommend the necessary additional examinations. After an accurate diagnosis is made, you will be offered a course of treatment.
How to recognize cervical osteochondrosis
How to understand that you have cervical osteochondrosis, and not myositis, and what to do next? Before recognizing cervical osteochondrosis, you need to collect an anamnesis:
- when pains appear;
- what actions provoke their appearance;
- how long ago was the first seizure;
- are there any additional clinical signs;
- how the sleeping and working place is organized;
- what bad habits are there;
- place of work and profession.
How to understand that cervical osteochondrosis according to all this information? First of all, it is important to know that degenerative dystrophic disease of the intervertebral discs manifests itself in the form of pain, stiffness of movements, excessive strain on the muscles of the neck and collar zone only at the initial stage. Then, tension headache, dizziness, hearing and vision impairment, increased fatigue, decreased mental performance, etc. are added to these signs.
A distinctive feature of cervical osteochondrosis is that the exacerbation of symptoms begins at the end of the working day. And the professional activity of the patient in most cases is associated with prolonged static tension of the muscles of the neck and collar zone. On examination, there is pain on palpation of the spinous processes of the vertebrae, excessive muscle tension and increased pain when trying to turn the head.
Before recognizing cervical osteochondrosis, the doctor recommends that the patient take an x-ray. It shows the reduced spaces between the vertebral bodies. This indicates that a protrusion is developing. With the help of an X-ray image, an experienced vertebrologist will be able to exclude instability of the position of the vertebral bodies, their subluxations, retrolisthesis, antelisthesis, destruction of the intervertebral joints, and a number of other serious pathologies. If this examination is not enough, then it is recommended to do an MRI or CT scan. If you suspect the development of the syndrome of the posterior vertebral artery, it is recommended to conduct an ultrasound scan of the vessels of the neck and head.
How to recognize osteochondrosis of the thoracic region
Before recognizing thoracic osteochondrosis, it is necessary to exclude the possibility of developing pathologies of internal organs, such as the heart, coronary circulatory system, lungs, pleura, bronchi, etc. Consider how to recognize osteochondrosis of the thoracic region:
- the most important diagnostic technique is palpation, if the pain is determined exclusively by the spinous processes of the vertebrae and in the region of the paravertebral muscles, degenerative destruction of the cartilaginous tissue of the intervertebral discs is not excluded;
- mobility is limited and any turns and inclinations of the body increase pain;
- the attack of pain was provoked by physical exertion, hypothermia or psychological stress factors;
- taking a deep breath does not aggravate the pain.
It is very important to know how to understand the heart or osteochondrosis, since acute chest pain is not uncommonly a precursor to myocardial infarction. And in this condition, the patient should be immediately provided with cardiac care.
So, if anxiety, panic and fear of death are felt during an attack of pain, then this is a 90% chance of a heart attack and you need to urgently call an ambulance. If there is a tonometer, then you need to measure blood pressure and count the pulse. When the pulse slows down to bradycardia (less than 50 beats per minute) and with an increase in blood pressure by 20–40 mm Hg above the age norm, an attack of unstable angina pectoris should also be suspected with a possible transition to myocardial infarction.
You should not look for information on how to understand a heartache or osteochondrosis, it is much more productive to seek medical help. Even the most common ECG, taken in the emergency department of the hospital, will show what gives the pain syndrome: the heart or the spinal column. Independently, you can rely only on sensations during palpation. As a rule, with damage to the heart muscle, palpation of the spinous processes of the vertebrae does not give any unpleasant sensations. But at the same time, there are such clinical symptoms of osteochondrosis as shortness of breath, a feeling of lack of air, pallor of the skin, a feeling of cold sticky sweat on the skin, cyanosis of the nasolabial triangle and severe muscle weakness.
How to recognize osteochondrosis of the lumbar
Quite acute is the question of how to understand that osteochondrosis of the lumbar causes severe pain. Moreover, with the defeat of some paired radicular nerves, as well as nerve plexuses, clinical symptoms occur that resemble diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and urinary system. These are constipation, diarrhea, frequent urination, etc.
How to understand that your back osteochondrosis causes pain and all other clinical signs:
- no increase in body temperature;
- no nausea and vomiting;
- the tongue is not coated with white or yellow coating;
- when urinating, the color of urine does not differ from normal;
- when emptying the intestines, there is no tenesmus and other pain sensations;
- there is no admixture of blood or mucus in the feces.
To exclude renal pathology, a test for Pasternatsky's symptom is performed. The patient stands up straight with his back to the doctor. The doctor with the edge of the palm lightly strikes the edge of the lower costal arch. If pain occurs, then there is a high probability that lower back pain is associated with damage to the kidneys and ureters.
How to recognize osteochondrosis of the lumbar by indirect signs:
- with any movement, the pain increases sharply;
- exacerbation of the condition begins after serious physical exertion, heavy lifting, hypothermia or overheating of the body;
- stiffness of movements is felt, often it is associated with muscle weakness;
- muscles in the lumbar region are sharply tense, painful on palpation;
- pain can spread along the course of large nerves, for example, in the groin area, on the anterior abdominal wall, along the lower extremities;
- at rest, the pain syndrome quickly fades away.
When characteristic symptoms of osteochondrosis appear, it is important to contact a neurologist or vertebrologist as soon as possible. Only an experienced doctor can exclude the possibility of vertebral displacement, disc herniation, spinal stenosis and other dangerous pathologies that require immediate medical attention.
What to do with pain from osteochondrosis
We figured out how to understand that pains arise from osteochondrosis. Right now, this is important information. You need to know how to behave correctly and what to do to get rid of such a disease.
A degenerative degenerative disease of the cartilaginous tissue of the intervertebral discs does not go away on its own. This is due to a number of factors. First of all, calcification of the surface of the fibrous ring occurs, as a result of which it loses the ability to absorb the fluid secreted by the working muscles. Secondly, in the process of reducing the height of the intervertebral discs, a secondary contraction of the ligaments and tendons occurs. It will be impossible to restore the height of the intervertebral spaces necessary for straightening the discs on your own.