The main signs and symptoms of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine

Neck pain with osteochondrosis

Cervical osteochondrosis is a very common disease that affects both men and women equally. Moreover, age does not play a special role here. Symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis are found not only in the elderly, whose pathology is a consequence of the natural aging process. The disease is increasingly found in young people, and in most cases they themselves are to blame.

The reasons for the development of pathology

This lesion of the spine has a degenerative-dystrophic character. That is, in the vertebrae, as well as in all their structural elements, pathological changes occur, which are no longer possible to reverse in the later stages. This type of osteochondrosis is considered the most dangerous, since its consequence is the infringement of the main nerve roots and vessels that feed the brain. That is, over time, the spine ceases to function normally along its entire length.

The following reasons for the development of the disease can be distinguished:

  1. Lifting and moving heavy objects.
  2. Significant sports loads.
  3. Improper carrying of weights.
  4. Long-term adherence to a static posture: working at a computer, writing notes, reading books, office work. This is the main reason for young people.
  5. Genetic factor.

Naturally, inflammatory processes that have arisen in the spine or other parts of the body can also provoke osteochondrosis of the neck. Other reasons are not excluded: hypothermia, trauma, surgery.

Symptom classification

So, the treatment of the spine should be performed only after the patient has been given an accurate diagnosis. And for this, the doctor needs to know the clinical picture of the patient, as well as apply all instrumental examination methods. The signs that arise in the patient depend on the degree of damage to the body systems:

  1. Most of the symptoms of the brain are due to impaired circulation due to vascular compression.
  2. The picture of peripheral nerve damage appears due to compression of the nerve roots that exit the vertebral foramen.
  3. Severe neurological disorders appear in the late stages of the development of the disease due to pinching of the spinal cord.

Now you can consider in more detail the main signs of cervical osteochondrosis.

The most common symptoms of pathology

Regardless of the reason that contributed to the appearance of the problem, the clinical picture is almost always the same in all patients. Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine has the following symptoms:

  • Painful sensations. They are localized in the neck, back of the head and collar area. The pain can also spread to the shoulders, chest, clavicle of the skeleton. Frequent migraines are characteristic of osteochondrosis. Gradually, the discomfort becomes aching, chronic. Exacerbation of the pathology causes shooting pains during movement. At the same time, the muscles are very tense. Sometimes only an injection - an anesthetic blockade - can eliminate this symptom.
  • Tinnitus, stuffy feeling. This happens as a result of a deterioration in the blood supply to the vestibular apparatus.
  • Dizziness. It is caused by a lack of oxygen, as the inner ear is poorly supplied with blood. This condition is additionally accompanied by uncontrolled irregular movements of the pupils.
  • Fainting, from which the patient comes out quickly enough, if there is an improvement in blood circulation in the affected area.
  • Feeling of lack of air. The presented symptom appears due to irritation of the phrenic nerve. That is, the patient is simply not able to take a deep breath. He also snores and may suddenly stop breathing. Over time, the patient develops shortness of breath and attacks of suffocation. Further oxygen starvation will damage the brain tissue, resulting in impaired attention and memory.
  • Nausea. Sometimes any movement of the body or head is accompanied by vomiting, which is difficult to control. The patient's appetite is disturbed, weight is reduced.
  • Dizziness and nausea are signs of cervical osteochondrosis
  • Vision problems. Cervical osteochondrosis can cause such a symptom as "flies" before the eyes or fog, decreased severity, violation of the focus of the gaze. Moreover, exercise therapy or wearing glasses cannot fix the problem.
  • Pressure change. This condition occurs due to spasm of the arteries. The patient may even lose consciousness.
  • Dry and lumpy feeling in the throat. Sometimes this is the only symptom that says that the neck is affected. Therefore, osteochondrosis in this case can be easily confused with other pathologies.
  • Temperature increase. This symptom is uncommon. Moreover, it is not the basal temperature that changes, but the local temperature. The skin around the neck becomes hot and red.
  • Restricted mobility. The neck seems to be wedging. And you can also hear an unpleasant crackling and crunching in the neck when turning the head.
  • Weakness in the arms and a burning sensation between the shoulder blades.
  • Impaired coordination of movements, which affects the patient's gait.

Some of the signs of cervical osteochondrosis, listed above, are not specific. This makes it somewhat difficult to diagnose the disease, since a person does not turn to specialists on time.

Symptoms of the disease, depending on the degree of its development

Depending on what symptoms are observed in the patient, what is their prevalence and intensity, we can talk about the stage of development of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine. Each degree has its own characteristics:

  1. First stage. It is accompanied by periodic headaches, discomfort in the neck, shoulders, arms. There is a slight limitation of mobility. In the collar area, there may be a slight decrease in skin sensitivity. At this stage, treatment is practically not performed, since patients do not seek medical help. Some patients try to treat osteochondrosis at home using folk remedies.
  2. Second stage. In the cervical spine, pain intensifies, an unpleasant crunch is heard. In the shoulder region, as well as in the hands, a serious violation of sensitivity appears. Headaches at this stage practically do not go away, the patient's vision deteriorates, noise occurs in the head and ears, and the clarity of tendon reflexes decreases. During an exacerbation of osteochondrosis, shooting pains appear, radiating under the scapula. Here it is no longer possible not to notice the symptoms of the disease, and the patient tries to see a doctor. However, it is no longer possible to completely get rid of the defeat. It will only be possible to slow down its further development.
  3. Third stage. Here the collagen fibers of the disc are already destroyed, the appearance of a hernial protrusion. The fixation of the vertebrae is disrupted, and they begin to fall out. Even dislocations can occur. The patient develops very severe pains in the neck and heart, there are paresis and paralysis of the upper limbs, the spine is bent. Tendon reflexes at this stage of development of osteochondrosis are practically absent. A complication of this degree of cervical osteochondrosis is a spinal stroke.

If a person "flees" from illness at home without consulting a doctor, then this behavior may end up in disability.

Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine cannot be completely cured, but timely and correct therapy can slow down its progression.

What syndromes causes osteochondrosis?

So, there are certain sets of symptoms that indicate a person has a certain syndrome. If at least one sign is absent, then there is no need to talk about such a pathological condition.

There are several syndromes that are provoked by cervical osteochondrosis:

  • Radicular. In another way, it can be called "cervical sciatica". It appears as a result of pinched nerves. It is characterized by the following symptoms: the presence of pain that radiates to the shoulder blades, runs along the shoulder and extends to the forearms and fingers; the appearance of "flies" before the eyes; tingling in fingers, forearms, hands. The localization of symptoms can vary depending on which pair of roots is damaged.
  • Irritative reflex. It is characterized by acute burning pain in the neck and occiput, which appears due to movement after sleep, when sneezing. Unpleasant sensations can be given to the chest.
  • Vertebral artery syndrome. Here the following symptoms stand out: loss of consciousness, nausea, severe burning headache in nature, spreading to the parietal, temporal and occipital parts of the skull. The patient is characterized by weakness, hearing impairment, eye pain and blurred vision.
  • Cardiac. It has a peculiarity - it is easy to confuse it with an attack of angina pectoris, so the prescribed treatment may turn out to be erroneous. If the patient is diagnosed with cervical osteochondrosis, the symptoms of cardiac syndrome are as follows: suddenly appearing pain, which increases with the slightest movement; tachycardia; the inability to stop the attack with special heart pills that promote the expansion of the coronary vessels. At the same time, there are no signs of circulatory disorders on the cardiogram.

Since osteochondrosis has a chronic form, its exacerbations periodically occur. The intensity of the symptoms increases. The sensations can persist for a long time, and only an anesthetic injection can remove them. The tablets may not be effective.

How is pathology diagnosed?

In order to accurately determine the severity of osteochondrosis, to identify the extent of the destruction of the vertebrae, the patient needs to undergo a thorough examination. It includes the following procedures:

  • External examination of the patient.
  • Neurological tests.
  • Duplex scanning or Doppler ultrasound of blood vessels.
  • MRI.
  • CT.
  • X-ray of the cervical spine in two projections.
  • Electrocardiogram.

Laboratory analyzes in this case are not informative. Although sometimes they are prescribed to determine the cause of the development of osteochondrosis.

Features of the treatment of pathology

So, the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis must be carried out at the first stages. Moreover, a sick person can take the necessary drugs, do therapeutic exercises at home, but only after a thorough examination and consultation with specialists.

Therapy must be comprehensive. It is not enough just to remove the symptoms of pathology. It is necessary to try to restore the functionality of the cervical spine. For this, a person needs medications (pain relievers, hormonal, vitamin complexes, chondroprotective drugs), as well as therapeutic exercises.

In order to eliminate severe pain that pills cannot stop, a special injection is used, which is done in the inter-articular region. However, this blockade method can be used only a few times a year.

In addition to drug treatment, the patient is offered physiotherapy procedures: massage, ultrasound and ultraviolet treatment. If conservative therapy does not work, then the patient is prescribed surgical intervention. But it is, rather, an extreme measure, and it is better not to allow the disease to such a state.