Cervical Chondrosis-Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Dizziness, pressure fluctuations, syncope, heart pain-all these usually come from spinal problems. 80% of the population suffers from cervical osteochondrosis of varying severity. According to statistics, men face this disease earlier than women: 45-50 years old. If you do not start treatment early, the pathology will become irreversible.

What is osteochondrosis

The pathology is related to changes in cartilage dystrophy between the vertebrae, in which the soft tissue becomes harder and depreciation is reduced.

Osteochondrosis can affect the thoracic spine and lumbar spine, but it is more common than other areas-the cervix. The reasons are high load on 1-7 vertebrae, muscle weakness, malnutrition and choosing the wrong pillow to sleep.

Mechanism of cervical spine injury

Pathogenesis of cervical chondropathy

When the nutritional process of cartilage tissue and mineral metabolism are disturbed, osteochondrosis will develop. The strength of bones and joints decreases, and ligaments lose their elasticity. The shape and structure of the disc change; under the influence of the load, it collapses. The vertebrae fuse together and their surfaces are erased. Pathology can cause such complications:

  1. Compression of blood vessels passing through 1-7 vertebrae can cause hypoxia (hypoxia) in the brain.
  2. The development of respiratory system, blood vessels, heart, vision loss and other problems.
  3. Violation of blood circulation in the brain can lead to dystonia of neural circulation (vegetative blood vessels).
  4. Reduced neck mobility-when bone is formed on the vertebrae.
  5. Cerebellar dysfunction, spinal cord compression-leading to death in the late stages of the disease.

Stages of cervical chondropathy

Pathology develops slowly. In the preclinical stage, the distance between the vertebrae is reduced and they press on the floppy disk. Then it becomes thinner, the annulus is destroyed, and its core bulges. A protrusion is formed, and then a hernia is formed. The vertebrae rub against each other, change shape, and grow on them. Clamp nerves and blood vessels.

The initial stage of cervical osteochondrosis

Cracks appeared in the annulus, the capsule ruptured, and the nucleus pulposus was destroyed. When the head turns, nerve endings are compressed, blood vessels are narrowed, and blood flow is restricted, cervical osteochondrosis will be felt. There is pain in the back of the head, and the back muscles will soon fatigue.

2 stages of pathology

The degeneration process of the intervertebral disc develops, and the capsule ring is completely destroyed. The height between the vertebrae decreases, they become unstable and squeeze the nerve roots of the spinal cord. The flexibility and mobility of the neck are reduced. At this stage, the disease can still be treated without surgery.

The final stage of cervical osteochondrosis

Stages of development of cervical osteochondrosis

In the third stage of the pathology, a herniated disc develops, leading to a hernia, and the medullary ring bulges and protrudes. The cervical spine and its axis are displaced, and the nutrition of the brain is impaired. In addition, in the final stages of pathology (3 and 4), the following process begins:

  • The intervertebral disc is destroyed and replaced by connective tissue;
  • Loss of mobility of the neck and shoulder joints;
  • The friction from the surface of the vertebrae forms growth, and the nerve fibers are damaged;
  • Due to the innervation of the hand, the sensitivity of the hand is reduced.

Symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis

The patient's condition depends on the stage of the disease. First, there is rare pain when turning or lowering the head, and the back muscles are also tense. After that, the person will continue to be tired. The pain is getting worse and more frequent. He became weaker, dizzy, tinnitus, and decreased vision. All signs of cervical osteochondrosis are divided into 3 groups:

  • Stimulatory reflex syndrome-neurodystrophy, muscle tension and vegetative vascular manifestations.
  • Root canal compression-It is related to nerve endings compression. One of the key symptoms is acute pain when turning the head.
  • Vertebral artery syndrome-Occurs when the blood vessels supplying the brain structure are narrowed.

Nervous system diseases

The blood supply of the brain is insufficient, and its work and nervous system are damaged. The head is often injured and suffers from insomnia, which can lead to fatigue and apathy. Then the following symptoms appear:

Signs and symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis
  • Increased sweating;
  • Emotional instability (emotional instability);
  • Irritability;
  • dizziness;
  • Depressed;
  • Reduced concentration;
  • Tinnitus;
  • "Flies" in front of you;
  • Anxiety;
  • Tremor (tremor) of the limbs;
  • Panic attack;
  • Vestibular organ diseases: nausea, vomiting, unsteady gait, spatial disorientation, coordination disorder.

General clinical symptoms

Cervical osteochondrosis causes headache and visual disturbance. In the second stage of pathology, the patient complained of tinnitus, swelling in the throat, weakness of the hand muscles, and numbness of the tongue. When you turn your neck and tilt your head, you will hear a creaking sound and black spots appear in front of your eyes. In vertebral artery syndrome, there are other symptoms:

  • Migraine from occipital bone to forehead;
  • darkens before the eyes;
  • Sore scalp;
  • Hearing loss;
  • Increased blood pressure;
  • My fingers are numb.

Symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis in women

The clinical condition does not depend on gender, but women aged 45-65 more often experience numbness of limbs, hand tingling and pain during sleep. Multiple attacks at night.

Causes of cervical osteochondrosis

The pathology develops under the action of highly loaded vertebrae, causing muscle spasms. Sedentary work usually causes this situation-on a computer or a vehicle.

People with abnormal postures are at risk. Other causes of cervical osteochondrosis:

  • Nervousness, often stressful situations;
  • Lack of motivation-lack of physical activity, insufficient activity;
  • Neck muscle weakness;
  • Genetic susceptibility;
  • Spinal injury;
  • Rheumatism;
  • Excessive physical exercise, weightlifting;
  • Unhealthy diet;
  • Metabolism disorder;
  • Causes of cervical osteochondrosis
  • Frequent hypothermia in the neck;
  • Age-related changes in the musculoskeletal system, cartilage tissue;
  • Congenital cervical deformity;
  • Autoimmune pathology affecting cartilage tissue;
  • Overweight;
  • The vertebrae are unstable.


The doctor examines the patient’s main complaint, assesses posture and muscle tone. Use 4 X-ray projections of the neck to confirm the diagnosis: the picture shows the position and displacement of the vertebrae. The stage of the disease and the underlying pathology can be revealed by the following methods:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging-The most effective method, showing in detail the degenerative changes of bones, hernias, protrusions, and annulus rupture. It can be used instead of radiography, but the inspection costs are high.
  • Duplex ultrasound scan-Assess abnormal blood flow in arteries.
  • Computed tomography-Does not show the size and area of ​​the hernia. In the early stage, it is stipulated to determine the reduction of the intervertebral space, the displacement of cervical spine segments, and the edge growth of bone tissue.

Treatment of cervical osteochondrosis

The goal of treatment is to restore blood flow, tissue nutrition, eliminate hypoxia symptoms and prevent the destruction of vertebrae and intervertebral discs. It is important to strengthen the corset that supports the muscles of the neck and restore the mobility of the joints. Choose a treatment strategy according to the stage of the disease:

  • Initial-Massage, gymnastics, physical therapy, taking chondroprotectants and drugs to improve blood circulation.
  • Osteochondrosis 2-3 stage-medication, remedial gymnastics, massage.
  • Irreversible degenerative changes, including destruction, vertebral deformities-Surgery and symptomatic medical treatment.
  • The chronic disease of chronic osteochondrosis is exacerbated-Injections or tablets can relieve pain and cramps.

Help relieve severe pain

Apply pepper ointment or heating ointment locally on the neck. Active heating of a single area can spread pain and increase blood flow in the tissue. Use the applicator to apply the ointment in a very thin layer. Other ways to relieve the pain of osteochondrosis:

  • Pain relievers in tablets-have average efficacy and are contraindicated when clotting problems occur.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs-If analgesics are not effective, tablets should be taken because this group of drugs will have a negative effect on the stomach and liver.
  • Injection-If there is severe acute pain, the effect will appear after 15 minutes. For intramuscular injection, use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), myolytic spasmodics. In severe cases, it will be blocked.

Conservative treatment of cervical osteochondrosis

In the 1-2 stage of the disease without cerebral hypoxia symptoms, treatment is performed at home. The basis of treatment is gymnastics and massage. They improve blood flow and strengthen muscles. Other methods:

  • Medications-The rest of the time is used for oral medications and injections for aggravation, ointments and creams.
  • Physiotherapy-7-10 courses of treatment during remission.
  • Folk Remedies-As another method of treating osteochondrosis.
  • Diet therapy-Foods rich in fatty acids, magnesium and calcium in the diet. Exclude salt, smoked meat, pickled and spicy food, fast food.


During the remission period, drugs were used to improve the quality of cartilage and prevent vertebrae from collapsing. Use the drug internally and locally. The main categories of funds are as follows:

  • Muscle relaxants-Relieve muscle cramps, relieve pain, can be used within one month.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID)-Used locally and internally to relieve pain and swelling. The use time of the tablet should not exceed 10 days.
  • Analgesics-They can relieve pain but cannot eliminate inflammation, and the effect is weaker than NSAID.
  • Cartilage protector-Protect and restore cartilage tissue.
  • sedatives-Usually used for women with severe neurosis complicated by cervical osteochondrosis.
  • Nootropic drugs-affect the brain circulation and help fight vertigo.
  • Vitamin and mineral complex-Improve the metabolism of nerve tissue.


During remission, the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis is based on local surgery to improve blood flow, metabolism, and relieve pain and inflammation. The patient does gymnastics every day and the plan is made by the doctor. The main processing method is:

  • Manual therapy-Straighten the position of the vertebrae and fix them by massage. 2-4 times a year, 5-10 sessions each time. At home, gently massage, stroke and rub the cervical area and collar from top to bottom for 7-10 minutes to relieve muscle cramps.
  • Drug Electrophoresis-Drugs are used to relieve pain and improve blood circulation, and the current can quickly reach the required level.
  • Magnetic therapy-Designed to eliminate edema.
  • Acupuncture-Improve blood flow and relieve inflammation. It takes place in 8-10 sessions of 1-2 days.
  • Shallow collaris ​​a controversial way to eliminate the symptoms of osteochondrosis, because it removes the load from the muscles, but does not strengthen the load. The product fixes the neck and stretches the spine, thereby increasing the distance between the sections. They wear collars for 3 hours a month.

Exercise therapy to treat cervical osteochondrosis

The patient has been shown to perform therapeutic exercises outside of the exacerbation period. The strong head bends forward and backward, and rotation is prohibited. Each exercise does not exceed one minute, and there will be no sudden movements and convulsions. If discomfort or pain occurs, the conversation will stop. Proven cervical spine exercise:

  • Slowly turn your head to the left and right, staring steadily at a point ahead: this way, you can control smaller movements. Do 10 to 15 times in each direction, gradually increasing to 30 times.
  • Place your palms on your forehead and apply pressure while trying to tilt your head forward. Count to 5 and relax. Repeat 10 times.
  • Place the palm of your right hand on the temple of your left foot and press down to tilt your head to your shoulders. Count to 5, let go and do 10 times on each side.
  • Lie on his stomach, arms stretched out to his body. Lift your head slightly and turn it slowly so that your ears touch the floor. Do 10 moves on each side.

Surgical treatment of cervical osteochondrosis

If the nerve root is infected, the hernia is accompanied by the rupture of the ring, the vertebrae are destroyed, and the main treatment is ineffective, so surgery is performed.

Severe symptoms: hand paralysis, muscle atrophy, stroke. Main treatment methods:

  • Facetectomy-Endoscopic resection of the joint, and then fix the vertebrae, which will be motionless.
  • dysectomy with spinal fusion-Suitable for severe deformation changes. During the operation, the floppy disk is taken out and the vertebrae are spliced ​​to prevent damage. Disadvantages: limited cervical spine movement, long recovery time.
  • Spinal Fusion-Removal of damaged intervertebral disc fragments, bone process, introduction of artificial grafts and fixation of vertebrae with screws. The recovery period is one year, showing that the patient is wearing a corset.
  • Autopsy-Removal of damaged vertebrae and adjacent intervertebral discs, without the influence of other methods.

Folk remedies for cervical osteochondrosis

For severe pain, please take 1 teaspoon. Alcohol and camphor, add 2 drops of iodine, and wipe the area on the left and right sides of the spine (do not touch the column itself) for 3-5 minutes. Perform 1-2 times a day.

Other folk recipes besides the main therapy:

Folk remedies for cervical osteochondrosis
  1. Pour 500 grams of knotweed with water (2 liters), boil, and leave. Pour the cooled broth through cheesecloth into the prepared bath for 15-20 minutes. The procedure is carried out at night to relax and soothe. The course is 7-10 lessons.
  2. Mix 1 tablespoon. l. Bud of birch, St. John's wort, mint leaves. Grind, pour into a cup of water and boil for 5 minutes. Strain and mix with butter and vegetable oil (75 grams each). Apply ointment thinly on the neck and cover it with plastic and a scarf. Keep it for an hour. This procedure is carried out every day for 2 weeks.
  3. Pour 100 grams of elderberry into vodka (600 ml). Stay in a cold place for a week. Rub the neck with this therapy twice a day for 10-15 days.


Patients over the age of 40 should take calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, and magnesium every six months, which will improve the condition of bones, ligaments and cartilage. The diet includes fatty fish, shrimp, mussels, nuts, beans, spinach, cheese, and milk. Other preventive measures:

  • When sitting still for a long time, often change the position of the neck and stretch once every hour;
  • Choose a comfortable pillow;
  • Go swimming, yoga;
  • Avoid weightlifting, jumping sports, running;
  • Avoid cold neck.