Osteochondrosis: Causes, Treatment

Almost everyone faces problems like back pain. No matter what age they occur - 20s or 60s - this can lead to severe discomfort and limitations in daily activities. Osteochondrosis is the source of pain in 80% of the population. Everyone has heard of the disease, but not everyone knows why it occurs, how it develops, and what needs to be done to get rid of unpleasant symptoms.


Doctor showing osteochondrosis on layout

Osteochondrosis is a pathology with a degenerative dystrophic nature and a chronic course. The disease is characterized by damage to various structures in the spine: discs, joints, ligaments. Both local and systemic diseases contribute to this.

First, osteochondrosis is caused by excessive load on the axial skeleton. Modern living conditions are such that a person has to deal with adverse effects on the spine on a daily basis. Stress on cartilage and bone structures increases significantly when:

  • Weightlifters (loaders, weightlifters).
  • Excessive physical activity.
  • Staying in the same position for long periods of time: sitting (office worker) or standing (salesperson, surgeon, waiter).
  • Overweight and obesity.

These factors lead to accelerated tissue wear and pathological processes within it. If the load is combined with its incorrect position, the damage to the spine is even greater. Then the biomechanics of the entire axial skeleton is affected, as some areas are subjected to more stress than others. This is possible under the following conditions:

  • wrong posture.
  • The weakness of the muscular corset.
  • The spine is curved.
  • flatfoot.

The degenerative and dystrophic processes are most prone to the degenerative and dystrophic process of the spine that is subjected to increased loads for a prolonged period of time.

spinal osteochondritis

But in addition to static-dynamic loading, the cause of osteochondrosis is usually a metabolic disorder. The spine, like any system in the body, depends on the supply of necessary substances and regulatory influence. Therefore, some common factors also contribute to the development of disorders of the musculoskeletal system:

  1. Lack of vitamin D and trace elements (calcium, phosphorus).
  2. Hormonal changes (a lack of estrogen in menopausal women).
  3. age-related changes.

Also, attention should be paid to the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, as this is the real scourge of modern society, adversely affecting not only the spine but other organs as well. In addition, the causes of osteochondrosis include various injuries: dislocations, fractures, torn ligaments.

Under the influence of these factors, cartilage discs are the first to suffer, become dehydrated, and eventually lose their elasticity and cushioning properties. Where the pressure is greatest, osteophytes -- osteophytes -- form in combination with the narrow intervertebral space, creating a prerequisite for compressing nerve roots and blood vessels. Signs of arthropathy develop in the joints, which can exacerbate the movement disorders of osteochondrosis. In advanced cases, the entire spine is affected, a herniated disc forms, and signs of vertebral segment instability are observed.

The occurrence of osteochondrosis has a multifaceted nature, but the sooner the cause is eliminated, the easier it is to treat the disease.


Since osteochondrosis is accompanied by various pathological changes of the spine, treatment should first target the development mechanism and etiology of the disease. At the same time, it should not be forgotten to eliminate the symptoms that are bothering the patient, as they affect the quality of life. Traditional medical procedures for osteochondrosis include:

  1. medical treatment.
  2. physiotherapy.
  3. Massage and manual therapy.
  4. physiotherapy.
  5. Operation.

The choice of one approach or the other depends on the stage, prevalence, and clinical presentation of the disease. Treatment measures, in turn, must conform to the existing medical standards in which doctors work.

medical treatement

Osteochondrosis Drugs

Of great importance in the treatment of osteochondrosis is the use of drugs. Drugs act on all aspects of disease onset, making it possible to cover almost all pathological mechanisms. Vascular and metabolic disturbances in the tissue are particularly easy to correct and can also reduce the severity of the main symptoms. For this, the following medicines are used:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Muscle relaxant.
  • chondroprotective agent.
  • B vitamins.
  • Blood vessel.
  • Antioxidants.

For severe pain, doctors use hormones to perform a paravertebral block. After resolving acute symptoms, they switched to tablet and topical forms (ointments, gels, patches).

Medication should only be given on the advice of a doctor, as self-administration of medication increases the risk of adverse events.


Methods of physically affecting the spine can help treat osteochondrosis. They improve blood circulation and biochemical processes in the affected area and have analgesic, anti-inflammatory and relaxing effects. The most commonly recommended methods are:

  1. Sonication and electrophoresis.
  2. Shockwave therapy.
  3. sinusoidal current.
  4. Laser Treatment.
  5. Magnetic therapy.
  6. Reflexology.
  7. Water and mud treatment.

The curriculum for the physiotherapy program consists of 7-15 lessons. Their action is very mild and gradual, but in combination with drugs, the acute manifestations of osteochondrosis can be quickly eliminated.

Massage and Manual Therapy

massage for osteochondrosis

With the help of manual treatment methods, the biomechanical parameters of the spine can be improved. Massage relieves muscle spasms and warms soft tissues by stimulating blood flow. In this case, classic or hardware-influenced techniques are used. With the help of manual therapy, joint subluxation is eliminated, muscle mass is eliminated, and gentle decompression of nerve roots is performed. During the session, specialists perform various operations: traction (traction), twisting, mobilization, flexion and extension of the spine.


Treatment of osteochondrosis is not sufficient without physical therapy. This is an integral part of rehabilitation measures and has a significant effect on the static dynamic parameters of the spine. Exercise helps restore range of motion in all sectors, builds a strong muscular corset, and stabilizes the axial skeleton. And thanks to the traction therapy, the compression of the nerve fibers is eliminated.

Elements of any therapeutic practice should only be used after the pain syndrome has subsided. Exercises should be done with care, gradually increasing the load.


Surgical treatment of osteochondrosis

If conservative methods do not improve the condition of patients with osteochondrosis, then surgery has to be resorted to. Those pathological structures that interfere with the normal function of the spine are surgically removed: hernias, osteophytes, deformities and displacements. If necessary, individual segments are immobilized (vertebropexy). And after surgery, you will need a course of rehabilitation.

Therefore, contact your doctor as early as possible for the best results. By acting on the cause of osteochondrosis and the mechanisms by which it develops, it is possible to slow the progression of the disease and restore the function of the spine.