Cervical osteochondrosis in women

A woman has osteochondrosis of the cervical spine

Cervical lumbar osteochondrosis (CS) is one of the most common pathologies of the musculoskeletal system. Every year, doctors diagnose the disease more and more, and the disease gets worse. According to statistics, degenerative-dystrophic changes in the upper part of the spine are more common in women, especially in patients in the postmenopausal period. The main symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis in women are pain, limited mobility, lack of cerebral circulation, which is dangerous not only for health but also for life. You should start treatment at an early stage to protect yourself from the dangerous consequences of the pathology. It is important to carry out complex therapy and lifestyle changes to stop the destruction of vertebral segments and prevent serious complications.

Development of the disease

The cervical spine is most susceptible to various injuries and degenerative changes. This is because this segment is the most mobile and the muscles are weak here. The small cervical vertebrae withstand heavy stress every day, which leads to the gradual destruction of the intervertebral discs. The vertebrae are compressed, so the cartilage pads between them lose a lot of fluid and begin to break down and deform.

In addition, osteochondrosis of the cervical spine develops due to insufficient nutrition of cartilage tissue. And because the spinal canal in this area is narrow, it is compressed, causing neurological symptoms.

In women, the pathology in the early stages is characterized by heaviness in the back of the head, tingling in the hands, etc. It shows itself with. Patients often confuse the first signs of the disease with overwork.

Many blood vessels and nerve roots are located in the neck, and when compressed, neurological diseases can also occur. It is especially dangerous for a deformed disc or vertebra to compress the vertebral artery that feeds important parts of the brain. When squeezed, the coordination of movements is disturbed, a woman may lose her balance, her eyesight and hearing deteriorate, and the risk of stroke increases.

Reference.According to statistics, most cervical osteochondrosis occurs in patients aged 25-40 years. This is due to a massive decrease in physical activity and sedentary work. Women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with the disease because they have more fragile vertebrae and thinner bone tissue.

Doctors distinguish 4 stages of osteochondrosis STORE:

  • Stage 1- The intervertebral disc loses some moisture, the height decreases, cracks may appear in the fibrous ring (outer shell). This is the stage of cervical chondrosis, which is difficult to recognize because of the symptoms that cannot be expressed. The neck gets tired quickly, there is discomfort, heaviness in the injured area, and sometimes there is a slight pain that passes quickly.
  • Stage 2- cracks on the surface of the disc increase, the pulposus nucleus (the gel-like content of the disc) is removed, it can come out of the damaged areas. This is what the protrusion of the cartilaginous lining, which can compress the spinal cord and roots, looks like. Periodically there may be severe pain, weakness, limited mobility, numbness in the face, neck, shoulders, arms.
  • Stage 3- The protrusion passes through the outer shell of the disc, so a hernia is formed. The pain becomes more pronounced, there are neurological disorders.
  • Stage 4- The disc is almost completely destroyed, the vertebrae rub against each other, bone growths (osteophytes) designed to stabilize the damaged segment are visible. Nerve endings, spinal cord, blood vessels are damaged. Adjacent joints begin to be damaged. Clinical signs are pronounced.

STAGE It is easiest to stop degenerative-dystrophic changes in the first two stages of osteochondrosis. In stage 3, comprehensive treatment will help stop further destruction of the spinal segment. You can't do without surgery at the last stage.

Reasons

Osteochondrosis SHOP is a complex and lengthy process that often has several causes. In most cases, the pathology is the result of a sedentary lifestyle, eating disorders, metabolic disorders. Often, the disease is caused by injuries or the body's natural aging and weakening of its defenses.

Doctors identify the main causes of osteochondrosis SHOP in women:

  • Disorders of metabolic processes.
  • Passive lifestyle.
  • Genetic predisposition.
  • Chronic muscle tension around the cervical segment.
  • Curvature of posture.
  • Lack of fluid and nutrients in the body.
  • Stay in an uncomfortable position for a long time (neck bent back and forth).
  • Excess weight.
  • Frequent wearing of high heels.
  • STORE INJURIES.
  • Lifting heavy objects.
  • Autoimmune pathologies.
  • Frequent stress, chronic fatigue.
  • Hypothermia.
  • Infectious diseases.
  • The neck is too long or too short and so on.

All these factors lead to malnutrition of the intervertebral discs and their degeneration.

Female cervical osteochondrosis can be caused by genetic predisposition, intrauterine diseases, vertebral artery pathologies associated with trauma during childbirth. The disease can occur as a result of rheumatism, endocrine diseases, overload of the cervical segment during pregnancy, local overload.

Important.The main cause of cervical osteochondrosis in women is menopause and the changes associated with this period. At this stage, the concentration of progesterone in the body, which is very important for bone tissue, decreases. The likelihood of degenerative changes is associated with age-related weakening of the neck muscles and weakening of vertebral support in this area.

Symptoms

For osteochondrosis, a wave-like course is characteristic when the acute period is replaced by remission. Exacerbation can lead to infections, injuries, hypothermia, and prolonged stress on the neck.

With cervical osteochondrosis, the pain spreads to the shoulder

The first signs of cervical osteochondrosis in women are headache, restlessness, heaviness in the neck. It is important to distinguish chondrosis pain from migraine or autonomic dysfunction in a timely manner.

The clinical manifestations of osteochondrosis SHOP in women are caused by neurological syndromes:

  • Cervical dyscalgiaoccurs when nerve endings are irritated by pieces of damaged cartilaginous lining. Then there is a special kidney pain that manifests itself more when the neck moves and after sleep.
  • Scale syndromeis the result of damage to the vessels and nerves of the brachial plexus and subclavian artery. This symptom complex is accompanied by pain in the affected side of the inner surface of the shoulder. The extremity becomes pale, cool, edematous, numbness occurs. When the patient turns his head, the neck pain extends to the back of the head.
  • Shoulder-scapular periarthritis syndrome- Dystrophic changes affect the tendon fibers surrounding the shoulder. Pain in the neck spreads to the shoulder and shoulder girdle. The neck has a forced position - it is bent to the affected side and the shoulder is slightly lowered.
  • Vertebral artery syndrome- The vessel is compressed by damaged discs or osteophyte fragments (depending on the stage of the disease). The patient feels dizzy and has headaches, nausea, and sometimes vomiting. The pain is localized in the occiput, crown and temples.
  • Heart- nerve bundles of the spinal cord are damaged. There is heart pain, arrhythmia. If C3 is damaged, there is pain in the middle of the neck, the tongue is swollen, and the patient is unable to chew food normally. If C4 is injured, there is discomfort in the shoulder girdle, sternum, and heart area. With the defeat of C5, the pain response from the neck extends to the shoulder girdle, the inner surface of the shoulder. Irritation C6 manifests itself as pain from the neck and scapula to the shoulder girdle and spreads to the thumb along the arm. If C7 is damaged, the pain syndrome spreads to the back of the shoulder girdle, occupying all hands, including the index and middle fingers. When C8 is compressed, the pain spreads from the affected area to the elbow and little finger.

In addition, a woman's emotional sphere may be disturbed, weakness arises, worries, touches. Insomnia occurs frequently, and memory and attention are impaired due to regular headaches.

Symptoms of a cerebrovascular accident include a woman suddenly throwing her head back, bending over, or doing work that puts a strain on her arms and cervical spine, such as in a pot, painting the ceiling, and carrying weights.

Disorders of cerebral circulation are manifested by dizziness, trembling gait, "flying" in front of the eyes, tinnitus, weakness, nausea. In some patients, the voice darkens, sometimes disappears, and a sore throat appears.

Osteochondrosis during menopause is accompanied by migraine, increased sweating in the area between the neck and shoulder girdle. When the vertebral artery is constricted, the cardiovascular system is disrupted.

If the disease persists for a long time, there is a lack of blood circulation to the important centers that perform neuro-endocrine functions. Atherosclerosis of the cerebral and coronary arteries develops due to increased permeability of the vascular walls.

Diagnosis

If you notice signs of osteochondrosis, consult a therapist. After a visual examination, a specialist will refer you to an orthopedist, vertebrologist or neurologist.

The following methods are used to diagnose cervical osteochondrosis:

  • The X-ray showed that the patient had displaced vertebrae, osteophytes at the edges, reduced distance between the vertebrae, and so on. Allows you to learn. To do this, research is conducted on various aircraft. To explain the characteristic changes in detail, the doctor draws visual images.
  • CT of the cervical spine provides detailed information about pathological changes in the vertebrae. This method allows to obtain volumetric images for further investigation, is used in severe diagnostic cases.
  • MRI is used to accurately assess the condition of the soft tissues (nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, muscles) in the affected area.
  • Electromyography allows you to check the conductivity of nerve fibers.

Doctors can also order a Doppler ultrasound (Doppler ultrasound of the large blood vessels in the brain) to determine the state of blood flow in this area.

Conservative treatment

In the early stages, treatment of osteochondrosis of the SHOP in women can be done at home. However, the doctor must prescribe a treatment regimen. It is important to understand that this is a long process and it will not be possible to fully recover (especially for older women).

Complex treatment includes:

  • Take medicine.
  • Use of orthopedic devices.
  • Physiotherapy.
  • Physiotherapy procedures.
  • Massage, manual effect.
  • Alternative treatments.

Conservative methods help to stop pain, inflammation, normalize muscle tone, improve metabolic processes, nourish damaged segments of the spine, etc. With timely treatment it is possible to stop the pathological changes.

Medications for cervical osteochondrosis will help relieve inflammation and pain

In women, treatment of cervical osteochondrosis is carried out with the use of drugs that will help improve the metabolism of cartilage lining between the vertebrae, stop inflammation and pain. The following drugs are used for this purpose:

  • NSAID. May help relieve mild to moderate inflammation and pain.
  • Analgesics. The pain is eliminated.
  • Preparations to improve cerebral circulation.
  • Muscle relaxant - helps relieve muscle spasms.
  • Chondroprotectors. Helps stop the destruction of discs, improve metabolic processes and speed up recovery.
  • Magnesium-based drugs.
  • Nootropics. Stimulates brain activity by normalizing blood circulation, has a mild sedative effect.

Reference.Therapeutic plugs are used for severe pain that cannot be relieved with oral medications.

Treatment can be completed with anti-inflammatory and analgesic gels, creams and ointments. They will be effective in remission or in combination with oral agents.

The decision on the choice of drug combinations is made by a doctor. The specialist will develop a regimen for taking the drug and determine the dose. It is important to follow his recommendations, because many of the above drugs threaten with dangerous complications.

In the acute stage of shop osteochondrosis, a woman should refrain from strenuous physical activity. To relax the cervical segment, you should wear a special corset (Shants collar) that will straighten the vertebrae. This device is recommended for long-term sedentary or strenuous physical activity.

Physiotherapy procedures will help reduce pain in the affected area and improve blood circulation:

  • Diadynamic therapy.
  • Magnetotherapy.
  • Electrophoresis.
  • Electroanalysis.
  • Ultraviolet radiation, etc.

The therapeutic effect manifests itself after about the third session, then headache, hearing disorders, visual disturbances, dizziness, sleep normalizes or disappears, and the general condition improves.

With the help of underwater traction of the cervical segment, it is possible to widen the distance between the vertebrae, release the nerve or blood vessel without compression, and restore the normal position of the spine.

Massage will normalize muscle tone and reduce the flow of lymph fluid, which causes swelling. After a few sessions, blood circulation in the damaged area improves.

Therapeutic gymnastics is an effective way to treat cervical osteochondrosis

Therapeutic gymnastics is one of the most effective ways to treat osteochondrosis of the SHOP. Exercise therapy allows you to strengthen the weak muscles of the neck, which removes some of the load from the spine and helps to stop or slow down the degenerative-dystrophic changes. During classes, blood circulation improves, metabolic processes, disc nutrition are accelerated, and this has a positive effect on their condition.

Women should train every day. It consists of simple but effective exercises. The complex consists of curves using the hands, bending the head in different directions and neck movements. These elements can be done at home, but only with the permission of a doctor. Physiotherapy exercises are performed only in remission.

Complex treatment includes reflexology (acupuncture), hirudotherapy (leech treatment), swimming, etc.

Surgery

Surgery is prescribed in the later stages of SHOP osteochondrosis, which is accompanied by severe destruction of osteochondral structures. Surgery is also necessary if conservative methods are ineffective or if the spinal canal is significantly narrowed.

Anterior cervical discectomy is performed in the cases described above. During the procedure, the doctor immobilizes the damaged part of the spine and removes the hernia that compresses the spinal nerve. Then the vertebrae between which the disc is removed are melted. If necessary, the space between the vertebrae is filled with a synthetic attachment (cage).

After 3-5 days, the patient is released home. The rehabilitation period is about 12 weeks. To speed up your recovery, you need to take medication, wear a corset, lead a healthy lifestyle, go to physiotherapy procedures, and eventually receive exercise therapy.

Lifestyle recommendations

You need to adjust your lifestyle to quickly get rid of the unpleasant symptoms of osteochondrosis and stop the degenerative-dystrophic changes in the cervical segment. To do this, the patient should follow these recommendations:

  • Go for daily walks, do not run, jump and avoid other explosive activities.
  • Do not carry heavy objects.
  • You can not sit for long, in extreme cases, wear a corset and periodically hold a horizontal position.
  • Do special physical exercises for your back muscles at home.
  • Sleep on an orthopedic mattress and a special pillow.
  • Follow a diet, supplement your diet with foods rich in magnesium, calcium (nuts, dairy products, seafood, legumes), as well as vegetable fiber, mucopolysaccharides (jelly, meat, jelly). Avoid fatty, fried, too salty foods and alcohol. Your doctor will tell you more about your diet. But it has to be right anyway.

Hypothermia should not be allowed, warming will be useful in the absence of an inflammatory process.

Complications

In the absence of timely treatment of cervical osteochondrosis, a woman may experience the following pathological consequences:

  • Probability of protrusion that turns into a hernia after a while. Sediment causes neurological damage by squeezing the nerves as well as the spinal cord.
  • Osteophytes occur when the disc is severely damaged; irritate the spinal nerves and blood vessels.
  • In advanced cases, a strong weakening of the neck muscles or incomplete paralysis is possible, and then the head inevitably hangs sideways or forward.
  • Compression of the vertebral arteries, impaired blood circulation in the affected area. This condition can lead to neuralgia (pain along the nervous system), hearing and vision impairment.
  • Paralysis of the hands (incomplete or complete).
  • Stroke, etc.

If a woman deals with this problem in the early stages of osteochondrosis SHOP, then she will be able to prevent the above conditions.

Preventive measures

Ideally, it is necessary to deal with the prevention of osteochondrosis of the SHOP, even during intrauterine development. The expectant mother should rule out factors that adversely affect the development of the fetus: infections, oxygen starvation, intoxication. If a birth injury occurs, the newborn should be treated.

To reduce the likelihood of developing osteochondrosis SHOP, a woman should follow these recommendations:

  • Load the spine evenly, for example, carry the load with both hands, or alternately to the right, then to the left.
  • Do not lift too much weight yourself.
  • Try to avoid neck injuries and hypothermia.
  • When working in the garden, take a break every 1, 5 hours, go to rest for 20 minutes.
  • Choose cushioned shoes that will wash away shocks when running or jumping.
  • Use a high-backed chair with a headrest for a long time or wear a corset.

It is also important to eat properly, control weight, avoid stress, take vitamins for medical reasons, timely treatment of pathologies that can cause osteochondrosis. It is recommended to visit sanatoriums for treatment in remission.

The most important

As you can see, cervical lumbar osteochondrosis occurs more often in women than in men, because the former have more fragile vertebrae and thin bone tissue. The patient's pathology is especially sensitive in the postmenopausal period. The disease manifests itself with pain, neurological diseases and dangerous symptoms of cerebrovascular accident. It is recommended to start treatment at an early stage to prevent dangerous complications of osteochondrosis. To do this, a woman must take medication, adjust her lifestyle, participate in physiotherapy procedures, massage, physical therapy, and so on. Surgical treatment is indicated only in advanced cases. To prevent pathology, you should observe moderate physical activity, timely treatment of injuries and diseases that can cause osteochondrosis.