Cervical osteochondrosis

Spinal diseases can be very unpleasant. In the event that they affect the cervical spine, there is the possibility of complications in the spinal cord and brain. Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine often leads to headaches, changes in the functioning of internal organs, and circulatory disorders.

Doctors divide the development of cervical osteochondrosis into three stages. In the first and second stages, degenerative-dystrophic changes appear in the vertebral discs (drying, flattening). In this case, the structure of the discs themselves does not change.

neck pain symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis in a woman

In the initial stage, the symptoms of the disease are just beginning to appear. In the second stage, its manifestation is more specific, as it intensifies with head movements, severe fatigue and stress. The third stage is the appearance of pathological processes of the vertebral disc (osteophytes), a rupture of the fibrous ring is observed, which leads to the prolapse of the nucleus of the vertebral disc and, as a consequence, to the formation of a hernia of the cervical spine. In the third stage, the pain is observed continuously, while the movements of the head and shoulders are difficult, the person cannot perform standard household operations.


One of the main symptoms of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is pain in the neck, caused by pinching or inflammation of the nerve roots. In this case, the pain usually radiates to the area of the neck, shoulder, forearm, and under the scapula. The pain can spread to the left or right hand and make some fingers go numb.

In addition to pain, cervical osteochondrosis is characterized by:

  • dizziness,
  • "Flies" before the eyes,
  • hearing impairment
  • memory decline
  • headache with localization in the back of the head and temples.

If the disease lasts for several years, vascular atherosclerosis and dyscirculatory encephalopathy (a severe decrease in mental capacity) may be added to it.

With a circular movement of the head, a patient with cervical osteochondrosis usually hears a characteristic creaking noise.

The reasons

The main cause of cervical osteochondrosis is the wrong position of the body in a sitting position. In addition, when performing daily operations with forward tilt, during construction and repair work with the head thrown back, it is also easy to acquire symptoms of this disease. This is due to the fact that excessive tension on the neck can change the structure of cartilaginous tissues, which can lead to pathological changes in the intervertebral discs. Also, the reasons for the development of cervical osteochondrosis can be a violation of calcium metabolism in the body, hereditary factors, trauma, severe hypothermia and increased sports activity.


It is possible to completely cure and prevent the new development of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine only with a complete change in lifestyle, constant prophylaxis and spa treatment. In practice, few people achieve this.

At the first stage of the development of osteochondrosis, the patient is usually helped by non-drug conservative treatment. At the same time, it is necessary to correct posture, pay more attention to the correct workplace equipment, and often interrupt for simple physical therapy exercises. Swimming, increased physical activity and the intake of vitamin-mineral complexes can have a positive effect on the entire musculoskeletal system.

In the event that treatment is started in the second or third stage of the disease, the main task is to relieve pain. In advanced cases, surgical methods of treatment may be prescribed to stabilize the damaged vertebrae, but such cases are individual and modern physiotherapy often helps to avoid this.

Physiotherapy methods

In cases where drug therapy is contraindicated or has not shown the necessary positive effect, the physiotherapy methods of classical and alternative medicine are used in the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis. First, they aim to eliminate muscle spasms, inflammation, and pain.

Reflexology.The essence of the method is to stimulate biologically active points by inserting special fine needles into them to a certain depth. The procedure is painful and helps relieve pain in the spine. A complete reflexology course consists of several sessions.

Massage.The classic method of eliminating muscle pain and improving blood flow.

Shock wave therapy (SWT).It is able to restore blood flow and remove osteophytes, restores the normal structure of cartilage tissue. The positive effect is observed after 1-2 sessions. The course of shock wave therapy is usually up to ten procedures and can be prescribed as part of a complex therapy.

Physiotherapy.A series of specific daily exercises helps to strengthen the muscles of the cervical spine, which in turn can reduce stress in this area. Exercise therapy is indicated in all stages of disease, as well as as a preventive measure. A set of such exercises can include:

  • turns of the head to the sides;
  • head tilts back and forth;
  • lifting the shoulders;
  • alternating tension of the neck flexors and extensors with a stationary head position.

Exercises need to be repeated 5-7 times. The duration of the lesson is 15 to 20 minutes.

The set of exercises is always selected by specialists in physiotherapy, taking into account the specific characteristics of the disease and the patient's condition.

Food and lifestyle. Both in the conservative treatment process and after surgery, it is recommended to eat foods rich in calcium and vitamins, to correct the usual postures and posture in general, orthopedic pillows and a mattress.


It is necessary, if possible, to avoid hypothermia and infectious diseases, prolonged stay at the computer in one position. If you are going on a long trip, use a cervical support cushion that can reduce muscle tension. For daily sleep, it is recommended to use orthopedic pillows and a mattress that can ensure the correct position of the head.