How to treat cervical osteochondrosis

Cervical osteochondrosis is associated with discomfort and pain in the neck

Osteochondrosis is a disease that affects the intervertebral discs and leads to the development of reactive changes in the paravertebral (paravertebral) structures. Several factors cause the annulus fibrosus to loosen and invade the nucleus pulposus.

If not treated at this stage, the pathological process ends with the rupture of the annulus fibrosus and disc herniation. This, in turn, begins to compress the spinal nerves or the spinal cord itself, causing compression syndromes.

Characteristics and stages of development

A distinctive feature of osteochondrosis of the cervical segment is a rather diverse set of symptoms, which includes headaches and dizziness, instability of blood pressure, a feeling of lack of air, numbness of the upper limbs, etc.

All of this not only brings significant discomfort to life, but also makes diagnosis difficult, as one does not immediately consult a neurologist, but instead consults a cardiologist, orthopedist or therapist. Treatment of cervical osteochondrosis is prescribed taking into account two factors - physiological, which means the natural aging of the body, and pathological - the presence of inflammatory or degenerative processes in the patient.

Physiological changes consist of the nucleus pulposus being replaced by fibrous tissue, and clinical manifestations occur only when the nerve roots are irritated. Pathological changes are observed outside the cartilage and are necessarily accompanied by compression of nerve endings and blood vessels. Symptoms include pain in various locations, popping and clicking when turning the head, muscle weakness or numbness.

The cervical region is the most mobile and receives less stress than the thoracic and lumbar regions. In adults, they do not exceed 115 kg, while the lower part of the spine can withstand pressure up to 400 kg. However, the cervical vertebrae differ in structure - they are narrower and taller, which makes them vulnerable to various injuries and dislocations.

Treatment and duration of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine largely depends on the stage of the disease:

  • in the initial stage of development, there are practically no pronounced symptoms, and only after a heavy load or as a result of staying in a static position for a long time, severe fatigue and discomfort can be felt in the neck muscles;
  • the second stage is characterized by a change in the configuration of the discs - they begin to flatten and sag, which leads to instability of the spinal column. Pain syndrome occurs during movement, which is caused by compression of the nerve roots due to a decrease in the height of the intervertebral discs;
  • in the third stage, a protrusion is formed, which precedes the intervertebral hernia. The nucleus pulposus gradually shifts and begins to extend beyond the anatomical boundaries. Due to pinching of nerve endings or the spinal cord, the pain syndrome extends not only to the neck, but also to the entire collar and upper limbs. Headaches and dizziness are caused by vasoconstriction;
  • The fourth stage of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is characterized by the destruction of the plates and the formation of bone growths - osteophytes. Pain becomes constant, movements are limited, muscles weaken to the point of atrophy. Symptoms become severe: loss of coordination is observed, visual acuity and hearing decrease. Cure of cervical osteochondrosis is no longer possible at this stage, surgical methods are used.

Principles and methods of treatment

Osteochondrosis therapy is always comprehensive and includes not only medication, but also physical therapy, massage, exercise therapy, and diet. Emergency medications for severe pain are pain relievers. Medicines from the NSAID group are no less effective.

With the help of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, it is possible not only to relieve pain, but also to reduce swelling, improve blood circulation and eliminate inflammation of nerve endings. To increase the effect, you can use ointments and creams that act directly on the source of pain and are safer than pills.

During the period of remission, warming and massage ointments containing bee venom and plant extracts are used. These drugs help relieve muscle spasms, improve blood circulation and restore nutrition to inflamed tissues.

For the effective treatment of osteochondrosis, drugs belonging to several groups are prescribed:

  • muscle relaxants;
  • B vitamins;
  • chondroprotectors;
  • vasodilators (vasodilators);
  • diuretics;
  • tools for improving blood circulation and the rheological properties of blood.

Normalization of blood circulation

Improving blood flow is one of the most important tasks in the treatment of osteochondrosis. Taking vasodilators is necessary to activate microcirculation, expand the vascular lumen to physiological standards, and dilute the blood. As a result, the brain receives nutrients and oxygen in the necessary amount, which has a positive effect on its functioning.

A combination of vasodilator drugs with nootropics or antiplatelet agents is used to relieve painful symptoms such as dizziness and cramps. Depending on the stage of the disease and the condition of the patient, drugs that improve blood circulation may be prescribed.

For more effective treatment, these drugs are combined with antiplatelet agents and nootropics. In case of severe blood circulation disorder, the doctor may prescribe a short-term course of injections, after the acute symptoms subside, the therapy continues with the oral administration of tablets.

Elimination of muscle spasms

Osteochondrosis is always accompanied by muscle tension where the pathological focus is located. Mobility of the affected area is impaired, pain occurs. Skeletal muscle hypertonia is generally considered a defensive response to pain. Muscle relaxants are prescribed to reduce muscle spasms.

During treatment with muscle relaxants, their effect on psychomotor reactions and the ability to concentrate must be taken into account. This applies to patients whose professional activities require increased attention, such as drivers.


Chondroprotective agents are used to restore and strengthen the cartilage tissue of the intervertebral discs. Treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine with these drugs is possible only in the early stages, since they have no effect in advanced cases.

In a healthy person, chondroitin is produced in sufficient quantities, which ensures complete hydration of the cartilage. If for some reason the synthesis of chondroitin is interrupted, the cartilage tissue loses moisture and becomes thinner.

Chondroprotectors contain chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine and hyaluronic acid in various combinations. When you take it, your own chondroitin production is activated, as a result of which the cartilage tissue becomes denser and the mobility of the spine is restored.

The latest generation drugs also contain additional substances - vitamins and anti-inflammatory components.

In most cases, patients are prescribed chondroprotectors in tablets, but sometimes intramuscular or intra-articular injections are required. Local preparations can also be used, but they have the least pronounced effect.

It is worth noting that the effect of chondroprotector therapy becomes noticeable only after a few months.


Is it possible to cure osteochondrosis of the cervical spine with physiotherapy methods? Unfortunately, it is impossible to completely get rid of the disease, and physiotherapy works only in combination with medication. The main goal of the procedures is to stimulate healing processes in the body and eliminate pain.

The most effective methods are:

  • electrophoresis, which allows drugs to be delivered directly to the affected area;
  • ultrasound;
  • magnet therapy;
  • with darson;
  • laser.

The effect of electrophoresis is based on the use of low-power currents, which are directed to special plates. Under the plates are tampons impregnated with medicines. Since the electrical conductivity of the skin is quite low, the medicinal substances penetrate into the deep layers and alleviate the patient's condition.

If electrophoresis is performed with an anesthetic, the pain syndrome is alleviated, and the use of a vasodilator helps to increase blood flow.

The procedure of physical treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine with the help of darsonval

The result of magnetic therapy is the improvement of blood circulation and the reduction of manifestations of the inflammatory process - swelling and pain. Magnetic treatment can also be performed at home, and in some cases it can even partially replace taking medication. You will need a special tool for this.

A laser with a low-intensity infrared spectrum is used to treat back diseases. The laser beams penetrate deep into the tissue and affect the deformed area of the spine. As a result, the metabolic processes in the cartilage tissue are activated, the nerve endings are released from compression, and the normal functioning of the muscle structures is restored.

Darsonval is a device with a controlled effect through a rapidly decreasing pulse current. During the procedure, an alternating current is passed into the body through a glass electrode with gas and helps to:

  • increased blood circulation;
  • reducing the pain threshold of sensitivity;
  • improving the functioning of the nervous system;
  • normalization of blood vessel tone;
  • increases the body's defenses.

It is worth noting that Darsonval is used at any stage of osteochondrosis.

The healing power of massage

Therapeutic massage for osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is undoubtedly the most pleasant, affordable and effective therapeutic method. However, this should be left to a qualified professional. You can massage the collar area sitting or lying on your stomach. The main thing is that the patient feels comfortable and relaxed.

The massage begins with stroking movements from the back of the head to the upper back. The stroking should also extend to the sides of the neck. 10-12 strokes are performed with minimal effort so that the skin does not move relative to the muscles.

Longitudinal compression is performed with the thumb and forefinger, which grasp the skin and compress it. The effect is limited to soft tissues, the vertebrae are not involved in the process. Pressing is done very carefully, especially in the first seats. The movements are parallel to the spine, 5-6 times on both sides.

The next technique is kneading. The muscles of the neck and upper shoulders are warmed up with circular movements of half-bent fingers first along the spine and then on the sides of the neck. Since the kneading affects the deep layers of the tissue, it is done according to the patient's diagnosis so as not to aggravate the pathology.

Rubbing is necessary to increase blood circulation by warming the skin. It is performed with the fingertips or sawing movements of the lateral surfaces of the palm.

Neck massage to relax muscles, relieve tension and pain

Circular rubbing movements are also allowed. The rubbing starts from the upper part of the neck and gradually moves towards the shoulder girdle, grabbing the trapezius muscle. If the patient feels pain or discomfort, the efforts should be reduced.

The session ends with blows, you can replace them with low-intensity squeezes. Finally, vibration is applied. The total duration of the massage is 25-30 minutes, the number of standard procedures is 10.

Orthopedic devices

In order to minimize the manifestations of osteochondrosis and enhance the effect of treatment, various orthopedic products are used. Particular attention should be paid to the position of the head and neck during sleep, as the most unpleasant symptoms appear during or after a night's rest - headache, increased blood pressure, dizziness and discomfort in the shoulders.

All these manifestations indicate a violation of blood circulation, and the orthopedic pillow helps to correct the situation.

When choosing a product, the following parameters must be taken into account:

  • The ideal shape of patients with osteochondrosis is rectangular. Pillows and square pillows can be used for short-term rest, sleeping on them is strictly not recommended;
  • the height must be at least 5 cm but not more than 10 cm;
  • width - slightly wider than the sleeper's shoulders;
  • hardness - medium. Pillows that are too soft or hard are not suitable. In addition, orthopedic products are mainly produced with medium hardness.
The roller needle applicator restores the mobility of the spine in case of cervical osteochondrosis

Another useful tool is the needle applicator, which is easy to use at home. This device is a spiked mat made of elastic material that is placed over the collar area.

The massager should be placed on a small narrow pad or pillow so that the bending of the neck is maintained and it does not feel too painful. There are also models that are available in the form of rollers, which are also suitable for the treatment of cervical chondrosis.

You can lie on a needle mat or roller for up to half an hour, but 5-7 minutes are enough for the first times. It is recommended to change the body position or roll during use. The procedure is performed once or more per day.

Dietary nutrition is also an important element of comprehensive treatment. Since excess weight often hinders a quick recovery, it is better to eliminate processed foods and fast foods from the diet, and to reduce the consumption of salt and sweet soda.

The question "can cervical osteochondrosis be cured" will have a positive answer if the disease is detected at an early stage. If you take a competent approach to treatment and the patient follows medical recommendations, he can achieve significant improvement and live a full, comfortable life even in old age. Being healthy!