What is osteochondrosis?

Spinal osteochondrosis, symptoms of which are back painSpinal osteochondrosis is a disease that affects the cartilage structures that make up the body's intervertebral discs. These discs ensure the mobility of the spine, giving us the opportunity to move and remain flexible.Osteochondrosis destroys the structure of these discs, causing structural changes. Since the destruction of these discs is irreversible, it is impossible to cure this disease. But with proper treatment, you can stop the progression of the disease, slow its progression, and buy time to maintain mobility in your spine.If the disease is not stopped in time, after the discs have been destroyed, the vertebrae themselves begin to destroy.
important!Ignoring osteochondrosis inevitably leads to complications, reduced physical activity, reduced quality of life, and sometimes disability.
Among the complications of osteochondrosis, one of the most common is osteophytes. This is the name given to the bone growth that occurs along the edges of the vertebrae. This growth may occur due to chronic stress on the spine or unstable spinal motion segments.

Osteochondrosis causes and symptoms

Experts point out that improper distribution of spinal load is the main cause of osteochondrosis.However, the process can also be caused by hypothermia in specific parts of the body or the entire organism, excessive physical pressure on the back (especially the spine), and injuries to the spine (impact on the spine, sharp turns, bumps and anything that can cause the vertebrae to shiftphysical impact).Neck pain is a symptom of spinal osteochondrosisThere are many minor causes of osteochondrosis. Typically, a person who receives this type of diagnosis can identify 7-10 causes from this list that precipitated the development of the disease in their particular case.Therefore, the minor but important causes of disc destruction are listed below. Here are things you should avoid to avoid finding out what osteochondrosis is:
  • Stooping and poor posture (they can cause spinal curvature)
  • Weakness of the back muscles (so the entire load falls on the spine)
  • often in uncomfortable positions
  • Excessive physical activity related to lifting and carrying heavy objects, strength sports
  • spinal injury
  • Nutritional deficiency or excess nutrition, causing metabolic disorders
  • excess weight
  • often sit
  • pressure
  • hormone imbalance
  • bad genetics
  • Ageing
As you can see, there are many reasons. The symptoms of this disease are also varied. Osteochondrosis manifests itself differently in different people, but symptoms of osteochondrosis usually include:
  • severe back pain
  • Numbness in the arms or legs (sometimes both at the same time)
  • Headache turns into migraine
  • Neck and extremity pain
  • Dizziness, spots in front of eyes, and sometimes loss of consciousness
  • cold hands and feet
  • Characteristic pain in the chest (eg, intercostal neuralgia) and heart area
  • painful movements

Occurrence of osteochondrosis

Interesting fact: Some doctors believe that osteochondrosis is not a pathology but a natural change in the body.Women develop osteochondrosis due to sedentary workIn any case, it is difficult to find a person with liver disease who has never had back pain in his life. According to various sources, osteochondrosis affects 40 to 80% of the planet's population.Typically, a person will notice the first signs of osteochondrosis between 35 and 50 years old. This has a lot to do with his lifestyle.If for some people, due to poor genetics, the first symptoms appear in adolescence, then for most people the onset of symptoms after the age of 50 is considered normal.This is because, by the age of 45, the body's intervertebral discs no longer retain water, and the levels of collagen required for joint health begin to inevitably decline.Some people may even have their discs extruded. This causes pain called sciatica.

stages of osteochondrosis

There are 4 main stages in the development of osteochondrosis.
  1. It all starts with the fact that the nucleus pulposus is dehydrated. As the disc height decreases, the annulus fibrosus is covered by cracks. At this stage, pathology is difficult to notice because all changes occur in the disc. No back or neck pain yet.
  2. As the disc height decreases, muscles and ligaments can sag. This is caused by the convergence of the attachment points of muscles and ligaments. Initially, they attach to two adjacent vertebrae, but if the distance between these vertebrae decreases, this will inevitably affect the muscle tissue.
  3. The third stage is characterized by changes becoming apparent. Prolapse and disc herniation may occur. Herniation precedes the development of disc herniation. Often, the progression of the disease can be stopped at this stage because the annulus fibrosus remains intact and repair can still be attempted. But because the protrusion does not cause pain, few people seek help from a doctor at this stage.
  4. In the final stage, the annulus fibrosus ruptures. To combat the excessive movement of the vertebrae at the site of disc destruction, the body moves and osteophytes develop on the vertebrae.


Before starting treatment for osteochondrosis, it is necessary to make a diagnosis and determine at which stage the disease is currently present.
important!It is impossible to diagnose osteochondrosis without first taking a medical history.
If you notice any symptoms of osteochondrosis, listen carefully to your body.Based on X-rays, doctors will be able to diagnose osteochondrosis. The more you tell your doctor about how you're feeling, the faster and more accurately he can make a diagnosis and start the right treatment. Don't think it's too much information: ask your relatives if they've had symptoms of the disease. Family history will help more accurately determine the cause of osteochondrosis.After your doctor has taken your medical history and concluded that osteochondrosis is likely due to your complaint, he or she will recommend an X-ray.Your doctor may also recommend an MRI or CT scan if for some reason this type of test isn't right for you. However, these examinations are not compulsory in compulsory health insurance, so you need to pay for them yourself. Consider their high cost.As a last resort, myelography is used to diagnose osteochondrosis. This is a painful and dangerous procedure in which doctors inject dye directly into the spinal canal.

How is osteochondrosis treated?

Currently, treatment of osteochondrosis is performed in many clinics. Some surgeries produce positive results, while others only provide pain relief. If you decide to use one of these treatments, discuss it with your doctor before starting osteochondrosis treatment.The most popular programs today are:
  • magnetic puncture effect
  • drug puncture effect
  • Acupuncture reflexology
  • vacuum effect
  • electrical stimulation
  • manual therapy
Many of these surgeries do not treat osteochondrosis but rather treat certain symptoms of osteochondrosis. This is why doctors must coordinate the surgical procedure. This is especially true for those patients diagnosed with cervical osteochondrosis.In fact, osteochondrosis occurring in the cervical spine is characterized by symptoms such as numbness in the arms and legs. This is no coincidence. In fact, many nerve endings are concentrated in the neck. In this case, choosing the incorrect treatment may turn cervical osteochondrosis into a full-blown disability.

Surgical treatment

Spine surgery is a very serious business, so it is only performed with great caution in cases of osteochondrosis complicated by disc herniation. Such operations are not urgent; they are always only carried out according to plan. Before surgery, you will need to undergo numerous exams and tests.This type of surgery is performed only when the doctor believes there is no other treatment and realizes that the patient's quality of life will deteriorate significantly without surgery. Before surgery, your doctor will try to provide pain relief and supportive care.


Medications used to treat this condition are primarily designed to reduce pain and increase collagen levels in the body.Treatment of osteochondrosis is incomplete without prescribing various medications. However, it is worth remembering that collagen and other cartilage nutrients are absorbed not only by the spine, but also by the entire body. Therefore, the efficacy of this type of drug is not very high.The ointments recommended by doctors for the treatment of osteochondrosis are also mainly used to relieve pain during exacerbations of the condition.Unfortunately, if you have osteochondrosis, you will most likely need lifelong maintenance treatment. That said, your back will hurt from time to time, and you can't put too much physical pressure on yourself, and especially you have to avoid lifting heavy objects that put stress on your back and spine.

Worsening of osteochondrosis

High physical exertion on the back muscles may contribute to the progression of this disease. Additionally, osteochondrosis may be worsened by a cold or infection, hypothermia, stress, pregnancy, and hormonal changes. Weight gain can also cause back pain.


As a preventive measure, doctors provide many patients with physical exercises designed specifically for patients with this disease.To prevent osteochondrosis, physical therapy should be performedIf your doctor prescribes a course of exercise therapy for you, you need to check with him or her about exactly what exercises you are allowed to do. Exercise will help you maintain tension in your muscle bundles, which will reduce the load on your spine. Additionally, these exercises will be of great help to those who lead a sedentary lifestyle.Additionally, you may receive a massage for preventive purposes. Depending on the area of your spine where you have osteochondrosis, your massage therapist will target that area. This not only relieves pain but also helps relax your muscles. Massage combined with exercise therapy can provide good results.Try to avoid stress on the spine and do not lift heavy objects. If possible, dress warmly because… Any hypothermia can worsen osteochondrosis.It is very possible to live a fulfilling life with this disease, don't forget to take care of your body and yourself.