Cervical osteochondrosis. Symptoms and treatment at home. Exercises, massages, pills

Osteochondrosis of the neck is a pathology whose symptoms negatively affect a person's quality of life. Prompt treatment of the disease will not lead to destruction of the vertebrae or stenosis of the spine.

What is osteochondrosis of the cervical spine

Cervical osteochondrosis is a metabolic disorder of the human axial skeleton. The painful process involves the spinal discs (responsible for mobility), as well as the nervous and vascular systems.

Why is osteochondrosis of the neck dangerous?

The cervical vertebrae are the smallest of the 34 vertebrae of the human axial skeleton.They perform the most mobile function of the body: turning the neck with the head. There is a minimal change in the structure of the joint body, arch, or processes of the vertebrae, and displacement occurs, resulting in disruption of the neurovascular system and spinal stenosis.

Causes of the development of cervical osteochondrosis

Cervical osteochondrosis is a pathology of the spine, which has the following causes:

  • physical inactivity;
  • unbalanced diet;
  • increased formation of uric acid salts;
  • metabolic disorder;
  • psycho-emotional stress;
  • sedentary work (driver, typing operator);
  • consequences of acute respiratory infections, ARVI;
  • overweight;
  • damage to the axial skeleton;
  • spinal hypothermia;
  • Endocrine disorders;
  • load on the neck;
  • distorted body position during nighttime rest;
  • autoimmune diseases.

Stages of development of osteochondrosis

The course of the pathological process of the cervical spine is accompanied by changes that should be divided into 4 stages:

  • Step #1.At the beginning of the development of osteochondrosis of the neck, the manifestations are benign. A person may not attach much importance to small painful changes that occur in nature. At this stage, the elasticity of the cartilage is not lost, but the changes are just beginning.
  • Step #2.This stage of the disease is characterized by damage to the cartilaginous tissue of the vertebrae. The process gradually moves to the body's joints, muscles and vascular system. The pain appears due to pinched nerves, to which the arms, shoulders and subscapular region (on the affected side) react. Which very often, at this stage of the disease, can be confused with other pathologies of the body.
  • Step #3.This stage of the pathological process is characterized by the destruction of the disc without rupture of the annulus, which should be called protrusion.
  • Step #4.At this stage, it is inevitable to undergo surgery - the process goes very far: a disc is displaced, which compresses the spinal canal - a herniated disc. Manifestations in the form of a displacement of 2 mm threaten human life.


Cervical osteochondrosis (symptoms and treatment do not depend on gender) affects men and women equally. The manifestations of the disease will correspond to the stage of the pathological process.

Stage #1 – this stage does not manifest with severe symptoms:

  • neck pain;
  • paresthesia on the side of the injury (numbness of the hand);
  • fatigue;
  • prostration.

Step #2 – the nature of the pathology becomes more noticeable to the patient:

  • pain in the affected area of a painful nature;
  • numbness (passage) in the cervical collar area;
  • migraine (due to vasospasm);
  • hypertension;
  • decreased physical activity;
  • prostration;
  • pain in the back, shoulder blade and arm (due to the pathological process);
  • chest pain.

Stage 3 is characterized by the manifestation of symptoms which must be treated very seriously:

  • the appearance of protrusions (protrusion of the annulus fibrosus into the spinal canal);
  • severe painful sensations radiating to the shoulder, arm;
  • neck numbness.

Stage No. 4 is distinguished from the third by a rupture of the ring with its inherent symptoms:

  • the neck is bent;
  • neck muscles lose the ability to hold the head;
  • paresthesia of the neck and head muscles;
  • severe pain in the arms and neck area;
  • numbness of the tongue;
  • insomnia.

At the fourth stage, a neurologist recommends surgery.

Syndromes caused by osteochondrosis of the cervical spine

The pathological course of osteochondrosis of the neck of the human axial skeleton should be divided into syndromes - based on a set of symptoms with characteristic signs.

Cervico-vestibular complex:

  • hearing is impaired;
  • the vertebral artery undergoes pathological changes.

Radicular-vertebral syndrome:

  • C2– pain in the back of the head, weakening of the mylohyoid muscles;
  • C3– hyperemia of the tongue, slurred speech, incomplete paralysis of the jaw muscles, numbness of the neck;
  • C4– pain and weakening of the clavicle muscles, breathing difficulties, pain of unknown etiology in the hepatobiliary system, numbness in the cervical area;
  • C5– the syndrome is manifested by numbness of the shoulder, weakness and reduction in the volume of the superficial muscle of the shoulder;
  • C6 –the main manifestation of the pathology is pain from the neck to the shoulder, numbness of the thumb;
  • C7– characterized by pain in the neck below the shoulder blade, numbness of the index and middle fingers (on the side of the injury);
  • C8– pain occurs from the neck to the elbow and up to the little finger, paresthesias of the shoulder, scapula and affected finger.

Reflex-irritative syndromes:

  • painful:neck pain (morning); pain in the neck and occipital region; pain in neck, giving off shooting pain in shoulder;
  • muscle tonic:muscle tension; throbbing pain in the back of the head; pain in the subscapular region; spasm of the cervical region; deformation of the shoulder joint; atrophy of the shoulder muscles.


  • the consequence of mechanical damage is a narrowing of the arterial vessel;
  • organic damage to brain activity;
  • migraine;
  • rotating pain in the back of the head;
  • neurological skin pain on the head;
  • hearing loss;
  • gait instability;
  • feeling of visibility of sea waves;
  • fainting states.

Compressive myelopathy:

  • pain and numbness of the limbs;
  • sensitivity disorders;
  • minor disorders of the pelvic organs;
  • numbness of the face.

Craniovertebral anomaly:

  • staggering;
  • intracranial hypertension;
  • disturbance of psycho-emotional balance;
  • head pain in the parietal and occipital areas;
  • vomiting reflex;
  • pallor of the optic nerve;
  • dizziness;
  • disruption of oculomotor reflexes;
  • asthenia;
  • depressed state.


Cervical osteochondrosis - symptoms depend on the course and form of the disease. To begin treatment of a pathological process, a correct diagnosis must be made.

A neuropathologist and vertebrologist is involved in the diagnosis and treatment of spinal pathologies. To make a correct diagnosis, you must contact the doctors mentioned above, and during a face-to-face examination and interview, the specialist will conclude which tests to resort to.

If necessary, you must do:

  • CT scan of the neck;
  • magnetic resonance imaging of the damaged area;
  • SCT of ships;
  • X-ray of the spine in several projections;
  • consult an ophthalmologist to measure intraocular pressure;
  • Doppler ultrasound of blood vessels;
  • ENMG of hands;
  • clinical blood test;
  • Detailed ESR analysis.

Based on all examinations, the neuropathologist makes a diagnosis and prescribes treatment.

Treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine

Today there are many methods and drugs to combat the pathology of the cervical spine.

Pain and muscle spasms with osteochondrosis of the cervical spine

In non-advanced stages, drugs are used for systemic use:

  • antispasmodics;
  • pain relievers;
  • NSAIDs – non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs;
  • preparations containing collagen - for the restoration of cartilage tissue;
  • vitamin therapy with group B drugs.

Local medications:

  • analgesic ointments;
  • compresses that relieve inflammation;
  • chondroprotectors;
  • ointments with a warming effect.

Physiotherapeutic procedures:

  • therapeutic and recreational massage of the cervical area;
  • reflexology;
  • exercise therapy;
  • use of a special orthopedic neck brace.


  • for sensitivity disorders;
  • with severe stenosis of the spinal canal.

First aid for severe pain

Treatment of symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis in the form of acute pain involves following certain first aid rules:

  • compliance with strict bed rest;
  • use of antispasmodics and painkillers;
  • fix the neck with a special splint or collar;
  • You should also wrap your neck with a warm scarf;
  • if there is swelling, you should take a diuretic;
  • external use of anesthetic ointments;
  • use of muscle relaxants;
  • use of sedatives.

All listed medications must be prescribed by a neurologist.

Medical treatment

Features of drug treatment include the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, antispasmodics, which will help relax muscles, the use of drugs to improve blood circulation, as well as the prescription of drugs that improve and restore the structure of thecartilaginous tissue - chondroprotectors.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are first aid in the treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine.The use of this group of drugs will help relieve or completely relieve pain. NSAIDs are medications that act on the source of inflammation; their use can reduce the manifestations of the inflammatory process.

Nonsteroidal medications help improve blood circulation. NSAIDs should be used both for systemic treatment (tablets, injections) and for local treatment - ointments, gels.

Muscle relaxers

Drugs that reduce skeletal muscle tone are called muscle relaxants. Drugs in this group should be used to treat cervical osteochondrosis due to their effect on muscle stiffness, which results from a pathological process in the spine.

The disease affects the nerve endings, which in turn manifest themselves in the form of pain and muscle spasms. This process is influenced by muscle relaxant medications, which relax the affected muscles and relieve pain.

Hormonal drugs

The most powerful drugs with analgesic, anti-inflammatory and vasostimulating effects include hormonal drugs from the corticosteroid group. Medicines of this type have the ability to stop tissue destruction, reduce degenerative processes in the joints and improve microcirculation.

All drugs belonging to the group of steroid hormones are prescribed only by a neurologist and under strict monitoring of the patient's condition (due to the large number of side effects).

Paravertebral blockade

A special local anesthesia using injections is called paravertebral blockade. A neuropathologist or anesthesiologist injects a special medicinal mixture into the affected area of the spine, more precisely, into painful places near the affected part of the spine - at the exit of the nerve endings.

Thanks to this method, severe pain is quickly relieved, hyperemia disappears and local metabolism improves.


In the treatment of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, it is appropriate to use not only systemic drugs in the form of tablets and injections, but also local agents.Ointments are widely used for pathological processes in the spine.

For treatment, chondroprotectors, NSAIDs, herbal pain relievers and ointments with a warming effect should be used.


Systemic drugs that restore cartilage tissue are called chondroprotectors. Taking medications stimulates the regeneration of the cartilaginous apparatus of the joints.

Homeopathic remedies

One type of treatment for cervical osteochondrosis is alternative medicine or homeopathy. The use of this type of medication has shown good results.

Medicines for the treatment of dizziness related to osteochondrosis

When treating dizziness occurring against the background of degenerative changes in the spine, it is necessary to use several types of medications. Each has its own action.

  • Nootropics– improve microcirculation, calm the nervous system, improve relationships between the hemispheres of the brain.
  • Medicines for the treatment of vestibular disorders.They show their activity by dilating blood vessels in the brain, thereby improving blood circulation.
  • Venotonics– these are products that improve the tone of the vascular system and blood circulation.

Vitamins and minerals

Vitamin and mineral preparations contribute to faster restoration of cartilage tissue, improve muscle nutrition and blood circulation.

Shantz's necklace

Symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis during a pathological process of the spine can be acute. In this case, the Shants cervical collar should be used.

Types of cervical collars to relieve symptoms of osteochondrosis

The support or retainer is shaped like a circle.Made of dense foam rubber, which is fixed on the neck with Velcro. No special skills are required to use a medical fixative. You need to place your beard on the collar and tie it at the back.

The fixative relaxes the muscles of the cervical spine, relieves pain and tension. It is an integral part of first aid for exacerbation of osteochondrosis of the neck.

Needle applicator

One of the methods of treating degenerative pathologies of the neck is to use a needle applicator - a massager on which there are tips. The plate has a flexible structure and can take different shapes.For use in neck pathologies, the applicator is equipped with clasps.

Types of needle applicators for the treatment of cervical osteochondrosis

Many nerve endings on the skin are affected by the applicator during use. This treatment helps restore metabolic processes in the intervertebral discs, eliminates hyperemia and inflammation, and improves microcirculation. The use of a needle applicator has a positive effect in the treatment of osteochondrosis of the neck.


Physiotherapeutic treatment should be used to treat inflammatory and degenerative changes in the neck.The use of the method helps to improve metabolic processes and reduce pain.

The physiotherapeutic treatment method has an anti-inflammatory effect and also promotes tissue regeneration. For osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, it is necessary to use treatment with ultrasound waves, magnetic therapy and treatment with small amounts of current (electrophoresis).

Manual therapy

Manual therapy is a massage in which the hands of a manual therapist work not with soft tissues, but with joints and ligaments. During manual massage sessions, a specialist helps restore mobility to the spine and the pain disappears.

Manual therapy can relieve symptoms of osteochondrosis of the neck

Normal blood circulation is restored, swelling disappears.

Treatment should be carried out by a specialist who regularly practices this treatment method. To obtain positive results in the form of pain reduction, several sessions are sometimes enough.


Acupuncture refers to non-traditional treatment methods.But the use of special needles, screwed into the body by a reflexologist, affecting certain nerve endings and areas, leads to positive results. Acupuncture improves metabolic processes, relieves local swelling and improves blood circulation.

Exercise therapy for cervical osteochondrosis

The type of physical therapy for osteochondrosis of the neck differs from other types of exercises. The cervical vertebrae are the smallest, and even their minimal displacement in the spinal canal results in pinching of the arteries supplying the brain, as well as compression of the spinal cord. Therefore, be aware that there should be no sudden movements during physiotherapy exercises.

Exercises for the cervical spine (those who suffer from dizziness should use a seated position):

  1. Base station– standing, back straight, face turned forward. It is necessary to carefully turn the head to the right (without tilting it either back or forward) to shoulder level and fix the body. After a few seconds, return to your previous position. The same thing should be done with the other side. There should be no pain.
  2. Initial position– back straight, face turned forward. You should stretch gently, tilting your head, with your right ear against your shoulder. You need to imagine that your left ear is stretching upwards and try to do so. Hold in this position for a few seconds. Return to the starting position. Do the exercise on the second side.
  3. Standing straight, you should look at your legs facing down and lower your torso.– vertebra by vertebra – towards the ground. For those who are not trained, you need to grab your knees, straighten your back parallel to the floor, face facing forward. This exercise works the entire spine, especially the neck. Stay longer. Relax with your head and torso lowered. Slowly, without rushing, so as not to cause dizziness, return to the initial position, vertebra by vertebra.
  4. Stand up straight or sit in a chair with a straight back.Without bending your back, you need to lower your chin to your chest and stretch the back of your head upwards, as if stretching the vertebrae. Hold the position for a few seconds and slowly, relaxing, straighten your neck.
  5. Rotational movement of the neck and head. With a straight back, you can sit in a chair. Lower your head with your right ear to your shoulder and gently, slowly, from this position, make a half circle across the chest, toward the opposite (left) shoulder and back. To sort out.
A set of therapeutic exercises prescribed for cervical osteochondrosis

Gymnastics should be done every day. You cannot do physiotherapy on an empty stomach - this can cause dizziness. You should exercise one hour after eating.

Treatment with folk remedies

The use of traditional methods for cervical osteochondrosis does not always lead to the desired result - you cannot warm the neck (only dry heat). So there aren't many effective methods, but they exist.

Folk remedies:

  1. Tea made from healthy herb (yarrow).You need to take a little dry medicine, pour it into a cup and pour boiling water over it. Brew as tea and drink after meals. It relieves inflammation well and calms the nervous system.
  2. Medicinal drink made from burdock.Take a small amount of dry herb, pour it into a 500 ml thermos and pour boiling water over it. Insist. The resulting volume of the medicinal drink should be drunk one day without leaving it the next day. You must drink between meals. Has an analgesic effect.
  3. Herbal compress.You should take the same amount of chamomile, salvia, tussilago - the herbs must be dried and ground. Pour boiling water over it. Insist. Wet a cotton cloth with the resulting solution and apply it to the sore spot on the neck. Cover with film and wrap with a scarf. Leave all night. Helps relieve inflammation.
  4. Apple vinegar.It is a very healthy natural liquid obtained by a microbiological process from apples. It contains a huge amount of useful substances. You need to dilute the same amount of vinegar with water. Wet the gauze with the resulting liquid and apply it to the cervical spine, covering it with polyethylene and a scarf overnight. It helps restore cartilage tissue and relieve inflammation.
    To overall strengthen and fill the body with useful substances, you should drink apple remedy. It is necessary to add 10 g to water and drink before meals.

Therapeutic massage and self-massage

Massage for diseases of the cervical spine should be carried out only in the absence of an active inflammatory process - this is an additional effective method for the treatment of osteochondrosis. Massage can be therapeutic, which should be performed by a specialized massage therapist, or self-massage, when the patient knows which exercises will not harm him, but will help.

During therapeutic massage, the hands of a massage therapist are used who works the cervical collar area with gentle massaging and stroking movements.Neurologists call neck massage "erotic massage" because of the very gentle specificity of the movements.

Strong and assertive techniques should not be allowed - they may damage the vertebrae and blood vessels. If necessary, if the upper extremities are involved in the pathological process, then you need to rub your hands. The movements should be directed from the fingertips upwards, towards the shoulder and neck. Each camp takes turns.

Self-massage includes light movements, stroking and light rubbing of the neck area.

You cannot twist your neck or try to break it - such techniques can lead to displacement of the vertebrae and pinching of arteries and veins. The goal of self-massage and therapeutic massage is to maximize relaxation of spasmodic tissues and improve blood circulation.


Surgical intervention is prescribed only if conservative treatment has not led to positive results and the process of spinal destruction continues to progress.

The most commonly used surgical treatment method is the anterior approach method (the operation is performed on the front of the neck). Neurosurgeons rarely use the method of posterior surgical intervention - only when it is necessary to increase the lumen of the narrowed spinal canal.

Nutritional characteristics

The basic principles of nutrition for osteochondrosis include a balanced diet with limitation of foods harmful to this disease.You should eat five times a day, in small portions.

The diet should include low-fat protein foods, unrefined cereals, vegetables (non-acidic), fruits, lactic acid products, preferably not made from cow's milk. Intervals between meals should not exceed 3 hours.

All types of canned foods, alcohol, spices, refined fats and pork should be excluded. Store-bought semi-finished products, as well as any sausages - these foods disrupt metabolic processes and contribute to inflammatory and degenerative changes in the musculo-articular system.

What is not recommended to do

Cervical osteochondrosis is a disease that, with an improper lifestyle, can progress significantly. There are certain rules, the implementation of which will reduce the risk of new destructive processes in the neck.

It's forbidden:

  • consuming large amounts of salt and salty foods;
  • do weightlifting and aerobics;
  • for the better half, avoid narrow high-heeled shoes;
  • get carried away with excess food, which will certainly lead to weight gain and disruption of metabolic processes;
  • sleeping on a soft bed is unacceptable;
  • cause a crunching sound with sudden movements of the neck, even if it seems that this brings relief.


To avoid the development of cervical osteochondrosis, you must adhere to preventive measures:

  • visit the hammam (with the permission of a neurologist or if there is no hypertension);
  • periodically do therapeutic massages;
  • if the disease already exists and has been treated, follow therapeutic courses on the recommendation of a neurologist;
  • to go swimming;
  • yoga gymnastics is the main type of therapeutic and preventive physical activity;
  • Balanced diet;
  • give up bad habits - alcohol and nicotine, which disrupt the body's metabolic processes.

The occurrence of cervical osteochondrosis is easier to prevent than to treat. At the first symptoms of the disease, you should consult a neurologist to prescribe adequate treatment. This will prevent the pathology from destroying the cervical vertebrae.