Osteochondrosis: causes, treatment

Almost every person faces such a problem as back pain. And no matter what age they occur - at 20 or 60 - it leads to significant discomfort and limitation of daily activity. And osteochondrosis becomes a source of pain in 80% of the population. Everyone has heard of such a disease, but not everyone knows why it appears, how it develops and what to do to eliminate unpleasant symptoms.


the doctor shows osteochondrosis on the layout

Osteochondrosis is a pathology of a degenerative-dystrophic nature and a chronic course. The disease is characterized by damage to various structures of the spine: discs, joints, ligaments. And this is facilitated by both local and systemic disorders.

First of all, the cause of osteochondrosis lies in the excessive load on the axial skeleton. Modern living conditions are such that every day a person has to deal with adverse effects on the spine. The pressure on the cartilaginous and bony structures increases significantly in the following cases:

  • Weightlifting (loaders, weightlifters).
  • Excessive physical activity.
  • Long stay in the same positions: seated (office workers) or standing (salespeople, surgeons, waiters).
  • Overweight and obesity.

Such factors lead to accelerated wear of tissues and the appearance of pathological processes in them. The load is even more detrimental to the spine if combined with its incorrect position. Then, the biomechanics of the entire axial skeleton suffers, as some areas experience more pressure than others. This is possible under the following conditions:

  • Bad posture.
  • Muscle corset weakness.
  • Curvature of the spine.
  • Flat foot.

The spine, which experiences increased loads for a long time, is most susceptible to the development of degenerative and dystrophic processes.

osteochondritis of the spine

But in addition to static-dynamic loads, the causes of osteochondrosis are often metabolic disorders. The spine, like any body system, depends on the supply of necessary substances and regulatory influence. Therefore, some common factors also contribute to the development of diseases of the musculoskeletal system:

  1. Deficiency in vitamin D and trace elements (calcium, phosphorus).
  2. Hormonal changes (lack of estrogen in postmenopausal women).
  3. Age-related changes.

Separately, it is worth noting the influence of a sedentary lifestyle, since this is a real scourge of modern society, which has a detrimental effect not only on the spine, but also on otherorgans. Also, the causes of osteochondrosis include various injuries: dislocations, fractures, torn ligaments.

Under the influence of these factors, the cartilaginous discs are the first to suffer, become dehydrated and eventually lose their elasticity and damping properties. In places with the highest pressure, bone growths - osteophytes - form, which, together with a narrow intervertebral space, create prerequisites for the compression of nerve roots and blood vessels. Signs of arthrosis are formed in the joints, which improve motor disorders in osteochondrosis. In advanced cases, the entire spine is affected, herniated discs form and signs of instability of the vertebral segments are observed.

The appearance of osteochondrosis has a multifactorial character, but the sooner the cause is eliminated, the easier it is to treat the disease.


Since osteochondrosis is accompanied by various pathological changes in the spine, treatment should primarily be directed to the mechanisms of development and causes of the disease. At the same time, one should not forget about the elimination of symptoms that disturb patients, as they affect the quality of life. The complex of traditional medical procedures for osteochondrosis includes:

  1. Medical therapy.
  2. Physiotherapy.
  3. Massage and manual therapy.
  4. Physiotherapy.
  5. Operation.

The choice of one or another method is determined by the stage of development, prevalence and clinical picture of the disease. In turn, therapeutic measures must conform to the existing standards of medical care by which doctors work.

medical therapy

drugs for osteochondrosis

The use of drugs is of great importance in the treatment of osteochondrosis. The drugs act on different links in the onset of the disease, which makes it possible to cover almost all pathological mechanisms. Vascular and metabolic disorders in the tissues are particularly amenable to correction, and it is also possible to reduce the severity of the main symptoms. For this, the following drugs are used:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.
  • Muscle relaxants.
  • Chondroprotectors.
  • Group B vitamins.
  • Vascular.
  • Antioxidants.

With severe pain, doctors make paravertebral blocks with hormones. And after the elimination of acute signs, they switch to the use of compressed and local forms (ointment, gel, patch).

Drug therapy should be carried out only on the recommendation of a doctor, since with self-administration of drugs the risk of adverse reactions increases.


Methods of physical impact on the spine help to treat osteochondrosis. They improve blood circulation and biochemical processes in the affected segments, have analgesic, anti-inflammatory and relaxing effects. The most commonly recommended methods are:

  1. Phono- and electrophoresis.
  2. Shock wave therapy.
  3. sinusoidal currents.
  4. laser treatment.
  5. Magnetotherapy.
  6. Reflexology.
  7. Water and mud treatment.

The course of physiotherapeutic procedures consists of 7-15 sessions. Their action is quite gentle and gradual, but in combination with medications it is possible to quickly eliminate acute manifestations of osteochondrosis.

Massage and manual therapy

massage for the treatment of osteochondrosis

With the help of manual treatment methods, it is possible to improve the biomechanical parameters of the spine. Massage relieves muscle spasms and warms soft tissues by stimulating blood circulation. In this case, conventional or material impact techniques are used. With the help of manual therapy, joint subluxations are eliminated, muscle blockages are removed, and gentle nerve root decompression is performed. During the session, the specialist performs various manipulations: traction (traction), twisting, mobilization, bending and extension of the spine.


Therapy for osteochondrosis cannot be adequate without physical therapy. This is an integral part of rehabilitation measures, which has a pronounced effect on the statodynamic parameters of the spine. Exercises help restore range of motion in various departments, form a strong muscle corset and stabilize the axial skeleton. And thanks to traction therapy, compression of nerve fibers is eliminated.

All elements of therapeutic exercises can be used only after the disappearance of the pain syndrome. Exercises should be performed carefully, gradually increasing the load.


surgical treatment of osteochondrosis

If conservative methods fail to improve the condition of the patient with osteochondrosis, then it is necessary to resort to surgical treatment. Pathological formations that interfere with the normal functioning of the spine are surgically removed: hernias, osteophytes, deformities and displacements. If necessary, separate segments are fixed (spondylodesis). And after the operation, you need to undergo a course of rehabilitation therapy.

Thus, the best result can be obtained by contacting a doctor early. By acting on the causes of osteochondrosis and the mechanisms of its development, it is possible to slow down the progression of the disease and restore the function of the spine.