How to treat osteochondrosis

what is osteochondrosis

Unfortunately, osteochondrosis is already a familiar phenomenon for people over 30 years old. Degenerative-dystrophic changes in the intervertebral discs and bones of the spinal column most often occur due to a passive lifestyle, malnutrition, extra pounds, hard physical work, etc. The disease manifests itself with pronounced symptoms at stages 2-4, when the structure of the cartilage tissue is completely restoredwill not work. Complications of osteochondrosis (protrusion, disc herniation, osteophytes, etc. ) can lead to a decrease in the quality of life, disability.

Timely treatment of osteochondrosis increases a person's chances for a full life. It is recommended to start therapy in the early stages of its development. To stop the development of pathology and improve overall health, you need to carry out a whole range of measures: taking medications, exercise therapy, physiotherapy, manual exposure. Surgical treatment is carried out only in advanced cases when complications are already present.

Characteristics of the disease

Osteochondrosis of the back begins with the destruction of the intervertebral discs. Under the influence of negative factors, the discs compress the cartilaginous lining, violating the integrity of its outer shell. The height of the disc decreases, it gradually collapses, then the pathology spreads to the tissues of the vertebrae.

There are many factors influencing the development of osteochondrosis of the spine:

  • Prolonged sitting in the wrong position.
  • Passive lifestyle.
  • Overweight.
  • Hard physical work.
  • Back injuries.
  • Frequent nervous disorders.
  • Incorrect food.
  • Hypothermia.
  • Hereditary predisposition.
  • Wearing high heels, pregnancy in women, etc.
Reference. At 1 - 2 stages, osteochondrosis can still be cured.

Doctors distinguish 4 stages of osteochondrosis:

  • 1 degree - cracks appear on the fibrous ring, the disc height decreases. There is discomfort in the affected area, the back gets tired faster.
  • 2nd degree - the height of the disc continues to decrease, muscles, ligaments sag, and the mobility of the vertebrae increases. Pain appears, especially after physical exertion.
  • Grade 3 - the discs are slightly displaced, protrusions appear, the likelihood of subluxation or arthrosis of the joints of the spine increases. A pronounced pain syndrome appears, mobility is limited, sensitivity in the damaged area is impaired.
  • 4 degree - osteophytes appear on the vertebrae, so the body stabilizes the spine. Bone growths compress nerves, injure the vertebrae, and the risk of fibrous ankylosis (spinal joints fusion) increases.
Important. Osteochondrosis can affect the cervical, thoracic, lumbar segments of the spine.

Disease of the cervical spine is manifested by pain in the neck, upper limbs, cephalgia (headache). In addition, dizziness, impaired hearing, vision, etc. may occur.

Thoracic osteochondrosis can be easily confused with heart disease, since the pain syndrome is localized in the chest area.

Symptoms of lumbar osteochondrosis - aching pain, limitation of mobility, aches, impaired sensitivity of the lower body.

The clinical picture of osteochondrosis is varied, so you should not make the diagnosis yourself. See your doctor if you have any suspicious symptoms.

Treatment scheme for osteochondrosis

In most cases, conservative methods are used to detect osteochondrosis. It is important to carry out comprehensive treatment in order to get rid of pain, normalize the functionality of the spine and prevent complications.

The treatment regimen for osteochondrosis is as follows:

  • Restriction of physical activity.
  • Taking medications.
  • Physiotherapy procedures.
  • Physiotherapy.
  • Massage.
  • Manual therapy.
  • Spinal traction.

Osteochondrosis can be cured only by combining the above methods. The treatment plan for each patient is separately drawn up by the doctor, taking into account the degree of the disease, age, and characteristics of the organism.

Effective treatment will help get rid of the symptoms of osteochondrosis in 1 - 3 months. Then supportive therapy is carried out for 12 months. This will help consolidate the results, prevent relapses.

Chondrosis of the back (1 stage of osteochondrosis) can be treated without medication. The patient can perform physiotherapy exercises, reduce the load on the damaged area of ​​the back, use applicators (Lyapko roller, Kuznetsov's applicator), establish nutrition, and give up bad habits.


drug treatment of osteochondrosis

It is recommended to be treated with medications in case of exacerbation of osteochondrosis. Medicines will help stop pain, inflammation, improve blood supply to the affected area, and normalize physical activity.

The following medicines are used for osteochondrosis:

  • NSAIDs relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Preparations with vasodilating action. Muscle tension narrows blood vessels to widen their lumen and improve blood circulation.
  • Muscle relaxants relax spasmodic muscles, normalize blood flow, relieve pain, improve mobility, and accelerate tissue repair.
  • Chondroprotectors stop the destruction of the cartilage lining.
  • Psycholeptics based on plant or synthetic ingredients soothe or reduce emotional stress without causing a hypnotic effect.
  • Preparations based on B vitamins accelerate the recovery of damaged nerve fibers.

All these medications help fight chronic osteochondrosis, only they can be taken for medical reasons.

Opioid non-narcotic analgesics are used to relieve severe pain in the acute period of the disease. For the same purpose, glucocorticoids are used. However, these medicines negatively affect the body, so they can be taken as a last resort.

In addition to pills and injections for exacerbation of osteochondrosis, creams and gels with a local irritating and warming effect are used.

Remedial gymnastics

Complex therapy of osteochondrosis is always complemented by therapeutic exercises. However, the exercises for different parts of the spine are different.

In order not to overload the neck, other muscle groups should be involved during exercise. The workout begins with a warm-up and ends with relaxation exercises.

Complex for cervical osteochondrosis:

  • Lie on your back, raise your head, lock in for 5-7 seconds.
  • Do not change the starting position (IP), put your hands on your shoulders, rotate your elbows in different directions.
  • SP is the same, alternately raise your arms above your head, lifting one and then the second shoulder blade from the floor.
  • Press the back of your head to the floor, fix it for 4 seconds.
  • Connect the shoulder blades, hold for 5 seconds.
  • Roll over on your side, lean your head in hand, raise your free limb with your head, lock in for 4 seconds. Repeat for the other side.
  • Lie on your stomach, put your hands on the back of your head, raise your head, fix for 4 seconds.

If you experience severe pain or dizziness, stop and see your doctor.

Help. Thoracic osteochondrosis is less common than cervical or lumbar, since this is the least mobile department. In addition, muscles and ribs strengthen it.

Exercises for lesions of the thoracic segment of the spine:

  • Lie on your back, bend your knees, press them to your chest with your hands, slightly lift your lower back off the floor, tighten your abdominal muscles, hold for 5 seconds.
  • SP is the same, raise your arms, straighten your legs, understand the opposite arm and leg, fix yourself. Repeat for other limbs.
  • Roll over onto your stomach, spread your arms to the sides. Lift your arms and head off the floor, lock in for 3 seconds.
  • Get on all fours, raise your head, arch your back while inhaling, lower your head while exhaling, round your back.

Move smoothly, avoid sudden movements.


The following exercises are used to treat lumbar osteochondrosis:

  • Lie on your back, alternately pull your knees to your chest.
  • SP is the same, move your right arm and leg to the side, and then your left limbs.
  • Put your hands behind your head, tear it off the floor, at the same time pull the socks towards you.
  • Bend your legs at the knees, stretch your right knee to your left foot, and then vice versa.
  • Do Bicycle back and forth.
  • Roll over on your side, swing your leg up.
  • PI is the same, pull your knees to your chest.
  • Get on all fours, take turns moving your arms to the sides.

These exercises help to stretch and relax tense muscles and increase blood and lymph circulation.

There are many more exercises. Consult your doctor to find the right combination for you.

Physiotherapy procedures

Physiotherapy helps relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and improve blood flow and trophism.

In the treatment of osteochondrosis, the following physiotherapeutic procedures are used:

  • Electrophoresis with drugs helps relieve pain in the presence of neurological disorders.
  • Electrotherapy enhances blood circulation, tissue nutrition.
  • Laser therapy relieves inflammation, relieves pain, accelerates tissue healing, activates biological processes in nerve tissues.
  • Shock wave therapy improves local blood circulation, metabolic processes, reduces swelling, pain.
  • Detensor therapy - stretching the spine under the weight of its own body weight. Helps get rid of excruciating pain syndrome.
  • Balneotherapy is a complex of procedures using fresh, mineral or sea water. After the course of treatment, pain decreases, blood microcirculation improves.

In addition, for osteochondrosis, diadynamic therapy, amplipulse therapy, ultrasound, magnetotherapy, vibration method can be used.

Help. Osteochondrosis is treated by bees, this technique is called apitherapy. During the procedure, bee venom is injected into biologically active points to increase the effect of the complex treatment. Insect venom relieves pain, improves mobility, blood microcirculation, conduction along nerve pathways, and increases the elasticity of intervertebral discs.

Manual therapy

manual therapy

In the treatment of osteochondrosis, the patient is shown not only massage, but also manual action (soft and hard).

With the help of massage the specialist normalizes muscle tone, improves blood circulation, restores the activity of nerve cells. The session begins with kneading and rubbing, these techniques help prepare the body for further exposure.

After the warming up massage the doctor proceeds to mobilization and automobilization. During the procedure, it gently acts on the joints of the spine, gradually increasing the amplitude. Automobilization consists in performing movements by the patient himself under the supervision of a doctor. These procedures help to enlarge the inter-articular gap, reduce blood congestion in the veins, and improve trophism.

To restore the correct position of the displaced vertebrae, the doctor proceeds to the manipulation technique. He performs sharp and rapid movements in the affected areas, placing the vertebrae in their usual place. It helps relieve pain, muscle spasm, and improve mobility.

Attention. Manual therapy for osteochondrosis can cause serious complications (fracture, displacement of the vertebra, damage to nerves, blood vessels, ligaments or muscles). To prevent this from happening, you need to find an experienced specialist.

Apparatus treatment and orthopedic devices

Devices for the treatment of osteochondrosis can be used at home, but only after a doctor's approval. For this purpose, you can use, for example, a quantum therapy apparatus that affects the affected area of ​​the spine with laser, pulsed, magnetic beams, accelerating its recovery. Suitable for the treatment of cervical and thoracic osteochondrosis.

In addition, the patient can use orthopedic devices for back health. A special pillow or roller helps to relieve the neck and lower back, it is used during rest or in transport. A treatment collar is used to support the physiological curves of the neck. Posture correctors, corsets improve posture, relieve the thoracic, lumbosacral segment of the spine.

Help. You can wear corsets and correctors no longer than 2 - 3 hours per day. This will help avoid muscle weakening.

A special belt is used for the lower back. It can be worn at work, during sports.

Folk remedies

Complex therapy can be supplemented with effective folk remedies. However, cervical, thoracic and lumbar osteochondrosis are accompanied by different symptoms, so different recipes are used for their treatment.

Folk remedies for neck treatment:

  • Hold burdock leaves over steam for 5-10 minutes, attach them to your neck, fix with a bandage. You can also moisten gauze in a pharmacy burdock broth and use it as a compress.
  • Make a decoction of birch leaves, apply a compress to the affected area.
  • Peel the horseradish root, squeeze the juice, mix with vodka (1: 1), rub the neck.
  • Pour 250 g of needles with 1 liter of boiling water, leave for 30 minutes. Drink twice a day after a meal.

Also, with cervical osteochondrosis, you can take baths with coniferous broth.

For chest lesions, use these recipes:

  • Mix dandelion root, mint, birch buds, coriander in equal proportions. Pour 100 ml boiling water 3 tbsp. l. collection, cook for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add 75 g of butter and sunflower oil to the warm mixture, cook for another 20 minutes. Rub warm ointment into your back.
  • Rub black radish or horseradish, squeeze out juice, rub the affected area.
  • Steam wormwood or flaxseeds, place them in a cloth bag, apply to the chest region of the back.

At home, you can stretch your back with a belt massager.

For lumbosacral lesions, use these tools:

  • Drink decoctions of lingonberry leaves, thyme, hop cones, cinquefoil.
  • Use a horseradish or raw potato compress.
  • Rub the loin with an ointment of 200 g of melted lard mixed with beeswax and marshmallow roots.

Also, for lumbar osteochondrosis, you can wear a woolen belt, which has a warming effect.

Talk to your doctor before using any folk remedies.



The operation is prescribed in the presence of complications that are accompanied by numbness of the extremities, severe prolonged pain, involuntary urination or defecation. Surgical treatment is also necessary for cauda equina syndrome (compression of the nerve endings of the lower spinal cord).

Surgical techniques will help eliminate the cause of pain and stabilize the spine:

  • Facetectomy - removal of the facet joints that compress nerve bundles.
  • Foraminotomy - an increase in the lumen of the radicular canal by removing the osteophyte. After the procedure, the nerve is freed from pinching.
  • Laminectomy - removal of the back of a deformed vertebra that compresses the spinal cord.
  • Laminotomy is used to widen the opening through which the nerve roots pass.
  • Discectomy - removal of an affected disc or part of it in case of an intervertebral hernia. This is a minimally invasive endoscopic operation, after which the patient recovers faster.
  • Corpectomy - removal of the entire vertebra and adjacent discs. Then the free space is filled with a bone graft.

To avoid destabilizing the spine, fusion (fusion of the vertebrae) is performed. Also, special screws, rods, and plates are used to fix the vertebrae.

Attention. After the operation, there is a risk of complications: damage to the spinal cord, nerve bundles, infection of the affected area, urinary disorders, etc. Therefore, surgical intervention is performed only in extreme cases.

Postoperative rehabilitation can take several months. During this period, the patient should give up physical activity, bad habits, follow the recommendations of doctors.

Most Important

As you can see, osteochondrosis requires long-term treatment and self-discipline. Therapy should be comprehensive: medicines (in the acute period), exercise therapy, physiotherapy, massage, manual influence. The patient must change his lifestyle, regularly perform gymnastics, give up bad habits, eat right, use orthopedic appliances. You can supplement therapy with medical devices and folk remedies, but only after the approval of a doctor. In the presence of complications, an operation is performed, followed by long-term rehabilitation. The patient must strictly follow the recommendations of doctors in order to accelerate recovery.