Osteoarthritis – a degenerative-dystrophic lesions of the spine, characterized by lesions of the intervertebral discs, adjacent articular surfaces and vertebral bodies, spinal ligaments.
Most pathological processes in degenerative disc disease first affects the bones and ligaments. That the disease has already started we learn usually when there are complications – pain, sensory disturbances, muscle atrophy, disruption of the internal organs.
Who suffers from degenerative disc disease?
Nowadays osteochondrosis suffer from 40 to 90% of the world population. Most often the disease affects people older than 30 years. However, the first symptoms of degenerative disc disease can occur in adolescence.
Stages of development of osteochondrosis of the spine
1. The first stage of the development of osteoarthritis.
It starts with the dehydration of nucleus pulposus. This leads to reduction of height of the disc. There are cracks in the fibrous ring, but the disease process does not extend beyond the intervertebral disc.
2. The second stage of development of degenerative disc disease.
By reducing the height of the disk, the point of attachment of muscles and ligaments belonging to the two adjacent vertebrae closer together. Therefore, the muscles and ligaments SAG. This can lead to excessive mobility of the two vertebrae relative to each other, i.e., formed instability vertebral-motor segment. At this stage is characterized by the slipping or displacement of the vertebrae relative to each other with the formation of spondylolisthesis.
3. The third stage in the development of osteoarthritis.
In this period there are the most pronounced morphological changes that primarily concern themselves intervertebral discs: formed prolapses and disc protrusion. Suffering and the articular apparatus vertebral – motor segment. In the intervertebral joints and unco-vertebral joints occur subluxations, are formed arthrosis.
4. The fourth stage of the development of osteoarthritis.
At this stage in the affected segments of the spine occur adaptive changes. The body tries to overcome the excessive mobility of the vertebrae to immobilize the spine to maintain its support and protective functions. In this regard, appear marginal growths of bone on the adjacent surfaces of the vertebral bodies, in other words, osteophytes. Growing up “not there” osteophyte causes micro-traumas nerve root. In the fourth stage usually begin the process of fibrous ankylosis in the intervertebral discs and joints. In the end, the vertebral-motor segment finds himself immured in a shell — the clinical manifestations subside.
Causes of osteoarthritis
In each of the many existing theories for the development of osteoarthritis are various causes responsible for the occurrence of the disease, for example, mechanical trauma, genetic predisposition, or metabolic disorders. A special difficulty in determining the cause degenerative disc disease is that this disease can occur both in elderly and young people as well physically stacked and less trained. Common is the belief that the cause of osteoarthritis is the accumulation of salts in the spine that the x-rays of salt can be seen in the form of “growths” or “hooks” on the vertebrae. If there is a rustling and creaking in the joints, as if between them is filled sand, for many patients the only reason for this state is the notorious “salt deposits”. Such an error is not harmless: a correct understanding of the ways of treatment of disease can be identified based on the analysis of the reasons which caused it.
Like any living tissue, the bone tissue of the vertebrae and cartilage of the intervertebral discs are constantly being rebuilt and renewing itself within. Under the influence of regular physical activity provided they acquire strength and elasticity, and in the absence of loads the tissue strength is reduced.
This is due to the peculiarities of nutrition and blood supply of bone and cartilage tissues. Drives adults do not have their own vessels, they are from neighboring tissues receive nutrients and oxygen. So for full power drives require the activation of blood circulation in the discs surrounding tissues. And this can only be achieved through intense muscular work.
The composition of the intervertebral disc can be divided into two parts: it gives the disc elasticity of the nucleus pulposus, located in the center and surrounding it strong fibrous ring. Because of the deteriorating nutrition of the intervertebral disc is a complex structure of biopolymer compounds constituting the nucleus pulposus is destroyed. Decreases the moisture content of the gelatinous core and it becomes more fragile. When exposed to even small overloads nucleus pulposus may break up into fragments. This leads to a decrease in its elasticity even more. There is also a reduction of strength of the fibrous rings of the disc. All these factors create soil and form the reason for the development of osteoarthritis.
To restore function of the spine is necessary scarring damage of the intervertebral disc, the mobilization of compensatory abilities of the spine and of the musculoskeletal system as a whole and not resorption “salt deposits” or elimination of “spikes” on the vertebrae. When conducting x-ray examination after the treatment you can see that the vertebrae is not changed its form. And the notorious “spikes” are not a cause of osteoarthritis, as a consequence of adaptive processes. Regional expansion increase the area of the bearing surface of the vertebral body. Due to the increased area reduces the specific pressure, to compensate for the reduced strength and elasticity of the intervertebral disc.
What is happening in the spine degenerative-dystrophic changes accompanied by calcification (calcification) of the discs is damaged, individual sections of the articular ligaments, cartilages, capsules. This process is called the deposition of salts is possible only conditionally. Thus, it is not the cause of the back pain, but only the consequence and final stage of this process.
Return development of structural changes in the spine is almost impossible. But the minimization is a perfectly feasible task. If you do not make any effort to support the spine in the same state, which is achieved as a result of treatment, pain can be resumed.
Clinical manifestations of the degenerative disc disease
Clinical manifestations of the disease are very diverse. They depend on the stage of development of osteochondrosis. The main clinical symptoms of degenerative disc disease occurs when the pathological process extends to the posterior annulus fibrosus and posterior longitudinal ligament. Depending on the stage of degeneration of the intervertebral discs leads to irritation, compression or disruption of the conduction of the spinal cord, compression of the vessels or the spinal cord. Develop various neurological syndromes — reflex and compression.
The main cause of pain in osteochondrosis is the so-called nerve root irritation. Thus there is poor circulation, swelling in the future may develop fibrosis of the surrounding structures, leading to increased sensitivity of roots to various effects (movement in the affected segment of the spine, etc.).
Vascular disorders in osteochondrosis is more often associated with impaired vasomotor innervation. It is also possible and mechanical compression of blood vessels osteophytes, for example in the cervical spine.
Symptoms of degenerative disc disease
One of the features of osteochondrosis of the spine, aggravating process, is too extensive his symptoms. The disease can manifest itself in completely different parts of the body. This can include pain or numbness in the limbs or disturbance and pain in the internal organs. In this case, often people will not associate the pain in the heart, abnormalities in the sexual organs, headaches, pain and numbness in the feet with degenerative disc disease and spine, doing the “treatment” directly to the symptoms of degenerative disc disease with the help of various painkillers, all kinds of advertised medicines, nutritional Supplements and other methods. But this way only exacerbates the situation. Low back pain continues its development, and used methods of treatment at best just do not lead to significant improvement, except temporary relief from pain, and in the worst case can further harm the body.
Thus, it is important a careful analysis of their condition and changes. You need to start moving in the right direction: consult a doctor, take the necessary diagnosis and only after determining the correct diagnosis to begin treatment under the supervision of a doctor.
The main symptoms of osteoarthritis are primarily pain and discomfort in the back. In this case, the pain may be continuous, intermittent, appearing, disappearing. But the first feeling of discomfort or back pain should make You think. The appearance of the first pain is a signal that at least it drew attention, tried to remember the reason why they appeared. This reason may be lifting a heavy object, sudden movement, falling, etc.
Another symptom of osteoarthritis is accompanied by discomfort or pain in the back pain and numbness of the limbs (arms or legs). Most often the pain gives to the left arm, in left arm or leg. In addition, pain may manifest in the heart, in the back, and not only in the area of the spine, for example, and in the ribs, etc. is Especially important in this case to pay attention to the character of pain changes depending on the actions of the patient, comparing the thrill of back pain with pain, for example, in the leg. If the patient long sitting and he had pain or numbness in the foot, discomfort in the lower back, and after carrying out a little exercise or walking the pain disappeared, it would be indirect evidence, determining lumbar osteochondrosis. The same pattern can be neck and hand. Summarizing, we can say that the main symptoms of osteoarthritis are pain and discomfort in the back. In the case where those symptoms are consistent with pain in other parts of the body, low back pain can be complicated by the protrusion, disc herniation, pinched nerve.
Additionally I want to focus on the fact that already at the first back pain you need to pay special attention to this ailment. Because osteochondrosis can manifest weakly or not develop long enough. However, he will continue to develop successfully in the spine, leading to the degradation of an increasing number of disks. Therefore, timely treatment to the doctor will help to diagnose osteoarthritis at an earlier stage to facilitate treatment.
Osteoarthritis and salt deposits
Hooklike osteophytes or growth of the vertebrae appear to reduce load on the intervertebral discs. The appearance of osteophytes hurts the mobility of the intervertebral joints.
Is erroneous common in everyday life, the notion that deposition of salts is the main cause of degenerative disc disease. Therefore, the treatment of degenerative disc disease using salt-free diet is pointless.
Most common complaints in osteochondrosis of spine
The most frequent complaints in osteochondrosis are as follows:
- Discomfort in different parts of the spine. Pain can vary from slight, dull, pulling to a strong, sometimes very intense, unbearable .
- fatigue at work, both physical and mental.
- reduced sensitivity in the limbs and different parts of the body, coldness of hands or feet.
- Pain that radiates to the leg along the nerve trunks.
- Pain that radiates to the scapula, shoulder, and neck pain and the back of his head.
- Frequent companion of degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine are headaches, dizziness. Often there is increased visual fatigue or decreased visual acuity.
- With the defeat of the lumbosacral frequent disorders of the reproductive system – the various sexual dysfunction. Therefore, most men after the treatment for increasing sexual power. In women, the normal functioning of the lumbar-sacral zone increases the likelihood of conception and contributes to a comfortable pregnancy.
Diagnosis of degenerative disc disease
To diagnose degenerative disc disease it is necessary to collect the anamnesis. Of crucial importance is the establishment of patient complaints. Certain symptoms of degenerative disc disease are quite characteristic. Others, however, must be differentiated from signs of other diseases. Importantly, in the course of degenerative disc disease of the nervous, vascular, trophic disorders, symptoms can mimic a variety of diseases, such as angina, gastritis, peptic ulcer, acute surgical diseases of abdominal cavity organs. Therefore, to avoid misdiagnosis and subsequent wrong treatment assignment, each symptom must be subjected to detailed analysis.
When collecting history, including the patient’s complaints, history of current disease and the patient’s life, the doctor pays attention to his age, because osteoarthritis often develops in people older and on the evolution of symptoms from the time of their occurrence to the time of referring the patient to the doctor. For degenerative disc disease is characterized by slow development, in which periods of exacerbation periodically followed by periods of remission. Additional methods of research are assigned to clarify the diagnosis.
X-ray examination when degenerative disc disease
The most affordable method of diagnosis of degenerative disc disease and is quite informative x-ray examination. There are several types of x-ray method of diagnostics of this disease:
Plain radiography of the spine is the most basic radiographic diagnosis of osteochondrosis. Its essence lies in obtaining x-rays of the vertebral column as a whole or its individual segments. Most often done sighting radiography – based on the symptoms and complaints of the patient, is determined by the location of lesions of the spine. On an x-ray image of the affected by osteochondrosis of the spinal segment can be seen the thickness reduction (atrophy) of the intervertebral discs, manifested in the form of reduced space between the vertebrae, the appearance of bony outgrowths of the vertebrae – osteophytes, partial dissolution – resorption of bone tissue of the vertebral body, changing the shape of the segment of the spine, for example, the smoothing of lumbar lordosis.
Myelography – more complicated and dangerous method of diagnosis. When conducting such a survey in the spinal canal is entered a certain amount of contrast fluid. The risk of this method of examination is the possibility of allergic reactions to contrast media or in danger of spinal cord damage during the puncture of the spinal canal. Thanks to myelography to determine the internal structure of the spinal canal. This is particularly informative method is to determine spinal hernias.
Computed tomography and magnetic nuclear resonance are the most advanced but also the most expensive and difficult methods of diagnosis of osteoarthritis. Apply these methods of diagnosis is usually when the need for differentiation between degenerative disc disease and other spinal diseases that have similar symptoms, for example, tumors of the spinal canal.
For a comprehensive assessment of the condition of the patient it is mandatory neurological examination of a patient with osteochondrosis. Thanks to a neurological consultation may clarify the location and extent of motor and sensory disorders.
Treatment of osteoarthritis
In our clinic are effective in treating all forms of degenerative disc disease. Treatment on an outpatient basis. This treatment uses an integrated program aimed at rapid elimination of the main symptoms and causing suffering. In complex therapy can be used following methods:
- vacuum therapy;
- gentle manual therapy techniques (post isometric relaxation);
- laser therapy
- dry traction
- electrical stimulation and other treatments for degenerative disc disease.
The average course of treatment is 10-15 sessions, and elimination of acute pain syndrome from 1 to 3 sessions.
The earlier the treatment starts, the better the result!
Complete freedom from back pain – real or not?
It depends on the form of the disease, severity, correctness and timeliness of treatment. Complete recovery is possible only in the initial stages.
But it is possible to prevent aggravation of degenerative disc disease, not to feel pain for years. If a person was low back pain, but now he feels no discomfort, it does not mean that he has left no trace. Changes in the spine can be.
The main task – to stop the illness and to do everything possible to remove the part of pathological changes in the spine, disappeared or decreased symptoms (back pain, coldness and numbness of hands, legs, headaches, etc.).
Video: Osteoarthritis – treatment, causes and symptoms