Many patients do not know how to understand that they have osteochondrosis, but at the same time they are happy to make such a diagnosis for themselves. Meanwhile, the causes of pain in the back, lower back, or neck can be many. These can be curvature of the spine, disruption of the internal organs, tumors, infections, instability of the position of the vertebral bodies, etc. Therefore, you should not self-diagnose. Seek medical attention in case of pain.
There is no reliable algorithm on how to recognize osteochondrosis without special examinations. But there are certain clinical signs that allow us to suspect this disease. We will talk about them in the material presented to your attention. In the meantime, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the mechanism of development of osteochondrosis.
Degenerative dystrophic disease of the cartilaginous tissue of the intervertebral discs - this is what is scientifically called osteochondrosis. As it develops, it leads to dorsopathy, which is complicated by back pain, sciatica, sciatica, sciatica, lumbago and other syndromes associated with damage to various tissues.
Osteochondrosis is a consequence of maintaining the wrong lifestyle of a person. The contributing factors are:
- excess body weight - each kilogram creates additional depreciation and mechanical load on the cartilaginous tissue of the intervertebral disc;
- a sedentary lifestyle without regular exercise in the muscular framework of the back;
- eat large amounts of carbohydrates, refined foods;
- wearing tight and uncomfortable clothes and shoes;
- incorrect posture, the habit of stooping, slouching, tilting the body in one direction or another;
- incorrect fit of the foot in the form of flat feet or club feet;
- spinal curvature;
- sedentary work or heavy physical labor;
- smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages;
- Insufficient consumption of clean drinking water during the day.
All these factors slow down the microcirculation of blood in the capillary network in the thickness of muscle tissue. It turns out to be unable to perform a complete diffuse exchange with the cartilaginous tissues of the intervertebral discs. They do not have their own circulatory system. This is how the mechanism of destruction of the surface of the fibrous ring (this is the outer layer of the disc) is launched. It forms a deposit of calcium salts. They prevent the reception of fluids from the outside. Thus, the annulus fibrosus begins to draw fluid from the nucleus pulposus located inside it. This gelatinous body is responsible for maintaining the normal height and shape of the intervertebral disc. Therefore, with fluid loss, the nucleus pulposus loses its ability to maintain disc height. The second stage of osteochondrosis develops - protrusion.
In the third stage, the annulus fibrosus ruptures and part of the nucleus pulposus comes out. This is a herniated disc. It puts pressure on the surrounding soft tissues, causes an inflammatory reaction, etc.
The fourth stage of osteochondrosis is the sequestration of the intervertebral hernia. Part of the nucleus pulposus separates or comes out entirely by the resulting rupture of the annulus fibrosus. If the hernia enters the cavity of the spinal canal, then its abduction requires an emergency surgical operation. Otherwise, a person may remain disabled with paralysis of the body for the rest of their life.
As you can see, this is a very serious disease, which must be diagnosed in a timely manner. The sooner complex treatment is started, the greater the chances for a complete restoration of the integrity of the intervertebral disc and its functions.
When the first signs of osteochondrosis appear, you can make an appointment with a vertebrologist or neurologist. Doctors will perform an exam and a manual exam. They will make an accurate diagnosis and recommend any additional tests needed. After an accurate diagnosis is made, you will be offered a course of treatment.
How to recognize cervical osteochondrosis
How to understand that you have cervical osteochondrosis, and not myositis, and what to do next? Before recognizing cervical osteochondrosis, you need to collect an anamnesis:
- when the pains appear;
- what actions provoke their appearance;
- how long ago was the first seizure;
- Are there additional clinical signs?
- how the place to sleep and work is organized;
- what bad habits are there;
- workplace and profession.
How to understand that cervical osteochondrosis according to all this information? First of all, it is important to know that degenerative degenerative disease of the intervertebral discs manifests itself in the form of pain, stiffness of movements, excessive tension in the muscles of the neck and neck area only at the initial stage. Then, to these signs are added tension headache, dizziness, hearing and visual impairments, increased fatigue, decreased mental performance, etc.
A distinctive feature of cervical osteochondrosis is that the exacerbation of symptoms begins at the end of the working day. And the professional activity of the patient in most cases is associated with prolonged static tension of the muscles of the neck and neck area. On examination, there is tenderness of the spinous processes of the vertebrae, excessive muscle tension, and increased pain on attempting to turn the head.
Before recognizing osteochondrosis of the cervical region, the doctor recommends that the patient have an x-ray. It shows the reduced spaces between the vertebral bodies. This indicates that a bump is developing. With the help of an X-ray image, an experienced vertebrologist will be able to exclude instability of the position of the vertebral bodies, their subluxations, retrolisthesis, antelisthesis, destruction of intervertebral joints and other serious pathologies. If this examination is not sufficient, an MRI or CT scan is recommended. If you suspect the development of posterior vertebral artery syndrome, it is recommended to conduct an ultrasound scan of the vessels of the neck and head.
How to recognize osteochondrosis of the thoracic region
Before recognizing thoracic osteochondrosis, it is necessary to exclude the possibility of developing pathologies of internal organs, such as the heart, coronary circulatory system, lungs, pleura, bronchi, etc. Consider how to recognize osteochondrosis of the thoracic region:
- the most important diagnostic technique is palpation, if the pain is determined exclusively by the spinous processes of the vertebrae and in the region of the paravertebral muscles, degenerative destruction of the cartilaginous tissue of the intervertebral discs is not excluded;
- mobility is limited and any turning and tilting of the body increases pain;
- the pain attack was provoked by physical exertion, hypothermia or psychological stress factors;
- breathing deeply does not aggravate the pain.
It is very important to know how to understand the heart or osteochondrosis, since acute chest pain is often a precursor to myocardial infarction. And in this condition, the patient should receive immediate cardiac care.
So, if you feel anxiety, panic and fear of death during a pain attack, then there is a 90% chance of a heart attack and you need to urgently call an ambulance. If there is a tonometer, then you need to measure blood pressure and count the pulse. When the pulse slows down to bradycardia (less than 50 beats per minute) and with an increase in blood pressure of 20 to 40 mm Hg above the norm for age, an attack of angina pectoris should also be suspected unstable with a possible transition to myocardial infarction. .
You should not look for information on how to understand a headache or osteochondrosis, it is much more productive to seek medical help. Even the most common ECG, taken in the hospital emergency department, will show what is causing the pain syndrome: the heart or the spine. Regardless, you can only rely on sensations during palpation. As a rule, with damage to the heart muscle, palpation of the spinous processes of the vertebrae does not give unpleasant sensations. But at the same time, there are clinical symptoms of osteochondrosis such as shortness of breath, shortness of breath, pale skin, feeling of cold and sticky sweat on the skin, cyanosis of the nasolabial triangle, and severe muscle weakness.
How to recognize osteochondrosis of the lower back
Quite acute is the question of how to understand that lumbar osteochondrosis causes severe pain. Also, with the defeat of some paired root nerves, as well as nerve plexuses, clinical symptoms occur that resemble diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and urinary system. These are constipation, diarrhea, frequent urination, etc.
How to understand that your back osteochondrosis causes pain and all other clinical signs:
- no increase in body temperature;
- no nausea and vomiting;
- the tongue is not covered with a white or yellow coating;
- when urinating, the color of urine does not differ from normal;
- when emptying the intestines, there is no tenesmus or other sensations of pain;
- there is no admixture of blood or mucus in the stool.
To exclude renal pathology, a test for Pasternatsky's symptom is performed. The patient stands with his back to the doctor. The doctor with the edge of the palm lightly hits the edge of the lower costal arch. If pain occurs, there is a high probability that low back pain is associated with damage to the kidneys and ureters.
How to recognize osteochondrosis of the lower back by indirect signs:
- with any movement, the pain increases sharply;
- exacerbation of the condition begins after serious physical exertion, heavy lifting, hypothermia or overheating of the body;
- stiffness of movements is felt, it is often associated with muscle weakness;
- the muscles of the lumbar region are very tense, painful on palpation;
- pain can spread along large nerves, for example, in the groin area, in the anterior abdominal wall, along the lower extremities;
- at rest, the pain syndrome quickly fades.
When the characteristic symptoms of osteochondrosis appear, it is important to contact a neurologist or vertebrologist as soon as possible. Only an experienced doctor can exclude the possibility of vertebral displacement, herniated disc, spinal stenosis and other dangerous pathologies that require immediate medical attention.
What to do with the pain of osteochondrosis
We found out how to understand that the pains arise from osteochondrosis. At this time, this is important information. You need to know how to behave correctly and what to do to get rid of such a disease.
A degenerative degenerative disease of the cartilaginous tissue of the intervertebral discs does not go away on its own. This is due to a number of factors. First of all, calcification of the surface of the fibrous ring occurs, as a result of which it loses the ability to absorb the fluid secreted by the working muscles. Second, in the process of reducing the height of the intervertebral discs, secondary contraction of the ligaments and tendons occurs. It will be impossible to restore the height of the intervertebral spaces necessary to straighten the discs on their own.