Types of osteochondrosis: description, symptoms and treatment features

back pain with osteochondrosis

Osteochondrosis is a chronic disease of various parts of the spine, with degenerative and dystrophic changes in the intervertebral discs. Men between the ages of 25 and 60 are more likely to suffer from this disease. The disease is typical for both young and old people. Women are less likely to get sick and their symptoms are less pronounced. In the early stages of the disease, it is possible to achieve a long-term remission and get rid of pain and anxiety.

What are the types of osteochondrosis by localization?

The classification of osteochondrosis of the spine has many forms and criteria. They differ in the location and severity of the affected area. All types of osteochondrosis are pathologies full of destructive changes in cartilage and connective tissue.

The most common and understandable for a simple person, far from medicine, according to the localization of the classification lesion:

  • Cervical osteochondrosis is characterized by occipital, cervical and intercapular pain syndromes. Over the past decade, the disease has been increasingly diagnosed in young people.
  • Osteochondrosis of the chest is very rare because there are more discs than cervical and lumbar, the discs are smaller and thinner. Part of the load is taken by the ribs. Therefore, degenerative and dystrophic changes in the intervertebral discs of the thoracic spine are rare.
  • Lumbar osteochondrosis often occurs in people over the age of forty who lead a sedentary and sedentary lifestyle. It is characterized by severe low back pain, constriction of nerves and blood vessels in the abdominal organs, and many accompanying diagnoses of internal organs.

Stages of the disease

There are four stages of the disease according to the flow rate, the degree of degenerative changes, the manifestation of symptoms:

  1. The initial stage is characterized by instability of symptoms. The patient is not yet experiencing severe pain. Occasionally, "shooting" pain in the affected area of the lower back is possible.
  2. The second stage is characterized by a significant deterioration in the interaction of the vertebrae due to the progression of degenerative processes in the intervertebral discs. At this stage, the development of the disease is stimulated by improper physical activity, sedentary and sedentary lifestyle.
  3. In the third stage, an intervertebral hernia may begin to develop (some patients will go through this fate). In some cases, there are severe back pain. Joint diagnoses develop that affect all body systems in one way or another. Symptoms vary depending on the location of the hernia and the location of the chondrosis.
  4. The fourth stage is the most difficult. The patient is unable to lead a proper lifestyle and enjoy freedom of movement. Almost all postures held by the body cause severe pain at the site of osteochondrosis. At this stage, we can talk about the appointment of a disability to the patient.


Osteochondrosis causes a lot of suffering, worsens the quality of life, can lead to complete or partial immobilization of the patient and disability. What are the causes of this disease? These are:

  • Sedentary lifestyle, static sitting or sleeping in a position. Muscle atrophy, vertebrae erode the cartilage and discs between each other. This process can last for years, but will inevitably lead to osteochondrosis.
  • Modern young men and women go to the gym and exercise with a barbell and dumbbell, the wrong performance of which leads to diseases of the spine. For example, the wrong method of performing the "squat squat" exercise introduced surgeons and orthopedists to tens of thousands of young patients with osteochondrosis and scoliosis at an acute stage.
  • People who have to sit at a table for hours in a row due to their professional activities are also at risk. According to WHO statistics, the lion's share of osteochondrosis patients are office workers.
sedentary work leading to the development of osteochondrosis

The main symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis

The cervical spine gradually loses fluid and becomes brittle. As a result of this process, blood vessels and arteries constrict. The nutrition of the brain is disrupted and then cell death occurs. Cervical osteochondrosis has the maximum negative effect on the part of the brain responsible for the activity of the heart muscle. Often the optic or auditory nerve is compressed, vision is reduced, and hearing is impaired.

Types of cervical osteochondrosis:

  • radicular or so-called "cervical radiculitis" - is characterized primarily by severe pain in the occiput, neck, head;
  • irritant-reflex - discomfort in the chest, back, numbness of the fingers;
  • heart characterized by symptoms of cardiovascular disease.

Only an orthopedic surgeon or surgeon can make an accurate diagnosis. Regardless of the type of cervical osteochondrosis, the treatment is almost the same.

back cushion for osteochondrosis

The main symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis

The rarest type of disease. The symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis are typical of many other diseases. An inexperienced doctor can often prescribe arrhythmia, angina pectoris, cardiomyopathy (pending ECG results), pancreatitis or even gastritis. Only an experienced orthopedist or spinal surgeon can give accurate information about the type of thoracic osteochondrosis.

With an obvious pathological process, there is a disorder in the functioning of parts of the spinal cord. The main symptoms of thoracic osteochondrosis:

  • Dorsago - sharp, unbearable pain in the chest, shortness of breath, the patient seems to be suffocating or having a heart rate failure.
  • Dorsalgia - the patient experiences less discomfort than the dorsal. The pain is less pronounced and spreads to the hands and fingers (so doctors often confuse the symptoms with diseases of the cardiovascular system).
intervertebral hernia with osteochondrosis

Symptoms and consequences of lumbar osteochondrosis

The most common type of osteochondrosis is the lumbar spine. The reason for this is the part of the spine that experiences the greatest stress in the process of daily life.

In the first stage, the main symptom is a slight elongation of the waist. People rarely pay attention to such minor diseases. As the intervertebral discs wear out, the negative symptoms increase. In particular, due to the pain, the patient can no longer lie or sit for a long time.

In the third or fourth stage of lumbar osteochondrosis, there are:

  • lumbago - acute and sudden pain, which may result in partial immobilization of the patient;
  • sciatica - unilateral obstruction of the sciatic nerve;
  • sciatica - compression of the nerve endings in the lumbar spine;
  • weakness of the lower extremities, muscle atrophy, venous obstruction, sexual dysfunction, and abdominal and pelvic function are also common;
  • Radiculoischemia - a violation of blood circulation as a result of vascular compression.
Exercises for the treatment of osteochondrosis

Generalized osteochondrosis

This type of disease affects not only the spine, but also the joints. Often the shoulder and thigh. Symptoms of generalized osteochondrosis are neurological, rarely damage to internal organs due to circulatory disorders.

Disease in the hip joint, changes in cartilage tissue, manifests itself as dehydration of the interstitial fluid. Over time, the joint partially loses its mobility.

back pain with osteochondrosis

Polysegmental osteochondrosis

Manifestations of the disease are not in one part of the body, but in several parts. For example, there is often a combination of defeat of the third spine and the twelfth - in this case, osteochondrosis will be considered very segmental.

In this case, the therapy will be exactly the same as the standard symptoms of cervical or thoracic osteochondrosis. Magnetotherapy and other physiotherapy procedures have been excellent for exacerbation of pain and discomfort due to multiple segmental chondrosis. You already know what types of osteochondrosis of the spine.

Medication for osteochondrosis

Pharmacological agents to reduce the symptoms of osteochondrosis can be divided into the following groups:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs - to relieve pain and swelling in the affected area. There are two types - non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and glucocorticosteroids.
  • Painkillers.
  • Muscle relaxant to relieve muscle spasm.
  • Chondroprotectors - drugs to improve the nutrition of cartilage tissue.
  • Vitamin-mineral complexes - to restore normal blood circulation and activate metabolism.
  • Drugs that improve and restore impulse conduction in nerve cells.

In some cases, you may need to take diuretics to relieve swelling of the muscles and connective tissue between the spine. It is strictly forbidden to prescribe medication for yourself - you can not only cure, but also aggravate the course of the disease.

drugs for the treatment of osteochondrosis

Therapeutic gymnastics and physical education for osteochondrosis

Any orthopedist will confirm the importance of exercise in achieving remission in the course of chronic osteochondrosis.

Which sport is safe for osteochondrosis? It is better to prefer swimming, stretching, Pilates, body bending - directions where there are no sudden movements. Traumatic martial arts and weightlifting with osteochondrosis are prohibited. The patient should not work with a weight of more than five kilograms.

Don't underestimate the benefits of daily morning exercise. It should be carried out continuously, not on every case. Only in this case there will be benefits for the spine. Simple hand swings, "mill", "bicycle" - familiar exercises from childhood will help to lengthen your back and reduce pain. All movements should be as smooth and precise as possible to avoid damage.

back pain with osteochondrosis

Office workers should disconnect from the computer once an hour and warm up for five minutes. This will serve as an excellent prevention and treatment of existing osteochondrosis.

Massage and manual treatment

This is the most delicious of all treatments for osteochondrosis. Much depends on the choice of a specialist - both the result and the feeling. Types of massage for osteochondrosis - classic, acupressure, canned, apparatus, honey.

The situation is more complicated with manual treatment. First, the procedure is painful: often manual patients are unable to stop screaming in pain during spinal manipulation. Second, this procedure can be dangerous if the chiropractor does not have experience. Choose professionals with good patient reviews, genuine diplomas and rich therapeutic experience.