Vertebral osteochondrosis is the most common disease of the human musculoskeletal system. In the cervical spine, degenerative processes develop particularly often: in about 30-40% of all cases of osteochondrosis, the disease affects this specific area of the back.
Even with an inactive lifestyle, daily stress falls on the cervical area, which leads to the gradual destruction of the cartilage tissue of the intervertebral discs. The cervical vertebrae support the head, provide lateral movement, and bend back and forth. Both a sedentary lifestyle and excessive stress on the spine are equally detrimental to cartilage tissue.
Osteochondrosis develops slowly, but almost always leads to painful manifestations and serious consequences. This article explains in detail how to treat cervical osteochondrosis at home. In what cases is it reasonable and advisable to use procedures to reduce painful symptoms and eliminate the main causes of the disease.
When can osteochondrosis be treated at home?
Osteochondrosis rarely occurs suddenly - the disease is usually preceded by an initial stage characterized by back fatigue, easy fatigue, and decreased performance. It is important to take therapeutic measures at the first signs of the disease, while degenerative and dystrophic processes have not spread from the cartilage tissue to neighboring structures.
The task of treatment in the initial stages of the disease is to stop pathological transformations in the intervertebral discs. No amount of therapy can reverse destructive processes, but there is an opportunity to avoid dangerous and painful consequences.
You can practice the treatment at home in the following cases:
- If the diagnosis is precisely known and clinically confirmed;
- When the manifestations of the disease are mild or moderate;
- When home and self-treatment is approved or approved by a doctor;
- In the form of relapse prevention during the recovery phase after complete clinical therapy.
Diagnosis in the clinic and consultation with a specialist (orthopedic surgeon, vertebrologist or traumatologist) is a mandatory stage in the treatment of osteochondrosis. Starting treatment without an accurate diagnosis can cause irreparable damage to the spine. Even if you are absolutely certain that you have osteochondrosis, you need to find out its stage, determine the degree of tissue destruction and identify comorbidities.
The danger of cervical osteochondrosis lies in the multitude of manifestations of this disease. Since the most important nerve tracts and blood vessels run in this section, every shift of cartilage and bone structures from their anatomical position as well as the transformation of the intervertebral discs and vertebral bodies is fraught with compression of the nerve endings and arteries.
Compression leads to headaches, a deterioration in the blood supply to the brain and a decrease in intellectual abilities. The most dangerous complication of compression is stroke: a sharp deterioration in the supply of oxygen to the brain, which leads to the death of its parts.
It is irresponsible and dangerous to treat cervical osteochondrosis at home under compression. Massage procedures, manual therapy, exercise therapy should be carried out under strict medical supervision. Only professional massage therapists and therapists should apply manual and hardware impacts to the vertebrae as degenerative changes progress.
General rules for self-therapy
Some believe that cervical osteochondrosis is a temporary disease that occurs when you sleep in an uncomfortable position or work long hours on the computer. People often ignore symptoms of pain in the neck, believing that they are caused by excessive work, "salt build-up" and colds.
The factors listed can actually provoke the development of an attack of osteochondrosis, but they are not the causes, but the factors predisposing to the pathology. Getting rid of them can relieve symptoms but not cure the disease itself.
The treatment of osteochondrosis should be approached scientifically and pragmatically. The earlier you start therapy, the greater the chances of restoring the functionality of the cervical spine. If you want to regain mobility in the neck, eliminate crunching and tiredness in the back, start treatment immediately when the first signs of degenerative changes appear.
Home treatment for osteochondrosis of the collar zone is a necessary and useful measure of impact, if performed correctly and authorized by specialists.
At home, you can do the following:
- drug therapy;
- hardware massage with mechanical and electrical devices;
- physiotherapy procedure;
In principle, any type of conservative treatment can be practiced at home. Traditional influence methods are popular among the population - a variety of lotions, compresses and applications in the affected department. Such treatment options are sometimes very effective and really help with pain symptoms and other uncomfortable manifestations of osteochondrosis.
The basic rules for self-treatment are as follows:
- Analgesics and other drugs should only be taken after they have been prescribed by a doctor.
- If you have acute pain or dislocated discs, you should not do massage or physiotherapy exercises.
- Doubtful and unapproved traditional medicine should not be used.
- At the slightest sign of deterioration in health, you should stop home therapy and go to the clinic.
In general, experts even recommend self-treatment, since only those procedures are carried out in the clinic that require the presence of a specialist or the presence of complex equipment. It is only necessary to strictly adhere to the medical recommendations regarding home therapeutic techniques.
Before recommending or prescribing any medicine, a good doctor will always tell you how it will be used, what results can be expected, when and for how long treatment procedures will be required. The ultimate goal of any practice is not just to stop the symptoms, but to block or completely eliminate the causes of the disease.
Methods of home treatment
There are many home treatments available for cervical osteochondrosis. We will look at the most basic of these - the most effective and affordable. We remind you once again: only the full implementation of medical recommendations offers a chance of recovery.
Qualified doctors take all influencing factors into account - from the position you occupy during sleep to the type of diet. The diet against osteochondrosis is based on the exclusion of fatty, refined and overly spicy foods and the mandatory inclusion in the diet of mucopolysaccharides - compounds that feed cartilage tissue.
Almost all aspects of life need to be reconciled with the principles of competent and correct treatment.
A complete regimen of physical activity is the basis of effective therapy. The exercises are selected individually, taking into account the stage of the disease, age and physical condition of the patient. Physical education is not an aid, but the most important therapeutic method for osteochondrosis of the collar region.
Gymnastics exercises solve several problems at the same time:
- Develop and strengthen the muscle corset in the neck and shoulder girdle.
- Stimulates the local blood circulation and improves the nutrition of the intervertebral discs and other tissues in the affected area.
- Accelerate metabolic processes and help restore physical activity.
- Eliminate muscle blocks and convulsive phenomena.
In the initial stages of therapy, it is better to have several sessions of exercise therapy under the guidance of an experienced instructor. Then you can practice physical education at home. Make sure you wear comfortable clothing when exercising and that the area is regularly ventilated.
Indicative criteria for the usefulness of exercise therapy are freedom from pain, improvement in well-being and an increase in the range of motion. In the event of acute and regular pain symptoms, the exercise should be stopped until the causes of this phenomenon have been clarified. Pain usually occurs when the disc moves and the nerve is compressed. To prevent this from happening, you need to make the movements smooth and avoid jumping and twisting the spine.
Manual and hardware massage
Self-massage relieves pain and stimulates the local blood circulation. Self-massage techniques (rubbing, caressing, kneading) are taught by your doctor or professional massage therapist. Strong pressure, shock and entrapment should be avoided.
The right self-massage often even exceeds the effectiveness of medication. A gentle manual effect not only relieves pain, but also relaxes the muscles, accelerates blood circulation and metabolism. It is recommended to perform the massage in a sitting position using only your fingers, directing the movements from the spine to the peripheral parts of the back.
A separate method is hardware massage with mechanical and modern electronic devices. It is recommended to use massage products if there is no severe pain and the intervertebral discs are displaced. Inexpensive hand massage devices and expensive computer-controlled devices are available in medical supply stores.
Another effective tool are applicators for static influences on the affected areas. Devices such as the Lyapko applicator or the Kuznetsov applicator are proven and effective means of treating pain symptoms and eliminating the causes of disease. The main rule when using such equipment is regularity. It is necessary to constantly practice exposure sessions - only then it is possible to achieve a stable and pronounced health-promoting result.
The applicators are based on the principles of reflexology - the influence on the active parts of the body and the start of the body's self-healing mechanism. Home acupuncture with Lyapko devices and device exposure with Kuznetsov's devices literally lifted some patients to their feet.
Other orthopedic devices are also useful - special pillows for sleeping, which ensure the correct position of the body at night, mattresses, pillows for car and office chairs.
Physiotherapy at home
Exposure to a magnetic field, ultrasound, light of a certain spectrum - all these are very effective methods of treating moderate and mild osteochondrosis. Physiotherapy is usually practiced on an outpatient basis in clinics, but it is quite possible to use these methods at home.
Devices for magnetotherapy, ultrasound and electrical neurostimulation as well as other devices for the treatment of spinal structures are sold in pharmacies and specialty shops. Such devices eliminate pain, stimulate metabolism and blood circulation, and eliminate muscle spasms. These devices can only be used after they have been prescribed by a physical therapist.
Compresses, rubs, other traditional medical procedures
The following alternative treatments are acceptable:
- applications with healing clay;
- Compresses made from honey, vodka, agave;
- honey and mustard compresses;
- lotions made from propolis, aloe juice and vodka;
- treatment with bee venom;
- rub with herbal preparations (the most popular option is a mixture of 2 pods of paprika with vegetable oil).
Phytopreparations can be used without allergies and after the method has been approved by a doctor.
Modern medicine naturally offers many fairly effective and safe means for eliminating the signs of cervical osteochondrosis. Creams, ointments and plasters of herbal and combined composition are used externally at the first manifestations of pain and at the stage of rehabilitation therapy.