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Spondylosis – when the back hurts

Spondylosis is called spinal column disease, in which bone growths appear on the vertebrae – osteophytes. Most often such growths appear on the anterior margin of the vertebrae, injuring the ligaments.

What happens to the spine?

The cause of the disease are degenerative and degenerative processes, more characteristic of older people. Outgrowths appear in violation of the function of the vessels, nerve endings, ligaments surrounding the spine. In a state of neglect, osteophytes become so large that they lead to a decrease in the lumen of the vertebrae and in turn disrupt the functioning of the vessels and nerves. The disease is chronic.

Three types of disease are divided according to the process localization:

  • Cervical,
  • Sternum,
  • Lumbar.

Symptoms and course of the disease

  • Tension and pain in the area of ​​the affected spine, which is more pronounced before lunch,
  • The stiffness of the muscles holding the affected part of the spine, its movements are difficult,
  • Burning, goosebumps and other discomfort in the upper limbs,
  • Lumbar pain, difficulty in flexing the back,
  • Pain while sitting.

The initial stage of spondylosis is characterized by the absence of any symptoms. Sometimes there is a violation of the mobility of the spine. And that is why the disease is very insidious. For quite a long period the patient does not realize that his spine gradually ceases to function normally.
The disease can be a trigger for osteoarthritis, as well as further disability. Spondylosis is often the cause of a decrease in the spinal canal (stenosis).

The appearance and increase of osteophytes at the edges of the vertebrae extremely adversely affect the mobility of the spine. Nerve roots are pressed, the patient suffers from persistent aching pain. No medication will not help to relieve pain for a long time.
Most often, the disease develops in a certain part of the spine, and only in isolated cases does it affect several parts of the spine at once. The pain becomes stronger in the evening, does not subside either in the prone position, or in stillness, or when moving.

Causes of disease

  • Major and minor injuries of the spinal column,
  • Lack of movement
  • Abnormal loads on the spine when standing,
  • Metabolic disorders,
  • Advanced age.

Often, the first signs of spondylosis can be found in people already from the age of thirty, but at this stage the disease can only be detected through surveys. It does not bring any ailments.


Ankylosing spondylitis is also called ankylosing spondylitis. In Greek, the name of the disease means “bent vertebra“. So, with ankylosing spondylitis, the spine is bent. Inflammation of the spinal joints provokes their fusion and vertebral mobility is actually lost. Representatives of the stronger sex are more susceptible to this disease, among them Bechterew’s disease occurs on average 7 times more often than among women. A detailed examination of the spine at the age of 15 can reveal the first changes in the vertebrae.

The sacral section, pelvic joints are the first to suffer, more and more new vertebrae are gradually affected. If you do not take action in time, over time, the entire spine becomes completely immobile, and other joints suffer.

The cause of the disease is still unknown, although it is believed that frequent inflammation and stress contribute to the development of spondylitis. According to most scientists, the impetus to the development of the process are dormant infections in the body. However, in this way, they only affect the body of people with a genetic predisposition and a special immune pool.


  • The first symptoms are dull pains in the sacrum, giving to the outer part of the thigh and groin,
  • Decreased mobility of the back after a night’s sleep, pain,
  • Later, pain in the neck, discomfort after a night’s sleep,
  • Reduced mobility in the spine.


The interaction between the intervertebral disc and the vertebra changes in the elderly, causing an increase in vertebral mobility.
In case of violation of the elasticity of the discs, under pressure of the vertebrae, protrusions of the disc body appearfibrous ring), increases the load on the outer sides of the vertebrae. Along the edges of their beginnings grow “tendrils”, “prickles” that reach the lower vertebra. Similar processes are well shown by an x-ray. With a particularly severe course, the entire form of the vertebra changes, and deforming spondylosis develops. In this disease, the length of the vertebrae decreases, in shape they begin to resemble cones. Bone growths appear in order to increase the area of ​​load on the disks.

Deforming spondylosis of the cervical region affects equally the representatives of both sexes and develops more often in 5 and 6 vertebrae. The process begins after reaching the fortieth anniversary. In the lumbar spine 3–5 vertebrae are usually affected. This form of the disease is not dangerous for the work of other organs and has virtually no effect on the general condition of the body, since it is a process of compensation by the body of age-related degenerative processes.


Tuberculous spondylitis develops when the causative agent of tuberculosis gets into certain tissues of the vertebra. Mycobacteria are usually transported with blood and sometimes with lymph. Most often the anterior parts of the vertebra are affected. More often, a similar process develops against a spinal injury. Inflammation develops in tissues, they become necrotic, dead tissue spreads to nearby vertebrae. Gradually, the shape of the vertebrae is deformed and a hump appears in the patient. Its form is specific – it is peaked.

The volume of the chest decreases, the supply of the body with oxygen deteriorates, the work of the vessels and the heart is disturbed. Formation of abscesses, fistulas, which are quickly populated by pathogenic microbes, which further worsens the patient’s condition.

Until the process develops only in two vertebrae, the symptoms of the disease do not differ from ordinary tuberculosis (weight loss, intoxication, temperature increase, sweating).
Further, pain appears in the region below the affected vertebrae. The spine is increasingly deformed, fistulas appear. Sometimes the disease goes into a dormant phase without any intervention. But after a while flashes with a new force.

The disease is not dangerous for the life of the patient and can be controlled with the help of modern drugs. It is more difficult to treat patients in whom the disease has already passed into the fistulous, paralytic stage, when the work of the pelvic organs is changed and bedsores are observed.

Lumbar lesion

This form of the disease can develop with age in people with poor posture, who spend a lot of time on their legs and often carry weight. The appearance of an intervertebral hernia, a contusion of the back can be a trigger for the development of lumbar spondylosis.


  • Pain during stooping, with long sitting and walking,
  • False lameness
  • Heaviness or numbness in the lower limbs.

If the “embryo” pose removes all unpleasant sensations, you can almost accurately establish the diagnosis: spondylosis.

The disease subsides periodically and then reappears. Attacks can last several days, medications effectively help. However, over time, the intervals between attacks decrease.

The pain in this form of the disease is so severe that the patient even has to resort to painkillers. They are the main means of disease therapy. Non-hormonal anti-inflammatory drugs are used, at the same time reducing pain and relieving inflammation.
Also prescribed physiotherapy, massage, physical therapy.

Cervical lesions

This is the most common type of spondylosis. A sign of the disease is a sharp pain in the neck, persistent with a change of posture, extending to the shoulders and neck. The disease often affects people leading a sedentary lifestyle. During the working day at the desk, few people notice how they hold their heads and shoulders. And this is very important – it is the incorrect posture that, first of all, creates favorable conditions for the disturbance of metabolic processes in the cervical spine.


  • Persistent pains in the shoulders and neck;
  • Pain radiating to the shoulders, eyes, ears,
  • Pain in the neck during the night’s sleep,
  • Pain in the shoulder blades
  • Pain from the outside of the shoulders to the middle of the limb.

The danger of cervical spondylosis is that in almost one hundred percent of cases the work of the vessels supplying the brain and eyes is impaired. Therefore, patients suffer from migraine-like pain, sudden changes in pressure, buzzing in the ears, impaired coordination. The narrowing of the spinal canal leads to a dysfunction of the lower extremities.

Therapy of cervical spondylosis involves a complex of measures aimed at:

  • Pain relief
  • Normalization of the function of intervertebral discs,
  • Normalization of blood flow in the spine and surrounding tissues,
  • Reducing the pressure of the vertebrae between themselves and strengthen the vertebrae.

Pain is relieved by both medication and manual therapy, physiotherapy procedures. To strengthen the intervertebral discs used drugs – chondroprotectors. Very useful physical therapy.

Thoracic affection

Spondylosis develops in the thoracic spine quite rarely. But as a result of the defeat of other departments, it occurs in a large number of patients.


  • Pain in the lower or middle segment of the thoracic spine, often only to the right or left. The back usually starts to hurt, and then the pain gives to the sternum.

When probing the spine, you can identify the exact location of the lesion, as the patient is in pain. Sometimes even the front chest wall hurts.
The main method of determining the disease is x-rays, sometimes prescribed ultrasound or MRI.


Most often, the diagnosis of “spondylosis” is established on the basis of X-ray. Removed in two projections. If the disease is not very advanced yet, osteophytes usually do not stick out beyond the vertebra. In more severe cases, the outgrowths do not simply extend beyond the area, but also “embrace” the intervertebral disk. In the most difficult cases, the outgrowths create a horseshoe-shaped formation that holds the two vertebrae together and makes them absolutely immobile.
At the end of the merger, the bone in this segment no longer develops. To make a diagnosis, it is enough to make an x-ray, as well as examine and interview the patient.
The disease should be distinguished from ankylosing spondylitis and Forestier disease. Symptoms similar to those listed above may also occur after a serious spinal injury.

Since the disease is chronic, you cannot count on a complete cure for it. But with the help of therapeutic measures can significantly alleviate the condition and extend the life of the spine.

one. Pain relievers, inflammation: diclofenac, celecoxib, ibuprofen, naproxen, indomethacin, oxycodone.
2 Muscle relaxants used in some cases also for pain relief: cyclobenzaprine, carisoprodol, methocarbamol.
3 Drugs that relieve pain caused by pinched nerve roots: pregabalin, duloxetine, gabapentin, carbamazepine.

In that case, if taking the drugs does not give the effect, or if they cannot be taken, sometimes corticosteroids in the injections, traction of the spine, or physiotherapeutic methods are used to relieve pain. Hirudotherapy is a fairly effective method of alternative medicine used in spondylosis.

In special cases, surgery is prescribed. It is prescribed if the spine is completely immobile, if the patient has important nerves affected and urinary incontinence is observed, a violation of the sensitivity of the extremities.

Quite effectively relieve the symptoms of acupuncture, massage and yoga. But such methods of treatment should be applied only after consulting a neurologist.
To extend the life of the spine will help individually selected course of physical therapy. Exercise can only be done during the period of pain extinction. During exacerbation, only rest and analgesic techniques are permitted.

Exercises and sports activities

A set of exercises should be done while sitting on a chair. It is very suitable for people leading a sedentary lifestyle. You can do exercises right at your desk and repeat them three times a day.

one. Tilts head first. It should stretch as much as possible, reaching his chin to the chest. In this position, turn your head gently and slowly to the right and left.
2 Sitting on a chair, put your hands on your knees, bring the shoulder blades together, separate them.
3 Press your back tightly to the back of the chair, put your hands on the back of your head, dissolve your elbows and stretch.
four. Put your palms on the back of your head, press your back with your head, they must resist. In this position, freeze for 3 seconds. Repeat 6 times.
five. Make circular movements with shoulders. Slowly twist one way, then the other way.

For the thoracic:
one. Starting position: standing, arms straighten above head and join. Bend to the side 6 times each.
2 I. p .: on all fours. Strongly bend your back down, fix the position for a few seconds, then bend it with an arc.

For pelvic joints and lower back:
one. I.p. lying on your back, arms to the sides, legs bent and feet put on the floor, slightly spreading. Without lifting your back and shoulders from the floor, turn your knees to the left side, reach to the floor with them, then – the same thing to the right.
2 I.p. press the same knees to the chest, fix the pose for 10 seconds, let go.

The most preferred sport for people with such a diagnosis is swimming, because there is no vertical load on the spine, at the same time almost all muscles work. Do not lean too much on swimming breaststroke, as neck muscles may pererudilis if trying to raise his head above the water while swimming.

Folk remedies

one. A tablespoon of chopped leaves of burdock brew 200 ml of boiling water, put on fire for 15 minutes, remove, stand for half an hour. Pass through a sieve and take one tablespoon orally, four times a day on an empty stomach.
2 3 tablespoons of black currant leaves brew 5 cups of boiling water, hold for two hours under the cap. Pass through a sieve and consume inside 100 ml four times a day on an empty stomach.
3 Tablespoon of dried birch leaves brew 200 ml of boiling water, let stand overnight, use inside 100 ml three times – four times a day.
four. With the defeat of the cervical spine: lingonberry leaf in the amount of 1 tbsp. Pour 200 ml of boiling water, insist overnight, strain and drink two liters per day. It is useful to combine with the tincture of cinquerail alcohol 20 drops three times a day.

Herbs are taken for a month, after which a break for 2 weeks is made and the course can be repeated.
It is very important to eat well. In the diet should be enough foods containing potassium, for example, raisins, dried apricots, cabbage, pumpkins. It is useful to drink broth hips.

In a professional massage for patients with spondylosis, the muscles of the back are worked out with emphasis in the region along the spine, the muscles of the buttocks and legs. Combines classic therapeutic massage with segmental. Use for massage warming ointment. In spondylosis, it is forbidden to use such methods as tapping and chopping. The duration of the procedure should be 15 – 20 minutes. Usually the treatment course consists of 15 to 20 massages.

A simple massage that can be done by a family member at home:
one. Stroking the back with the soft side of the palms in the direction from the waist to the shoulders for one and a half minutes,
2 Finger rub longitudinal muscles of the back, supporting the spine for 2 minutes,
3 Palms rub the sacrum and lower back for three minutes.
This simple massage should be repeated twice or thrice a day. It will help to significantly improve the condition of the patient.

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