Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine: causes, manifestations, treatment

cervical osteochondrosis

Frequent dizziness, tinnitus, flies in front of the eyes, a feeling of heaviness in the back of the head are not only caused by fatigue. They often cause degenerative-dystrophic changes in the spine. Headaches in osteochondrosis of the cervical spine are a typical manifestation of the disease. It is impossible to get rid of them for a long time without affecting the root cause.

Mechanism of disease development

Degeneration of intervertebral cartilage and bone tissue in the cervical spine already causes clinical symptoms at an early stage. Growth and displacement of vertebral fragments inevitably leads to disruption of blood flow, innervation of brain structures and malnutrition.

The causes of spinal deformity in the neck area are:

  • congenital disorders of the structure of bone tissue;
  • osteochondrosis of the lumbar or thoracic regions.

In almost half of the cases, the pathology is found in middle-aged and young people, mostly in women. Its development is facilitated by the long-term wrong position of the head during sleep, sitting at a desk, during telephone conversations and traveling in transport. The habit of sleeping on high pillows also accelerates the progression of osteochondrosis. The mobility of this part of the body, the fact that the vertebrae are smaller compared to other departments, and the location of a large number of large vessels and nerve trunks lead to the early onset of symptoms. Pain syndrome is the main.

Fragments of protruding discs and displaced vertebra compress the vertebral artery and the surrounding nerve plexus. Long-term compression leads to the narrowing of the lumen of the vessels, slowing down the blood flow and reducing the supply of oxygen to the tissues. Malnutrition, hypoxia and subsequent cerebral ischemia are aggravated by compression of nerve trunks by osteophytes - radiculopathy.

Symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis

In most cases, headaches and other symptoms of pathology are secondary or vertebrogenic in nature - they are not caused by pathological processes in the brain, but in the spine adjacent to it.

Reflex cephalgia - dull pain. It occurs when the first three vertebrae are affected. It starts at the top of the neck, spreads to the occipital and parietal parts, then covers the temples and forehead. More often it is unilateral, similar to a classic migraine. It lasts from half an hour to several days, is aggravated by bending or turning the head, active physical movements.

If osteochondrosis affects the fourth and fifth vertebrae, cervicobrachialgia develops. Its danger is similar to a heart attack. The pain is one-sided, sharp, burning, covers the neck, shoulder, and below the shoulder blade, in the hypochondrium, sometimes in the forearm and hand.

Myofascial dysfunction causes cervical migraine. Pulsating or pressing pain from the side of the neck spreads to one side, covers the back of the head, the crown of the head, the temple and reaches the superciliary arches.

In severe cases, additional symptoms are observed: photophobia, redness of the eyes, nausea, physical weakness.

Osteochondrosis of the cervical region can cause various types of vegetative-vascular dystonia:

  • with frequent headaches;
  • violation of thermoregulation, intracranial pressure, breathing;
  • sharp mood swings.

With significant compression of the spinal nerves, speech disorders, numbness of the tongue, and loss of sensitivity of the fingers occur. A person is drunk or under the influence of psychotropic drugs: he pronounces words vaguely, does not immediately respond to what is addressed to him. In advanced cases, malnutrition of tissues and disruption of blood supply lead to a continuous increase in intracranial pressure, a decrease in vision and hearing.

Some facts about the disease:

  • Osteochondrosis of the neck occurs equally often in men and women.
  • Most often, people aged 30-60 get sick.
  • As a rule, the pathology occurs in people who have to constantly be in the same position and perform monotonous actions at work.
  • The cervical spine has some structural features, so the disease can have many different manifestations.
characteristics of cervical osteochondrosis

What features of the cervical spine cause symptoms of osteochondrosis?

  • There are openings in the lateral processes of the vertebrae - on the right and left, the carotid arteries that supply the brain with blood pass through.
  • The initial part of the spinal cord passes through the cervical region - it contains fibers that carry nerve impulses to all parts of the body, providing movement and sensitivity. If there is compression of the spinal cord in the neck, neurological disorders occur throughout the body.
  • This section of the spine has great mobility, which leads to the formation of osteochondrosis (although in most cases the disease still develops in the lumbar region - it not only has high mobility, but also experiences the greatest load).
  • In the neck, the nerve roots come out of the intervertebral foramina and form the cervical and brachial nerve plexuses. They are responsible for movements in neck, arm, shoulder girdle muscles, skin sensitivity, regulation of autonomic functions.
  • The first vertebra does not have a massive front part - the body - it is a ring of bone that is inserted into the tooth - it is a bony protrusion on the second vertebra. This allows the head to turn from side to side.

Neck pains, headaches, feeling of weakness, numbness in the hands are signs that you should consult a neurologist. Examination by a specialist and examination using modern equipment will help to understand the causes of the pathology and take the most effective measures.

Stages and symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis

The first target of the disease is the intervertebral discs. Each disc consists of a pulpous nucleus surrounded by a dense annulus fibrosus. The nucleus pulposus acts as a shock absorber when loaded into the spinal column, while the annulus fibrosus holds the nucleus pulposus in the spinal column.

In conditions of poor blood circulation and nutrition, the tissues of the disc begin to break down. The fibrous ring loosens and loses some of its moisture, becomes thinner and partially loses its shock-absorbing properties. As a result of such changes, the load-carrying capacity of the intervertebral disc decreases and is damaged.

One of the main symptoms of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is a shooting, burning, stabbing pain in the neck similar to "electric discharges". It usually extends to one or both hands.

Some patients complain of excruciating or constant pain, and in addition to the pain, they complain of stiffness of movements, dizziness, headache, and memory impairment.

symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis

In many ways, the nature and severity of pain, as well as accompanying symptoms, depend on the stage of osteochondrosis:

  • 1 stage.Changes occur inside the intervertebral disc - the nucleus pulposus moves and begins to irritate the nerve endings. But in the initial stage, pain usually occurs only during physical exertion, movements, coughing and sneezing, and a person may not feel any discomfort at rest.
  • 2 stages.The fibrous ring loses its ability to hold the nucleus pulposus, the distance between the vertebrae decreases and they are displaced relative to each other. As a result of such changes, it is possible to compress the nerve endings, which causes severe pain. Pain, in turn, forces a person to take a forced position.
  • 3 stages.The fibrous ring is destroyed, an intervertebral hernia is formed. At this stage, the cervical spine is often deformed - its natural curvature is reduced. A herniated disc compresses or irritates nerve roots, causing intense and constant pain in the neck and arms, often accompanied by numbness and muscle weakness.
  • 4 stages.The fibrous ring becomes denser, and adhesions form between the vertebrae. As a result, immobility occurs in the affected area, and pain may even decrease.


You should contact a neurologist with complaints of bad health in osteochondrosis of the cervical spine. During the examination, the doctor determines the origin of the pain. For this purpose, it uses the following methods:

  • he presses his fingers on the region of the cervical vertebra where the nerve roots come out: the resulting pain reaction indicates cephalgia;
  • pressing on the points near the bony protrusions under the lower edges of the ears: after that, the pain attack clearly indicates the development of cervical migraine due to mechanical compression.

A number of instrumental studies are prescribed for the accurate diagnosis of cervical osteochondrosis. Radiography, magnetic resonance and computed tomography remain the leaders. With their help, pathological changes in the structure of bone, cartilage and soft tissues are visualized.

Treatment of cervical osteochondrosis

Medicines are designed to relieve symptoms, restore normal blood circulation, biomechanics of the entire cervical region.

NSAIDs, analgesics, muscle relaxants and antispasmodics are used to relieve pain.

Vasodilators - vasodilators help reduce vegetative manifestations, improve venous flow and prevent edema in the affected area.

Means containing B vitamins and magnesium help to improve the nutrition of nerve tissue cells and reduce negative symptoms.

At the same time, patients are recommended drugs that regulate blood pressure and correct heart rhythm.

Many patients are prescribed tranquilizers, antidepressants, sedatives.

Depending on the severity of the condition, the course of treatment is short or long. Pain relievers are used once or for several days. Means that normalize blood flow and vitamins - 2-3 month courses.

Physiotherapy is prescribed to maintain the effect of drugs:

  • massage of the collar zone;
  • acupuncture and reflexology.

With exacerbation, wearing therapeutic bandages that support the cervical muscles is indicated.

In the absence of exacerbation of osteochondrosis, therapeutic exercises help to stop and prevent VVD symptoms. Gymnastics helps to strengthen the neck muscles, relieves spasms, improves the flexibility of blood vessels and ligaments of the vertebral joints. Training includes movements to stretch soft tissues: deep head bends, turns, rotations.

Patients with osteochondrosis complicated by VVD should arrange their sleeping place carefully. You only need to rest on an orthopedic mattress and pillow, do not drink too much liquid at night to avoid swelling. Work and hobbies related to the unfavorable position of the cervical vertebra should be avoided: tilting the head back or downward.

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Vertigo with cervical osteochondrosis

Vertigo with cervical chondrosis is a common phenomenon in both sexes that begins at the age of 30 and older. The specificity of the lifestyle and some abuses cause the development of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine in adulthood in almost every second resident of our country. There are already patients with problems in adolescence.

It is impossible to overestimate the danger of this pathology: it worsens a person's well-being, contributes to the development of dangerous conditions. Symptoms are various unpleasant sensations.

Causes of dizziness in cervical osteochondrosis

In the article, we will consider whether it is possible to be dizzy and sick for a long time with cervical osteochondrosis, why this happens, why the condition worsens and what to do, how to get rid of anxiety forever.

Due to a very unhealthy lifestyle and regular overloading of the neck region, the condition of the spine in this area gradually changes.

Degenerative changes develop in the intervertebral discs, holes through which the spinal nerves and blood vessels that feed the brain become increasingly narrow.

degenerative changes in vertebrae

The situation is extremely unpleasant and dangerous. The patient feels pain in certain positions of the head and neck with sudden movements. The brain receives less oxygen than it needs, which leads to the development of regular dizziness attacks.

The main causes of dizziness in a person with osteochondrosis:

  1. Compression of the vertebral artery by bone growths. Osteophytes compress the cerebellum and the blood vessels that supply the basal parts of the brain. Its permeability decreases, the amount of blood and oxygen passing through it decreases. In medicine, this phenomenon is called vertebral artery syndrome.
  2. Frank's irritation. Nerve fibers of the sympathetic system surround the vertebral artery, feeling any influence on it. In response to irritation, the nerve causes spasm of the vessel, disrupting its patency. Hernias, formed osteophytes or instability of the cervical vertebrae can cause discomfort.
  3. Subluxation of the upper articular process of the lower vertebra or disc herniation in the neck.
vertebral hernia in the neck

With the manifestation of other symptoms such as dizziness and nausea due to osteochondrosis of the cervical spine, as well as weakness in women, drug treatment is necessary, but only the doctor will decide what to take, which pills will help. comprehensive study of the patient's condition. After all, the causes of dizziness are very diverse.

Different means and methods are used depending on the specific cause of the development of the pathological condition and negative symptoms.

If dizziness, attacks intensify and become frequent, you should understand that it is a really dangerous situation. A person not only risks his life by driving a car or crossing the road, but also provokes the risk of developing encephalopathy due to regular lack of blood and nutrients for neurons.

Additional symptoms

Before deciding what will help the appearance of dizziness in cervical osteochondrosis, what exercises will stop unpleasant attacks, you should not read the reviews of strangers, but evaluate the accompanying symptoms that occur during the development of the disease.

An experienced doctor suggests the degree of development of chondrosis according to such symptoms. It is also able to assess the danger of the situation, to design a diagnostic algorithm. And then - choosing an effective and safe treatment.

Symptoms accompanied by a decrease in the patency of the cervical artery and indicating the need to urgently consult a doctor:

  1. Intermittent tinnitus, possibly pulsatile. Then it gradually spreads over the whole head. As a rule, the attack occurs after being in an uncomfortable position, against the background of physical exertion or severe fatigue.
  2. Cracking, pain when moving the neck.
  3. Sore throat
  4. Darkness of the eyes, cases of short-term fainting when the head is thrown back. In advanced cases, even a sharp turn causes such a reaction.
  5. Attacks accompanied by nausea, up to vomiting, dizziness.

Only a neurologist will tell you after the examination whether the head rotates, not from cervical chondrosis, why it develops and what to do. The sooner the diagnosis is made and the treatment is started, the more effective the measures will be.

If you seek help early, there is a chance to avoid drug treatment and get rid of the problem. There is a risk of delaying a visit to the doctor, leading to the development of a more dangerous condition.


How to treat osteochondrosis of the cervical spine with dizziness, what to do if incoordination of movements develops and what is prescribed in such cases, since each case is unique, you can understand after a complete diagnosis.

Before deciding on a therapy regimen, it is extremely important for the doctor to find out what affects the development of the disease. It is necessary to clarify how quickly it worsens and what are the characteristics of its course. Due to these features, when dealing with regular complaints of dizziness, a comprehensive diagnosis is made.

A neurologist conducts an initial examination, during which:

examination by a neurologist
  • determines the range of symptoms accompanying the course of the disease;
  • according to the results of the physical examination, he finds the characteristics of changes in the cervical region;
  • collects anamnesis, the history of the development of the disease;
  • asks about the characteristics of the patient's life to determine the risk factors that affect the development of the disease.

After that, instrumental examinations will be prescribed:

  • MRI of the brain and neck to determine if changes are already visible and how extensive;
  • An ultrasound of the vessels passing through the neck will show how much the openness of the blood flow and nutrition of the brain is reduced;
  • CT of the cervical spine reveals deviations from the norm of bone structures;
  • electromyography will allow recording the electrical activity of the muscles of the evaluated region;

The correct answer to the question of what to do if your head spins from your neck and hurts is to consult a doctor. The clinic will accurately determine the causes of the bad condition and choose the appropriate therapy.


After determining the specific stage of the disease, the doctor prescribes individual therapy. After all, you may encounter such a phenomenon as occipital nerve neuralgia, and you need to treat it in its own way.

Complex treatment is preferred, which includes:

  • taking medicine (chondroprotectors, anti-inflammatory drugs, etc. );
  • physiotherapy methods;
  • different massage methods;
  • specialized complexes of physiotherapy exercises, exercise therapy;
  • follow a healthy diet.
massage for osteochondrosis of the cervical spine

When you feel dizziness with osteochondrosis of the cervical region, treatment can be carried out both by conservative methods and by surgical intervention.

Operations are performed in situations where the spine is too narrow or persistent hernias have formed.

Effective treatment methods in the early stages are massage and special exercise sets. Compliance with the doctor's recommendations in the preclinical stage of the disease development allows to completely treat it.

The results show physiotherapy methods that allow you to get rid of painful symptoms in a few sessions:

physiotherapy for cervical osteochondrosis
  • classical hand therapy;
  • shock wave methods of impact on the body;
  • hydromassage;
  • laser therapy.

Treatment of cervical osteochondrosis, which is already regularly dizzy, is a necessary urgent step.

This dangerous symptom is an indicator of the development of really dangerous pathologies that can worsen the comfort of human life. And even shorten its duration.


With the help of regular preventive measures, it is possible to prevent the occurrence of unpleasant symptoms or significantly reduce their severity. Many people wonder whether it is effective to use painless means for dizziness due to cervical osteochondrosis, how to get rid of it, how to quickly eliminate the attack, rather than treating the condition at home?

Prevention through lifestyle

We list appropriate measures to prevent the development of the disease:

  • The time spent in the folded position is reduced. For example, on the computer, gadgets or work that requires neck strain and a forward bent head position. Provide an ergonomic workplace.
  • Organization of alternative work and rest mode.
  • ergonomic chair for osteochondrosis
  • Rejection of habits, destructive addictions. It is necessary to reduce the consumption of alcohol and the number of cigarettes smoked.
  • Prepare a place to sleep. Buy an orthopedic pillow and mattress that takes into account the structural characteristics of your spine.
  • Make time for physical activity in your daily schedule, avoid physical inactivity.
  • During the working day, regularly perform a special warm-up. Ideally, you should set aside 5 minutes every hour for exercise.
  • Avoid traumatic activities, extreme sports and excessive physical exertion.
  • Track your body weight. When obesity appears, try to get rid of excess weight as soon as possible.
  • Regularly take special massage courses, learn safe self-massage techniques.
  • wearing comfortable backpacks for the prevention of osteochondrosis
  • Use comfortable backpacks to carry things, avoid bags that create crookedness while walking. Use headrests when traveling while seated.
  • Seek immediate help if injured. Start following medical recommendations from the first days.

Against the background of preventive measures, it is impossible to ignore situations where the neck and back of the head hurt. This is the first symptom of the disease and requires treatment.

Power protection

It is useful to follow a special diet that will support medically induced recovery processes in the neck and cervical spine.

The main principles of nutrition in case of such a problem or a tendency to it:

  • the use of gelling foods in foods that help restore cartilage in the body;
  • maintaining a balance between protein and carbohydrate foods, enough lean meat and fish in the diet;
  • limit excessive consumption of salt and spices;
  • reducing the consumption of acidic, smoked products;
  • reduction in the diet of sweets, including rich products;
  • limiting caffeinated beverages;
  • increasing the share of fresh vegetables and fruits in the daily menu;
  • refusal of fatty and fried foods, fast food.

An important place in the life of a person with a similar disease should be occupied by exercise therapy. They are especially relevant for the elderly or those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. At the same time, a special set of exercises should be repeated every day to get the expected result.

exercise therapy for cervical osteochondrosis

Despite the diversity of traditional medicine, what to do with dizziness due to cervical osteochondrosis, what to drink, how to fight attacks, how to treat a deviation or eliminate a certain symptom, one or another remedy really helps and does it. should be decided by a professional doctor if it causes further harm. An online consultation with a neurologist can help here.

Do not blindly follow the recommendations of friends and try to eliminate the disease without consulting the recommendations of a qualified doctor.

In advanced cases, osteochondrosis can not only reduce the quality of life, but also deprive a person of his ability to work. Therefore, try to notice in time the factors that can cause the destruction of intervertebral discs and, if possible, eliminate or reduce their harmful effects on the spine. If you are concerned about neck pain, be sure to consult your doctor. Only a specialist can determine the stage of the disease, choose painkillers and prescribe physiotherapy exercises or a course of physiotherapy.