Low back pain plagues many people, regardless of their age and profession. Loaders and office workers, young mothers and retired gardeners, writers and even athletes suffer from them. In any of them, pathological changes may occur in the bone and cartilaginous tissues of the vertebrae, leading to compression (compression) of the nerve spinal roots, which causes severe pain.
But painful sensations are only external manifestations of the disease. It is often accompanied by other pathological syndromes that require compulsory treatment, the absence of which often leads to disability and the ability to self-care. In other words, a person becomes disabled.
Description of the disease
Osteochondrosis is caused by unnatural compression of the spine, which causes compression of the intervertebral discs and adjacent tissues of the ligamentous apparatus. When squeezed, a liquid leaves the discs, which is responsible for their plasticity and is a source of tissue nutrition with the necessary microelements. With prolonged negative exposure, the fibrous ring of the intervertebral discs loses its elasticity and density, and then breaks, leading to compression of the nerve endings. This is the reason for the appearance of pain, which is often accompanied by edema.
In addition, the outer edges of the vertebrae with an incorrectly distributed load on them become overgrown with osteophytes - growths of bone tissue. They also cause pain and restrict the movement of the spine, exacerbating the problem.
That is, the disease most often occurs with such loads on the spine, which are incorrectly distributed or stereotyped - are monotonous and regularly repeated.
Causes of occurrence
Do not assume that only heavy physical activity or a sedentary lifestyle, in which the muscle framework weakens, leads to osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine. This also happens with very active people involved in sports or working daily at their summer cottage. If their movements are monotonous (lifting the barbell, digging the ground), pressure occurs on the same points, in the area of which the cartilaginous tissues are gradually destroyed.
There are other reasons as well. Among them:
- violation of calcium metabolism in the body;
- excess weight or its serious fluctuations in any direction while following a strict diet, pregnancy, a sharp change in hormonal levels;
- spinal injury or curvature (scoliosis);
- severe one-time hypothermia or regular exposure to cold, dampness;
- depressive conditions, stress;
- constant physical overload;
- bad heredity.
Pay attention. Any strict diets based on the use of one product or on a critical reduction in caloric intake lead not only to a sharp weight loss, but also to the emergence of a deficiency of valuable trace elements in the body. Which is also bad for muscles and bones.
Osteochondrosis is rarely detected in time, since at the initial stage it is asymptomatic. More precisely, there are symptoms, but they are difficult to associate with spinal problems. Therefore, they are most often discovered by accident during a comprehensive examination for other health problems.
There are four stages of disease development. Let's describe the symptoms of each.
|First||At the first stage, sweating processes are disrupted, a person notes general malaise and rapid fatigue. Some patients talk about previously unusual chilliness of the feet.|
|Second||In the second stage, intermittent back pain occurs, indicating that the destruction of cartilage tissue begins.|
|Third||The third stage is characterized by already visible changes. An intervertebral hernia may appear, a curvature of the spine often occurs, and in some cases a hump grows.|
|Fourth||The fourth stage is the most difficult, when there is no need to talk about a complete cure due to irreversible changes in the skeleton. In addition to the proliferation of osteophytes and displacement of the vertebrae, which cause acute pain, problems arise in other organs of the pelvis. Often the patient ceases to control the processes of urination and defecation.|
Methods of osteochondrosis treatment are selected depending on the stage of the disease and the severity of pain. Conservative treatment brings good results only in the initial stages. For example, if osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine was caught at the very beginning, you can get rid of it with the help of special physical exercises, correction of physical activity and body weight, swimming, taking vitamin and mineral complex preparations.
When pain occurs, this is no longer enough. It must be removed along with the cause of its occurrence. Why are medications, traditional physiotherapy techniques and even methods of alternative medicine used? And in the later stages, only surgical treatment is possible.
To relieve pain and swelling, enhance the effect of drugs and reduce their dose, such hardware physiotherapy methods are used as:
- magnetic field effect;
- manual therapy, massage.
Pay attention. Massage helps to relieve muscle spasms, improve blood supply in the area of the affected intervertebral discs, and release pinched blood vessels and nerves. This is done only with the help of hands, but vacuum massage is contraindicated in this disease.
UHT is a relatively new method of treatment, for the implementation of which the most advanced equipment with programmable dosing of shock waves and a system for their guidance is used.
The point is that shock waves destroy osteophytes, restoring cartilage tissue. But healthy bones of the spine, as well as the main arteries, can also be damaged. Therefore, it is very important to make sure that this technology is well developed in the hospital and that the treatment is carried out by a highly qualified and licensed specialist.
Alternative therapy methods
In addition to the standard methods of treating osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine, there are also non-traditional ones. Such methods are constantly being studied and are already being applied in many clinics. These primarily include:
- hirudotherapy or leech therapy helps relieve inflammation and improve blood circulation;
- Acupuncture or acupuncture is an effective way to relieve pain, muscle tension and inflammation. It consists in the introduction of special needles into certain biologically active points of the body;
- ozone therapy - injection of ozone-oxygen mixture. With the correct dosage, this method inhibits the growth of osteophytes and relieves painful muscle tone.
In parallel with these methods of treatment or to record the results achieved with their help, a course of kinesitherapy and therapeutic gymnastics is carried out.
If the disease is started, and conservative treatment does not alleviate the patient's condition, they resort to surgical methods. You cannot do without them if after several months of active treatment it was not possible to relieve pain and improve the general condition of a person. And especially in those cases when problems such as decreased potency in men, disruption of the pelvic organs, numbness of the perineum appeared.
- Endoscopic microdiscectomy - removal of a herniated disc. This is a minimally invasive surgery that relieves compression of the spinal cord or nerve root.
- Laser reconstruction of intervertebral discs can hardly be called an operation. During the procedure, which takes place under local anesthesia, a thin needle is inserted into the affected disc, through which it is irradiated with a laser that stimulates the division of cartilage cells.
- Foraminotomy is an operation to remove the processes of a vertebra or part of a disc, aimed at releasing a pinched nerve.
- Vertebroplasty - the injection of bone cement into the destroyed vertebral tissue in order to strengthen it.
- Osteotomy - removal of diseased vertebrae and discs with their subsequent replacement with prostheses.
There are other methods aimed at stabilizing the vertebrae, decompressing them, removing osteophytes, etc. Any of them requires a long recovery period. After surgical treatment of the spine, the patient should not get up, walk, bend over, or experience physical stress for a long time. This leads to muscle relaxation and partial loss of motor functions, which require support and rehabilitation. Therefore, at the end of the postoperative period, a recovery and rehabilitation period begins, the task of which is to restore motor functions in full, and to prevent complications in the pelvic organs.
At this stage, some of the above-described methods of conservative treatment are applied, correct posture is developed, habitual movements are corrected. In this case, the patient is recommended to wear a special fixing corset. After that, an individual set of exercises is drawn up, which should be performed daily and for life to prevent relapse of the disease.