How to treat osteochondrosis

back pain with osteochondrosis

Unfortunately, osteochondrosis is already common for people over 30. Degenerative-dystrophic changes in the intervertebral discs and bones of the spine most often occur due to passive lifestyle, malnutrition, excess weight, hard physical labor and more. The disease manifests itself with severe symptoms in stage 2-4, when the structure of cartilage tissue is completely restored will no longer work. Complications of osteochondrosis (protrusions, herniated discs, osteophytes, etc. ) can lead to reduced quality of life, disability.

Timely treatment of osteochondrosis increases a person's chances of a full life. It is recommended to start therapy in the early stages of its development. In order to stop the development of the pathology and to improve the general state of health, it is necessary to perform a whole set of measures: medication, exercise, physiotherapy, manual exposure. Surgical treatment is performed only in advanced cases, when complications are already present.

Characteristics of the disease

Osteochondrosis of the back begins with the destruction of the intervertebral discs. Under the influence of negative factors, the discs compress the cartilage shell, disrupting the integrity of its outer shell. The height of the disc decreases, it gradually collapses, then the pathology spreads to the vertebral tissues.

There are many factors influencing the development of osteochondrosis of the spine:

  • Prolonged sitting in the wrong position.
  • Passive lifestyle.
  • Overweight.
  • Hard physical work.
  • Back injury.
  • Frequent nervous disorders.
  • Improper nutrition.
  • Hypothermia.
  • hereditary predisposition.
  • Wearing shoes with heels, pregnancy for women, etc.

Help. In stages 1-2, osteochondrosis can still be cured.

Doctors distinguish 4 stages of osteochondrosis:

  • Grade 1 - cracks appear on the fibrous ring, the height of the disc decreases. There is discomfort in the affected area, the back gets tired faster.
  • Grade 2 - the height of the disc continues to decrease, muscles, ligaments sag, vertebral mobility increases. There is pain, especially after exercise.
  • Grade 3 - the discs are slightly displaced, protrusions appear, the likelihood of subluxation or osteoarthritis of the joints of the spine increases. There is a pronounced pain syndrome, mobility is limited, sensitivity is impaired in the affected area.
  • Grade 4 - Osteophytes appear on the vertebrae, so the body stabilizes the spine. Bone growths compress the nerves, injure the vertebrae and increase the risk of fibrous ankylosis (fusion of the joints of the spine).

Important. Osteochondrosis can affect the cervical, thoracic, lumbar segments of the spine.

The disease of the cervical region is manifested by pain in the neck, upper extremities, cephalgia (headache). In addition, dizziness, hearing and vision disorders, etc. may occur.

Thoracic osteochondrosis is easily confused with heart disease because the pain syndrome is localized in the chest area.

Symptoms of lumbar osteochondrosis - aching pains, limited mobility, pain, impaired sensitivity of the lower body.

The clinical picture of osteochondrosis is diverse, so you should not diagnose it yourself. See a doctor if you have any suspicious symptoms.

The scheme for the treatment of osteochondrosis

In most cases, conservative methods are used to detect osteochondrosis. It is important to conduct a comprehensive treatment to get rid of pain, normalize the functionality of the spine and prevent complications.

The treatment regimen for osteochondrosis is as follows:

  • Limit physical activity.
  • Taking medication.
  • Physiotherapeutic procedures.
  • Physiotherapy.
  • Massage.
  • Manual therapy.
  • Stretching the spine.

It is possible to cure osteochondrosis only by combining the above methods. The treatment plan for each patient is prepared separately by a doctor, taking into account the degree of the disease, age and characteristics of the organism.

Effective treatment will help get rid of the symptoms of osteochondrosis in 1 to 3 months. Maintenance therapy is then given for 12 months. This will help consolidate the results, prevent recurrences.

Chondrosis of the back (stage 1 osteochondrosis) can be treated without medication. The patient can perform physiotherapy exercises, reduce the load on the damaged area of the back, use applicators (Lyapko roll, Kuznetsov applicator), improve nutrition, give up bad habits.


It is treated with drugs recommended for exacerbation of osteochondrosis. The drugs will help relieve pain, inflammation, improve blood circulation in the affected area and normalize motor activity.

drugs for the treatment of osteochondrosis

The following drugs are used for osteochondrosis:

  • NSAIDs relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Drugs with vasodilating effect. Used for muscle tension, blood vessels narrow to dilate the lumen and improve blood circulation.
  • Muscle relaxants relax spasmodic muscles, normalize blood flow, relieve pain, improve mobility and accelerate tissue recovery.
  • Chondroprotectors stop the destruction of the cartilage.
  • Psycholeptics based on herbal or synthetic components calm or reduce emotional stress without causing a hypnotic effect.
  • Preparations based on B vitamins accelerate the recovery of damaged nerve fibers.

All these drugs help in the fight against chronic osteochondrosis, only they can be taken for medical reasons.

Opioid non-narcotic analgesics are used to relieve severe pain in the acute period of the disease. Glucocorticoids are used for the same purpose. However, these drugs have a negative effect on the body, so they can be taken as a last resort.

In addition to tablets and injections, creams and gels with a local irritant and warming effect are used during the exacerbation of osteochondrosis.

blockade in osteochondrosis


Complex therapy of osteochondrosis is always complemented by therapeutic exercises. However, the exercises for different parts of the spine are different.

In order not to overload the neck, other muscle groups should be involved during the exercises. The workout starts with warming up and ends with relaxation exercises.

Cervical osteochondrosis complex:

  • Lie on your back, raise your head, fix for 5-7 seconds.
  • Do not change the starting position (IP), put your hands on your shoulders, rotate your elbows in different directions.
  • IP is the same, consistently raise your hands above your head, tearing one and then the second blade from the floor.
  • Press the back of your head to the floor, fix for 4 seconds.
  • Connect the blades, hold for 5 seconds.
  • Turn to the side, rest your head on your hands, lift the free limb with your head, fix for 4 seconds. Repeat for the other side.
  • Lie on your stomach, place your hands on the back of your head, lift your head, fix for 4 seconds.

If you feel severe pain and dizziness, stop training and see a doctor.

Help. Thoracic osteochondrosis is less common than cervical or lumbar, as it is the least mobile. It is also strengthened by muscles and ribs.

Exercises for lesions of the thoracic segment of the spine:

  • Lie on your back, bend your knees, press them to your chest with your hands, slightly lift your lower back off the floor, tighten your abdominal muscles, hold for 5 seconds.
  • SP the same, raise your arms, straighten your legs, find out the opposite arm and leg, fix. Repeat for other limbs.
  • Turn on your stomach, spread your arms to the side. Lift your arms and head off the floor, fix for 3 seconds.
  • Stand on all fours, raise your head, bend your back as you inhale, lower your head as you exhale, round your back.

Move smoothly, avoid sudden movements.

therapeutic exercises for osteochondrosis

The following exercises are used to treat lumbar osteochondrosis:

  • Lie on your back, consistently pull your knees to your chest.
  • PI the same, remove the right arm and leg, then the left limb.
  • Put your hands behind your head, tear it off the floor, at the same time pull your socks towards you.
  • Bend your legs at the knees, extend the right knee to the left leg and then back.
  • Perform the "Bike" exercise back and forth.
  • Turn sideways, turn your legs up.
  • PI the same, pull your knees to your chest.
  • Stand on all fours, take turns, move your arms to the side.

These exercises help to stretch and relax tense muscles, increase blood circulation and lymph flow.

There are many more exercises. To make a complex that suits you, consult a doctor.

Physiotherapeutic procedures

Physiotherapy helps relieve pain, reduces inflammation, improves blood circulation and trophism.

The following physiotherapy procedures are used in the treatment of osteochondrosis:

  • Drug electrophoresis helps relieve pain in the presence of neurological disorders.
  • Electrotherapy improves blood circulation, tissue nutrition.
  • Laser therapy relieves inflammation, anesthetizes, accelerates tissue healing, activates biological processes in nerve tissue.
  • Shock wave therapy improves local blood circulation, metabolic processes, reduces swelling, pain.
  • Detensor therapy - pulling the spine under the weight of your own body weight. Helps get rid of excruciating pain syndrome.
  • Balneotherapy is a complex of procedures with fresh, mineral or sea water. After a course of treatment the pain is relieved, blood microcirculation improves.

In addition, diadynamic therapy, amplipulse therapy, ultrasound, magnetic therapy and vibration therapy can be used for osteochondrosis.

Help. Osteochondrosis is treated with bees, this technique is called apitherapy. During the procedure, bee venom is injected into biologically active points to increase the effect of complex treatment. Insect venom relieves pain, improves mobility, blood microcirculation, conduction through nerve pathways, increases the elasticity of intervertebral discs.

Manual therapy

In the treatment of osteochondrosis the patient is shown not only massage but also manual exposure (soft and hard).

manual therapy for osteochondrosis

With the help of massage the specialist normalizes muscle tone, improves blood circulation, restores the activity of nerve cells. The session begins with kneading and rubbing, these techniques help prepare the body for further exposure.

After a warming massage, the doctor proceeds to mobilization and motorization. During the procedure, it gently acts on the joints of the spine, gradually increasing the amplitude. Automation consists of movements performed by the patient himself under the supervision of a physician. These procedures help to increase the interstitial space, reduce blood stasis in the veins and improve trophism.

To restore the correct position of the displaced vertebrae, the doctor proceeds to the technique of manipulation. He makes sharp and quick movements in the affected areas, placing the vertebrae in their usual place. Helps relieve pain, muscle spasm, improve mobility.

attention. Manual therapy for osteochondrosis can cause serious complications (fracture, vertebral displacement, damage to nerves, blood vessels, ligaments or muscles). To prevent this, you need to find an experienced specialist.

Hardware treatment and orthopedic appliances

Osteochondrosis treatment devices can be used at home, but only after a doctor's approval.

In addition, for back health, the patient can use orthopedic devices. A special pillow or roller helps to unload the neck and waist, used during rest or during transport. A medical collar is used to maintain the physiological curves of the neck. Posture correctors, corsets improve posture, unload the thoracic, lumbosacral segment of the spine.

Help. You can wear corsets and concealers for no more than 2-3 hours a day. This regimen will help avoid muscle weakness.

A special belt is used for the lower back. It can be worn to work while exercising.

Folk remedies

Complex therapy can be supplemented with effective folk remedies. However, cervical, thoracic and lumbar osteochondrosis are accompanied by different symptoms, so different recipes are used to treat them.

Folk remedies for the treatment of the neck:

  • Hold the burdock leaves over the steam for 5-10 minutes, attach them to the neck, fix with a bandage. You can also soak gauze in burdock decoction and use it as a compress.
  • Make a decoction of birch leaves, apply a compress on the affected area.
  • Peel a horseradish root, squeeze the juice, mix with vodka (1: 1), rub the neck.
  • Pour 250 g of needles in 1 liter of boiling water, leave for 30 minutes. Drink twice a day after meals.

Also, with cervical osteochondrosis, you can take baths with coniferous decoction.

If the chest area is affected, use the following recipes:

  • Mix dandelion root, mint, birch buds, coriander in equal proportions. Pour 100 ml of boiling water 3 tbsp collection, cook 5 minutes on medium heat. Add 75 g of butter and sunflower oil to the warm mixture, cook for another 20 minutes. Rub the warm ointment on your back.
  • Grind black radish or horseradish, squeeze the juice, rub the affected area.
  • Boil wormwood or flaxseed, put them in a cloth bag, apply on the chest.

At home you can knead your back with a belt massager.

If the lumbosacral area is affected, use the following means:

  • Drink decoctions of cranberry leaves, thyme, hop cones, cinquefoil.
  • Apply a compress of horseradish juice or raw potatoes.
  • Rub the waist with an ointment of 200 g of melted lard mixed with beeswax and marsh roots.

Also, in lumbar osteochondrosis, you can wear a woolen belt, which has a warming effect.

Before using any folk remedies, consult your doctor.

Surgical intervention

Surgery is prescribed in the presence of complications that are accompanied by tingling in the extremities, severe prolonged pain, involuntary urination or defecation. Surgical treatment of cauda equina syndrome (compression of the nerve endings of the lower spinal cord) is also needed.

surgery for osteochondrosis

Surgical techniques will help eliminate the cause of the pain and stabilize the spine:

  • A facetectomy is the removal of facet joints that compress nerve bundles.
  • Foraminotomy - enlargement of the lumen of the root canal by removing the osteophyte. After the procedure, the nerve is released from the disorder.
  • Laminectomy is the removal of the back of a deformed vertebra that compresses the spinal cord.
  • Laminotomy is used to widen the opening through which nerve roots pass.
  • Discectomy - removal of the affected disc or part of it with an intervertebral hernia. This is a minimally invasive endoscopic operation, after which the patient recovers faster.
  • Corpectomy is the removal of the entire vertebra and the discs that are adjacent to it. The free space is then filled with a bone graft.

Spinal fusion (vertebral fusion) is performed to avoid destabilization of the spine. Also for fixing the vertebrae are used special screws, rods, plates.

attention. After the operation there is a risk of complications: damage to the spinal cord, nerve bundles, infection of the affected area, urinary disorders, etc. Therefore, surgery is performed only in extreme cases.

Rehabilitation after surgery can take several months. During this period, the patient must give up physical activity, bad habits, follow the recommendations of doctors.


According to patients, it is very difficult to completely cure osteochondrosis. Those who conduct complex therapy at an early stage of the pathology get rid of the pain and improve their physical shape. Patients seeking help at an advanced stage of the disease still suffer from recurrences of osteochondrosis.

First examination, female, 42 years old

"I was diagnosed with grade 2 osteochondrosis of the neck. Initially, she was treated with analgesics and muscle relaxants (injections, tablets), then took a chondroprotector and did gymnastics. She also visited a manual specialist. After a few months, the pain disappeared. I plan to take the course again to consolidate the result. I do gymnastics every day.

Second examination, female, 38 years old

"I started having low back pain about 2 years ago. When I couldn't stand it anymore, I went to the doctor. I was diagnosed with osteochondrosis of the neck, the rheumatologist prescribed medication, physiotherapy, massage. Approximately 2 weeks after starting treatment, the symptoms almost completely disappeared. Now I do gymnastics, go to the pool for prevention.

Third examination, female, 41 years old

"I was diagnosed with osteochondrosis of the neck, as well as a hernia from C5-C6. I took medication, went to a massage, to an osteopath and for 2 years I have been doing gymnastics regularly. However, nothing helped, the pain disappeared for a while, plus my hands began to tingle. The doctor prescribed a discectomy, after the operation the condition improved, but not for long. I think you will have to be treated for the rest of your life. "

The most important

As you can see, osteochondrosis requires long-term treatment and self-discipline. Therapy should be comprehensive: drugs (in the acute period), exercise therapy, physiotherapy, massage, manual exposure. The patient must change his lifestyle, exercise regularly, give up bad habits, eat right, use orthopedic devices. You can supplement the therapy with medical devices and folk remedies, but only after the approval of the doctor. In the presence of complications, surgery is performed, followed by prolonged rehabilitation. The patient should strictly follow the doctors' recommendations to speed up recovery.