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Spondylosis, what is it? Causes, types, symptoms and treatment of spondylosis

In medicine, there are various names of diagnoses. And by their endings, as in epaulets on a military uniform, one can accurately understand which category the disease belongs to. So, all inflammatory diseases have the suffix "-it".

These are hepatitis (inflammation of the liver), encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), periostitis, myositis, and many other diagnoses. Tumors and neoplasms end with “-om” (sarcoma, chondroblastoma, meningioma).

And those diagnoses that are manifested by excessive growth or change of a specific type of tissue, their configuration, or a violation of the structure, in general its abnormal development and the formation of non-viable structures, end in "-toz".

These diseases include, of course, osteochondrosis, amyloidosis (which is characterized by the accumulation of an abnormal protein - amyloid), a serious congenital disease - cystic fibrosis. These diseases include spondylosis. What does it mean and how does it develop?


Spondylosis - what is it?


Translated from the Greek, "spondilon" means a vertebra. Therefore, spondylosis is an excessive proliferation of vertebrae with a violation of their configuration. But the vertebra cannot turn into a shapeless bone mass, and grow where it pleases. After all, all the vertebrae are interconnected by special facet joints and ligaments, and the spinal cord passes through their central openings.

Therefore, only their free edges can grow in the vertebrae, which come into contact with other vertebrae due to abnormally high pressure or other reasons. These marginal bone growths are called osteophytes, or bone spines.

Parallels can be drawn: osteochondrosis is dystrophy and degeneration of cartilage tissue with deformation of intervertebral discs, and spondylosis is the same process, but not with the cartilage disc, the inlay, but from the bone tissue side.

Spondylosis can lead to several important manifestations:

  1. Vertebral deformity;
  2. Violation of the internal structure of the bone tissue of the vertebra, which is accompanied by a decrease in its strength;
  3. Narrowing of the spinal canal;
  4. Restricted mobility, and the appearance of crunch and pain in the back, neck;
  5. Periodic irritation of the spinal ligamentous apparatus, especially of the anterior longitudinal ligament. This ligament is quite tight to the vertebrae, and the appearance of spike-like bone growths under it can have a long and painful effect.

Causes of spondylosis

Like any dystrophic - degenerative lesion of the musculoskeletal system, spondylosis never appears suddenly. It does not happen that a person goes to bed with a completely healthy back, and in the morning he has pronounced osteophytes in all parts of the spine, which would manifest with the corresponding symptoms.

Spondylosis, like osteochondrosis, occurs slowly over a number of years. The most important causes of spondylosis are as follows:

  • Chronic, permanent injuries of the ligament apparatus of the spine. This may be due to swelling of the ligaments, to which deeper vertebrae react;
  • Long sedentary work and uncomfortable body position, with a significant vertical load. It has been shown that office workers who did not break away from computers and did not do prophylactic gymnastics during the working day after three years of such a regimen show the first signs of spondylosis, and after five years of work, its incidence can reach 25-35%;
  • Not only immobility, but also strong, short-term loads that can dramatically increase the pressure on the vertebrae, lead to the development of spondylosis. As a rule, this occurs when the Sunday load at the dacha and when digging the "potatoes" of those persons who stayed motionless at the desk all week, and on weekends allowed themselves a pronounced load on their backs;
  • Unfavorable heredity. It has been shown that with the development of spondylosis in parents, the risk of injury to children increases;
  • Age changes. In older people, bone tissue contains less organic compounds and is more fragile;
  • Osteoporosis , especially in postmenopausal women, is also a significant risk factor;
  • Overweight. A simple argument shows that in this case there are the greatest chances for the development of lumbosacral spondylosis as the most exposed to the load;
  • In some cases, the causes of spondylosis may be infectious diseases with tropism (affinity) of pathogens to the musculoskeletal tissue (brucellosis, tuberculosis). Most often, the result is a complex inflammatory - degenerative lesion, called spondylositis spondylitis;
  • Of course, aggravating diseases, such as diabetes, poor nutrition, deficiency of certain substances in the diet can also lead to bone weakness, and as a consequence - to the development of spondylosis.

Below we consider the options for the most common lesions of the spine, in the cervical and sacral parts of the spine.

Spondylosis of the lumbosacral spine

Spondylosis of the lumbosacral spine

What is spondylosis of the lumbar spine, we found out earlier. It now remains to describe its symptoms and preferential localization. As in the case of osteochondrosis, the most frequent is the localization of osteophytes in areas 4, 5 of the lumbar vertebra and the upper site of the sacral bone, on which the whole human spinal column rests. So, the symptoms of spondylosis in this location will be:

  • Pain when moving, bending the body, especially in the anteroposterior direction. But since the irritation of the longitudinal ligament is a continuous process, the pain does not disappear even at rest, but is of a constant and aching character;
  • A characteristic feature that helps the diagnosis - the disappearance of pain, or a significant relief when bending the body forward. If you stand or sit like that, "curled up", then the pressure of osteophytes on the compacted ligament weakens, which leads to a reduction in pain;
  • If the disease is neglected, the radicular symptomatology joins with the constant pain, due to the involvement of the lumbar roots. There are phenomena lumbosacral radiculitis, with a sharp increase in pain when coughing, sneezing, straining;
  • When these phenomena are possible conductive disorders of sensitivity, such as numbness or "crawling", the appearance of paresthesias. There may be periodic weakness in the legs, lameness, weakness in the foot due to a disruption of the motor nerve root.

Spondylosis of the cervical spine, symptoms

Spondylosis of the cervical spine, symptoms Since the spine is a homologous structure, cervical spondylosis is the same pain and dysfunction.

Only the proximity of the head allows us to make the correct assumption that during spondylosis there can be not only pain in the cervical region, but also headaches, which leads to an overall deterioration of health and efficiency. In addition to these pains, spondylosis of the cervical spine is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Severe limitation and crunch when you try to turn your head to the side, sometimes this crunch is heard by others, and even at a far distance;
  • In advanced cases, in complete analogy with the lumbar spine, radicular cervical syndromes may occur. They manifest discomfort in the corresponding hand on the affected side. There may be tingling, paresthesia, decreased sensitivity. In case of damage to the motor roots, there is a feeling of weakness in the fingers. Perhaps the development of hypotrophy in the muscles of the hand with osteophyte lesion of motor roots, and even the development of paralysis;
  • The well-known “syndrome of the vertebral artery” may also develop due to pronounced spondylosis. At the same time, symptoms such as transient visual disturbances, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting may occur.

Complications of spondylosis

If all of the above is not enough to create a complete picture, then here are two complications that spinal spondylosis can cause:

1) Hernia development in the corresponding section of the spine. It is difficult to say whether spondylosis will cause hernia. But if osteophytes are adjacent to the intervertebral disc, then such a complication is only a matter of time;

2) Compression of vessels and the central channel, with the development of the picture of myelitis. These complications, as a rule, are the result of a deeply advanced process. When the vessels are compressed, the picture of the vertebral artery syndrome most often occurs, with a violation of the blood supply to the brain regions. But sometimes an anterior cerebrospinal artery occlusion syndrome, called the Adamkevich artery, can develop.

This vessel feeds most of the spinal cord below the lumbar enlargement. With significant compression, spinal cord infarction, sometimes called Spinal Transfiguration, can develop. It is characterized by the following picture:

  • flaccid, peripheral paralysis at the level of the lesion (lower back), and below - spastic symptoms with hypertonicity of the muscles of the extremities and lively reflexes;
  • violation of pain sensitivity, as well as temperature below the level of occlusion;
  • dysuria and bowel movement disorder.

The treatment of spondylosis of the lumbosacral spine with this complication by conservative methods is ineffective, the patient needs operative methods for decompression of the spinal cord and restoration of spinal blood flow. Therefore, with the appearance of such symptoms of spondylosis, urgent hospitalization in a neurosurgical or vertebral hospital is needed.

Such a stationary institution, for example, could be the CITO in Moscow and the Institute for Traumatology and Orthopedics (Research Institute of Traumatology and Orthopedics, where the eminent surgeon Ya. L. Tsivyan, who is considered the founder of domestic spine and spinal surgery) worked.

But this is an emergency. How to treat spondylosis with therapeutic methods?

Spondylosis treatment - drugs and techniques

Spondylosis Treatment Like any long-lasting disease, which is not prone to giving life-threatening exacerbations, there are many frankly charlatan techniques around the spinal spinal osteochondrosis that promise a “complete cure”.

In fact, bone growths that have arisen on the body of a vertebra can only be removed in one way - by biting them with special bone clippers, which are included in the arsenal of instruments of traumatologists and neurosurgeons. All other ways and promises to “remove growths”, except for the operational ones, are ineffective.

The only thing that can be done is to change the load on the vertebrae and prevent further growth of osteophytes with the help of a complex of exercise therapy, unloading the spine, wearing special corsets and reclinators. It is also possible with the help of drugs and non-medicinal methods to remove pain syndrome, which is expressed with the defeat of the longitudinal ligament.

Thus, spinal spondylosis, the treatment of which is performed by centrally acting muscle relaxants "Mydocalm", "Sirdaloud", nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can be translated into an inactive form.

But the main treatment of spondylosis is physical therapy, swimming, and such, for example, techniques like acupuncture, which immediately relieves pain.

  • Treatment of cervical spondylosis is reduced to wearing a Schantz collar, improving cerebral blood flow and preventing the formation of cervical hernias.
  • Lumbar osteochondrosis and spondylosis are sometimes suggested to be cured with the help of shock wave therapy or shock wave therapy. But if, in the case of protrusion, the elastic cartilage can be put in place, then the dense bone can only be broken. And a breakaway osteophyte can cause serious complications, causing compression of large vessels and the spinal cord.

Especially you need to be careful when developing the process in the cervical spine, since the proximity of the brain and the possibility of compression of large vessels is an increased risk of stroke.

Therefore, it is necessary to know the reserves of the main blood flow of the arteries of the head and neck, and to undergo extracranial dopplerography in a timely manner, as well as to conduct an x-ray study of the cervical spine with rotating samples, to be sure of the stabilization process.


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