What symptoms are associated with cervical osteochondrosis?

Symptoms of cervical osteochondrosisOsteochondrosis is a degenerative dystrophic disease of the spine that leads to destruction of the intervertebral discs and has associated consequences. Osteochondrosis "infects" the entire spine, but symptoms of the disease are most pronounced when the most mobile areas of the neck and lumbar areas are affected. The chest area is least affected.The symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis are diverse and often mimic those of other diseases, making differential diagnosis and early identification of pathology difficult. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis and how to help you suspect this disease.

degree of osteochondrosis

Osteochondrosis is a chronic progressive disease with periods of remission and exacerbation. Obvious clinical symptoms do not appear immediately, but rather after a period of time, when the degenerative process enters the second or even third stage.There are only 4 levels of pathology:
  1. The initial stage is characterized by lesions within the disc. It loses water, leading to degenerative changes, loss of disc height, and rupture of the fibrous capsule. Generally speaking, there are no signs at this stage. Diagnosis can only be made with an MRI of the spine. This is the most favorable stage to start treatment, since in this case the damaged disc can be completely restored, which will not be possible in the future.
  2. Second-degree osteochondrosis is characterized by worsening of disc damage. Their height decreases significantly, causing the spinal muscles and ligaments to sag. All of these can lead to instability of the damaged portion of the spine, increased mobility of the vertebrae, shifting and sliding of the vertebrae relative to each other and the spinal axis. Usually, at this stage, the first symptoms of the disease appear in the form of pain and other symptoms specific to cervical spine pathology.
  3. In the third stage, disc herniation and herniation occur. The symptoms of the disease are fully represented.
  4. The fourth stage is the final stage. In this case, osteophytes and spinal deformity develop. The body attempts to somehow stabilize the damaged portion of the spine, which is why osteophytes, ossification of ligaments, and other processes that lead to vertebral stabilization occur, but unfortunately, this process is accompanied by vertebral subluxation and various types and degrees ofVertebral subluxation. Spinal deformity.
diseased spine

Nature of symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis

Manifestations of cervical osteochondrosis are related to 3 mechanisms of negative effects of this pathology:
  1. Direct compression of the spinal cord as it runs in the spinal canal. It should be noted that this rarely occurs in advanced degenerative processes and their complications. Huge intervertebral hernia extends directly into the spinal canal cavity, which can cause compression of spinal cord nerve tissue; spinal canal stenosis (narrowing) due to degenerative changes; dislocation, subluxation, and fracture of damaged vertebrae.
  2. Negatively affects the structure of the cervical peripheral nervous system (spinal roots and nerve fibers). They may become compressed between adjacent vertebrae or herniated bulges and may become inflamed and inflamed. All of these can lead to many serious symptoms. This is the most common set of symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis.
  3. Negatively affects the blood vessels that pass near the damaged area of the spine. In particular, a very important arterial blood vessel is of clinical significance - the vertebral artery, which passes through the opening of the transverse process of the cervical vertebrae into the cranial cavity and supplies blood to the posterior third of the brain and cerebellum.
Let's consider each set of mechanisms and the symptoms they cause in detail.

Symptoms associated with spinal cord injury

As mentioned previously, it is very rare for cervical osteochondrosis to compress the spinal cord. This is a very serious disease that not only damages a person's health but also takes his life.Damage to the upper cervical spine can be life-threatening. Cardiovascular and respiratory centers are damaged, resulting in immediate death. Tetraplegia (paralysis of all limbs and muscles below the site of injury) occurs when segments 3-4 of the spinal cord are compressed. The respiratory muscles and diaphragm are also affected, which can lead to respiratory arrest and death.If the injury occurs in segments 4-5 of the spinal cord, quadriplegia will occur but no respiratory impairment will occur. When segments 5-8 of the spinal cord are compressed, various muscle groups of the upper limbs will be affected, and leg paralysis and destruction of pelvic organs will occur.

Symptoms related to nerve damage

pain syndrome

First, attention should be paid to pain syndromes, which can be chronic pain (neck pain) or acute low back pain (neck pain). Pain occurs in the neck, headrest, and shoulder girdle. It is usually caused by irritation, compression, and inflammation of the cervical nerve roots, as well as pathological spasm of the muscles in this area that are innervated by these nerves.The pain associated with neck pain is almost constant, painful, and varies in intensity. Generally, the pain syndrome is tolerable. It occurs or worsens with sudden movements, turns, and tilts of the head. Movement of the neck is accompanied by a characteristic crunching sound.Cervical pain occurs suddenly in the form of shooting or electric shocks. It was so intense that it reached one of the hands. It lasts for a few seconds or minutes and then turns into neck pain. It is usually caused by sudden movement and compression of nerves. cervical osteochondrosis pain syndrome

radiculopathy syndrome

All major nerves in the upper limbs (median, ulnar, and brachial nerves) are formed from nerve fibers emanating from the cervical spine. Therefore, in the presence of cervicobrachial osteochondrosis, these neural structures may be compromised. All of these nerves are mixed, that is, they have both sensory and motor functions. Symptoms vary depending on which root is affected. For example, sensitivity in the second or third finger may be lost, and paralysis of one or more muscles may occur. All of these signs of nerve damage are classified into separate syndromes that only a neurologist can determine.

Occipital neuralgia

Occipital neuralgia occurs when the greater and lesser occipital nerves, formed by the second, third and fourth pairs of cervical nerves, are damaged. When these structures become compressed, irritated, or inflamed due to degenerative processes in the spine, headaches develop in the back of the head and are a common complaint among women.This pain is so typical that the correct diagnosis can be made in 90% of cases only by describing it. Also called shooting cranial pain. The pain comes on suddenly, has a unilateral localization (rarely bilateral pain), and the patient compares the quality of the pain to that of an electric shock. The attack lasts a few minutes but can be repeated several times a day. Pain occurs on the posterolateral surface of the neck and radiates upward to the occipital eminence (repeating the anatomical course of the occipital nerve). At the same time, sensitivity disorders (numbness, crawling sensation) may occur in the skin on the back of the head.

cardiac syndrome

The name comes from the fact that this manifestation of cervical osteochondrosis is very similar to angina and other heart diseases. The cause is damage to the nerve fibers that innervate the pectoralis major and phrenic nerves, which are woven into the pericardium of the heart.Heart pain caused by cervical osteochondrosisThe cause of the pain is spasm of the pectoralis major muscle due to pathological impulses along damaged nerve fibers. Also, patients often confuse this pain with heartache. Unlike coronary pain, cervical osteochondrosis pain syndrome lasts longer (sometimes hours or days) and, unlike angina, is not related to physical activity but is related to posture. The pain may worsen with sudden movements, turning the head, coughing, or sneezing, which does not occur with angina. Antianginal drugs (nitroglycerin, etc. ) will not be effective.important! In any case, such symptoms require a thorough differential diagnosis, since atypical variants of angina and heart disease also occur. In order not to miss a serious illness, you first need to do an electrocardiogram. For osteochondrosis, no pathological changes are recorded.

Symptoms associated with vertebral artery injury

Compression of the vertebral arteries during cervical osteochondrosis can cause a number of unpleasant manifestations, which are mainly related to reduced blood flow and hypoxia in the part of the brain supplied by this vessel (the posterior third of the brain and the posterior third of the brain). cerebellum).vertebral artery syndromeSymptoms of vertebral artery syndrome:
  • Diffuse or throbbing headache in the back of the head, temples, and parietal areas;
  • Dizziness;
  • nausea and vomiting;
  • visual impairment;
  • Tinnitus, decreased hearing acuity;
  • Impaired coordination and balance;
  • Having a fall attack (falling suddenly without losing consciousness due to a sudden turn of the head);
  • Memory loss, decreased performance, and difficulty concentrating.
Important to remember! As the spine undergoes significant changes, the arteries become severely compressed, leading to an ischemic stroke in the vertebrobasilar region of the brain. Therefore, it is important to promptly suspect pathology and take all necessary measures to improve the health of the spine and prevent further pathological changes.


What symptoms are associated with cervical osteochondrosis?

Symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis may include neck pain and stiffness, headache, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and tingling or numbness in the arms and shoulders.

How to relieve symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis?

In order to relieve the symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis, it is recommended to perform physical exercises, maintain correct posture, avoid maintaining one posture for a long time, use special pillows and mattresses, and also use physical therapy methods.

Useful tips

Tip #1

Watch for neck, shoulder, and arm pain, which may be a symptom of cervical osteochondrosis. The pain may be sharp, dull, or localized in certain areas.

Tip #2

Watch for numbness or weakness in the arms, fingers, or shoulders, as this may also be caused by cervical osteochondrosis.

Tip #3

Be aware of headaches, dizziness, and tinnitus as these symptoms may also be associated with cervical osteochondrosis.