Lumbar osteochondrosis: symptoms, causes, degrees

lumbar osteochondrosis

Osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine is a pathology that is accompanied by degenerative processes in cartilaginous tissues.

This disorder causes damage to all joints, but the intervertebral discs are predominantly affected.

If you experience lower back pain, consult a doctor immediately. If this is not done, the pathology will lead to serious complications.

What is lumbar osteochondrosis?

This term refers to a disease that causes damage to the intervertebral discs. They are a gel-like substance located in the fibrous ring. The upper and lower parts of the discs are covered with thin cartilaginous tissue.

After some time, the gelatinous mass loses moisture, becomes thinner and less elastic. Under the influence of loads, deformation of cartilaginous tissue occurs. The consequence of these processes is the formation of a protrusion or hernia. The formations cause compression of the nerve roots, which causes the disease.

Lumbar osteochondrosis is quite common and causes negative health consequences. With this disorder, compression of the sciatic nerve often occurs. As a result, there is a risk of severe pain.

Possible complications of the disease

If the treatment of lumbar osteochondrosis is not started on time, the pathology will have dangerous consequences for health. The disease can cause reactive spondylosis. It also causes the appearance of osteoarthritis of the knee or hip joint.

In women, damage to the lumbar vertebrae can cause complications during pregnancy. This is especially dangerous in the third trimester, which is characterized by a heavy load on the spine. In men, degenerative processes cause problems with potency.

In addition, the lack of adequate and timely therapy provokes the following consequences:

  • sciatica;
  • spinal deformity;
  • loss of sensitivity in the limbs;
  • vertebral instability;
  • pathologies of internal organs;
  • radiculitis;
  • complete loss of motor activity.

Main symptoms and signs of lumbar osteochondrosis

Osteochondrosis is characterized by slow development. The diagnosis is often made in advanced situations, when there are serious manifestations. That is why it is so important to identify the signs of lumbar osteochondrosis in time. This includes the following:

  • Pain in the lower back. In the initial phase of the disease, this symptom is only present after lifting weights. As the pathology progresses, the pain syndrome becomes unbearable.
  • Decrease in physical activity. This symptom is caused by compression of nerve fibers. When bending or turning, discomfort occurs that radiates to the legs.
  • Loss of sensitivity in the lower extremities. With the development of osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine, symptoms of numbness are caused by permanent damage to the nerve roots. This symptom waxes and wanes periodically. In this case, the patient feels a burning sensation, numbness, tingling in the lower back and below.
  • Local decrease in skin temperature. It becomes pale, dry and flabby.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Spinal syndrome. This symptom appears in advanced cases. Often, people experience sexual dysfunction and problems urinating.

Causes of lumbar osteochondrosis

The occurrence of osteochondrosis is caused by increased load on the spine. Excessive pressure on the lower back causes the cartilage structure to rupture. The risk of developing the disease increases under the influence of the following factors:

  • Poor posture.
  • Physical inactivity. Lack of physical activity leads to muscle weakening.
  • Calcium metabolism disorder.
  • Chronic lack of micro and macro elements. This may be due to eating disorders.
  • Genetic predisposition.
  • Hypothermia.
  • Stress factors.
  • Strength or extreme sports.
  • Damage to the musculoskeletal system.
  • Overweight.

What are the stages of the disease?

The disease develops gradually. Doctors distinguish the following stages of lumbar osteochondrosis:

  • First, at this stage there is tolerable pain in the lower back, which increases after exercise. This symptom indicates destructive processes in the discs. The person feels a burning and tingling sensation. Sometimes these symptoms radiate to the buttocks.
  • Secondly, at this stage the distance between the vertebrae decreases and the destruction of the fibrous ring occurs. The person feels a sharp pain. When moving, it radiates to the hips, buttocks and legs. The affected area may feel cold or burning. During an attack, the patient is forced to lean in the opposite direction.
  • Third, at this stage the fibrous ring is completely destroyed. The vertebral tissues are severely deformed. This provokes the appearance of an intervertebral hernia. With the development of this degree of osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine, constant high-intensity pain appears.
  • The fourth is accompanied by abnormal disc growth and bone destruction. At this stage, the cartilaginous tissue atrophies significantly. This causes disruption of a person's motor activity and even causes disability.

When should you see a doctor?

If you experience any discomfort in your lower back, consult a doctor immediately. To make an accurate diagnosis, a specialist prescribes diagnostic tests. To do this, a survey and examination of the patient is carried out. The doctor also prescribes x-rays and MRI.

To deal with pathology, complex therapy is used. It should resolve the following issues:

  • stop inflammation;
  • strengthen the muscle tissue of the legs;
  • eliminate pain syndrome;
  • improve metabolic processes and blood circulation;
  • normalize the functioning of the pelvic organs;
  • restore sensitivity.

The pathology is characterized by the progression of pain. In the initial stages, the use of painkillers in tablets is sufficient. In advanced situations, it is impossible to do without injectable medications.

Drug therapy includes the use of the following medications:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They help deal with swelling and inflammation. Thanks to this, it is possible to eliminate compression of blood vessels and fibers and reduce pain. The most effective remedies include Diclofenac, Nimesil.
  • Painkillers. They are prescribed during a period of exacerbation of the pathology, which is accompanied by severe pain. These medications have many side effects. Therefore, they must be prescribed by a doctor. Most often, Baralgin or Pentalgin are prescribed.
  • Muscle relaxants. These remedies help to deal with muscle spasms. This allows you to eliminate discomfort. This category includes Mydocalm, Sirdalud.
  • Glucocorticosteroids. These are hormonal agents that help fight inflammation and improve the functions of the nervous system. Ambene medicine is highly effective.

In addition to medications, the following therapy methods are used:

  • Physiotherapy. Performing special exercises helps to strengthen your muscles. This helps to form correct posture, increase the flexibility of the ligaments and prevent complications of osteochondrosis. Gymnastics improves blood circulation, normalizes metabolic processes, increases the distance between the vertebrae and reduces the load on them.
  • Manual therapy. It involves using individual manual techniques to help manage pain and improve posture. This type of treatment restores motor activity, normalizes blood flow, strengthens the immune system and activates metabolic processes.
  • Massage. This procedure can have a relaxing or tonic effect on the body. With its help, it is possible to reduce muscle load, stimulate blood flow and activate lymphatic drainage. Massage also relieves pain and has a restorative effect.
  • Physiotherapy. For lumbar osteochondrosis, ultrasound, low-frequency currents and a magnetic field are used. This helps to cope with pain, relieve inflammation and normalize blood circulation. Physiotherapy products stimulate recovery processes and increase the effectiveness of medications.

Prevention of lumbar osteochondrosis

To prevent the appearance of lumbar osteochondrosis, you must follow the basic recommendations:

  • avoid hypothermia in the lower back;
  • control posture;
  • exercise;
  • change the position of the body when performing monotonous work;
  • refuse to lift heavy objects;
  • Healthy food.

Osteochondrosis of the lumbar region is a common pathology that causes dangerous complications. To reduce the symptoms of the disorder, it is necessary to consult a neurologist in a timely manner. The doctor will perform diagnostic tests and select appropriate therapy.

How is treatment carried out in a modern clinic?

Medical consultation: medical history, myofascial diagnosis, functional diagnosis.

How is it going?

Collection of anamnesis - analysis of the disease, identification of limitations and contraindications, explanation of the principles of kinesiotherapy, characteristics of the recovery period.

Myofascial diagnosis is a manual diagnostic method in which the doctor evaluates the range of joint movements, determines painful stiffness, swelling, hypo or hypertonicity of the muscles and other changes.

Functional diagnosis (carried out in the rehabilitation room) - the doctor explains how to perform certain exercises on the equipment and observes: how the patient performs them, what range of motion he can work with, which movements cause pain, what weight the patient can work with, how the cardiovascular system reacts. Problem areas are identified. The data is entered on the card. The accents are defined.

Based on the results of the initial medical examination and functional diagnosis, a preliminary individual treatment program is drawn up.

It is advisable to have with you:

  • for back pain - magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography (magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography) of the problem area;
  • for joint pain – x-rays;
  • in the presence of concomitant diseases - extracts from the medical history or outpatient card;
  • comfortable (sports) clothes and shoes

Instructor-led classes

At the beginning of the treatment cycle, the doctor and patient create a treatment plan, which includes the date and time of the treatment session, follow-up visits to the doctor (usually 2 to 3 times a week).

The basis of the treatment process are treatment sessions in the rehabilitation room using simulators and sessions in the gym.

Rehabilitation simulators allow you to accurately dose the load on individual muscle groups, providing an adequate regime of physical activity. The treatment program is drawn up by the doctor individually for each patient, taking into account the characteristics of the organism. Supervision is carried out by qualified instructors. At all stages of recovery, it is important to follow the correct movement and breathing technique, know your weight patterns when working on exercise machines, follow the prescribed treatment regimen and follow the recommendations of specialists.

Joint gymnastics sessions help restore visual coordination, improve joint mobility and elasticity (flexibility) of the spine and are an excellent self-use preventive system.

Each treatment cycle consists of 12 sessions. Each class is supervised by an instructor. The duration of a treatment session is from 40 minutes to 1. 5 hours. The instructor draws up a program taking into account concomitant diseases and the patient's condition on the day of the class. He teaches the technique for performing the exercises and monitors their correct execution. A second consultation with the doctor is held every 6 classes, and changes and additions are made to the program, depending on the dynamics.

How many cycles will be needed? – individually for everyone

It's important to know:

  • How long have you had this problem (stage of the disease)
  • How prepared your body is for physical activity (do you do gymnastics or a sport)

If the disease is in the early stages and the body is prepared, one course of treatment is sufficient. (example - young people 20-30 years old who go in for sports. We focus their attention on the technique of performing exercises, breathing, stretching, excluding "wrong" exercises that are harmful to problem areas. Such patients undergo training and receive the ability to "take care of your body", receive recommendations in case of exacerbation and continue studying on your own).

If the problem has existed for a long time, you don't do gymnastics or you have concomitant illnesses, you will need a different period of time:

  • Relieve the aggravation? One or two cycles are enough
  • Restoring function, walking without stopping (climbing stairs), bending over, performing certain work without effort, remaining still for a long time during travel, improving general condition. Three or more cycles of treatment may be required

Each organism is individual and the program for each patient is individual.