Osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine is a pathology that is accompanied by degenerative processes in cartilage tissue.
This disorder leads to damage to all joints, but the intervertebral discs are predominantly affected.
If you feel pain in the lower back, consult a doctor immediately. If you do not do this, 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 found in the annulus fibrosus. The upper and lower parts of the discs are covered with thin cartilage tissue.
After some time, the gel mass loses moisture, becomes thinner and less elastic. Under the influence of the load, cartilage tissue is deformed. The result of these processes is the formation of a bulge or hernia. The formations cause compression of the nerve roots, which causes the disease.
Lumbar osteochondrosis is quite common and causes negative health consequences. In this disorder, pinching 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 lead to dangerous health consequences. The disease can cause reactive spondylosis. It also provokes the appearance of osteoarthritis of the knee or hip joints.
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 large load on the spine. In men, degenerative processes cause problems with potency.
In addition, the lack of adequate and timely therapy causes the following consequences:
- spinal deformity;
- loss of sensation in the limbs;
- instability of vertebrae;
- pathologies of internal organs;
- complete loss of motor activity.
Main symptoms and signs of lumbar osteochondrosis
Osteochondrosis is characterized by slow development. Often, the diagnosis is made in advanced situations, when severe manifestations are present. That is why it is so important to recognize the signs of lumbar osteochondrosis in time. This includes the following:
- Lower back pain. In the initial stage of the disease, this symptom is present only after lifting weights. As the pathology progresses, the pain syndrome becomes unbearable.
- Reduced physical activity. This symptom is caused by compression of nerve fibers. When bending or turning, there is discomfort that spreads to the legs.
- Loss of sensation 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 periodically waxes and wanes. In this case, the patient feels burning, numbness, tingling in the lumbar region and below.
- Local reduction of skin temperature. It becomes pale, dry and flabby.
- Excessive sweating.
- Spinal syndrome. This symptom occurs in advanced cases. People often experience sexual dysfunction and problems with urination.
Causes of lumbar osteochondrosis
The appearance of osteochondrosis is caused by an increased load on the spine. Excessive pressure on the lower back causes breakdown of the cartilage structure. The risk of developing the disease increases under the influence of the following factors:
- Bad posture.
- Physical inactivity. Lack of physical activity leads to muscle weakness.
- Disorder of calcium metabolism.
- Chronic lack of micro- and macroelements. This may be due to an eating disorder.
- Genetic predisposition.
- Stress factors.
- Strength or extreme sports.
- Damage to the musculoskeletal system.
- Excess weight.
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 lumbar region, which intensifies after exercise. This symptom indicates destructive processes on the disks. The person feels burning and tingling. Sometimes these symptoms radiate to the buttocks.
- Second, in this phase, the distance between the vertebrae decreases and the annulus fibrosus is destroyed. The person experiences sharp pain. When moving, it radiates to the hips, buttocks and legs. The affected area may feel cold or sting. During an attack, the patient is forced to lean in the opposite direction.
- Third, at this stage the fibrous ring is completely destroyed. Vertebral tissues are severely deformed. This causes an intervertebral hernia. With the development of this degree of osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine, there is constant pain of high intensity.
- The fourth is accompanied by abnormal disc growth and bone destruction. At this stage, the cartilage tissue atrophies a lot. This causes a person's motor activity disorder and even disability.
When should you see a doctor?
If you feel any discomfort in the lumbar region, consult a doctor immediately. In order to make an accurate diagnosis, the specialist prescribes diagnostic tests. To do this, a survey and examination of the patient is carried out. The doctor also prescribes X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging.
Complex therapy is used to solve the pathology. It must solve the following problems:
- stop inflammation;
- strengthen leg muscle tissue;
- eliminate the pain syndrome;
- improve metabolic processes and blood circulation;
- normalize the work of the pelvic organs;
- restore sensitivity.
The pathology is characterized by the progression of pain. In the initial stages, the use of tablet analgesics is sufficient. In advanced situations, it is impossible without injectable drugs.
Drug therapy includes the use of the following drugs:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They help fight swelling and inflammation. Thanks to this, it is possible to eliminate compression of blood vessels and fibers and reduce pain. The most effective drugs include Diclofenac, Nimesil.
- Analgesics. They are prescribed in the period of exacerbation of the pathology, which is accompanied by severe pain. Such drugs have many side effects. Therefore, they must be prescribed by a doctor. Baralgin or Pentalgin are most often prescribed.
- Muscle relaxants. Such drugs help to resolve 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. The medicine Ambene is very effective.
In addition to drugs, the following methods of therapy are also used:
- Physiotherapy. Performing special exercises helps to strengthen the muscles. This helps to form a proper posture, increases the flexibility of ligaments and prevents 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 the use of individualized 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 regenerative effect.
- Physiotherapy. Ultrasound, low-frequency currents and magnetic fields are used for lumbar osteochondrosis. This helps to relieve pain, relieve inflammation and normalize blood circulation. Physiotherapy products stimulate recovery processes and increase the effectiveness of medicines.
Prevention of lumbar osteochondrosis
To avoid the occurrence of lumbar osteochondrosis, you should follow the basic recommendations:
- avoid hypothermia of the lower back;
- controlling posture;
- change body position when performing monotonous work;
- refuse to lift heavy objects;
- Healthy food.
Osteochondrosis of the lumbar region is a common pathology that causes dangerous complications. In order to reduce the symptoms of the disorder, it is necessary to consult a neurologist in a timely manner. The doctor will conduct diagnostic tests and select an adequate therapy.
How is treatment carried out in a modern clinic?
Consultations with a doctor: medical history, myofascial diagnostics, functional diagnostics.
How is it going?
Collection of anamnesis - determination of the disease, limitations and contraindications, explanation of the principles of kinesitherapy, characteristics of the recovery period.
Myofascial diagnostics is a manual diagnostic method in which the doctor assesses the range of motion of the joint, determines painful tension, swelling, hypo- or hypertonus of the muscles and other changes.
Functional diagnostics (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, what movements cause pain, what weight the patient can work with, how the cardiovascular systemthe vascular system reacts. Problem areas have been identified. The data is entered into the card. Accents are set.
Based on the results of the initial examination by the doctor and functional diagnostics, a preliminary individual treatment program is drawn up.
It is recommended to have with you:
- for pain in the spine - MRI or CT (magnetic resonance or computer tomography) of the problem area;
- for joint pain - X-rays;
- in the presence of accompanying diseases - excerpts from the medical history or ambulatory card;
- comfortable (sports) clothes and shoes
Lessons with an instructor
At the beginning of the treatment cycle, the doctor and the patient draw up a treatment plan that includes the date and time of the treatment, subsequent visits to the doctor (usually 2-3 times a week).
The basis of the treatment process is treatments in the rehabilitation room on simulators and sessions in the gym.
Rehabilitation simulators enable precise dosing of the load on individual muscle groups, providing an adequate regimen of physical activity. The treatment program is drawn up by the doctor individually for each patient, taking into account the characteristics of the body. Supervision is provided by qualified instructors. In all stages of recovery, it is important to adhere to the correct movement and breathing technique, to know the weight standards when working on devices, to adhere to the prescribed treatment regimen and to adhere to the recommendations of experts.
Joint gymnastics sessions help to restore visual coordination, improve joint mobility and elasticity (flexibility) of the spine and are an excellent preventive system for independent use.
Each treatment cycle consists of 12 sessions. Each lesson is supervised by an instructor. The duration of one treatment session is from 40 minutes to 1. 5 hours. The instructor compiles the program, taking into account accompanying diseases and the condition of the patient on the day of the lesson. He learns the technique of performing exercises and follows the correct execution. Every 6 hours, a second consultation with the doctor is held, they change and supplement the program, depending on the dynamics.
How many cycles will it take? – for everyone individually
Important to know:
- How long have you had this problem (stage of disease)
- How is your body prepared for physical activity (do you do gymnastics or any sport)
If the disease is in an early stage and the body is prepared, one cycle of treatment is enough. (example - young people 20-30 years old who play 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 acquire the skills of "taking care of their body", receive recommendations in case of deterioration and continue learning independently).
If the problem has existed for a long time, you do not do gymnastics or you have accompanying diseases, then you will need a different time period:
- Ease the aggravation? One or two cycles are enough
- Restore function, walk without stopping (climb stairs), bend over, perform certain tasks without effort, stay still for long periods of time on a trip, generally improve. Three or more treatment cycles may be required
Each organism is individual, and the program for each patient is individual.