Osteochondrosis does not cause pain, but osteochondrosis may cause pain at the same time. At first glance, the situation is strange. However, after reading this article, you will become a true expert not only on this subject, but also on: What is Osteochondrosis? what is the reason? What are the signs and symptoms? How is osteochondrosis diagnosed? What are the effective treatments? What does prevention of this disease include? There are many other issues.

What is osteochondrosis?

To understand what osteochondrosis is, you need to dig into the history. The term was coined in 1928 by Christian Georg Schmorl. But the strange thing is that Schmoll is a pathologist, and as you know, he has no one to ask: "Where does it hurt? " (sorry, dark humor). In studying pathological material, Schmoll discovered previously unknown changes at the junction of bone and cartilage, particularly in the area of the intervertebral disc. After describing the changes, all that's left is to give them a name. To do this, he took the Latin word "bone"/os and the Greek word "cartilage"/chondros and combined them to get the term osteochondrosis.What is osteochondrosis, and what exactly does Schmorl call it? Turns out, it's not pain at all, nor is it a feeling in general. For the term osteochondrosis, Schmoll specified the following three variations:
  • Reduced disc height;
  • Subchondral sclerosis;
  • Marginal bone growth.
Translated into ordinary language, this means that the height of the disc decreases and the surface of the vertebrae adjacent to the disc becomes denser and grows in the form of an edge. This is the original meaning of osteochondrosis, proposed by Christian Georg Schmorl.


Signs of osteochondrosisLet us again note the fact that Schmorl did not describe osteochondrosis as a disease, but only changes in tissue, and these are different things. The concept of "disease" is broader; it includes complaints, symptoms, laboratory and radiological changes, treatment and prevention methods.But Schmoll wrote nothing of the sort, and in general he did not consider osteochondrosis a disease. But why are people accustomed to saying that osteochondrosis is a disease, but why are they interested in its causes, signs, symptoms, and treatment of osteochondrosis?But the fact is Schmoll has followers. So they decided to find out how osteochondrosis manifests itself and what symptoms would bother a person? It was found that osteochondrosis itself does not directly cause pain and other sensations. This is because there are no pain receptors in the vertebrae and discs. Since there are no receptors, there is no pain. In the case of hair and nails, it's easy to understand - there are no receptors or pain when you cut them.The second important finding is that osteochondrosis is part of a general degenerative process that covers all our organs and tissues. Malnutrition is the breakdown of tissue nutrition at the cellular level; it lasts throughout life and gradually ages our bodies. That said, osteochondrosis is essentially part of the aging process. But, as you know, details matter. The detail is that not all degenerative processes are as painless as osteochondrosis. In particular, dystrophic pathology of the muscles surrounding the spine is almost always associated with pain. After all, unlike vertebrae and discs, muscles have pain receptors. A classic example is myofascial syndrome. It often occurs simultaneously with osteochondrosis and is painful. Now, remember, at the beginning of the article we said that osteochondrosis itself does not cause pain, but pain is possible? Therefore, it is these cases, adding the pathology of pain to painless osteochondrosis (the same myofascial syndrome), that perfectly explain the meaning of what is said. Types of osteochondrosisYou may ask, where is the answer to the question, why is osteochondrosis customarily said to be a disease? Well, actually, we're close to it. The fact is that although osteochondrosis itself is not a disease, the term "osteochondrosis" has taken root in our language as a starting point for the study of degenerative processes, and over time it has become a disease. A slang term for all spinal disorders.

Causes of osteochondrosis

The reasons can be divided into external reasons and internal reasons.Internal (endogenous) causes include, first of all, the degenerative processes we discussed above. This also includes genetic predispositions, as well as hormone, mineral, vitamin, protein and other metabolic disorders that prevent bone and cartilage tissue from receiving necessary nutrients. All of these are so-called biological factors and can certainly be influenced, but doing so is rather difficult and expensive. Still, there are some simple and inexpensive ways you can achieve equally convincing results by eliminating only external causes.External (exogenous) causes are considered to be a sedentary lifestyle, poor training of the spinal corset muscles, microtrauma to the back and spine, insufficient physical activity, lazy habits, "sedentary" work, persistent stress situations, lack ofPreventive visits to the chiropractor and more.As you can see, external causes are largely due to our wrong behavior, such as insufficient physical activity, or our inaction and neglect of health, such as neglect of prevention.Agreed, external causes are easier to eliminate than internal ones. Of course, there are also patients who cannot do without medication due to internal diseases, but they are only a very small minority. In most cases, elimination of external causes of osteochondrosis is enough to obtain convincing results at a lower cost. It requires a bit of self-discipline, basic physical activity, and regular visits to the chiropractor.

Signs and symptoms of osteochondrosis

Symptoms and signs are generally divided into those occurring within the spine and those occurring outside the spine.Which symptoms of osteochondrosis do you think could cause more problems? In fact, a lot depends not only on the symptoms themselves, but also on other factors: age, weight, whether the patient has concomitant diseases, etc. But let's get back to the symptoms of vertebral osteochondrosis: as we said, they are vertebral, they are also called vertebral and extravertebral - extravertebral. Extravertebral symptoms, in turn, are divided into two groups—reflex symptoms and radicular symptoms of osteochondrosis.For simplicity, the classification of back symptoms is best stated as follows:
  • vertebrate/vertebrate
  • Extravertebral/extravertebral: radicular symptoms and reflex symptoms
Spinal symptoms of osteochondrosis include curvature of the spine (not to be confused with scoliosis), localized pain, muscle tension, and impaired mobility.Radicular symptoms occur due to the impact on the nerves leaving the spine. It manifests as hyporeflexia, muscle weakness, impaired sensitivity, and radicular pain.It is necessary to explain here that all our vertebrae, discs and "roots" have certain names. Therefore, we can talk about radicular symptoms only when all these symptoms and signs clearly point to a specific "root cause" and not when any "bulldozer" of pain is called a radicular symptom.Very rare but dangerous signs and symptoms of osteochondrosis are paresis, paralysis, and destruction of pelvic organs. They indicate the development of spinal cord stroke. This is a serious complication of osteochondrosis in which the radicular artery is affected.stages of osteochondrosisReflex symptoms mainly depend on which part of the spine is affected. Statistically, the cervical spine is most commonly affected.The essence of cervical osteochondrosis is a large number of reflex symptoms. Pain in neck, back of head and collar area. Vertebrae creak, muscles tense, and movement becomes difficult. Headache. Dizziness. Intracranial pressure. Morning stiffness. Numbness, tingling, goosebumps, and weakness in arms. Pain in the shoulder and under the shoulder blade. Burning sensation between shoulder blades and in the heart area (reminiscent of angina). Numbness of hands or fingers. There is a "lump" in the seventh cervical vertebra. The eyes temporarily become dark or "floaters" appear. Noise or ringing in the ears. Nausea, even vomiting. Stress surges. The state before fainting. A lump in the throat due to osteochondrosis, weakened voice, hoarseness, a feeling of lack of air, difficulty swallowing, and a sore throat due to osteochondrosis—all of these are fairly common reflex symptoms. Sleep disorders, frequent insomnia, and feeling tired in the morning may also occur. General weakness. irritability. Fatigues quickly.As you can see, the signs and symptoms of osteochondrosis are very diverse. This is especially true for reflex symptoms.

Diagnosis of osteochondrosis

Diagnosis is the key to correct treatment. Modern hardware diagnostic methods can accurately confirm this diagnosis. As you know, MRI and CT are considered the most accurate tests. However, as before, the main factor in making the diagnosis remains clinical. An experienced doctor will compare data from at least three sources: the patient's chief complaint, MRI results, and symptoms discovered during the exam.This diagnostic method enables you to establish an accurate diagnosis and develop an effective treatment plan. Healthy and Diseased Spine

Effective treatment of osteochondrosis

Only by strictly adhering to scientific methods can osteochondrosis be effectively treated. This means that, first of all, proper prioritization is necessary when choosing the type of primary and auxiliary treatment for vertebral osteochondrosis.What do you think is the most important treatment? You don't have to be a doctor to answer this question. You just have to follow logic. Osteochondrosis is a pathology of the musculoskeletal system. The system is biomechanical in nature. The key word is "mechanical". Therefore, mechanical diseases require the same mechanical treatment approach. Therefore, the main treatment method for osteochondrosis is manual therapy. It is ideal for restoring the biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system. Auxiliary methods include drugs, physical therapy, massage, exercise therapy, etc. And also know that of all types of manual therapy, the safest type is gentle manual therapy. It is superior to traditional manual therapy in terms of effectiveness, gentleness and safety. To understand the chiropractor's approach to osteochondrosis, you need to know that the intervertebral disc is the only part of the body that does not have blood vessels and is nourished by the normal function of the spinal muscles. These muscle dysfunctions immediately impair the nutrition of the intervertebral disc. As we said at the beginning of the article, malnutrition is a very degenerative process, of which osteochondrosis is a part.Effective treatment with gentle manual therapy is fundamentally different from traditional manual therapy. This is not at all "vertebral realignment" as some people think - it's something entirely different. Gentle manual therapy is a set of special effects that can eliminate muscle spasms and tension. Restores normal physiological function of muscles and improves nutrition of intervertebral discs.The doctor's observation consists of three stages:
  1. consult. The doctor identifies the symptoms that are bothering the patient, clarifies the medical history, studies the patient's medical files, analyzes images and determines the nature of the disease.
  2. diagnosis. Perform a thorough examination and clinical examination of the patient: visual and myofascial diagnosis; palpation of tense muscles and painful vertebrae; neuroreflex testing and muscle testing.
  3. Treatment Plan. The doctor makes a diagnosis and selects a treatment plan based on the patient's current medical history, examination data, and clinical examination results. The doctor explains the nature of the disease and treatment principles to the patient in detail, and answers all the patients' questions.

Prevent osteochondrosis

Prevention is necessary to avoid recurrence. To do this, you need to create comfortable working and resting conditions. Stay physically active. Avoid overexertion. Monitor proper nutrition and weight. But the most important thing is not to neglect your health.Remember, prevention starts with medical supervision and timely correction of the musculoskeletal system. Try to visit a chiropractor at least every three to six months. This will reduce risk factors and eliminate violations promptly. Advanced osteochondrosis can lead to complications - herniation and disc herniation. Don't forget this. take care of yourself!