Can cervical osteochondrosis be cured?

How is cervical osteochondrosis treated? Many patients and doctors around the world have asked this question. Degenerative diseases of the musculoskeletal system are very difficult to treat and lead to numerous complications. In these cases, the issue of effective treatment is extremely important.

cervical osteochondrosis

A patient presented with symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis. Before determining whether cervical osteochondrosis can be cured, it is necessary to understand the nature of the disease. Osteochondrosis is a degenerative process that begins in the intervertebral discs (the layer of cartilage between each two adjacent vertebrae).Picture an intervertebral disc. It consists of an inner soft part - the nucleus pulposus - and an outer shell - the fibrous capsule. It is this that gives the soft part its shape, allowing the core to perform its shock-absorbing function.In osteochondrosis, the main degenerative processes occur precisely in the fibrous capsule:
  1. Defects are formed under the influence of damaging factors.
  2. The soft core of the disc penetrates it - forming the herniation of the disc.
  3. As the process progresses, part of the nucleus pulposus becomes detached - forming a herniated disc.
All of these processes involve inflammation of surrounding tissue. First, a reflex pain syndrome occurs, and then a compression syndrome occurs - the nerve root is compressed by the hernia.
This process can occur in any part of the spine. One of the most common areas is the neck. Can cervical osteochondrosis be cured?

Treatment programs

Knowing the nature of the disease and the mechanisms by which it occurs, we can speculate on what methods may be needed to cure it completely and permanently.Any treatment will have several different effects: symptomatic (eliminating the manifestations of the disease), pathogenic (pathological mechanisms that interrupt development), etiological (causes that directly affect development).In osteochondrosis, the cause is multiple risk factors for the disease. If the disease is already present, it is impossible to affect them. However, preventive measures are specifically aimed at eliminating the cause.Many treatments have a possible causative effect, and this is what we try to find in every approach proposed by modern medicine.The symptomatic effect is also very important. The entire course of treatment prescribed by the attending physician should always include effects on the manifestations of the disease, since it is necessary to alleviate the patient's medical condition during treatment.Among the various treatment methods, we will try to understand the following treatment options:
  • Exposure to drugs.
  • Orthopedic products.
  • physiotherapy.
  • Physical therapy, massage, manual therapy.
  • Spine surgery.
  • Radiofrequency ablation.
A few words need to be said about prevention, which allows you to completely avoid the appearance of the disease.

medical treatement

Drugs to treat cervical osteochondrosisNot all medications prescribed by doctors to treat osteochondrosis will help eliminate osteochondrosis. Many drugs have only symptomatic effects:
  1. NSAIDs – eliminate inflammation.
  2. Muscle relaxants – prevent reflex muscle spasms.
  3. Topical analgesics – relieve pain.
  4. Vascular drugs - used for cervical osteochondrosis combined with vertebral artery syndrome.
  5. Glucocorticoids - These hormonal drugs have significant anti-inflammatory effects.
Nonetheless, several drugs have pathogenic effects. First, chondroprotectants should be mentioned. These drugs are used only in the first stages of osteochondrosis, when a herniated disc has not yet appeared. They slow down the degeneration process and prevent the formation of bumps. It must be taken continuously for a long time, but the therapeutic effect will be quite significant.B vitamins - These medications do not affect the degenerative process itself and do not help treat osteochondrosis. However, it is important to use them in the presence of reflex or compression syndromes. The vitamin supports the metabolism of nervous tissue and prevents nerve death.
Therefore, among all drugs, only timely administration of chondroprotective agents can help get rid of cervical osteochondrosis.

Orthopedic products

Orthotics to relieve cervical osteochondrosisAnother treatment method that is very popular in modern medicine is the use of orthopedic devices. Corsets, bandages and orthotics were widely used.For cervical osteochondrosis, collars are most commonly used, but there are other types of orthotic devices. There is no doubt that these products are effective in eliminating pain. However, can they influence the course of the disease?For the treatment of osteochondrosis, the following features of this type of therapy are important:
  1. Corsets and collars have a compression effect – they put pressure on certain parts of the spine. This prevents the appearance of protrusions and hernias, that is, the formation of complications.
  2. Orthopedic devices always separate the vertebrae from each other in a vertical plane. This helps relieve pressure on the nerve roots and the disc itself.
  3. If protrusions or degenerative changes are present, a corset will not help eliminate them. However, if used regularly, this therapy helps not to remember the manifestations of the disease.
The listed properties should be considered not only by the doctor, but also by the patient, in order to avoid having too high expectations about the use of the bandage.


For cervical osteochondrosis, therapeutic exercise is requiredTherapeutic exercises are one of the most underrated ways patients can treat orthopedic conditions. Regular exercise and activity can help eliminate most manifestations of any disease. Osteochondrosis is no exception. If there are lesions in the cervical spine, physical activity has the following therapeutic effects:
  1. Exercise can help relieve pain, reflex muscle spasms, and compression of the vertebral arteries and other blood vessels. This means that with regular exercise, the need for symptomatic treatment can be reduced.
  2. Exercises help form the muscle bundles in your cervical spine. Well-trained muscles maintain internal structures, including bone and cartilage, and prevent protrusions from forming.
  3. Degenerative changes in the intervertebral disc occur under the influence of excessive, incorrectly applied loads, or deficiencies. Proper exercise prevents degenerative processes and activates blood flow to the disc area.
Even though they know the benefits of exercise, many patients are still too lazy to do it. Get started with training from an expert and then apply it to your daily life. Soon you won't be able to imagine a day without exercise and a range of useful exercises.

Physical therapy and massage

Massage can help relieve tension in neck muscles affected by osteochondrosis. Controversial treatments are physiotherapy and massage. These methods can certainly help relieve some of the symptoms of the disease. Neck massage can help eliminate muscle spasms, and physical therapy can relieve inflammation, pain, and prevent the onset of compression syndrome.But can these methods treat cervical osteochondrosis? The causative effect is achieved only as part of a complex treatment. Physical therapy and massage should be used in conjunction with physical therapy and medication. The effects of different treatments reinforce each other:
  1. Electrophoresis and sonoporation help the drug reach the spine.
  2. Manual therapy can relax muscles after prolonged exercise.
  3. Acupuncture and electromyostimulation combined with exercise therapy can build strong muscle bundles and eliminate pain.
Further examples can be given of the combined effects of various treatments.
We should also not forget that all physical therapy and massage methods increase local blood flow and thus promote metabolism of damaged tissues. As a result, the degradation process slows down or stops completely.

Surgical treatment

A herniated disc in the cervical spine may require surgery. In some cases, disc disease can only be eliminated through surgery. This approach also cannot be considered etiological treatment—the surgeon does not act on the cause of the disease but rather eliminates its consequences. However, in cases where localized osteochondrosis is present, surgery can help permanently eliminate its symptoms.There are many methods of surgical intervention, but most come down to two options:
  1. Discoplasty with palliation. During the operation, all complications of the disease are also eliminated.
  2. Intervertebral cartilage prosthesis or replacement of the entire vertebral body motion segment with a prosthesis.
Regardless of the treatment chosen, cervical osteochondrosis is likely to recur. The disease can affect any other adjacent disc. To prevent this from happening, precautions are taken.You should also keep in mind the need for postoperative recovery. Many of the treatments mentioned above can help restore performance. It is more convenient to combine them during recuperation and treatment.

radiofrequency ablation

Radiofrequency ablation is one of the treatments for cervical osteochondrosisOne very effective and promising treatment is radiofrequency ablation. Not long ago, this method was not known at all, but now ablation is performed in many large cities.The essence of the process is as follows:
  • Special electrodes are applied to the damaged disc through acupuncture.
  • The disc is heat treated using electricity.
  • The nerves in the area of impact and the disc tissue itself are damaged.
  • After ablation, the disc remains between the vertebrae. It does not function as a shock absorber but does not cause pathological symptoms.
The advantages of this method are that it does not require general anesthesia, the operation time is short, and recovery is quick. This technique can be used as the first stage of treatment if symptoms have not been completely relieved.
In most cases, ablation helps eliminate all symptoms of osteochondrosis, but patients are not immune to damage to other discs caused by this disease.


Prevent cervical osteochondrosis through physical activity and proper nutritionFrom the above we can conclude that all modern treatments only help to prevent the progression of osteochondrosis of the cervical spine or only eliminate its manifestations on a specific intervertebral disc. The likelihood of recurrence of the disease and its spread to adjacent cartilage layers is high.This process cannot be eliminated, but it can be prevented. For this reason, various methods are used to prevent osteochondrosis.If this disease is just starting to bother you, has many relatives with it, or if you've already been treated for osteochondrosis, follow these tips:
  1. Especially normalizes physical movement of the spine and neck. Do preventive exercise, swimming, skiing. Don't let your neck sit still for long periods of time.
  2. Eat well and drink well. A balanced diet, free of harmful foods and containing enough protein and calcium, can help prevent this disease.
  3. Eliminate bad habits that may contribute to the degenerative process. First, it's smoking and regular drinking.
  4. When sleeping, use orthopedic assistive devices and a well-fitted mattress to avoid extra pressure on your cervical spine.
  5. If you have a spinal condition or injury, be sure to use orthopedic products.
Simple preventive measures can help support the cervical spine and prevent the development of osteochondrosis.