Even relatively healthy people sometimes receive a vague diagnosis of osteochondrosis. Special treatments for the back.
There are hundreds of situations where back pain is a symptom of a formidable specific disease that needs to be diagnosed and treated by an appropriate specialist. But even a relatively healthy person once discovers that a terrible back pain overtook him, he runs to the doctor and receives a vague diagnosis of osteochondrosis. The consciousness of a traditional person reacted to this diagnosis with the usual axiom - that “time heals everything,” and this was probably a good way. A modern person living under the motto “there is a problem - there is a solution!” Is often not ready to come to terms with reality. What is it?
The essence of the process
Osteochondrosis is an inevitable consequence of bipedal locomotion, our payment for the transition to an upright state. The vertebral column, created by nature to redistribute weight in a horizontal position, is not designed for prolonged vertical loads.
Evolution goes on, of course, but millennia will pass before the final adaptation, but in the meantime we are paying for upright posture with lifetime wear of the intervertebral discs.
The severity of the problem is that the vertebrae have a canal inside them, through which the bone marrow passes. At each level of the intervertebral joints, a pair of nerve bundles emerge from the bone marrow, and the supplying blood vessels also pass between the transverse processes. The processes of the spine are necessary not only to protect the spinal cord, create a bone arch, a channel. Ligaments are attached to the processes, which make up the frame of our body, and muscles, which allow us to perform a variety of movements.
Between the vertebral bodies is cartilage, which consists of an elastic core, which springs under vertical loads, and a rigid capsule, which holds the contents of the core, like a car tire or the shell of a soccer ball.
With age, the nutrition of the intervertebral cartilage is more and more disrupted, the cartilage loses its elastic properties, the intervertebral space is reduced. With the reduction of the intervertebral space, the transverse processes of the vertebrae come closer together. This is bad, since between them are nerve fibers that leave the spinal cord, as well as blood vessels that provide nutrition to the nerve and bone tissue.
There is a loss of mobility of the spine - both due to a decrease in the articular space, and due to the growth of bone outgrowths - osteophytes.
The meaning of this compensatory reaction is to reduce the mobility of the intervertebral processes, to prevent further compression of blood vessels and nerves.
Gradually, nevertheless, the vertebrae come closer, "sit" on each other, and individual levels, segments cease to receive nervous regulation and vascular nutrition. There is a pain syndrome, and then trophic disorders.
This process is also irreversible, like the growth of entropy. However, there are factors that accelerate disc destruction.
First of all, it is hard physical work. In second place is the presence of an uncomfortable forced posture, in third place - metabolic diseases, malnutrition, intoxication, smoking, back injuries.
What injuries can cause pain?
First of all - rupture of the membrane of the intervertebral disc, and the release of its contents towards the nerve trunks, compression of the herniated disc of nerve fibers or blood vessels.
The second is the destruction and subsidence of the disc, a decrease in the lumen of the holes, irreversible compression of the nerve bundles by bone structures.
Third - damage to the musculo-ligamentous apparatus with improper load, the inability of the damaged muscles to keep the spinal column in a stable position.
And the easiest is the reflex contraction of the overworked muscles, as a result of which there is a temporary reversible compression of the nerve bundle on the side of the lesion.
And, of course, a combination of all of the above factors to varying degrees.
The first malnutrition of cartilage is found in humans as early as adolescence. Therefore, any adult is a priori subject to all the risks of osteochondrosis. The triggering mechanism for the development of pain syndrome is, of course, local muscle overload and mechanical compression of the nerve trunks due to improper movements.
Of all the movements in the spine, the safest is to lean forward.
Lateral tilts create conditions for the "clamping" of the nerve roots on the side of the tilt.
Extension backward results in a bilateral decrease in nerve exit openings.
Shock and “explosive” loads, especially when combined with axial compression, are more guaranteed to cause damage than monotonous and prolonged movements with little load. Jumping and lifting weights in an awkward position are the most dangerous. Carrying a bucket of cement in your hand ten steps is much more dangerous than transporting a centner of earth in a wheelbarrow two hundred steps at a time.
Therefore, it is the lateral bends, work with a lateral bend and excessive extension of the back that often lead to the appearance of back pain. Especially if the extension is combined with a longitudinal load - for example, lifting weights above shoulder level. From this, a practical conclusion - do not try to throw a heavy object on a shelf without a stand.
Prolonged re-extension of the neck is especially dangerous in the presence of cervical osteochondrosis. The well-known "Syndrome of the Sistine Chapel", when elderly tourists, after looking at the ceiling paintings, have transient disturbances in the blood supply to the brain.
Prolonged loading in a monotonous position will surely lead to muscle overload, and this will also cause pain. Therefore, gymnastics is still preferable to work in the garden.
Overload due to non-physiological posture while performing work. The simplest example is lifting weights from the ground on straight legs. In this case, the spine is in a critical position, keeping it as a single structure is extremely difficult. Lifting the same weight from a squat position, with a straight back, close to the body, by straightening the legs is much safer.
Factors preventing destruction
1. The best method of recovery is safe physical activity in a favorable physiological position.
With a moderate load, there is a rush of blood to the working muscles, respectively, the nutrition of both the adjacent ligaments and bone structures improves.
Ideally, when this positive load is not associated with vertical compression of the intervertebral discs. Therefore, swinging your back while lying on a mat is preferable to lifting dumbbells while standing, and swimming in water is preferable to doing exercises on a mat. There is a reasonable compromise in everything, however, and regularity can make up for comfort.
2. Creation of a muscle corset.
A strong muscular corset prevents excessive mobility, displacement of the vertebral bodies and pinching of the nerve trunks. At the same time, strong muscles are less susceptible to local overloads and minor injuries due to local injuries.
The condition of the muscles of the back is checked by a simple test: if the palm, placed on the lower back, rests on elastic muscle rollers, between which the bone structures are “sunken”, then the condition of the muscle corset is recognized as good. But, if the palm rests on a rigid ridge formed by the spinous processes of the vertebrae, and the muscles are practically not felt, then we can conclude that the muscle corset is practically absent.
3. Adequate nutrition, containing the necessary proteins, vitamins and minerals, a favorable climate.
In general, emaciated people are more susceptible to accelerated destruction of the spinal column. The southern climate is preferable to the northern one.
In general, for the assessment and prognosis, the ratio of muscle weight to total body weight is used - the better it is, the better the tissue nutrition, the "younger" the body, in the sense of "biological age".
Problems - do it yourself
1. A good way to accelerate biological aging is unbalanced diet, smoking, alcoholism.
2. Abuse of extracts.
Spinal traction is prescribed by doctors in extreme cases, when the compression of the nerve trunks cannot be compensated for in any other way. Usually it is carried out under strict control, dosed in time and intensity. For example, on an inclined plane, in water.
Even such stretching is only a temporary measure, requiring mandatory follow-up efforts to restore the muscle corset.
Unfortunately, there are “craftsmen” who literally hang their patients with a load tied to their legs. Nothing is guaranteed, except for the risk of rupture of the membranes of the intervertebral discs, such a rigid traction does not give. At a young age, the consequences of such "treatment" can still be compensated for, in old age it is fatal.
3. Abuse of manual therapy
As mentioned above, the bony growths of the vertebrae limit the mobility of the spinal column, but protect the nerve trunks emerging from the intervertebral foramina from fatal compression.
The temptation to "restore its former mobility" to the spine can be great, and now a specialist with skillful movements destroys bone growths that prevent excessive mobility of the vertebrae. It is good if the patient has a powerful muscle corset that compensates for excess mobility. But if the muscles and ligaments no longer "hold", an uncontrolled displacement begins, and the patient, at best, will wait in bed until the bony processes limiting excess mobility recover again.
Special healing methods
This is a universal method that has practically no contraindications. The very presence in the aquatic environment already removes us from the destructive influence of gravity (which is the primary cause of pathological reactions). The need to keep the head above water strengthens the long back muscles and restores the "muscle corset". The work of the muscles of the shoulder girdle and legs improves the ratio of "muscle weight to total body weight", starts the restoration of the correct metabolism.
2. Yoga asanas.
Lack of sudden movements, a lot of static work with the back muscles, regular exercise, proper nutrition - all this triggers the "rejuvenation processes" in the body. This system has been perfected and tested for thousands of years, and its health benefits are evident. Of course, we are talking about traditional yoga, when the body of the adept is gradually and slowly prepared and strengthened. And this praise does not apply when a commercial instructor puts his students in a headstand in the second session, regardless of age or spine condition.
3. Chinese wellness practices
Oddly enough, the slow, unhurried movements of Taijiquan also have a beneficial effect on the state of the back. The reason is probably because the Chinese are strictly following the principle of "do no harm", the complex exercise slowly improves the muscle / total body weight ratio, and the exercises develop a positive thinking style aimed at regular training.
Supplements and vitamins
The market is the market, and demand creates supply. Probably, over time, we will see more and more specialization in the field of medicine, which is associated with the treatment or compensation of osteochondrosis. The advances in medicine and the real lengthening of an active life make the problem of osteochondrosis more and more urgent. The emergence of a large number of dietary supplements, analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs, vitamin complexes, hormonal drugs require a qualified approach to this problem. The peculiarity is that before buying the proposed drug, you need to conduct the necessary research and interpret them correctly, and this can only be done by a specialist.