Female cervical osteochondrosis

Neck pain in women with cervical osteochondrosisCervical osteochondrosis (CS) is one of the most common pathologies of the musculoskeletal system. Every year, doctors are diagnosing the disease with increasing frequency and severity. Statistically, degenerative dystrophic changes in the upper spine are more common in women, especially postmenopausal patients. The main symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis in women are pain, limited mobility, and insufficient blood supply to the brain, which is not only harmful to health, but also life-threatening. In order to protect yourself from the dangerous consequences of pathology, you need to start treatment at an early stage. It is important to undergo complex treatments and lifestyle changes to halt the destruction of spinal segments and prevent serious complications.

disease development

The cervical spine is most susceptible to various injuries and degenerative changes. This is because this area has the most mobility and the muscles here are weaker. The small cervical vertebrae bear heavy loads every day, causing the intervertebral discs to gradually be destroyed. The vertebrae put pressure on each other, causing the cartilage pads between the vertebrae to lose a lot of fluid and begin to degrade and deform.In addition, cervical osteochondrosis is caused by insufficient nutrition of cartilage tissue. And the spinal canal in this area is narrow, so it's often compressed, causing neurological symptoms.Early pathological manifestations in women include heaviness in the back of the head and tingling in the hands. Patients often confuse the first symptoms of the disease with fatigue.There are a large number of blood vessels and nerve roots in the neck, and when they are compressed, nerve disorders can also occur. This is especially dangerous if a deformed disc or vertebra compresses the vertebral artery that supplies important parts of the brain. When it becomes squeezed, coordination of movements is impaired, and women may lose balance, suffer loss of vision and hearing, and have an increased risk of stroke.
refer to.According to statistics, cervical osteochondrosis is more common in patients aged 25-40 years. This is due to a massive reduction in physical activity and sedentary work. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease than men because their vertebrae are more fragile and their bone tissue is thinner.
Doctors divide spinal osteochondrosis into 4 stages:
  • Stage 1– The intervertebral disc loses some of its moisture, its height decreases, and cracks may appear in the annulus fibrosus (shell). This is the stage of cervical chondrosis, which can be difficult to identify because there are no obvious symptoms. The neck will tire quickly, and the damaged area will feel uncomfortable, heavy, and sometimes slightly painful, but it will pass quickly.
  • second stage– Increased cracks in the disc surface, and the nucleus pulposus (the gel-like contents of the disc) moves and may protrude from the damaged area. This is how a cartilage-lined protrusion occurs, compressing the spinal cord and its roots. Periods of severe pain, weakness, limited movement, and possible numbness of the face, neck, shoulders, and arms.
  • The third phase– The herniation breaks through the outer shell of the disc, causing a hernia. Pain becomes more pronounced and neurological disorders develop.
  • Stage 4– The intervertebral disc is almost completely destroyed, the vertebrae rub against each other, and bony growths (osteophytes) appear on their edges, the purpose of which is to stabilize the damaged segment. Nerve endings, spinal cord, and blood vessels are affected. Adjacent joints begin to become damaged. The clinical symptoms are obvious.
The degenerative dystrophic changes in the first two stages of spinal osteochondrosis are most easily prevented. In the third stage, a combination of treatments will help stop further destruction of the spinal segments. In the final stages, surgery is inevitable.


Spinal osteochondrosis is a complex and lengthy process that often has multiple causes. In most cases, the pathology occurs due to a sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition, and metabolic disorders. The disease usually occurs due to injury or the natural aging of the body and its weakened defenses.Doctors identify the main causes of osteochondrosis of the spine in women:
  • Disrupts metabolic processes.
  • Passive lifestyle.
  • Genetic susceptibility.
  • Chronic muscle tension around the neck.
  • Posture is distorted.
  • Lack of water and nutrients in the body.
  • Remaining in an uncomfortable position (neck stretched forward, back hunched) for long periods of time.
  • Being overweight.
  • Wear high heels often.
  • The store was injured.
  • Lift something heavy.
  • Autoimmune diseases.
  • Constant stress, chronic fatigue.
  • Low temperature.
  • Infectious diseases.
  • The neck is too long or too short, etc.
All of these factors can cause disc dystrophy and lead to its degeneration.Cervical osteochondrosis in women may be caused by vertebral artery pathology associated with genetic predisposition, intrauterine disease, and childbirth injury. This disease can occur due to rheumatism, endocrine disorders, excessive cervical load during pregnancy, local overload, etc.
important.The main cause of cervical osteochondrosis in women is menopause and the changes associated with this period. During this stage, the concentration of progesterone in the body decreases, which is very important for bone tissue. The possibility of degenerative changes is related to age-related weakening of the neck muscles and weakening of the vertebral support in the area.


Osteochondrosis is characterized by a wave-like course, with acute phases replaced by remission phases. Infection, injury, hypothermia, and long-term neck strain may worsen the condition.Suffering from cervical osteochondrosis, pain radiates to the shoulderThe first symptoms of cervical osteochondrosis in women are headache, discomfort, and neck heaviness. It is important to promptly differentiate pain caused by rickets from migraines or autonomic dysfunction.The clinical manifestations of spinal osteochondrosis in women are caused by neurological syndromes:
  • Cervical pain occurs when nerve endings become irritated by fragments of damaged cartilage lining. There is then a specific tightening sensation in the neck, and the pain becomes more pronounced when moving the head and after sleep.
  • Scalene syndrome is the result of vascular and nerve damage to the brachial plexus and subclavian artery. This symptom complex is accompanied by pain from the inner surface of the shoulder on the injured side to the hand. The limbs become pale, cold, swollen, and numb. When the patient turns his or her head, the neck pain may extend to the back of the head.
  • Humeral periarticular syndrome - dystrophic changes affecting the tendon fibers surrounding the shoulder. Pain radiates from the neck to the shoulders and shoulder girdle. The neck has a forced position - tilted toward the affected side, with the shoulders slightly lowered.
  • Vertebral artery syndrome - blood vessels become compressed by damaged disc fragments or osteophytes (depending on the stage of the disease). Patients experience dizziness, headache, nausea, and sometimes vomiting. The pain is concentrated in the back of the head, top of the head, and temples.
  • Heart-spinal nerve tracts damaged. Heart pain and arrhythmias occur. If C3 is damaged, patients will experience symptoms such as pain in half of the neck, swelling of the tongue, and the inability to chew food normally. If C4 is injured, discomfort will occur in the shoulder girdle, collarbone, and heart area. When C5 is affected, the pain response spreads from the neck to the shoulder girdle, the inner surface of the shoulder. C6 irritation can cause pain from the neck and shoulder blades to the shoulder girdle and spread throughout the arm to the thumb. If C7 is damaged, the pain syndrome can spread to the back of the shoulder girdle, affecting the entire hand, including the index and middle fingers. When C8 is compressed, pain spreads from the affected area to the elbow and little finger.
In addition, a woman's emotional sphere may be disturbed, weakness may occur, she may become anxious and sensitive. Insomnia often occurs, and memory and concentration are weakened by frequent headaches.Symptoms of a cerebrovascular accident occur when a woman suddenly tilts her head back or tilts her head back or performs tasks that put pressure on her arms and cervical spine, such as digging, painting ceilings, or carrying heavy objects.Symptoms of poor cerebral circulation include dizziness, unsteady gait, dark spots in front of the eyes, tinnitus, weakness, nausea, etc. Some patients' voices become hoarse, sometimes disappear, and they develop sore throats.Osteochondrosis during menopause is accompanied by migraines and increased sweating of the body in the area between the neck and shoulder girdle. When the vertebral arteries become compressed, the function of the cardiovascular system is disrupted.
If the disease persists for a long time, circulatory failure occurs in important centers that perform neuroendocrine functions. Atherosclerosis occurs in the cerebral and cardiac arteries due to increased permeability of the vessel walls.

Create a diagnosis

If you notice symptoms of osteochondrosis, see a therapist. After a visual examination, the specialist will refer you to an orthopedic surgeon, chiropractor, or neurologist.The following methods are used to diagnose cervical osteochondrosis:
  • X-rays can allow us to detect displacement of the patient's vertebrae, osteophytes on the edges, decreased distance between vertebrae, etc. For this purpose, research is conducted on different planes. To detail the characteristic changes, the doctor will take targeted photos.
  • Cervical spine CT scans provide detailed information about pathological changes in the vertebrae. This method allows you to acquire three-dimensional images for more detailed study; it is used in serious diagnostic cases.
  • MRI is used to accurately assess the condition of the soft tissues (nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, muscles) in the affected area.
  • Electromyography checks the electrical conductivity of nerve fibers.
The doctor may also perform an ultrasound scan (Doppler ultrasound of the brain's aorta) to determine the status of blood flow in the area.

Conservative treatment

In the early stages, treatment of osteochondrosis of the spine in women can be done at home. However, doctors must develop a treatment plan. It's important to understand that this is a lengthy process, and full recovery is unlikely (especially in older women).Complex treatments include:
  • take medicine.
  • Use orthopedic devices.
  • physiotherapy.
  • Physical therapy procedures.
  • Massage, manual effects.
  • Alternative therapies.
A conservative approach will help relieve pain, inflammation, normalize muscle tone, improve metabolic processes, nourish the damaged segments of the spine, etc. With timely treatment, pathological changes can be prevented.Medications to treat cervical osteochondrosis will help eliminate inflammation and painOsteochondrosis of the cervical spine in women is treated with medications that help improve metabolism of the cartilage pads between vertebrae, relieving inflammation and pain. The following drugs are used for this purpose:
  • NSAIDs. They will help relieve mild or moderate inflammation and pain.
  • Painkillers. relief the pain.
  • Drugs that improve cerebral circulation.
  • Muscle relaxants help relieve muscle spasms.
  • Chondroprotectant. They help stop disc destruction, improve metabolic processes, and speed recovery.
  • Magnesium-based medications.
  • Nootropics. They stimulate brain function by normalizing blood circulation and have a mild sedative effect.
refer to.For severe pain that is not relieved by oral medications, therapeutic blockade may be used, such as with anesthetic solutions or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Treatment can be supplemented with anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications in the form of gels, creams, and ointments. They will be effective during the remission phase or in combination with oral medications.The choice of drug combination is decided by the doctor. A specialist will develop a medication regimen and determine its dosage. It's important to follow his advice because many of the medications mentioned above can cause dangerous complications.In the acute phase of spinal osteochondrosis, women should avoid strenuous physical activity. To relieve pressure on your cervical spine, you need to wear a special corset (Schants collar), which holds the vertebrae in the correct position. This device is recommended for use during long periods of sitting or heavy manual labor.Physical therapy procedures will help relieve pain and improve circulation to the damaged area:
  • Dynamic therapy.
  • Magnet therapy.
  • Use anesthetics, glucocorticoids, and proteolytic agents for electrophoresis.
  • Electrical analgesia.
  • UV irradiation, etc.
The therapeutic effect appears after about the third course of treatment. Headache, hearing, visual impairment, and dizziness weaken or disappear, sleep becomes normal, and general condition improves.Using underwater traction on the neck can widen the distance between vertebrae, release compressed nerves or blood vessels, and restore the normal position of the vertebrae.Massage will normalize muscle tone and reduce the flow of lymph fluid that causes swelling. After several sessions, blood circulation in the damaged area will improve.Therapeutic exercise is an effective treatment for cervical osteochondrosisTherapeutic gymnastics is one of the most effective methods of treating osteochondrosis of the spine. Exercise therapy can strengthen weak neck muscles to bear some of the load on the spine, helping to prevent or slow down degenerative changes. During exercise, blood circulation is improved, metabolic processes and intervertebral disc nutrition are accelerated, which positively affects their condition.Women should exercise every day. They consist of simple but effective exercises. This complex includes turning, tilting the head in different directions, and movements of the neck, during which the arms are used. These elements can be performed at home, but only with your doctor's permission. Physical therapy is only performed during the remission phase.Comprehensive treatment may be supplemented by reflexology (acupuncture), leech therapy (leech therapy), swimming, etc.


This surgery is performed in the final stages of spinal osteochondrosis, which is accompanied by severe destruction of the osteochondral structure. Furthermore, surgical intervention cannot be avoided if conservative approaches are ineffective or if the spinal canal is significantly narrowed. In the above cases, an anterior cervical discectomy is performed. During the surgery, the doctor stabilizes the damaged portion of the spine and removes the hernia that is pressing on the spinal nerves. The vertebrae from which the discs were removed are then fused. If necessary, the spaces between the vertebrae can be filled with synthetic inserts (cages).The patient was discharged home after 3-5 days. The recovery period is approximately 12 weeks. To speed up your recovery, you will need to take medications, wear a corset, maintain a healthy lifestyle, undergo physical therapy, and finally exercise therapy.

lifestyle advice

In order to quickly get rid of the unpleasant symptoms of osteochondrosis and prevent degenerative dystrophic changes in the neck, you need to adjust your lifestyle. To do this, patients must follow the following recommendations:
  • Take a walk every day and avoid explosive activities such as running and jumping.
  • Do not carry heavy objects.
  • You cannot sit for long periods of time; in extreme cases, wear a corset and assume a horizontal position regularly.
  • Perform special physical exercises for the back muscles at home.
  • Sleep on an orthopedic mattress and special pillows.
  • Follow dietary habits and supplement foods rich in magnesium and calcium (nuts, dairy products, seafood, beans) as well as plant fiber and chondroitin (aspic, jelly). Avoid greasy, fried, salty foods and alcohol. Your doctor will advise you on nutritional rules in more detail. But no matter what, it has to be right.
Hypothermia should not be allowed; warming up without inflammatory processes will be beneficial.


If cervical osteochondrosis is not treated promptly, women may experience the following pathological consequences:
  • The possibility of herniation, over time, turning into a hernia. The bulge compresses the spinal cord and its nerves, causing neurological disorders.
  • Osteophytes occur when the discs are severely damaged and irritate the spinal nerves and blood vessels.
  • In advanced cases, the neck muscles may be severely weak or incompletely paralyzed, and the head may then involuntarily drop to one side or forward.
  • The vertebral artery becomes compressed and blood circulation in the affected area is impaired. This condition can cause neuralgia (pain along the nerves), hearing and vision problems.
  • Paralysis of the hand (incomplete or complete).
  • Stroke, etc.
If a woman addresses this issue in the early stages of spinal osteochondrosis, she will be able to prevent the above conditions.


Ideally, prevention of spinal osteochondrosis should occur during in utero development. Expectant mothers must eliminate factors that have a negative impact on fetal development: infection, hypoxia, poisoning. If a birth injury occurs, the newborn must receive treatment.To reduce the likelihood of developing osteochondrosis of the spine, women should follow these recommendations:
  • Evenly load the spine, for example, by placing weights on both hands or alternating weights on the right and left hands.
  • Don't lift too much weight alone.
  • Try to avoid neck injuries and hypothermia.
  • When working in the garden, take a break every 1. 5 hours and lie down for 20 minutes.
  • Choose shoes with flexible soles to reduce the impact of running or jumping.
  • Use a high-backed chair with a headrest or wear a corset when sitting for long periods of time.
It is also important to eat right, control your weight, avoid stress, take vitamin supplements for medical reasons, and promptly treat conditions that may cause osteochondrosis. During the remission period, it is recommended to go to a nursing home for a course of treatment.

the most important is

As you can see, cervical osteochondrosis is more common in women than men because the vertebrae are more fragile and the bone tissue is thinner. Patients in the postmenopausal period are particularly susceptible to pathological effects. The disease presents with pain, neurological disorders, and dangerous symptoms of cerebrovascular accidents. It is recommended to start treatment as early as possible to avoid the dangerous complications of osteochondrosis. To do this, women must take medications, adjust their lifestyle, undergo physical therapy, massage, physical therapy, etc. Surgical treatment is required only in advanced cases. To prevent lesions, you need to maintain moderate physical activity and promptly treat injuries and diseases that may cause osteochondrosis, etc.