Degenerative dystrophic changes of the spine: causes, symptoms and treatment

Due to the active lifestyle in many inhabitants, the spine is exposed to stable and sometimes excessive loads. The inactive work also plays its negative role. As a result, various diseases of the spine can be considered as one of the most common.

Degenerative dystrophic changes of the spine

Intervertebral discs can be affected by destructive processes for various reasons: malnutrition, excessive nerve reactions, muscle overstrain, inflammatory diseases, etc. All these factors lead to impaired metabolic processes, which affects the state of intervertebral discs.

degenerative dystrophic changes of the spine

And if you take into account the signs of degenerative-dystrophic changes of the spine, it is worth noting that they are a consequence of the development of three key diseases: spondyloarthrosis, osteochondrosis and spondylosis.By old age, such processes are observed in the vast majority of people.


This disease, in fact, is arthrosis of the intervertebral joints. Doctors have long confirmed the fact that the degenerative processes in the peripheral and intervertebral joints do not have any fundamental differences. That is, spondyloarthrosis can be defined as one of the types of osteoarthrosis. It is for this reason that it makes sense to use drugs that are related to the chondroprotective series for its treatment.

Degenerative-dystrophic changes of the spine in the elderly are most often caused by spondyloarthrosis. In this condition, unlike discogenic pain, sensations are bilateral in nature. Their localization occurs paravertebral. The feeling of pain when stretching and standing increases, and during walking and in a sitting position, subsides.


In this case, we are talking about such a consequence of dystrophic processes, such as reducing the height of the intervertebral disk. There are no inflammations. The result of this disease is the development of segmental instability (the vertebrae slide backward when extending or forward during flexion), as well as a change in the physiological curvature of the spine.There is also a convergence of the vertebrae and, accordingly, the articular processes. The resulting excessive friction leads to local spondyloarthrosis.

Degenerative dystrophic changes of the spine,expressed in the form of osteochondrosis, are the X-ray diagnosis, but not clinical. This process, in fact, is an inevitable factor in aging.


The appearance of marginal bone growths can be identified as a key feature of this disease. They are present at both the upper and lower edges of the vertebrae, and in the radiograph are displayed as vertical spikes.

degenerative spinal dystrophic treatment

Clinical spondylosis is of minimal importance. The bottom line is that the disease can be described as an adaptive process. This means the following fact: degenerative-dystrophic changes of the spine,expressed by osteophytes (marginal growths), ankylosis of the facet joints, fibrosis of the discs and thickening of the ligaments, lead to the immobilization of the vertebral motor segment that is problematic. As a result, the bodies and the supporting surfaces of the vertebrae expand.

Main symptoms of degenerative changes

In diseases of this category, the symptoms appear the brighter, the more destructive processes, which is quite logical. As the pathological process develops, the patient begins to feel heaviness and stiffness in the lumbar region. But if we consider the signs of degenerative-dystrophic changes in the lumbar spine,as well as its other areas, as a key symptom, you can define tangible pain while walking, with prolonged sitting in one position, physical exertion and bending.

At the same time, the painful sensations have a wave character: they appear quickly, and then they decrease or disappear altogether. A degenerative process that progresses in the intervertebral discs can lead to serious problems. Therefore, recognizing the symptoms, you should not postpone the visit to the doctor.

It is worth noting the fact that degenerative-dystrophic changes of the spine (any)develop in stages.

Signs of the initial stage

As stated above, diseases of the spine make themselves felt through pain.Moreover, the pain syndrome is so strong that a person is forced to restrict his movements. This inevitably affects the quality of life and, of course, performance.

Second stage

The subsequent development of the disease has the following symptoms:

- “lumbago”, which are felt in the lower part of the spine;

- so-called goosebumps or tingling in the buttocks and limbs;

- significant mobility limitations.

Also for this stage is characterized by the development of radicular syndrome. This is a compression of the nerve roots.

How to recognize the third stage

At this stage, degenerative-dystrophic changes in the spine lead to impaired blood circulation, the cause of which is the compression of the root vessel. This process contributes to the development of ischemia.

signs of degenerative dystrophic changes of the lumbar spine

In addition to such a symptom as constantly growing pain, the third stage can be determined by the following features:

- convulsions;

- temporary or partial numbness of the limbs in the lower zone.

Fourth stage

This period takes place only in the event that, upon the onset of symptoms at previous stages, no qualified treatment was provided.Allowing the disease to go this far is risky, because the signs of the fourth stage are paresis and paralysis.

Such complications occur when the blood circulation of the spinal cord is completely disrupted.

These stages are relevant for diseases of any part of the spine.

Destructive processes in the neck

If we talk about such a problem as degenerative-dystrophic changes of the cervical spine, it is worth noting that they are expressed mainly in the form of osteochondrosis. This type of disease develops due to malnutrition of the intervertebral discs, as well as their loss of elasticity. In the initial stage, this disease is manifested through vertigo.

degenerative dystrophic changes of the cervical spine

This is due to the following process: the vertebral artery is compressed, which leads to a decrease in the blood supply to the brain. Over time, such changes not only stimulate the appearance of headache, but also contribute to impaired visual perception, dizziness, unsteadiness of gait, pain in the back and neck area (when trying to turn the head) and noise in the ears.

With regard to pain in such a diagnosis,as degenerative-dystrophic changes of the cervical spine, they have a dull and boring nature and can even give in the shoulder, arm and scapula. Along with these symptoms, there is also physical weakness of the hands, as well as numbness of the fingers.

With regard to treatment for such a problem, it is mainly focused on the neutralization of pain and the factors leading to the progression of the disease. Also carried out therapeutic measures aimed at stimulating those processes that lead to the natural restoration of the disk structure.

We are talking about the elimination of osteochondrosis, the normalization of a full blood supply and the return of the previous motor ability of the neck.

Degenerative dystrophic changes in the thoracic spine

Disks in this area of ​​the back are at a minimal risk of injury due to low mobility and low stress. It is for this reason that in this section of the spine some destructive processes proceed much more slowly (hernias and protrusions). But for the development of osteochondrosis in this case there are no special obstacles.

In those parts of the thoracic region, where mobility is minimized, the risk of osteophytes is quite high. At the same time, osteochondrosis often progresses without noticeable symptoms. In fact, it is possible to totally defeat the disease of the entire thoracic region without pain This can be explained by the fact that in the region of the lateral and anterior sections of the vertebrae there are no nerve roots and membranes of the spinal cord.

degenerative dystrophic changes of the thoracic spine

However, with a disease such as spondyloarthrosis, a strong pain syndrome is possible. This happens due to compression of the nerve roots and sympathetic nerve fibers.

When degenerative-dystrophic changes in the thoracic spine develop, in most cases, conservative treatment methods are applied. These are different sets of measures. It all begins, as a rule, with the rejection of an active lifestyle and bed rest. With regard to drug exposure, then in this condition, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are effective in relieving swelling, inflammation and reducing the compression of nerve endings. This is “Diclofenac” - 15 mg per day; "Ibuprofen" - 1200 mg daily dose; "Ketoprofen" - 300 mg per day; “Meloxicam” - the daily dose is 15 mg. As a result, the pain disappears.

Analgesics can also be used (Ketorolac, Ketanov, etc.), but they are not the solution to the problem, but only help to survive the pain. These measures are supplemented by the use of various physiotherapeutic techniques.

How problems appear in the lumbar spine

One of the main diseases affecting this part of the back is osteochondrosis. The key reasons that contribute to such processes are chronic or severe overloads leading to the formation of microtraumas.

Manifest degenerative-dystrophic changes of the lumbar spine,usually through aching and dull pain. In this case, the mobility of the spine remains the same, which is dangerous, since the patient does not feel the seriousness of the destructive processes.

degenerative dystrophic changes of the lumbar spine

In the course of the development of the disease, the depreciation properties of the vertebrae are disturbed. Cartilage begins to lose flexibility and elasticity. Degenerative-dystrophic changes of the lumbosacral spine also lead to the infringement of the nerve roots and, as a result, pain syndrome. Clinically similar processes can be identified through the salt composition of lymphatic fluid and blood.

This type of osteochondrosis is dangerous in that it can lead to squeezing of large nerves associated with the lower limbs and pelvic organs. Moreover, the development of severe discogenic compression of the spinal canal is possible. This is the so-called ponytail - the structure in the lower part of the spine, which contains a large accumulation of nerves that regulate the functions of the organs of the third of the abdomen and the pelvis. At infringement of this element the following symptoms appear:

- delayed excretion of urine and feces;

- weakness and numbness of the lower extremities;

- pain in the perineum;

- pelvic numbness.

Thus, degenerative-dystrophic changes in the lumbar spine are common due to constant and illiterate loads.

As for spondyloarthrosis, in most cases it is also the result of overloads. Under certain conditions, even bone formation (spondylosis) is possible. These diseases can develop both separately and in combination with each other.

degenerative dystrophic changes of the spine

If degenerative-dystrophic changes in the spine are progressing, treatment, in fact, involves the same techniques that are focused on restoring blood circulation, flexibility and mobility.And only in the case when traditional therapeutic measures do not help, can a surgical intervention be performed.

As a result, it is worth noting that diseases of the spine are too serious a problem to ignore or to treat yourself.

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