Osteochondrosis is a dangerous spinal disorder that, if complicated, can permanently deteriorate quality of life. This pathology is distinctly "young": various forms of the disease are increasingly common among young people.
Lumbar Osteochondrosis: Symptoms and Medications
Osteochondrosis is referred to as a deformation of the spinal discs, cartilage, and bones.
Based on location, cervical, thoracic, and lumbar (lumbosacral) osteochondrosis was isolated.
The causes of this disease are varied:
- upright posture;
- Spinal cord injury;
- work related to weightlifting;
- frequent changes in body position;
- Spinal overload;
- prolonged periods of time in uncomfortable positions;
- obesity and low physical activity;
- Malnutrition, which is accompanied by nutritional deficiencies;
Symptoms of lumbar osteochondrosis
- First, the disease is felt through pain syndromes. Pain is pain in nature;
- Painful feeling in the lower limbs, later - numbness;
- Significant reduction in motor activity due to discomfort;
- Heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, sudden movement, and even sneezing/coughing can exacerbate the pain.
Diagnosis of lumbar osteochondrosis
Conclusions were made by neurologists based on patient complaints. Doctors examine the spine in different positions at rest/exercise. X-ray, CT or MRI should be ordered to confirm the diagnosis. Depending on the results obtained, a series of treatments are prescribed: drugs, kinesiotherapy, massage, physiotherapy procedures.
Drug treatment of lumbar osteochondrosis
The drug should stop the acute process, relieve symptoms, and partially restore the damaged tissue of the disc.
The drugs used are classified by type of action:
- Painkillers - to relieve acute pain;
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) - relieve swelling and inflammation;
- Muscle relaxants - relax cramped muscles;
- Glucocorticoids - prescribed without the effects of other drugs;
- chondroprotectant - stimulates cartilage regeneration;
- Means of accelerating metabolism/blood flow;
- Minerals and Vitamins - Improves nerve conduction.
Medications for acute exacerbations
During this time, the most important thing is pain relief. Treatment starts with injections and continues with pills. It is important to start treatment promptly because inflammation can block blood vessels and nerves in the affected spine.
Analgesics and NSAIDs can relieve pain. Opioid pain relievers are the most effective but have side effects. NSAIDs are safer in this regard and are therefore prescribed more frequently.
Both analgesics and NSAIDs inhibit the production of prostaglandins, substances that are involved in the inflammatory process and cause pain.
NSAIDs relieve discomfort and inflammation. There are topical products (gels, ointments), internal products (tablets, capsules) and injection forms (for intramuscular, subcutaneous, intravenous administration).
Muscle spasms are a response to inflammation. Muscle tension can increase pain. Muscle relaxants individually relax the muscles and reduce the severity of the disease.
Doses are selected individually. These treatments are continued for 2-3 weeks or until symptoms resolve.
Blockade with anesthesia is fragmentation of the affected area. They can inject glucocorticoid medication. The analgesic effect can last up to 3 days.
Glucocorticoids have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. But these are only used in the absence of the effects of less aggressive drugs. In most cases, complex medications are prescribed, one of which is a hormone. Hormone therapy is associated with a high risk of side effects, therefore, it is prescribed for as short a time as possible.
As lumbar osteochondrosis worsens, use various gels/ointments with warming and topical warming effects. They are also anti-inflammatory. Ointments and gels reduce the severity of symptoms of the disease.
Vasodilators - Vasodilators
Muscle spasms and pain cause blood vessels to constrict. To rule this out, a drug that dilates blood vessels and improves tissue nutrition is prescribed.
Treatment during remission
During exacerbations, use only those medications that relieve the symptoms of lumbar spine disease without affecting its cause. Recovery measures should be combined with symptomatic treatment. However, osteochondrosis does not always manifest acutely, for example, when the thoracic region is affected, the disease progresses slowly and is chronic. Therefore, in some cases, treatment does not require strong drugs.
Chondroprotective agents help restore lumbar disc function. They saturate the cartilage tissue with useful substances and restore the elasticity of the intervertebral disc.
Chondroprotective agents stop the cartilage destruction process, stabilizing its condition. But these drugs need to be taken long-term, sometimes for life. The effects occurred at least six months after the start of treatment. Chondroprotective agents can be used externally and internally, as well as in the form of injections.
Two active substances are considered the basis of this class of drugs - glucosamine and chondroitin. The drug may contain one of these substances, or both, in addition to other active substances.
Examples of chondroprotective agents:
- Glucosamine based;
- based on chondroitin;
- with glucosamine and chondroitin;
- Contains glucosamine, chondroitin and vitamins;
- Ampoule for injection.
Drugs that improve blood flow and metabolism
B vitamins, especially B1, B6 and B12, as well as ascorbic acid, have beneficial effects on the peripheral nervous system. Multivitamins may be prescribed. The vitamin-mineral complex is prescribed for general fortification.
A preventive class using such medications will support spinal health. There are enough 2-3 courses per year to reduce the risk of disease progression.
Prolonged discomfort can be frustrating and can lead to stress and even depression. To prevent the deterioration of the psycho-emotional state, motherwort, valerian, preparations of combined herbs are prescribed.
Antidepressants are used if the mental disorder is severe. Sleeping pills are used to improve sleep quality.