Osteochondrosis is a dangerous disease of the spine that, if complicated, can permanently worsen the quality of life. This pathology is significantly "younger": various forms of the disease are more and more common in young people.
Lumbar osteochondrosis: symptoms and drug treatment
Osteochondrosis is called deformation of intervertebral discs, cartilage and bones of the spinal column.
Depending on the location, cervical, thoracic and lumbar (lumbosacral) osteochondrosis are isolated.
The causes of the disease are quite diverse:
- upright posture;
- spinal injury;
- flat feet;
- work related to lifting weights;
- frequent changes in body position;
- spine overload;
- prolonged stay in uncomfortable positions;
- obesity and low physical activity;
- poor nutrition, accompanied by a lack of nutrients;
Symptoms of lumbar osteochondrosis
- First of all, the disease is felt as a pain syndrome. The pain is painful in nature;
- A feeling of pain appears in the lower extremities, and later - numbness;
- Due to discomfort, motor activity is significantly reduced;
- The pain is aggravated by heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, sudden movements, and even sneezing/coughing.
Diagnosis of lumbar osteochondrosis
The conclusion is made by the neurologist, based on the patient's complaints. The doctor examines the spine in different positions, at rest / in motion. To confirm the diagnosis, it is necessary to order an X-ray, CT or MRI. Based on the obtained results, a whole series of treatments is prescribed: medicines, exercise, massage, physiotherapy procedures.
Treatment of osteochondrosis of the lumbar spine with drugs
Medicines should stop the acute process, alleviate the symptoms, partially restore the damaged tissues of the intervertebral discs.
The drugs used are classified according to the type of action:
- Painkillers - remove acute pain;
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) - relieve swelling and inflammation;
- Muscle relaxants - relax spasmodic muscles;
- Glucocorticoid hormones - prescribed in the absence of effect of other drugs;
- Chondroprotectors - stimulate cartilage regeneration;
- Agents for accelerating metabolism/blood flow;
- Minerals and vitamins - improve nerve conduction.
Treatment of exacerbations with drugs
In this period, the most important thing is to alleviate the pain. The therapy starts with injections and then continues with tablets. It is very important to start treatment on time, because inflammation can block the vessels and nerves of the affected spine.
Pain is alleviated with analgesics and NSAIDs. Opioid analgesics are the most effective, but they have side effects. NSAIDs are safer in this regard, so they are prescribed more often.
Both analgesics and NSAIDs inhibit the production of prostaglandins, substances involved in the inflammatory process and responsible for pain.
NSAIDs relieve discomfort and inflammation. There are products for external use (gels, ointments), internal (tablets, capsules) and in the form of injections (for intramuscular, subcutaneous, intravenous use).
Muscle spasm is a response to inflammation. Muscle tension increases pain. Muscle relaxants relax the muscles, that is, reduce the severity of the disease.
Dosage is selected individually. Therapy with this lasts 2-3 weeks or until the symptoms disappear.
Blockade of pain
Blockade with anesthetics is splitting the affected area. They can give injections with glucocorticoid drugs. The analgesic effect lasts up to 3 days.
Glucocorticoid hormones have a strong anti-inflammatory effect. But they are used only in the absence of the effect of less aggressive drugs. Most often, complex drugs are prescribed, one of the components of which are hormones. Hormonal treatment is associated with a high risk of side effects, so it is prescribed for the shortest possible time.
Preparations for external use
In the case of exacerbation of lumbar osteochondrosis, various gels / ointments are used that have a warming and local heating effect. They can also be anti-inflammatory. Ointments and gels reduce the severity of disease symptoms.
Vasodilators - vasodilators
Muscle spasm and pain cause constriction of blood vessels. To rule out such a phenomenon, a drug is prescribed that expands blood vessels and improves tissue trophism.
Treatment during remission
During an exacerbation, only those drugs are used that alleviate the symptoms of the disease of the lumbar part of the spine, but do not affect its causes. Restorative measures should be implemented in combination with symptomatic therapy. However, osteochondrosis does not always manifest itself acutely, for example, when the thoracic region is affected, the disease progresses slowly and is chronic. Therefore, in some cases, treatment takes place without strong drugs.
Chondroprotectors help restore the functions of the intervertebral discs of the lumbar part. They saturate the cartilaginous tissues with useful substances and restore the elasticity of the discs.
Chondroprotectors stop the process of cartilage destruction, stabilize their condition. But these drugs need to be taken for a long time, sometimes for life. The effect appears at least six months after the start of therapy. Chondroprotectors are used both externally and internally, as well as in the form of injections.
Two active substances are taken as the basis of such medicines - glucosamine and chondroitin. The drug may include one of these substances, or both at once, as well as be supplemented with other active substances.
Examples of chondroprotectors:
- based on glucosamine;
- based on chondroitin;
- with glucosamine and chondroitin;
- with glucosamine, chondroitin and vitamins;
- ampoules for injections.
Medicines to improve blood flow and metabolism
B vitamins, especially B1, B6 and B12, as well as ascorbic acid, have a beneficial effect on the peripheral nervous system. Complex vitamin preparations can be prescribed. Vitamin-mineral complexes are prescribed as general strengthening.
A preventive course with such drugs will support the health of the spine. 2-3 courses a year are enough to reduce the risk of worsening of the disease.
Long-term discomfort depresses a person, it can cause stress and even depression. In order to prevent deterioration of the psycho-emotional state, motherwort preparations, valerian, combined herbal medicines are prescribed.
If the mental disorders are severe, antidepressants are used. Sleeping pills are prescribed to improve the quality of sleep.