Osteochondrosis belongs to the group of chronic diseases of the spine. With this pathology, the vertebrae and intervertebral discs are affected. As a result, the flexibility of the spine is disrupted, even simple actions are difficult, intervertebral hernias occur, nerve endings are squeezed. The process is constantly progressing, without comprehensive treatment can lead to disability.
What is osteochondrosis
Spinal disease is associated with atrophic changes in the intervertebral discs, which occur with age in all people.
There are many theories of the development of spinal pathology. But in all cases, the starting factor is the overload of the spinal column, incorrect posture and motor stereotypes. Also, the development of the disease is influenced by factors such as heredity, hormonal background, infections, circulatory features, lifestyle, improper actions when lifting weights.
It should be borne in mind that the size of the pulpous nucleus in the intervertebral discs of the lumbar region is quite small, so even if the load weighing 15 kg is lifted incorrectly, the loads can be more than 500 kg. As a result, the pulpous nucleus loses elasticity, decreases in volume. This leads to a decrease in the distance between adjacent vertebrae, instability of intervertebral joints.
Over time, bone growths form on the bodies of the converging vertebrae — osteophytes that squeeze the nerve roots.
The first sign of cartilage degeneration is pain in the spine. When performing active actions, it can intensify, often makes you take a forced position. When squeezing the roots, there are pronounced difficulties when changing the position of the body.
When the lower back is affected, pain along the sciatic nerve is characteristic. In diseases of the upper spine, the vertebral artery can be squeezed, which causes headaches, pronounced changes in the vertebrobasilar basin.
Treatment of osteochondrosis in the early stages allows you to slow down the process of destruction of the intervertebral discs, avoid serious complications and disorders of the spinal column.
The effectiveness of chondroprotectors in osteochondrosis
Treatment of osteochondrosis with chondroprotectors is widely used and has a clinically confirmed effect. The drugs have a minimum of contraindications. If at an early stage it is possible to do with a course of vitamins and physical therapy, then with pronounced changes in the intervertebral discs, it is impossible to do without protecting and restoring the disk of drugs.
If the doctor has prescribed chondroprotectors for osteochondrosis, tune in to a long course of therapy that lasts at least 3-6 months, and if there are indications — longer.
What effect do chondroprotectors have in osteochondrosis of the cervical and lumbar spine? These drugs contain glucosamine and chondroitin, which serve as nutrients for cartilage tissue. Chondroitin in the intervertebral discs makes them more elastic, has a moisture-saving effect. Glucosamine provides lubrication inside the joints, which creates conditions for their normal operation.
It should be borne in mind that chondroprotectors only contribute to the restoration of damaged cartilage, to make up for the deficiency of chondroitin and glucosamine. But these drugs are not able to restore completely destroyed cartilage, therefore, in the advanced stages of spinal disease, their reception will not give a positive effect. Consult your doctor about the effectiveness and availability of indications and contraindications.
What types of chondroprotectors are better to use for osteochondrosis
Chondroprotectors are divided into 3 main types:
- Chondroprotectors derived from fish or animals. They contain all the components necessary to support cartilage, have a proven positive effect.
- Mono drugs. They contain either chondroitin or glucosamine.
- Combined funds. In addition to glucosamine and chondroitin, they may contain vitamins, painkillers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Drugs for the treatment of cartilage degeneration are available in three types: capsules and tablets, topical products in the form of ointments, injectable drugs. The form of administration is chosen depending on the stage of the disease, the severity of clinical symptoms.
Injectable drugs are preferred, they have a systemic mechanism of action, quickly get to the point of application, are suitable for patients with multiple lesions of intervertebral discs, in addition, the course of their use is much shorter than tablet forms. When administered in the form of injections, the active substance bypasses the gastrointestinal tract, therefore it has an effect even in patients with stomach diseases and intestinal malabsorption. Ointments also bypass the gastrointestinal tract, but they do not have such an effective effect as injections.
Indications for the use of chondroprotectors
The decision to take chondroprotectors, the choice of the type of drug, the determination of the duration of the course of therapy is carried out by a doctor. Ointments, capsules and injections of chondroprotectors are prescribed for such indications:
- Back pain;
- Cartilage degeneration;
- Spinal injuries;
- Lack of calcium;
- Inflammatory diseases of the spine;
- Joint diseases accompanied by degenerative cartilage changes.
Chondroprotectors are well tolerated by the body, but contraindications for taking them still exist. These medications are not prescribed to pregnant and lactating women, as well as to persons with individual intolerance to the components of the drugs. In diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, chondroprotectors in tablets for osteochondrosis are contraindicated, since they are not digested and may have side effects.
Treatment of osteochondrosis with chondroprotectors
These medications are used in combination with painkillers, muscle relaxants, as well as fixation of the affected segment of the spine, massage, and various types of physical therapy.
Let’s consider the mechanism of action of chondroprotectors. Replenishing the reserves of chondroitin in the intervertebral discs promotes the synthesis of hyaluronic acid, makes the cartilage layers more elastic. Also, the drugs help to preserve moisture and act as a joint lubricant. This stops degenerative processes, starts regeneration, restores normal operation of the intervertebral joints.
Rapid action of therapy should not be expected. The minimum course of treatment with tablet drugs is 3 months. It is this time that is necessary for the normalization of metabolic mechanisms and the composition of cartilage. The course of treatment eliminates the pain syndrome, restores the mobility of the spine, and also prevents the appearance of intervertebral hernias and radicular syndrome. Ointments are recommended to be used as a supplement to the main therapy.
Injections of chondroprotectors for osteochondrosis
Injections are the most effective type of treatment. With oral administration, part of the active substance is excreted unchanged from the intestine, and with injections, all components enter the bloodstream and quickly have an effect at the points of application.
Alflutop for osteochondrosis is one of the most effective drugs for the treatment of this disease. It contains natural extracts from small marine fish, which include all kinds of components for cartilage nutrition: glycosaminoglycans, glucuronic acid, trace elements, amino acids, glycerophospholipids. These substances have a regenerating, analgesic effect, stop the destruction of cartilage and contribute to its restoration.
Alflutop is administered intramuscularly. For arthrosis and other lesions of large joints, intra-articular injections are preferred.
The course of treatment with Alflutop is 10-20 injections, depending on the single dosage. Every 6 months, the courses should be repeated after consultation with a doctor. The drug has a minimum of contraindications, is well tolerated.
Chondroprotective ointments for osteochondrosis are the least effective type, since the active substances are not absorbed into the blood. Ointments for external use are used as auxiliary components to the main therapy.
Ointments are often prescribed as chondroprotectors for osteochondrosis of the cervical spine. Rubbing ointments helps to eliminate the pain syndrome.
Chondroprotectors in tablets for osteochondrosis
This dosage form is the most convenient. Preparations in the form of tablets and capsules are more effective than ointments, but do not give such a pronounced result as injectable drugs. The active substances are not completely absorbed in the intestine. Chondroitin sulfate molecules with large sizes are especially poorly absorbed from tablets. Consequently, the active substances enter the lesion in smaller quantities. In addition, oral forms are contraindicated in some diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.
Chondroprotectors for the spine in osteochondrosis are an opportunity to stop the pathological process and return to a full life. The earlier the patient starts taking regular courses of medications, the greater the clinical effect can be obtained.