Popular discopathy is a disease of the intervertebral disc. The disc is a structure that builds the spine and is located between its bone elements-vertebrae and more precisely between the vertebrae. The task of the disc is to enable and cushion the movements of the spine. The intervertebral disc is made of the nucleus pulposus and the fibrous ring and consists of over 90 percent of the water. The degenerative process begins with the dehydration of the intervertebral disc. Dehydration, loss of elasticity and flare of the fibrous ring lead to damage to the disc structure.
The main cause of spine diseases is the modern lifestyle and work. The disease is promoted by a lack of physical activity, especially weakness of the abdominal muscles, improper lifting, postural defects, overweight and injuries. Lack of movement and incorrect posture in turn cause too much strain on the spine and faster wear of its tissues. The common cause of discopathy is improper sitting position during work, which causes the incorrect posture and excessive load on the spine. It is a mistake to work for hours on a computer without interruption. When sitting at a desk, the right height and mobility of the chair is important and the eyes should be at the height of the upper edge of the monitor. Discopathy is also a common disease for drivers, immobilized behind the wheel and additionally exposed to vibrations. People who work physically and lift weights are also exposed to spine diseases. As a result of a long-lasting overload or as a result of age-related degenerative changes, the disc and the nucleus pulposus are advanced. A hernia is formed and later a hernia of the intervertebral disc. Much less often, protrusion occurs suddenly as a result of sudden abnormal movement, too much overload or injury.
Most often, discopathy occurs in the lumbar region at the level of L5-S1 and L4-L5, cervical in the C6-C7 segment, less often C5-C6, and is the least frequent in the thoracic segment.
Clinical symptoms depend on the level of damage and the direction of the intervertebral disc. If the hernia extends centrally towards the spinal canal, the canal (stenosis) narrows and the hernia can compress the tire sack and the inside of the spinal cord. In the case of lateral extension, the hernia can compress the spinal roots.
A characteristic feature is the multi-phase nature of the disease course. The most common and usually first reported complaint is pain at the height of damage to the spine and adjoining structures. The pain can be so strong that it prevents movement. Pain is accompanied by compulsory setting of curvature of the spine, reduction of its mobility and increase of paraspinal muscles tension. The adoption of non-physiological positions, incorrect positioning of the spine leads to further overload of the spine itself and spine supporting muscles, which additionally causes an increase in pain. If the hernia puts pressure on the nerve root, the pain radiates to the limb along the nerve pathways, the rica is formed, depending on the place of pressure, called sciatic, femoral or brachial. In some patients, the pain disappears after a few or several days, often without treatment, in the initial period. After some time, the disease comes back and the ailments become stronger, last longer, and finally they do not subside. There are symptoms indicating a growing damage to the structures of the spine and nerves. There are abnormal surface sensations in the range innervated by the oppressed nerve root, numbness may occur, tingling pain sometimes burning or burning (neuropathic pain).
Later, there is paresis, i.e. muscle weakness, e.g., foot drop and muscle atrophy of the nerves of the oppressed nerve root.
Treatment of spine diseases begins with properly conducted diagnostics.
Routinely they apply:
X-ray examination, which is often considered as a preliminary examination
MRI scan of the spine, which is the most accurate examination of soft tissues; intervertebral discs, bone marrow, ligaments and muscles.
in selected cases, a CT examination is performed to illustrate changes in the bone structure of the vertebrae, stem fractures and arches.
In the case of silent clinical changes in the MRI study, electrophysiological methods, or neurography, which directly assess the function of sensory and motor nerve fibers are applied. This test confirms or excludes damage to nerves / nerve roots and allows you to accurately assess the degree, location and type of damage. It is also useful for monitoring the course of the treatment process.
Treatment of spine diseases is a long-term, multi-stage process and depends on the severity of the disease. In an acute period of the disease, the aim is to relieve pain by using NSAID painkillers.