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How does the height of the lumbar intervertebral discs decrease?

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wikiHow works on the principle of a wiki, which means that many of our articles are written by several authors. When creating this article, volunteer authors worked on its editing and improvement.

The number of sources used in this article: 9. You will find a list of them at the bottom of the page.

Tightness and back pain happens to us often and, usually, we do not attach any particular attention to this. This problem is usually resolved by rest, or more often by painkillers. However, these manifestations must be taken seriously, as this may be the first sign of progressive fluid loss in the discs of your spine. If you do not take action, it can result in degeneration of the vertebrae. If you are wise enough and understand that maintaining the water balance of your spinal discs will result in a strong back and healthy bones for years to come, start with step 1 below.

Causes of the appearance of pathology

Between the individual parts of the spine are the intervertebral discs, which perform the depreciation function. They consist of such parts:

  • nuclei - fibrous tissue having a cartilaginous structure,
  • a ring made up of tendon-like tissue.

For all its functionality, the intervertebral discs do not have a vascular structure. Therefore, they receive nutrients from the tissues located around them. And if these tissues for some reason stop receiving nutrition, then the intervertebral discs “experience hunger”. Between themselves parts of the spine are connected directly to the core of the disk. And with a limited intake of nutrients:

  1. Disc tissues are dehydrated.
  2. The intervertebral discs become fragile and lose their height.

And if the process of tissue nutrition does not recover, then the cartilage tissue of the disc hardens and resembles bone tissue in appearance. This process is called osteochondrosis (spondylosis). But such a disease can be caused by another reason - mechanical compression of the disk. This occurs with spinal injuries, with excessive loads.

Several pathology options are possible:

  1. Protrusion - if there is no damage to the fibrous ring.
  2. Hernia of the intervertebral disc - if such violations lead to the destruction of the ring and the displacement of the ring beyond it.

What can happen after a decrease in the height of the intervertebral discs?

  • At the third stage, the destruction of the disk ring continues and a hernia forms. At this stage of the lesion, the disk is half normal. At this time appear:
  • In the second stage, a change in the fibrous ring occurs. At this stage, nerve endings are already impaired (this leads to pain). Blood and lymph outflows are already impaired, and the height of the intervertebral disc is less than a quarter normal.
  • First stage. Minor inconvenience (discomfort). Basically, they only happen in the morning, over time a person "paces". At this stage, a doctor is rarely consulted.

  1. scoliosis is a bend of the spine in one direction or another,
  2. kyphosis - the formation of a hump,
  3. lordosis - bending the spine back.
  • The fourth stage is the last stage in the deformation of the spine. At this stage, a shift and compaction of the damaged vertebrae are observed. This is a painful process. Patients feel severe sharp pain when walking, joint mobility is minimized. The disk height is already less than half the norm. At this stage of the development of the disease, it is possible to establish a patient with a disability.

Lumbar osteochondrosis is manifested by the following symptoms:

  1. With slopes and sudden movements of lower back pain. It causes discomfort and an uncomfortable posture during sleep. Severe pain in the lumbar spine in the morning.
  2. Pain in the hip joint and lower limb. At this time, areas with numbness and burning are formed. The patient experiences pain in the legs, and sometimes backache.

Disease Prevention and Treatment

Prevention of lowering the height of the intervertebral discs is quite simple:

  1. You need to eat right and balanced.
  2. Wellness exercises are very important for the prevention of the disease.
  3. It is necessary to maintain water balance in the body. To do this, drink at least 2 liters of water per day. Water helps maintain proper metabolism in the human body.
  4. To control the lifted weight - do not lift anything heavy.
  5. Protect yourself from injuries, stress and hypothermia.
  6. Be sure to periodically undergo a preventive examination of the spine.

How is lumbar osteochondrosis treated? After a thorough examination of the patient by a neurologist, various examinations and analyzes are prescribed: radiography, MRI, CT, etc.

The prescribed treatment is aimed at relieving pain in the patient, relieving from pinching of the nerve roots.

And besides everything else, the treatment is aimed at stopping the process of disk destruction.

The main methods of treatment:

  1. Medication.
  2. Manual therapy.
  3. Physiotherapy.
  4. Physiotherapy.
  5. Surgical intervention.

Treatment of osteochondrosis with folk remedies is as popular as folk treatment for other diseases. This is due to its simplicity and cheapness. Traditional medicine for the treatment of this disease offers various tinctures, compresses, rubbing. Baths made of sea salt and pine needles will not interfere. Such baths help restore blood circulation and relax muscles.

It is better to use complex treatment of the disease in the treatment of lumbar osteochondrosis. But it should take place only as prescribed by the doctor and under his supervision.

The causes of destruction of the discs and vertebrae

Previously, spinal diseases were found mainly in the elderly. Degenerative processes developed due to age-related changes in blood vessels and cartilage. But the modern lifestyle has led to the destruction of the spine even among young people. Why is this happening?

  • The main reason is a sedentary lifestyle. Because of it, blood circulation and metabolism in the tissues slows down. Long stay in one position leads to the destruction of the disc, impaired spinal function.
  • Various injuries, even minor ones, negatively affect the health of the musculoskeletal system. Overstrain, microcracks of ligaments and muscles cause inflammation, as well as disrupt blood circulation.
  • Increased physical activity leads to the erasure of the vertebral discs.

When you need spinal restoration

There are many diseases that interfere with the functioning of the spinal column. Their treatment is usually long, most often after it needs a recovery period. What diseases require this:

  • microtrauma of ligaments, muscles, protrusion of discs,
  • hernias are normal and with complications,
  • osteochondrosis,
  • compression fracture, as well as other injuries.

Features of intervertebral disc restoration

Science has proven that discs do not have their own blood supply, and therefore often lack nutrients. This leads to their drying out, dysfunction. Because of this, the spine loses its flexibility. Disks can no longer serve as a shock absorber during movements, and the vertebrae begin to collapse. Therefore, all intervertebral disc restoration techniques must perform the following tasks:

  • remove the load from the damaged area of ​​the spinal column,
  • start regeneration processes,
  • change the diet so that it is designed to strengthen bone and cartilage,
  • activate blood circulation and metabolism using dosed physical activity, as well as special medications.

Spine Recovery Techniques

All back diseases should be treated on time. Only then can spinal function be restored. There are different methods of rehabilitation, many of them have been used for many years, others have been created in recent years. But in order for them to be effective, these methods must fulfill the main task of restoring the spine: normalize blood circulation and nutrition of bone and cartilage. There are several ways to do this.

  1. Dosed physical activity. She should be gentle, but regular. It is best if it will be walking, swimming, yoga or exercise therapy.
  2. Proper nutrition, providing the spine with all the necessary substances.
  3. It is very important for the spine that a person sleeps on an orthopedic mattress. It is during rest that tissue regenerates.
  4. Useful massage, electrophoresis, acupuncture, as well as other physiotherapeutic methods.

The role of proper nutrition in spinal restoration

In many cases, the destruction of cartilage and bone tissue occurs due to a violation of their nutrition. This may be due to problems in the blood supply, as well as a lack of nutrients in the blood. Quite often, destruction occurs due to malnutrition. Therefore, changing the diet is one of the main ways to restore the spine. First of all, products harmful to the spine must be removed from it:

  • sugar, confectionery, pastries that disrupt blood circulation,
  • a large amount of salt is deposited in the tissues and destroys them,
  • fatty, spicy foods, smoked meats, canned foods contain many harmful substances that enhance inflammation and slow down metabolism,
  • alcoholic and caffeinated drinks destroy cartilage, narrow vessels.

There are also products that are simply necessary for various diseases of the spine. They help restore discs, vertebrae and cartilage, improve blood circulation and nutrition in the tissues. Food should be rich in vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D. What else is recommended to include in the diet to restore the spine:

  • a large amount of fluid provides good blood circulation,
  • cereal products, vegetables, fruits,
  • Calcium-rich sesame seeds
  • a mixture of dried apricots, figs, prunes,
  • saltwater fish with a lot of phosphorus
  • egg yolk is a source of vitamin D,
  • beef and pork cartilage in the form of jelly.

Physical therapy for spinal restoration

This is an old technique that has been successfully used for rehabilitation after injuries and various diseases. Dosed exercise strengthens the muscle corset, improves blood circulation and metabolism, and promotes the production of substances that help in tissue regeneration. It is forbidden to engage only in the acute period, as well as with severe pain. In case of serious damage to the spine, for example, with a hernia with a pinched nerve or after a compression fracture, physical activity should be only under the supervision of a specialist.

  1. The best exercise to restore the spine is walking. After 20 minutes of a quiet walk in the cartilaginous tissue, blood circulation and metabolic processes improve.
  2. Many experts believe that it is very important to stretch the spine regularly. To do this, you need to hang the crossbar at home to hang on it at least a minute every morning and evening.
  3. Swimming effectively relaxes and strengthens muscles, relieves pain.
  4. Special stretching and relaxation exercises also help restore the spine. The main thing is not to do a lot of repetitions, not to strain.

Here are some exercise videos for different parts of the spine:

Medications for spinal restoration

For successful rehabilitation after diseases of the spinal column, it is very important to take the right drugs. It should be remembered that the most commonly prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are effective only in the acute period. They help relieve pain, reduce the inflammatory process. But during recovery they are not needed. And this applies both to drugs taken orally, and to ointments.

But there are also drugs that really help restore the spine. They saturate its tissues with nutrients, improve blood circulation.

  • Drugs containing glucosamine and chondroitin are very important components of cartilage. These substances are in the composition of such drugs: Alflutol, Terraflex, Donna.
  • Dietary supplements based on Omega3 acids. First of all, it is fish oil, as well as Omacor or Omega 3.
  • Vitamin-mineral complexes with a high content of vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus. Most often, "Calcium D3 Nycomed", "Complivit Calcium D3" or "Necal D3" are used to restore the spine.
  • There are several amino acids that are involved in the regeneration of cartilage. These are arginine, tryptophan, lysine, glutamine and proline.

Rehabilitation after compression fracture

Like any injury in this place, a compression fracture is very dangerous. In severe cases, it can lead to disability. Therefore, it is important to follow all the doctor's recommendations. Only then can spinal function be restored. A rehabilitation period is needed after a compression fracture because the treatment of an injury involves a long period of immobility. After the patient is allowed to stand up, he needs to regain freedom of movement. Rules that must be observed in order to successfully restore the spine:

  • in the early recovery period, massage, magnetotherapy, electrophoresis, as well as some exercise therapy exercises are used,
  • sleep at this time is allowed only on the back, on an orthopedic hard mattress,
  • for some time, sometimes up to a year, it is forbidden to sit,
  • the first time after the patient is allowed to stand up, he needs to wear a special orthopedic support corset,
  • regularly for 1-2 years after the injury, you need to undergo a course of massage and other physiotherapy,
  • Exercise therapy should be performed daily.

The health of his spine depends on how seriously the patient takes recovery measures. Only following all the recommendations of the doctor, using an integrated approach, you can restore freedom of movement and stop the destruction of the vertebrae and discs.

Author: Maria V. Melnik

Expert, doctor of medical sciences, professor of the emergency department of the clinic of internal diseases FPPOV First MGMU them. Sechenov. Expert of the Academy of Soft Drinks

What does a person need to lead a healthy lifestyle? Most will answer: eat right, maintain yourself in good physical shape, get enough sleep, and avoid bad habits. But for some reason, few people recall that for health we need to consume enough fluid. And it is completely in vain, because the work of our body directly depends on this.

Why is it important to maintain water balance?

Therefore, experts advise drinking on average at least 2 liters of fluid per day (you can calculate an individual rate of fluid intake by the formula: 40 ml per kilogram of weight). Moreover, half of the liquid should come to us with food, the other half - with drinks. On average, for three main meals, we get about 1 liter of water with food. About a liter should be taken at the expense of drinking.

You can recognize dehydration by a number of signs: dry mouth and throat, thirst, low blood pressure, increased heart rate, severe fatigue, decreased performance. As a rule, we feel dehydration precisely in the form of feelings of fatigue and depression. That's why it is so important to keep track of how much fluid we drink per day. Daily intake of a daily rate of fluid will help to speed up metabolism, improve skin condition and overall body tone.

About hydration in winter and summer

Depending on the ambient temperature and the physical activity of the body, the required amount of fluid may vary.

If at a temperature of +20 ° C it is recommended to consume 40 ml of fluid per kilogram of body weight, then at high temperature this figure can be doubled. Therefore, going on vacation to Egypt or Turkey, you need to make sure that the bottle with your favorite drink is always at hand.

It would seem that according to this logic in winter you need to drink less, but this is a fallacy. In the cold season, it is not recommended to reduce the amount of fluid consumed: the body's needs for regular and proper hydration are not reduced at all. In winter, it is recommended that you consume as much hot fluid as possible.

Hydration during active physical activity

On average, we lose then from 0.5 to 1 liter of fluid per hour, and, for example, when running, up to 3 liters (!). Excessive moisture loss during sports can not only lead to dry throat, but also provoke muscle pain, heaviness in the legs, shortness of breath after training. By the way, with dehydration, the risk of sprain increases several times!

It is recommended to drink before and after sports. And during training, you need to make up for fluid loss every 15 minutes. For every 1,000 kcal spent during exercise, an additional 1,000 ml of fluid is needed. By the way, you need to drink water in small sips, holding it in your mouth for a few seconds.

What and how to drink

When it comes to hydration, we primarily think about water consumption. But not only pure water is suitable for maintaining water balance.Sources of fluid for the body are absolutely all non-alcoholic drinks, since all of them are 85–99% water. That is why all fluids drunk during the day contribute to maintaining the body's water balance. Depending on their own preferences, everyone can diversify their diet with fruit and vegetable juices, berry fruit drinks, herbal decoctions or, for example, soft drinks such as cola.

It is also important HOW to drink. Here are a few rules for fluid intake that will help maintain water balance and stay toned throughout the day:

  • Always start the day with 1-2 glasses of pure water (you can add lemon), drink in small sips.
  • During the day, do not be afraid to diversify your water diet - drink water, tea and mineral water. A moderate consumption of carbonated drinks is allowed. They will facilitate the way to achieve your fluid norm due to a pleasant taste (you can choose fruit soda or drinks such as cola, Baikal).
  • Drink during the day at intervals, do not wait for the onset of thirst. It is better to always have a bottle with a drink. An excellent life hack is to purchase a stylish reusable bottle that will be pleasant to carry with you. There are also bottles with marks that will always allow you to track the desired level of fluid intake.
  • Increase your water intake in summer, during exercise, as well as during stress or illness. DO NOT reduce water consumption in the cold season.
  • Drink as often as possible in the office or at school, it is better to have a little every hour. Keep a glass of water or a drink next to you (always in sight).

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