Like a string of pearls, the spine is formed out of individual vertebrae which are connected with each other by tight ligaments. The cartilaginous vertebral discs lie between the vertebrae. Comparable to a shock absorber, they buffer every movement and vibration. If changes or detachment of the cartilage are recognisable on the vertebral discs, this is called osteochondrosis. Since the damaged vertebral discs no longer elastically buffer the acting forces, osteochondrosis gradually leads to densification of the bone structure in the vertebrae.
Back pain is typical for osteochondrosis
Back pain is typical for osteochondrosis. But other body regions such as the neck can also be affected. In some cases, the pain even radiates into the fingertips or legs. In the further progression of osteochondrosis, the vertebrae can stiffen further and the affected person’s mobility is severely impaired. Depending on which areas of the spine are affected, the therapy varies from patient to patient. If the acute pain has subsided, specialised physiotherapy follows in most cases. The aim is to train the musculature over the affected and adjacent regions and thereby reduce strain on the spinal column. In everyday life, this means improved posture and movements which are gentler on the back for patients.
Preventing osteochondrosis with gymnastics
The most frequent cause of osteochondrosis is wear due to persistent malposition, for instance by sitting for long periods or through heavy physical work. Osteochondrosis is frequently accompanied by scoliosis. In this sideways bending of the spine, the vertebral discs are overstrained on one side and wear more quickly. Other triggers are earlier vertebral disc prolapses. Osteochondrosis can be prevented with targeted exercises and the right training of the back and abdominal musculature in the form of gymnastics, strengthening exercises and swimming.