With the development of the pathological process in the cervical region, there are four main syndromes:
Local neck pain (cervicalgia).
Reflex (reflected) pain in the neck and arm – cervical brachialgia, pain in the neck and head (cervicocranium).
Radicular syndrome caused by squeezing or irritation of the spinal roots.
Cervicalgia in osteochondrosis manifests itself in the form of permanent and paroxysmal pains in the neck. In acute form they are very strong, “shoot through”, sometimes they become blunt, drilling and almost always concentrate in the depth of the neck. As a rule, unpleasant sensations are localized on one side, are more pronounced in the mornings, accompanied by tension of the neck muscles and restriction of mobility. Increase when sneezing, coughing, sudden movements, hypothermia.
With reflex syndrome, pain is reflected in the arm or head. The cause of pain and muscle tension is the defeat of the facet joints and intervertebral discs.
With cervical osteochondrosis, the pain in the hand becomes the result of a pathological lesion of the lower and mid-spine sections of the spine.
Radiculopathy (radicular syndrome) with lesions of the cervical region is less common than with the lumbar form of the disease. The reason lies in the features of the cervical department. The number of nerve roots here is more than the number of vertebrae (eight and seven, respectively). Each of the cervical nerves goes over the corresponding vertebra (the first pair of roots – between the first cervical vertebra and the base of the skull, the second – in the interval between the first and second cervical vertebrae, etc.). When any of the rootlets are affected, characteristic disturbances occur:
motor (in the form of muscle weakness);
Sensitive (eg, hypalgesia);
Reflex (reduction of tendon and skin reflexes).
The defeat of the spinal cord (myelopathy) in most cases is a consequence of the formation of hernial protrusions and osteophytes in osteochondrosis. Typical complaints of patients are pain and a feeling of weakness in the arms and legs. When the head moves, the pain becomes strong, “shooting” (it is felt as the passage of an electric current from the cervical region into the arms and along the spinal column to the legs).