Uncoovertebral arthrosis: symptoms and treatment

Uncovertebral arthrosis is a pathological process characterized by a dystrophic lesion of unco-vertebral articular formations that are located between the cervical vertebrae. In this regard, their motor function and circulation are disturbed. Also, pathology can lead to compression and displacement of neural bundles and vessels.

Causes of pathology

Osteoarthritis of unco-vertebral articulations can be either acquired or congenital. As for the latter, the cause of its development and progression may be an anomaly in the development of the cervical spine.

As for the acquired subtype, the cause may be such pathologies:

  • consequences of poliomyelitis
  • spinal injury;
  • hip injuries.

Osteoarthritis of joints can develop in the event that a person suffers from obesity, leads a sedentary lifestyle, works with heavy loads.

Pathogenesis of the disease

At the initial stage, as a rule, the disease is diagnosed on vertebrae C3-C7.

First of all, the disease affects the intervertebral disc. A disc of cartilaginous tissue acts as a kind of «shock absorber» between the proximal vertebrae. This softens the load when moving. With the development of pathology, this tissue is destroyed. Consequently, the vessels, muscles and nerve connections that are located close to the vertebra are not protected during movements.

As the disease develops, the intervertebral tissue loses its properties. Simultaneously with this process, osteophytes (bone formations) begin to grow. Due to the increasing process of calcination, the spine loses its mobility, begins to bend, forming a «hump». Such deformations not only restrict movement, but also squeeze the nerve canals, blood vessels. As a consequence, the symptoms of the disease develop even more. The greatest probability of compression of the neurovascular bundle occurs in patients who have a history of unco-vertebral arthrosis C5 and C6. It is very difficult to restore the normal operation of the joints at this stage.


At the initial stage, arthrosis may not manifest itself at all. Occasionally, with sharp turns of the head or neck, pain may occur of a short duration. As a rule, the patient can write off such symptoms for elementary fatigue. However, the pain will only progress. Further, you can observe such symptoms:

  1. long-lasting aching pain
  2. numbness, tingling in the fingers
  3. Stably high blood pressure;
  4. severe headache;
  5. Periodic nausea, which is not removed by medication or folk remedies
  6. pain along the entire length of the spine, which can give in the hand;
  7. Limited mobility.

If uncovertebral arthrosis of the cervical spine proceeds in an acute form, then the symptoms may be added with shakiness during movement and loss of balance. The list of symptoms depends on the degree of joint damage.


The disease is diagnosed by a personal examination of the patient by a doctor and the conduct of instrumental methods of examination. As a rule, if signs of arthrosis are clearly visible, only x-rays are prescribed. However, in some cases, additional research may be needed:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • CT.

In some cases, laboratory studies and consultations can be assigned to specialists:

  1. The cardiologist
  2. vascular surgeon
  3. Ophthalmologist
  4. A neurosurgeon.


Treatment of unco-vertebral arthrosis is best performed in a hospital, so that the patient is constantly under the supervision of doctors. Methods of treatment are selected based on the general condition of the patient, as well as the severity of the pathological process. The sooner the treatment begins, the greater the chance of a full restoration of the joints.

The process of treating this ailment involves both a medical course and exercise therapy.

Conditionally the whole process of treatment can be divided into such components:

  • drug therapy;
  • physiotherapy;
  • orthopedic correction;
  • exercise therapy
  • reduction in joint motor activity with the help of the Shantz collar
  • A special diet.

In rare cases, surgical intervention is possible. Typically, the operation is required if there is a strong displacement of joints, pinching of nerves. Known cases when uncovertebral arthrosis of the cervical spine together with other diseases leads to paralysis. In this scenario, the operation is mandatory.

Drug Therapy

If you have the above symptoms, do not immediately buy an anesthetic medicine. The doctor prescribes special analgesics, which act on the focus of pain, and not on the whole body. Also prescribed is the use of chondroprotectors. It is these drugs that make it possible to slow the development of pathology.


In unco-vertebral arthrosis, the following procedures are prescribed:

  1. Electrophoresis;
  2. UHF — irradiation
  3. magnetic therapy
  4. Ultrasound therapy

Independently to eliminate the symptoms can not be in any case. Taking pain medications can help to eliminate symptoms only at the initial stage. If you do not start treatment at this stage, then a complete recovery is almost impossible.

It is worth paying attention to the fact that the course of treatment must be completed completely. Even if you felt that «nothing hurts», this does not mean that arthrosis has completely left your joints. The process can develop at any time, and each stage can develop in a more radical form.

Prevention of disease

No one is insured against the development of this disease. However, measures can be taken to reduce the risk of unco-vertebral arthrosis. It’s very simple:

  • moderate exercise;
  • proper nutrition;
  • motor activity.

If you are concerned about pain in the spine, aching joints, you should immediately consult a doctor. These symptoms may indicate the development of a pathological process. The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the greater the chance of a full recovery.