Osteochondrosis symptoms, causes and treatment

Osteochondritis: degeneration of bone and cartilage

Pain in the back or in the joints can have many causes. Also degenerative processes in the bone and cartilage structures can be responsible for, caused primarily by wear and tear or excessive loads. Such as osteochondrosis pathological changes are liable, to be referred to often occur in the spine (Osteochondrosis intervertebralis), or in a youthful age, also in the joints of the lower extremities to (Osteochondrosis dissecans). This usually results from trying forms of the different disease with physical therapy and exercise to counteract, in severe cases, surgery may be necessary.

Table of contents

  • Osteochondrosis intervertebralis
  • Osteochondrosis dissecans


The term osteochondrosis (also Osteochondrosis) refers to degenerative changes of the articular cartilage and bone, which do not arise due to inflammatory or infectious causes. It is generally of the order of interference in the conversion of cartilage to bone tissue during the growth phase, or wear-related changes.

All joints and growth plates can be affected by this injury, especially common, however, is affected the spinal column (Osteochondrosis, inter-vertebral artery). Also a death of smaller cartilage and bone of the shares in the joints (Osteochondrosis dissecans), and many other phenomena of this disease are associated with the image. For example, the severe forms of disease can be attributed to Scheuermann with degenerative changes to the spine osteochondrosis.


A Osteochrondrose can stay for a long time without complaints. Typical persistent pain in the affected Region such as back pain, the causal Association is often difficult. Because not only the bone and cartilage changes can trigger pain, but also the associated consequence of Failure phenomena, such as bad posture, or excessive Stress and muscle tension.

In a stage with severe pain often movement restrictions or relieving postures are reported. It comes in addition to a blocking of nerves (possibly also due to a herniated disc), may lead to symptoms in addition, neurological and sensory disturbances occur. The pain can manifest itself only locally, but also in other areas radiate. All of this can lead to (partial loss of Function of the musculoskeletal system).

It is, for example, by the change in the bone substance on the spinal column to a narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis), show the people involved in the movement after a short time, numbness and pain radiating into the legs. In the case of discharge (for example by a forward torso flexion) subside the symptoms usually back.


The causes are largely unknown, but there are reasonable assumptions about the causative factors and processes for the various forms of the disease.

Osteochondrosis intervertebralis

In the case of the Osteochrondrose to the spine, whether cervical, thoracic or lumbar spine, it is a wear and tear phenomenon. Most of the Affected are older than forty years. Permanent Overloading of the spine compression of the intervertebral discs and restrict their elasticity and buffer function. Due to the excessive pressure on the vertebral body, the bone change and cartilage structures and bone formation mostly to the vertebral bone edge (Spondylophyten). These processes are the joint wear and promote.

Also attitudes to Obesity, miscarriage, deformation of the spine (such as scoliosis), or a strong lack of exercise can contribute to this process. Furthermore, a genetic predisposition is assumed.

In the course of an Osteochondrosis intervertebralis is classified radiologically according to the three stages of the Modic classification, which refers to visible changes in the bone and bone marrow:

  • Type I: accumulation of fluids in the vertebral bone (bone marrow edema),
  • Type II: partial replacement of the bone marrow by adipose tissue,
  • Type III: tissue hardening (sclerosing).

Osteochondrosis dissecans

Under the much-discussed causes mechanical stresses, which lead to a change in the bone and cartilage are probably the main reason for the emergence of a Osteochondrosis dissecans. The mechanically induced effects, such as through sports Overload, or previous trauma, can cause a bone necrosis (death of bone tissue). This leads to changes of the articular surface with circumscribed lesions or to Rejection of small bone and cartilage fragments, the gap in the joint, or located in other areas (joint mouse).

Each joint can be affected, often these Defects occur in the knee joint or the ankle joint in children and adolescents, who are particularly active (juvenile osteochondrosis).


In addition to the anamnesis and clinical (orthopedic) examination in the case of unclear joint radio pain, as a rule, logical findings for the diagnosis to be consulted in position. First x-ray images are created, and possibly also recordings of the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are used. Also nerves are affected and there are abnormal sensations, we also carry out neurological examinations.


The treatment of Osteochondrosis depends on the extent and stage of the respective localization and the age of the person Concerned. Is the Existence of recognized osteochondrosis at an early stage and there are still no massive complaints will be sought, as a rule, for the time being, a conservative therapy. This comes in initially symptomatic. By means of physical therapies, pain medications, and muscle relaxants and acute pain and other signs of the disease are to be alleviated first.

In addition, targeted Exercises (physiotherapy) and moderate sporting activities to stabilize the affected joints through muscle strengthening and increase resilience. In addition, overloading of the affected joints should be avoided, what can make changes in the lives of those Affected is necessary. This relates to the prevention of harmful physical stress in the job and in leisure time, and possibly also a reduction in weight, to conserve the joints. Sometimes quiet positions of the joints are considered (orthotics, plaster casts).

An advanced stage with a correspondingly severe symptomatology is already reached, can also be an Operation is necessary, for example, to remove a constricting tissues or intervertebral spaces to expand.

Naturopathic Treatment

In addition to a healthy movement, the cartilage tissue is needed for a sufficient supply with nutrients, the right diet is an important role for the health of the bone and cartilage structures.

The under-supply of cartilage tissue, an Acidification of the body can be due to mineral deficiencies, and susceptibility to joint diseases. A Basenkur or Deacidify the body act as a preventative and healing effect in case of impairments of the musculoskeletal system. (tf, cs)