What is Schmorl's hernia and how to prevent its complications
Schmorl's hernia is a disease that is characterized by gradual degenerative changes in the region of the intervertebral disc. Most often, this disease occurs even during the period of intrauterine development of a child, however, this type of hernial pathology occurs in adults after suffering any back injuries.
The intervertebral hernia of Schmorl differs from other hernias in that it does not cause significant damage to the intervertebral discs, and as a result, the clinic of Schmorl's hernia is rather poor.
Causes and risk factors
The pathology itself is a process of pushing the tissues of the intervertebral disc inward. There are the following reasons that can in one way or another cause the development of pathology.
- hereditary factors , which include weakness or underdevelopment of connective and bone tissue;
- the rapid development of the child - there are cases when this hernia was formed in those children who grew faster than their peers. In this case, the hard tissues of the bones “do not have time” to grow behind the soft tissues, therefore, small indentations are formed in the vertebral discs - usurative defects;
- violation of local circulation : blood constantly brings a number of nutrients to the bone, therefore, due to a lack of useful materials, the bone tissue simply weakens and loses its strength;
- constant physical activity on the back also affects the strength of the bones of the back - for example, the likelihood of a hernia in those people whose profession is closely related to construction and professional sports is much higher;
- background endocrinological diseases, in which normal hormonal activity is disturbed - calcium (one of the main building materials) in such diseases can be “washed out”, which makes the bones soften and undergo various injuries.
Also, there are such reasons that provoke the development of the disease: a sedentary lifestyle (driver, office workers, programmers), postural disorders (scoliosis, kyphosis).
Nonspecific causes that have a negative impact on the body, which to a certain extent can contribute to the development of pathology:
- excess body weight;
- excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages;
- exhausting gymnastic exercises.
There are several types of pathology. They are classified according to several principles, for example, the localization of the disease. So, there is a hernia of the cervical, vertebral, lumbar or sacral. Most often, this hernia can be found in the lumbar region, since it is in this area that the greatest pressure on the vertebrae occurs. Small hernias of Schmorl most often form in the neck and chest.
In addition, doctors classify by the number of impressions into the bone of the vertebra. Based on this, there are single and multiple Schmorl hernias. The latter are an anomaly that develops in several places of the spine at once. As a result of such a process, a whole “pattern” of hernias can be seen on an x-ray.
Another variety is considered intracorporeal hernia - the process of introducing a spongy substance into the nucleus pulposus. This phenomenon leads to the destruction of the end plate of the intervertebral apparatus of the back. This process is also accompanied by the development of osteosclerosis.
The classification according to the central and peripheral location of the pathological process is also conventionally distinguished. In the first case, the focus is located in the center of the body of the spine, while in the second - along the periphery of the bone tissue.
Symptoms of Schmorl's hernia
This type of hernial pathology is famous for the scarcity of the clinical picture. In general, the diagnosis of Schmorl's hernia causes a number of difficulties for specialists. The fact is that the pathological process in the early stages of the development of the disease does not touch the nerve endings, so the pain syndrome is not observed. From the very beginning, the patient may experience discomfort in the back, but he perceives them as ordinary evening fatigue.
As the patient develops, he experiences morning stiffness in the back, periodically experiencing pain. However, it is impossible to judge anything by such signs. The same minor symptoms are inherent in other degenerative diseases of the musculoskeletal system: osteochondrosis, osteoporosis.
In general, the study of the disease looks like this:
- Interrogation of the patient: the doctor studies complaints, investigates their nature, location of painful sensations, asks about the lifestyle and working conditions.
- Objective Research . At this stage, the doctor examines the back, pays attention to the evenness of posture, skin color, examines the area for the presence of edematous phenomena.
- Instrumental research methods. This includes radiography, magnetic resonance and computed tomography. X-ray in this situation is the leading method of diagnosis. Such methods allow the doctor to objectively study the pathology from the inside.
The process of diagnosing causes difficulties already at the first stages. It is difficult for the patient to formulate his complaints, and it is also difficult for the doctor to understand them and give them the proper meaning. The most common complaint is discomfort and occasional back pain. It is after them that the doctor sends patients for x-rays.
X-ray methods of examination of the spine have the greatest diagnostic value. Usually this disease is detected by chance, after an x-ray. As a rule, several nodules spread along the length of the spinal column are found on an x-ray at once.
In general, x-rays are the main way and method to make a final diagnosis.
Why are Schmorl's hernias dangerous?
The greatest danger to the health of the patient is a multiple hernia, located on the periphery of the vertebral bone. The very presence of a pathological process is already a particular danger, since for a long time it does not make itself felt.
So, the disease can give such complications:
- a full-fledged intervertebral hernia, requiring serious surgical intervention and long-term treatment, since the process eventually involves nearby vessels, nerves, and even the spinal cord;
- weakening of the bone. As a result, these are frequent fractures of the vertebrae - the most common consequence;
- early diseases of the musculoskeletal system in the back: arthrosis, arthritis;
- posture disorder.
Do they take to the army with Schmorl's hernia
The question of a man's suitability for the army has its own nuances. A young man can be taken to serve due to insufficient examination, and then the fighter will already undergo military service with a latent course of the disease. Nevertheless, during the period of service, one way or another, the disease will appear due to constant physical exertion and training.
However, with proper examination of the person, and with accurate identification of a hernia, direct questions of suitability arise. Most often, a young man is assigned category "B", which indicates partial suitability and a restriction in the choice of certain troops.
In the case when Schmorl's hernia has an active and pronounced course, causes discomfort to its carrier and causes vivid signs of its existence, a conclusion is made about the unsuitability of the man. A person with such a hernia will no longer be accepted into the army.
Treatment of Schmorl's hernia
Therapeutic procedures are primarily aimed at stabilizing the current state of the patient, improving the quality of his life and preventing complications. The pathology itself does not require various kinds of surgical interventions with a favorable course. Usually people with such an ailment are observed by a doctor for a long time.
Schmorl's hernia therapy includes the following treatment methods:
- Medical treatment.
- Physiotherapy procedures.
- exercise therapy (physiotherapy).
For the treatment of Schmorl's hernia, symptomatic therapy is used in terms of medications - this is a treatment aimed at eliminating symptoms. So, patients are prescribed painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. They are able to eliminate the pain that has arisen and prevent the development of inflammatory processes that can aggravate the patient's condition.
Treatment of Schmorl's hernia does not require taking many pills.
Physiotherapy involves the passage of a course of magnetic and electrotherapy. It also includes massage sessions and water treatments. How to treat Schmorl's hernia with massage? Massage is the process of warming up the back muscles. During massage sessions, local blood flow improves significantly, nutrients arrive faster in the soft and hard tissues of the back, which contributes to their regeneration and full recovery.
Exercise therapy involves physical activity, which is aimed at restoring and developing muscle tone. Exercises for Schmorl's hernia consist of various methods that use the muscles of the arms, back, and lower extremities. Also, classes on the simulator are connected in several approaches. Most often, exercises are worked out in the supine and sitting position. The methods of Eastern countries, Qigong and Yoga are widespread. Of the minuses - they require experienced craftsmen and internal endurance of the patient himself.
Gymnastics with Schmorl's hernia is aimed at preventing degenerative changes in the vertebrae. Also, gymnastics restores the affected nerve nodes.
Treatment at home
It is possible to cure a hernia at home. However, for this, first of all, you need to visit a doctor and find out the diagnosis. Only after that you can proceed to therapeutic measures. At home, as a rule, the patient takes painkillers, anti-inflammatory and restorative drugs. The well-known "Diclofenac" and "Ibuprofen" are most often used at home. Some drugs must be administered intravenously, for this you need to give injections. However, it is not recommended to carry out such procedures without the appointment of doctors.
Diet is a fundamental way to help in the treatment of the disease. So, the patient is simply obliged to adhere to proper and rational nutrition. The patient's diet should consist mainly of products that contain calcium: milk, cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese with various additives. To maintain calcium metabolism, the patient may be given calcium-containing preparations such as "calcitonin". In general, nutrition should be rich in vitamins and minerals.
Folk remedies: coniferous baths, compresses from tinctures and rubbing the back with oils. All this should be carried out with the consent of the attending physician.
With due attention, timely treatment, the prognosis is favorable. After examination and therapy, patients return to their work and life.