Cervical Spondylosis is a medical condition, which causes the degeneration of the vertebrae, ligaments, discs of the cervical spine. The cervical spine is the seven small vertebrae of the neck, which is at the base of the skull. This disease is also known as neck arthritis, degenerative osteoarthritis or cervical arthritis.
Cervical Spondylosis is very common and affects more than 85% of men of age older than 60. It affects men more than women.
With the progression of age, the bones and the cartilage of the spine gradually erode away. The causes of Cervical spondylosis are as follows:
De-hydrated disk: Disks are the pads in between the vertebrae of the spinal cord. These disks often dry up and shrink with growing age resulting in more friction in between the bones.
Herniated disk: With age, the spinal disk also can produce cracks or bulge (herniated). This will put pressure on the nerve roots in and around the spinal cord.
Development of Osteophyte: Bones spurs can cause due to inflammation or in a wrong effort to fortify the degenerating spinal cord. These are called osteophytes that can pinch the nerve roots of the spinal cord.
Stiff ligaments: ligaments are the connecting tissues in between bones, with age these spinal ligaments can lose flexibility making the neck stiff.
Cervical Spondylosis is mostly symptomless, with passing phases of pain and headache, but in severe cases, certain symptoms may persist; that is as follows,
There are several risk factors which are as follows,
Occupation: Long term actions like carrying heavy loads, martial arts practice, dancing, regular gymnastics increases the risk of cervical Spondylosis.
Excessive Stress: Excessive stress may trigger cervical spondylosis.
Neck injuries: Any kind of accident affecting the neck will increase the possibility for developing cervical Spondylosis
Genetics: Though not included within a genetically transferrable disease, families with a history of cervical Spondylosis having a risk for development of this disorder
Regular Smoking: Smoking increases the chances of getting affected by cervical spondylosis.
Severe cases may lead to compression of the nerve roots that may cause permanent damage.
To reduce the pain associated with cervical Spondylosis, the following steps may be taken:
While office work or studying, straight sitting posture should be maintained.
Firm mattress for sleeping with a single pillow for headrest is recommended.
Sleeping on the stomach leads to neck extension and should be avoided.
PANCHKARMA (Five actions), being a rejuvenating method, is an ideal process of treating cervical Spondylosis. The treatment is carried out for a period of four to six weeks depending on the severity of the illness.
The First stage of panchakarma (Purva karma) This preparatory stage consists 'Shirodhara' (pouring of warm oil on the forehead as a constant stream), 'Takahara', 'Ksheeradhara' and 'Pizhichil' helps to reduce physical and mental stress that triggers cervical Spondylosis.
Second or main stage (Pradhana karma) This includes the actual doshas elimination steps. The five methods of purifications are Vamana (emesis), Virechana (purgation), Vasti (enema), Nasya (nasal administration) and Rakta Mokshana (bloodletting). These purifications method used alone or a combination depending on individual and health conditions.
During Panchakarma, high protein diets should be avoided. Moreover, excessive salt, phosphorus from soft drinks and alcohol should be avoided.
A physician could spot initial symptoms of cervical spondylosis in a person through examining the motion in neck, reflexes, and muscle strength. Neck X-rays, CT scan or MRI would reveal more information in this regard.
Common symptoms of cervical spondylosis include stiffness and pain in the neck, pain in shoulders, and trouble in moving the neck. The more severe condition could arise if the symptoms including numbness in arms, abnormal reflexes, and lack of control and coordination while walking.
A physician may recommend some exercises for cervical spondylosis including chin tucks, side bending of the neck to keep the muscles in motion, neck stretching, and head rotation on both sides to maintain normal motion in the neck.
The treatment of cervical spondylosis depends upon its severity. A physician may give a prescription for treatment. In other cases, your physician may also recommend exercises and therapy. In severe cases, surgery remains the last option for treatment.
Sometimes cervical spondylosis can be controlled through proper medication, therapy, and exercises. But as a worst-case measure, if the patient is suffering from severe pain, surgery remains as the only option to cure cervical spondylosis.