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cervical-spondylosis

Cervical Spondylosis

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.

Causes of Cervical Spondylosis

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.

Symptoms

Cervical Spondylosis is mostly symptomless, with passing phases of pain and headache, but in severe cases, certain symptoms may persist; that is as follows,

  • Stiff neck
  • Persistent headache and neck pain
  • Dizziness and blackouts
  • Loss of control of bowel and bladder functions
  • Disbalance
  • Dysphagia or problem in swallowing food
  • The lethargy of arms and legs
  • Tingling or numbness of shoulders, hands, and arms

Risk factors associated with cervvical spondylosis

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.

Ayurvedic therapy of cervical spondylosis

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.

  • For treating cervical Spondylosis, Panchtikta ksheerabasti i.e. enema (liquid injection through the rectum) with medicated milk for sixteen days with 'Shalishastic pind sweda'. Medicated oil enema helps to clear the large intestine.
  • Snehana - swadena' i.e. inhalation of medicated oil via steam helps in relieving neck pain and muscle spasm.
  • Detox therapy like Abhyangam massage of full body, Potali massage, Grivavasti.
  • Cow ghee is one of the best 'Vata shamak' (controller/reducer of Vata) is recommended. Hence, therapy like 'Snehapana' with medicated cow ghee as 'Mahatikta ghrut' and 'Panchatikta ghrut' is helpful as a remedy.
  • 'Manya basti / Orgreeva basti', where warm medicated oil is kept on the neck region for about half an hour.
  • Yoga asanas like Bhujanga asana, Matsya asana, Dhanura asana, Pranayam are extremely beneficial for recovering process.
  • Ayurvedical oral medication
  • includes aswagandha churna, shatavari churna, Gokshur churna, Sarpagandha churna, Sankha basha, Yograj guggulu, Dashmool kwath, Aswagandha avaleha are prescribed.

During Panchakarma, high protein diets should be avoided. Moreover, excessive salt, phosphorus from soft drinks and alcohol should be avoided.

frequently asked questions

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.