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Cervical Spondylosis :- Symptom, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Home Remedy of Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical Spondylosis is a condition of degeneration of the inter-vertebral disks, which advances with advancing age and which, in course of time, also involves the adjacent vertebrae and the para-vertebral structures. The elasticity of the inter-vertebral disks is lost and it predisposes the disks to injury and tear. It also leads to inflammatory changes, which in turn brings about calcification (deposition of calcium) leading to extra bone formations called osteophytes in the adjoining structures. Spondylosis is a specific form of arthritis, which attacks vertebrae and connecting bone, and ligament structures. The spines of majority of people above the age of 50 have certain degree of osteo arthritic changes. But they seldom cause acute symptoms. Certain precipitating factors like trauma, incorrect posture of the body, pressure while sleeping and excessive intake of sour food usually precipitate spondylitis attacks.

Cervical Spondylosis Symptom

There may be Neck pain, Shoulder pain, Headache Muscle tightness The muscles covering the regions like back of neck shoulder, side of neck will be stiff and painful. Referred pain There may be no pain felt over the neck but referred pain maybe present in arm, elbow, thumb and fingers. Limitation of movement The neck movements are limited. Extending the neck up is difficult and restricted due to pain and stiffness, but flexing the neck down is possible. Loss of bladder and bowel control In extremely severe cases, if the spinal cord is affected, there will be loss of balance and also loss of bladder and bowel control. Muscle weakness The muscles responsible for maintaining the neck in erect position can become weak. Sensory loss The bones of the neck applies pressure over the nerves passing through them and can causes loss of sensation in the arm or fingers.

Cervical Spondylosis Causes

As you age, the disks of your spine become drier and less elastic. Degeneration can cause some of the disks to bulge and, in some cases, cause the central cartilage of the disks to protrude through a crack in the ring that surrounds the disk (herniate). The surrounding ligaments become less flexible, and the vertebrae may develop bone spurs. These degenerative changes may be a result of wear and tear throughout your life. An earlier injury to your neck may predispose you to this degeneration. By age 60, most people will show signs of cervical spondylosis on X-ray, although they may not have signs or symptoms.

Cervical Spondylosis Diagnosis

Give the doctor your complete medical history. This can help him or her rule out other conditions that cause symptoms similar to cervical spondylosis. The doctor will examine you physically and may take X-rays or use other diagnostic imaging tests to see inside the body.

Medical history . Tell the doctor if you have any illnesses or chronic conditions. Describe the exact location of neck pain and when the problem began. What does the pain feel like? Have you ever injured your neck or been previously treated for neck pain?

Physical exam . The doctor may identify tender spots along the back of your neck and evaluate your ability to move the neck in various directions. He or she may test your reflexes and the function of nerves and muscles in the arms and legs. The doctor may want to watch you walk.

Imaging . X-rays and/or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) studies may show bone spurs and other abnormalities and reveal the extent of damage to the cervical spine.

In certain cases, you may need additional tests before the doctor can make a diagnosis. Sometimes the doctor may want you to see a neurologist for evaluation.

Cervical Spondylosis Treatment

Most symptoms respond to basic treatment such as:

Rest - a period of rest is often recommended. This may range from limiting normal activities to complete bed rest for three to five days.

Neck collar or brace - this limits neck movement and means that the shoulders are taking the weight of the head.

Exercises - These may help relieve symptoms and strengthen neck and shoulder muscles.

Traction - in some cases intermittent neck traction may be recommended for one to two weeks. This may be in hospital or at home.

Pain relieving drugs - pain can be treated non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, which help to reduce pain and swelling. People with certain conditions such as asthma, high blood pressure, heart problems or kidney failure may not be able to take anti-inflammatory drugs. As a short-term measure when pain is particularly bad, a muscle-relaxing drug may help.

Pain-relieving injections -some patients may have the spaces between the vertebrae injected, which reduce inflammation and reduce pain, which in turn has a muscle-relaxing effect.

Alternative therapy - this may be combined with conventional medical treatment to relieve tension, manage pain, and strengthen neck and back muscles. The options include physiotherapy, massage, yoga, chiropractic, acupuncture and work on improving posture. Vitamin and mineral supplements, herbal therapies and homeopathy may help to rebuild the weakened spinal structure.

In cases of severe or chronic pain or loss of movement, surgery may be recommended. Surgery relieves pressure on the nerve root, spinal cord or blood vessels and stabilizes the spine. It involves the removal of bone and disc tissue in the neck (called decompression of the spine) and can significantly reduce pain. However, these effects may only last for a period of one year or less, therefore surgery is often a last resort that must be carefully considered before being undertaken.

If left untreated, or if treatment is not successful, cervical spondylosis may lead to permanent disability.

Cervical Spondylosis Prevention

There is not much that can be done to prevent cervical spondylosis, as it is part of the normal ageing process. It may be possible to prevent some of the symptoms by taking regular physical exercise and limiting activities that place pressure on the head, neck, and shoulders. The best exercises for the health of the cervical spine are low-impact activities, such as swimming, walking, or yoga.

Prevention of neck injury may reduce the risk of developing cervical spondylosis.

Good posture whilst standing, sitting, and working at the computer, driving and sleeping will also help to prevent damage to the spine.

Cervical Spondylosis Home Remedy

In Cervical Spondylosis, Any external massage is not of much use. Violent massage with deep pressure is very harmful for the spondylitis patient. Only gentle massage over the muscles of the neck and shoulder joints should be applied and for this purpose. This gentle massage can be given 2-3 times a day .In winter season.

Simbanada Guggulu , gum resin extracted from the plant is the best medicine for the treatment of cervical spondylosis. It is given in a dose of 2-4 tablets, 4 times a day. Usually hot water or hot milk id given to the patient after the administration of this medicines.

Triphala powder is the best medicine for spondylitis. One teaspoonful of triphala should be given to the patient, mixed with a cup of warm milk and one spoon of sugar. If the motions become regular by the intake of simbanada guggulu, then triphala powder should be given only twice a week otherwise it can be given every day

Hot fomentation on the vertebrae of the neck is very useful for cervical pains. In a big handkerchief about 500gms of salt should be kept over a frying pan till it becomes tolerably hot. Then this should be applied over the neck. Care should be taken to see that it should not be too hot. After the fomentation the patient should go to sleep so that he does not run the risk of exposure.

Diet Sour things particularly curd, are strictly prohibited . Fried things, pulses and various preparations of pulses are also contra- indicated in this condition.

Bitter vegetables like bitter variety of drumstick, neem flowers and bitter gourd are very useful. Wheat is better than rice for the patient. He should however, avoid taking refined wheat which is known as maida (flour) and suji (semolina). To some extent they are constipated and do not help the patient in the recovery.

While reading and writing, one should maintain a comfortable posture.

Morning walk gives some relief to the patient, but if it is cold outside the patient should always use a woolen scarf around his neck while going out of the house.

Call the doctor

If you have neck pain that doesn't respond to over-the-counter pain medications

The pain worsens

You develop numbness in your arms or legs

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