cervical spondylosis symptoms and Treatment

What is Cervical Spondylosis?

Cervical spondylosis, also known as osteoarthritis of the neck or degenerative disc disease of the neck, is a condition that affects the cervical (neck) region of the spine. It is caused by wear and tear on the bones, joints, and discs in the neck, which can lead to a range of symptoms such as neck pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion.

The condition develops over time and is more common in older adults. Factors that can contribute to the development of cervical spondylosis include age, genetics, and lifestyle factors such as smoking and poor posture. In some cases, a previous injury or trauma to the neck can also increase the risk of developing the condition.

Cervical spondylosis can cause compression of the nerves and spinal cord in the neck, leading to symptoms such as weakness or numbness in the arms, hands, and fingers. In severe cases, it can also affect balance and coordination.

Cervical Spondylosis (Greeva Graha) – Ayurveda view

In Ayurveda, Greeva Graha is a Sanskrit term – “Greeva” means “Neck”, and “Graha” means “stiffness” that refers to a condition of the neck in which the cervical spine becomes stiff and immobile. This condition compares with cervical spondylosis.

According to Ayurvedic principles, Greeva Graha is primarily caused by an imbalance of the Vata dosha, which leads to degeneration of the joints and discs in the neck region. Other contributing factors can include poor posture, stress, and injury.

The symptoms of Greeva Graha include neck pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. In severe cases, the neck may become locked in one position.

Causes of cervical spondylosis

Cervical spondylosis is a condition that develops gradually as a result of wear and tear on the bones, joints, and discs that make up the neck. Some of the changes that occur with age include:

  1. Dehydrated disks: The spinal disks, which act as cushions between the vertebrae of the spine, can dry out and shrink over time. This can lead to more bone-on-bone contact between the vertebrae.
  2. Herniated disks: As the exterior of the spinal disks develops cracks, the soft interior of a disk can squeeze through these cracks and put pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots.
  3. Bone spurs: The body may produce extra bone in an attempt to strengthen the spine as the disks break down. These bone spurs can sometimes pinch the spinal cord and nerve roots.
  4. Stiff ligaments: The ligaments that connect bone to bone can become stiff with age, reducing the flexibility of the neck.

Risk factors of Cervical Spondylosis

  1. Age: Cervical spondylosis is more common in older adults, as the wear and tear on the bones, joints, and discs in the neck over time can lead to degeneration and arthritis.
  2. Genetics: A family history of cervical spondylosis may increase the risk of developing the condition.
  3. Lifestyle factors: Poor posture, lack of exercise, and smoking can contribute to the development of cervical spondylosis.
  4. Previous injury: A previous injury or trauma to the neck, such as a whiplash injury, can increase the risk of developing cervical spondylosis.
  5. Occupational hazards: Certain occupations that require prolonged sitting or standing, or repetitive neck movements, can increase the risk of cervical spondylosis.
  6. Abnormal spine alignment: Abnormal spine alignment due to congenital conditions or previous surgeries can also increase the risk of developing cervical spondylosis.

Symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis

The symptoms of cervical spondylosis can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Some common symptoms of cervical spondylosis include:

  1. Neck pain: Pain in the neck is the most common symptom of cervical spondylosis. The pain may be sharp or dull and may be worse with movement.
  2. Stiffness: The neck may feel stiff, making it difficult to move the head and neck.
  3. Headaches: Cervical spondylosis can cause headaches, particularly in the back of the head.
  4. Numbness or tingling: Cervical spondylosis can cause numbness or tingling in the arms, hands, and fingers. This may be accompanied by weakness in the affected areas.
  5. Loss of balance: In severe cases, cervical spondylosis can cause loss of balance, coordination, and difficulty walking.
  6. Decreased range of motion: The neck may have a limited range of motion, making it difficult to turn the head.
  7. Grinding or popping sounds: Cervical spondylosis can cause grinding or popping sounds in the neck when moving the head.

It is important to see a healthcare provider if you experience any of these symptoms, as cervical spondylosis can lead to complications such as spinal cord compression if left untreated.

How to Diagnose Cervical Spondylosis?

Here are some details on each step of the diagnostic process:

  1. Medical history: Your doctor will begin by asking about your symptoms and medical history. They may ask about any neck pain, stiffness, or numbness you are experiencing, as well as any previous injuries or conditions that may be contributing to your symptoms.
  2. Physical examination: During the physical examination, your doctor will evaluate your neck mobility, strength, and reflexes. They may also perform tests to check for any nerve damage or compression.
  3. Imaging tests: Imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans may be ordered to visualize the bones, discs, and nerves of the neck. These tests can help your doctor identify any degenerative changes, herniated discs, or bone spurs that may be causing your symptoms.

    x-ray of Cervical Spondylosis
    x-ray of Cervical Spondylosis
  4. Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies: In some cases, your doctor may order an EMG or nerve conduction study to evaluate nerve function and determine if there is any nerve damage or compression.
  5. Differential diagnosis: It’s important to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, such as a pinched nerve in the neck, spinal stenosis, or a herniated disc in the upper back.

Ayurvedic treatment for cervical Spondylosis

Ayurvedic treatment for cervical spondylosis usually involves a combination of therapies, including herbal remedies, dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, and physical therapies. Treatment aims to reduce pain, inflammation, and stiffness, improve neck flexibility, and prevent further degeneration of the cervical spine. Some of the common Ayurvedadvise treatments for cervical spondylosis are:

External Treatment:

  1. Abhyanga: This is a traditional Ayurvedic massage that uses warm oils to nourish and strengthen the body and balance the doshas. It can help to improve blood circulation, reduce pain, and improve flexibility in the neck muscles. Using Oil like – Shahachar Tailam, Dhanvantaram Tailam, Lakshadi Tailam, etc.
  2. Swedan: This is a sudation therapy that involves the use of steam or warm herbal compresses to induce sweating. This will help to open the pores in the body and helps for the elimination of waste materials and absorption. Sweden helps to loosen up the joints and improve flexibility.
  3. Greeva Basti:  is an Ayurvedic therapy that involves the application of medicated oils or herbal decoctions over the neck region. In this therapy, a small dough ring made of black gram flour is placed around the neck region, and warm medicated oil or herbal decoction is poured into it. The oil or decoction is allowed to stay on the neck for a certain period, usually between 30 to 45 minutes.

Greeva Basti is primarily used for the treatment of neck pain, stiffness, and related conditions, including cervical spondylosis. The therapy works by lubricating the joints, reducing inflammation, and nourishing the tissues and muscles in the neck region. The heat generated by the warm oil also helps to relax the muscles and improve blood circulation in the affected area.

Internal Medicine:

Ayurvedic herbs such as Ashwagandha, Guggulu, and Turmeric are known for their anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. They may be used in various forms, including capsules, powders, and decoctions, to reduce pain, inflammation, and stiffness in the neck.

  • Rasnasaptak Kashayam
  • Maharasnadi Kashayam
  • Varunadi Kashayam
  • Rasna Guggulu
  • Abha Guggulu
  • Yogaraja Guggulu
  • Bala Churnam
  • Navaka Guggulu
  • Ashwagandha Churnam
  • Ashwagandharishtam
  • Sankh Bhasma
  • Ashtavargam Kashayam
  • Trayodashanga Guggulu
  • Mahayogaraja Guggulu

By Dr.Dimpal Baldha

I'm DR. Dimple Baldha, an Ayurvedic doctor and I have treated more than a thousand patients in my couple of years of experience in this field. This has given me a lot of insights and positive areas to work with people from different parts of the world managing arthritis issues, Dietary changes, healthy lifestyles, and metabolic disorders. I have good knowledge of Ayurvedic medicine, Panchkarma treatment, Healthy lifestyle and yoga. I have treated so many diseases like spondylitis, psoriasis, allergies and bronchial asthma. Talks about #health, #ayurveda, #wellness, #healthylifestyle

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