Are you a victim of pain at the back of your neck and shoulders? Does it aggravate with work and radiate down to your hands? Is it accompanied with numbness and headache? Does morning stiffness give your day a ‘not so fresh’ start? Do you notice a deterioration in your confidence level?
Well, if you are experiencing the above said symptoms, then you might be suffering from the condition called Cervical Spondylosis. Let us find out the details of this condition from Dr. Sudha :
Q. What is Cervical Spondylosis?
Ans. Arthritis of the neck is called Cervical Spondylosis. In simple terms, it is the degeneration of the vertebral disc in the neck region due to wear and tear of the bones.
Q. What are its causes?
Ans. This condition often develops as an age related problem but it can be triggered with other factors also, like:
Stress, Improper postures, Neck injuries, Herniated discs, Dehydrated discs, Bone spurs, stiff ligaments and a Sedentary job and lifestyle. At times it is also seen to have a genetic predisposition. Ayurveda being the science of life, enumerates certain practises to be carried out as daily regimens. These daily regimen prevent the occurrence of diseases and keep the individual healthy. Abhyanga, massaging the body with oil is one among those practises. As a machine needs to be oiled regularly for proper functioning, similarly our body also needs to be lubricated regularly.
Q. What are the risk factors?
Ans. Advancing age, long hours of sitting and working on computers, improper neck postures, stress, carrying heavy load on the shoulder, neck injury etc. are the risk factors.
Q. What are its symptoms?
Ans. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. The most common symptoms seen are :
Pain in the neck which may spread to the shoulders and base of skull. Sometimes the pain may travel down to one or both arms. Movements of the neck may make the pain worse.
Stiffness is another common feature presented in several cases, specially after a night’s rest. Other associated features are Headaches, Pins and needles sensation on a part of the arm or hand, Weakness or numbness on a part of arm or hand, Nausea, Giddiness, a depressed feeling etc. If left untreated, in severe stages, it can even cause paralysis.
Q. When do I know if it has reached an alarming stage?
Ans. This condition causes the compression of the nerves, which in severe stages becomes very difficult to manage. If cervical spondylosis results in pressure on the spinal cord (cervical stenosis), a condition called cervical myelopathy occurs. That is when the numbness and tingling feeling is experienced. It can also lead to abnormal reflexes and lack of coordination.
Some patients in later stages, have difficulty in even moving their neck to the sides and in looking down. They feel nauseous on doing so and have to always wear a neck support for protection.
In severe conditions, this may even mimic the symptoms of a heart disease. We have come across patients who experienced a heart sinking feel, sweating and other signs of a heart attack. They were rushed to the ICU and all the diagnostic test were done. When all test came normal, their MRI was done and was diagnosed with cervical spondylosis. But still on experiencing such symptoms , it is better to rush to the nearest hospital.
Q. How can I prevent this?
Ans. A healthy life style and maintaining the right posture are the primary requisites. A regular exercise helps keep the joints healthy and prevents the occurrence of degeneration. Healthy food also plays an important role:
Now a days the vegetables which we buy, are loaded with pesticides and chemicals. So, as a prevention, it is better to soak the vegetables in fresh water for two hours. Then these should be washed and refrigerated for use.
In Ayurveda, it is mentioned that a regular use of oils helps keep the joints lubricated and thus prevent, degenerative diseases. But in today’s world, one hardly finds time to do this regularly.
As a prevention to this condition, I advice you to go in for Ayurvedic treatments like Abhyangam, Pizhichil, Patra Potali etc. These procedures are done using medicated oils which lubricate the joints, prevent degeneration and preserve the health of the bones and tissues. These treatments done twice or thrice a week go a long way to protect the normalcy of the vertebrae and also rejuvenate and detoxify you. Oils like DhanvantharamThailam, Valiya Narayana Thailam, Karpooradi Thailam, Karpasastyadi Thailam, Kottamchukkadi Thailam etc. can be used for massaging at home.
Q. What is the treatment for this in Ayurveda?
Ans. It is always better to go for the treatment in the initial stage itself and to not let it progress further.
The treatment in the initial stages yields results better and sooner. The more chronic the disease gets, the more complicated it becomes.
According to Ayurveda, this condition is caused by aggravated ‘Vata’. We suggest a few Ayurvedic treatment modalities like Abhyangam, Pizhichil, Patra Potali Swedam, Greeva Vasti, Lepam, Greeva Pichu etc. which mitigate the aggravated Vata. This along with medication corresponding to the condition of the patient is suggested. These methodologies help by rejuvenating and lubricating the joints, correcting the anomaly and giving relief to the patient.
We have also been able to manage certain conditions where surgery was suggested to the patients as the last resort.
There are patient who come to us after surgery. At times, during surgery, the nerve gets cut by mistake. In such cases the patient gets paralysed. When this happens, we can’t do anything to help them.