Spondylosis is a spinal degeneration or deformity of joints of two or more vertebrae, which occurs with aging. Cervical Spondylosis is the common degeneration of cervical spine that affects the vertebral bodies and inter-vertebral disks of the neck and the nerve roots or spinal cord of the spinal canal. Spondylosis often advances with age and increases at multiple interspaces. In ayurveda the condition is known as ˜Griva Sandhigata Vata.
Causes of Cervical Spondylosis
Age – Cervical Spondylosis is often associated with age. While only less than 25% of people below 40 years of age experience Cervical Spondylosis, about 60% or more above the age of 40 are affected by it.
Neck injury “ A neck injury which may have occurred years back can predispose to Spondylosis. Other precipitating factors such as incorrect body posture, trauma, and excessive intake of sour food (according to ayurveda), can trigger spondylitis attacks.
Genetics “ Although the role of genetics is yet to be confirmed, people with above 50 years of age who experience the condition, are more likely to have a sibling with normal or mild conditions of Cervical Spondylosis.
Work Activity “ Cervical Spondylosis is often found among people who carry heavy loads on their head or shoulders, than those who do not.
Symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis
Common symptoms include pain in the neck which later radiates to arms or shoulder, weakness on the legs and arms, stiffness in the neck region, numbness of arms, legs or shoulders, loss of balance, headaches (on the back of the head), muscle spasms, loss of control over bladder or bowel movements, and general tiredness and anxiety.
- Ayurvedic / herbal oils such as Mahanarayana taila can be applied on the affected part and gently massaged twice or thrice a day. Avoid violent massage applying deep pressure, which may do more harm than good. During winter season, this oil could be gently warmed before application.
- Ayurveda recommends the gum resin extract from the Guggulu plant as best cure for the condition, and this compound, known as Simbananda Guggulu, is given in capsule form four times a day. As the medicine has a laxative effect, the dosage of the medicine will be decided based on the bowel movement of the patient. This should be determined on consultation with an Ayurvedic Physician.
- The herb ˜Triphala in its powdered form (about a teaspoon) can be mixed in a glass of warm milk and given to the patient. The dosage and duration of intake to be decided by a physician and may vary based on individual requirements of the patient.
- Hot fomentation on the vertebrae of neck, would be helpful for relief from cervical pain. Add 500gms of salt on a big cloth, and place this on a frying pan until it gets heated up. This can then be applied on the neck (but, it should not be so hot as to cause burns). This can be done for half-an-hour a day, and ensure that the affected part is not exposed to cold wind just after hot fomentation.
- Avoid foods with sour taste, and other fried foods, but, bitter variety of vegetables such as neem flowers, drumstick, and bittergourd are recommended to be a part of diet of such patients.
- Exposure to cold, such as cold bathe, violent neck muscle exercise, wrong posture while reading or writing or working, should be avoided. Wear a scarf around the neck when going out of the house.