Spondylosis a spinal degeneration or deformity of joints of two or more vertebrae, which is common and worsens with age. This condition is often used to describe degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis) of the spine. Most people don’t have symptoms, but some may experience pain or muscle spasms. In many cases, no specific treatment is needed. In Ayurveda, the condition is known as Griva Sandhi Gata Vata.
Causes of Cervical Spondylosis
Age – Cervical Spondylosis (Griva Sandhi Gata) is often associated with age. Very less number of people below 40 years of age experience Cervical Spondylosis, about 65% or more above the age of 40 are affected by Cervical Spondylosis.
The main cause of this is Neck injury: – A neck injury which may have occurred years back can cause Spondylosis. Other factors such as incorrect body posture, trauma, and excessive intake of sour food (according to Ayurveda), can trigger spondylitis attacks.
Work Activity Cervical Spondylosis is often found among people who carry heavy loads on their head or shoulders, than those who do not.
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.
Symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis
The signs and symptoms of cervical spondylosis are:
- A stiff, painful neck
- Shoulder, arm or chest pain
- Tingling and pinprick sensations in the arms, hands, legs or feet
- Numbness and weakness in the arms, hands, legs or feet
- Lack of coordination
- Difficulty walking
- Abnormal reflexes
- Loss of bladder or bowel control, or urinary or bowel retention
Herbal / Ayurvedic treatment for Cervical Spondylosis
- 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 by applying deep pressure, which may do more harm than good. During the winter season, this oil could be gently warmed before application.
- Ayurveda recommends the gum resin extract from the Guggulu plant as the 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 in 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 the 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 the cold wind just after hot fomentation.
- Avoid foods with a sour taste, and other fried foods, but, bitter variety of vegetables such as neem flowers, drumstick, and bitter gourd are recommended to be a part of the 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.
Home Remedies For Cervical Spondylosis
- Use Cow’s ghee in your food. It is a best natural “Vata” reliever and gives nourishment to the nerves and other body parts.
- 1 tablespoonful of Turmeric should be consumed once every day, after boiling it in milk for half an hour. It is a very useful herbal treatment for cervical spondylitis.
- Constipation must be avoided at all costs. Constipation may increase pain in Cervical Spondylitis.
- Herbs have divine healing powers and they have the ability to cure any disease of the root. They were gifted to us by God when he created life. So believe in God if you want to get rid of your problems!
- Ayurvedic herbs are unique natural remedies for Cervical Spondylitis. Ayurvedic principles are different in many ways from modern medicine for example – Drinking water from a copper pan after keeping it overnight is also very useful in Rheumatoid arthritis and Cervical Spondylitis.
- Consuming castor oil at night with milk or alone is a very useful herbal remedy for arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis, and Cervical Spondylitis.
- Improve your nutrition as the first step.It plays an important role to fight diseases. When nothing works, nutrition works a lot!
- Use herbal juices like Aloe vera juice (Kumari Saar) and Amla Juice ( Amla Saar) in routine. Amla is the richest source of natural Vitamin C. Vitamin C improves the natural immunity of the body. 100 gm of Amla juice contains 30 times more vitamin C than 100 gm of oranges.
DIET AND LIFESTYLE
Diet: – Diet Sour things, particularly curd, is strictly prohibited. Fried things, pulses and various preparations of pulses are also contra- indicated in this condition. Bitter vegetables like the bitter variety of drumstick, neem flowers, and bitter gourd are very useful. Wheat is better than rice for the patient.
Lifestyle: – Exposure to cold, cold bath and any violent exercise of the neck muscles, including pressure, are very bad for the patients. Under the impression that this pain is being caused by some defects in the muscles, people undertake different types of neck exercises.
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.
SELF CARE TIPS
- For mild neck pain or stiffness:
- Take a long, hot shower every day
- Wear a cervical collar (which you can buy in a drugstore) during the day