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Cervical Spondylosis has become a very common term today. But, what exactly is Cervical Spondylosis and how does it affect you? In simple terms – Cervical with reference to the Spine refers to the area which we generally refer to as the Neck – base of the skull down to the shoulder and Spondylosis refers to degeneration of the vertebral components. Overview of Cervical spondylosis, is a painful condition of the spinal column resulting from the degeneration of the inter-vertebral discs because of injury, work related stress and most commonly the process of aging. For some, it may cause chronic, severe pain and stiffness. However many people who have it are able to conduct normal daily activities.
The bones and protective cartilage in your neck are unfortunately prone to wear and tear that can lead to Cervical Spondylosis. There are several causes for this condition: Sometimes the causes Dehydrated Spinal Discs. Your spinal bones have discs between them, which are thick, pad-like cushions that absorb the shock of lifting, twisting, and other activities. There is a gel – like material inside which can dry out over time and with that, they lose their elasticity and flatten out and bulge into the spinal canal. This causes pressure on the nerves which can cause you pain, numbness, weakness in the arms, scalp, chest or rarely a mild tingling sensation or weakness in your legs. In some cases, the body tries to grow extra bone to make the spine stronger – unfortunately the extra bone can press on the delicate areas of the spine, such as the spinal cord and nerves, resulting in pain – these are called Bone Spurs. This process can begin around age 40.
Injuries can also accelerate the aging process. Ligament stiffness – the tough cords that connect your spinal bones to each other can become stiffer over time, which affects your neck movement and makes the neck feel tight.
Though aging is the major reason for Cervical Spondylosis and we cannot do anything about the same, but all of us need to take note that overuse due to some occupations or hobbies involving repetitive movements or heavy lifting can also put extra pressure on the spine leading to early wear and tear. Similarly, Repetitive Stress like holding your neck in an uncomfortable position for prolonged periods of time or repeating the same neck movements throughout the day can accelerate the wear and tear.
Genetic factors like family history and overview of Cervical Spondylosis, smoking, being overweight and inactive could all lead to this condition. Most people do not have significant symptoms and can problems can range from Mild to Severe and may develop gradually or occur suddenly. Be aware of pain along the arm and in fingers or pain increasing while standing, sitting, sneezing, coughing, tilting your neck backwards, headaches occurring in the back of the head, tingling in arms and legs and dizziness or loss of balance.
Cervical Spondylosis is a condition which cannot be cured. But you can control it by seeing your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment, physiotherapy and following simple home remedies and natural treatments like ayurvedic, yoga and simple lifestyle changes. Ayurveda also offers some very effective herbal formulae and treatment to get rid of the pain and other symptoms of nerve compression like numbness, weakness, in the neck, shoulder and hands and prevent further worsening of the condition even in very severely affected patients for whom surgery has been advised. Whatever you choose, be aware of your condition and make a serious effort to improve your mobility and reduce living with pain and discomfort. Healthy living is wealthy living! Take care.