Degenerative Disc disease is a condition that occurs as a result of the natural ageing process of the spine. When the disc degeneration happens in the cervical region of the spine, it is termed as Cervical Degenerative disease and is the most common cause of neck pain. This degeneration is much more common in the lumbar region than the cervical region, the main reason being that the neck is subjected to a lot less force and torque. However, a trauma to the neck can trigger the degeneration of the disc which over time may lead to a stiff neck or neck pain.
The typical symptom of the cervical degenerative disc disease include
Cervical disc degeneration may also contribute to the occurrence of spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal, especially in the neck region.
The treatment options are largely similar to that for the Lumbar degenerative disc disease. The primary strategy chosen is to start treatment with the conservative remedies that include over the counter pain killers, undergoing physical therapy to maintain flexibility and relieve stiffness of the neck and following an exercise regime to stretch the muscles in the neck. The physician might also recommend wearing a cervical collar since that helps in stabilizing the neck and improving the neck alignment so that the disc compression doesn’t worsen as the patient relaxes or sleeps. Ayurvedic massages like Podikkizhi (Herbal powder massage), Ilakkaizhi (Herbal leaves massage), kativasthi (Pooling medicated oil in the back), Pizhichil (Pouring medicated oils as a stream), Nhavarakkizhi (Massage with rice boiled in medicated milk) and Panchakarma therapies like KashayaVasthi (enema with medicated decoctions) and Ksheeravasthi (Enema with medicated milk) are known to be extremely effective in relieving symptoms and providing lasting relief with no side effects. Regular practice of Yoga and pranayama is found to be extremely effective.
When none of the above treatments improve the symptoms and the patient suffer with incapacitating pain which impacts their quality of life immensely, surgery is considered as a last choice.