Cervical spondylosis also known as osteoarthritis of the neck causes degeneration of the edges of the vertebrae and often develop bone spurs called osteophytes. Over time, the discs get thinner, and their ability to absorb shock is lost, increasing the risk of symptoms.
Following are the five tips to reduce the acute pain caused due to cervical spondylosis---
1. Gentle neck exercises- Mild neck movements and stretches can help to moderate the impact of the condition and alleviate pain and stiffness. However, they will not cure cervical spondylosis. Free shoulder movements also help in relieving the stiffness. But once the pain reduces its very important to strengthen the neck and shoulder muscles rigorously. Acute pain exercises I have demonstrated in the video.
2. Hot or Cold pack -- If the pain is acute and there is slight swelling around the neck or trapezius muscle then cold pack should be applied to bring down pain and inflammation twice or thrice in a day for 10 to 15 minutes. But if there have been chronic bouts of cervical spondylosis pain then soothing relive can be got by application of hot pack. In either case, it's going to provide pain relief when the neck muscles become sore.
3. Correct Posture --The neck should be maintained at the neutral position throughout the day. The head-and-shoulders-forward posture is the most common example of a poor posture that contributes to cervical spondylosis pain. For every inch the head shifts forwards, an extra 10 pounds is added to the muscles in the upper back and neck. So keep your chin tuck inward to avoid this. Also, use headphones while using a mobile. While texting or writing emails don't forget to keep your mobile and monitor at the eye level to avoid neck flexion. You can use a soft cervical collar for the same purpose temporarily till pain settles down.
4. Right Pillow-- Sleeping on your back is the best position to let your entire spine rest comfortably. It is best to use a pillow that keeps your cervical spine in neutral alignment—meaning, the natural curve of your neck is supported and maintained. You can try changing your pillow to either a cervical pillow or foam pillow. Your pillow should not be too high or low neither it should be too hard or too soft. The height of the pillow should typically prevent your head and neck from turning or bending unnaturally to either side.
5. Keep it light-- One should avoid carrying heavy weight bag or purse all the time. Consider using a backpack that distributes weight evenly across both of your shoulders.
If the pain doesn't decrease with these, then visit your physiotherapist as soon as possible to start electrotherapy or manual therapy for pain relieve and trigger point release. But as soon the pain comes down it is very important to start with neck shoulder and upper back strengthening exercises.