Cervical spondylosis is a common degenerative condition of the cervical spine which is caused by age-related changes in the cushion between the joints of the neck and the neckbone. It is also called as Osteoarthritis of neck. In this disease intervertebral disc which acts as a cushion between two vertebrae gets damaged due to age-related changes or other reasons. As disk degeneration occurs, movements of neck get restricted; also edges of vertebra get damaged and these changes increases pressure on nerves originating from cervical vertebrae. Due to this there are many symptoms found in this disease.
According to Ayurveda, this condition occurs due to Sandhigata vata of Neck. Vitiated vata dosha causes following symptoms.
Pain in the back of neck, shoulder and arms, stiffness of the neck and even paraplegia occur due to this condition. The movement of the spine generally aggravates the pain of the neck.
Pain along the arms and fingers while standing, sitting, coughing and tilting the neck backwards, problem in lifting the arm or grasping something firmly, headaches which occur mostly at the back side of the head as well as feeling dizziness or loss of body balance is often found as symptom in this disease.
Tips for treatment
1. Avoid amla (Sour), kashay (pungent), highly acidic foods like red meat, citrus fruits and even white potatoes which increases vata dosha in body which further damages bones.
2. Avoid Constipation at all cost, it increases pain and stiffness of neck. Ayurveda uses anulomana medicines during treatment, which avoids constipation and also pacifies vata dosha. For that medicated castor oil, Rasnairandadi kashayam, Nimba amrutadi eranda taila, triphala is used according to condition and severity.
3. Cow's ghee is best vata shamak and acts best in degenerative diseases, so snehapana (oleation therapy) should be done with medicated cow ghee like- Panchatikta ghrita, Mahatikta ghrita etc.
4. Also (Snehana-swedana), external application of medicated oil followed by steam relieves muscle spasm around neck & pain can be minimized.
5. Ayurvedic Basti/Vasthi (medicated enema) has been described as best treatment for vata diseases. Ayurveda classics had mentioned Panchatikta ksheera basti in treatment of osteoarthritis which is also found very beneficial in treatment of cervical spondylosis. 8 days treatment with such basti shows marked improvement in this disease.
6. Manya Basti orgreeva basti can also be done for treatment of cervical spondylosis. In Manya Basti neck region is bathed in pool of medicated warm oil for 30 minutes.
7. Avoid diet that’s very high in protein. It can interfere with the absorption of calcium.
8. Exposure to cold, cold baths and any violent exercise of the neck muscles are very bad for the patients.
9. Ayurvedic medicines like shallaki, Rasna, Guggulu (Commiphora mukul), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Shunthi (Ginger) as well as some rasa medicines like vata vidhvans rasa, bruhat vata chintamani ras are best medicines for treating cervical spondylosis but these must be used with experts advice.
10. During study or office work your sitting posture should be straight, don’t lean too much while reading or during office work.
11. Sleep on a firm mattress that keeps your head level. The pillows should not bend the back more than 15 degrees. Avoid sleeping on your stomach as it extends the neck. It is ideal to sleep on your back or your side.
12. Yoga postures like Bhujangasana (Cobra pose), Matsyasana (Fish pose), Dhanurasana (Bow pose) are extremely beneficial for cervical spondylosis.