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Cervical Spondylosis

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Definition

Cervical Spondylosis is a kind of Arthritis that affects cervical vertebrae and is characterized by pain at the back of the neck (radiating towards the upper limbs) and vertigo while bending downwards. There might be sensory loss and numbness in the upper limbs. In Ayurveda, it is known as Grivasandhigatvata. There are some degenerative changes in the cervical vertebrae. This, when coupled with trauma or incorrect posture while sitting or sleeping leads to the manifestation of Cervical Spondylosis.

Causes

Aggravated Vata Dosha (Ayurvedic humor representing Air) causes the degeneration of tissues and the joints of the neck. Vata aggravation is caused by the intake of dry, cool, light, stale, and gas forming foods; having food in small quantity; increased gaps between meals; having more of sour, bitter, and astringent foods; late night work schedules; smoking; and a lifestyle involving overindulgence in physical, mental, and sexual activities.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis include neck pain radiating towards shoulder and hand, stiffness in the neck, headache, vertigo while bending forward, loss of sensation and numbness in the shoulders and hand, and cracking sounds in the joints during movement. There might be some systemic signs like flatulence, indigestion, sleeplessness, dry skin, and intolerance to cold and dry weather.

Ayurvedic View

The focus of Ayurvedic treatment in cases of Cervical Spondylosis is on pacification of the aggravated Vata by improving digestion and enhancing the digestive fire. This treatment is followed by administration of herbal medicines that foster rejuvenation of body tissues. Panchakarma massage therapy has also shown positive results in treating cases of Cervical Spondylosis.

Diet & Lifestyle Advice

  • Increase intake of oily foods that are easily digested, sweet things, purified butter, vegetable soups, milk and almonds.
  • Avoid rice, refined flour, kidney beans, and other foods that cause flatulence.
  • Avoid physical and mental exertion.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Have regular, gentle body massage with lukewarm sesame oil.
  • Dhanurasan and Ujjai Pranayam are highly recommended for cervical pains.

Some Home Remedies

  • Gentle oil massage with lukewarm sesame oil on the whole body followed by hot fomentation (application of moist heat) pacifies Vata.
  • Have 2-3 raw garlic buds on an empty stomach in the morning with water.
  • Make a powdered preparation of dried ginger root, celery seeds, and cumin seeds in equal quantities. Add rock salt to taste, and have 1 teaspoon with water at bedtime.
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