Cervical spondylosis causes symptoms home treatment

Spondylosis is characterized by inflammation of the spinal column, which in most cases develops in individuals above the age of 55 years. Also, spine stiffness, radiating pain and muscle weakness are prominent symptoms of this disease.

Elderly degenerative changes in a body part, most often the spinal column, are commonplace among aging adults. Physicians at the American Academy Of Orthopedic Surgeons confirm 85% of senior citizens 61 years and older have degenerative changes in their cervical spines[1].



Also read: Temporomandibular joint dysfunction syndrome


What is cervical spondylosis

Cervical spondylosis is a type of arthritis that involves inflammation of the spine’s vertebrae. It can affect any spine level, but it most often occurs in the neck. The condition develops slowly over time and is characterized by pain, stiffness, or numbness in the neck, shoulder, or arm.

The seven cervical vertebrae known as the “cervical spine” start at the base of the skull and go to the top of your neck. The spongy discs and ligaments surrounding this area make up a cushioned interior, protecting your spinal cord from outside impacts.

In cervical spondylosis, the cartilage in one’s discs deteriorates, and the ligaments between bones become stretched out, making it harder for the upper vertebrae in your neck to absorb shock because they cannot bend or twist as easily. This reduces one’s ability to move freely and pain may set in with specific movements.

The condition mostly affects middle-aged people between the ages of 50-55, more common among men. 30% of people with this disease have a family history.


Symptoms of cervical spondylosis

Often, the symptoms of cervical spondylosis may be mild. However, they can also range from being moderate to severe. Symptoms can vary, depending on what part of the spine is affected. In most cases, there are neck aches and pain, muscle stiffness, shoulder or upper back pain, headaches, and limited neck movement. 

Neck pain can present itself in several different ways. It may also be accompanied by a headache, arm and hand weakness, difficulty raising the arms, or even out-of-control eye movements. 


Pain is more likely to be worse when moving the head than it is just lying down. Individuals are also expected to have neck stiffness after a long period of inactivity, such as sleeping.

This pain sometimes can cause problems with the blood vessels, which can affect your brain’s ability to receive blood, leading to dizziness and even total loss of consciousness.

There are many ways you can ease the pain of cervical spondylosis. Some people rely on medications, while other ways involve neck exercises or physical therapy. It’s important to find a suitable option since some methods might prove more effective than others. 


Causes of cervical spondylosis 

Cervical spondylosis is a disorder of the cervical spinal column that can occur due to long-term degeneration and wear-and-tear of the bones in the neck or because of an existing neck injury.

Heavy lifting and certain sports may cause it in the long run. Pole dancing, for example, is considered one of the highest risk activities as it combines both factors with frequent spinal flexing. Additionally, Genetic studies have shown that this condition is likely hereditary[2].

The condition usually starts to appear and progress in middle-aged adults. It’s not necessarily related to gender, as it does affect men and women equally. Smoking may also increase your risk of this condition.


Diagnosis

In order to make a diagnosis, it’s essential to first rule out similar conditions such as fibromyalgia. Once all other conditions have been ruled out, it’s time to start testing the patient’s general mobility or ability to move properly. 


Movements that are particularly important for someone with cervical spondylosis include:

  • Flexing and extending their neck, which is crucial for looking up and down respectively.
  • Turning the head from side to side, which helps prevent stiffness in the neck.
  • Lifting the arms over their heads which can also relieve strain on their neck.

At this point, it should now be determined what areas of your body are affected by spondylosis. This could be bones, muscles, and/or nerves.

Your doctor may give you some drugs that may or may not help treat your condition, or they could refer you to another specialist depending on the condition that has been diagnosed.


Prevention

A person with spondylosis can’t necessarily prevent it, but it can be controlled with some small measures. For example, an ergonomic specialist can modify a device to minimize repetitive stress on the neck. You can also avoid smoking or exercising carelessly, or regularly do stretching to overcome the problem.


Treatment 

Cervical spondylosis is usually asymptomatic. When it does manifest symptoms, these often resolve over time, and more often than not, without treatment. However, if symptoms do occur, they can be managed accordingly with the help of therapy.

Treatment for cervical spondylosis involves both non-surgical methods such as medication or injections with surgical options like surgery or an operation that decompresses the cervical cord if symptoms worsen over time.

While cervical spondylosis is not as common as other spinal disorders, it can be quite debilitating because of the difficulty in mobility.


There are many treatment options for cervical spondylosis, and you should consult your doctor for a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs.

A few treatments that might help:

  • Physical therapy – This could help reduce muscle soreness and stiffness and improve range of motion.
  • Acupuncture – This can reduce pain by releasing tension in tight muscles.
  • Chiropractic adjustment – This may also help relieve pain and decrease stiffness by manipulating the spine.
  • Medications – If physical therapy doesn’t work, your doctor may recommend medication such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or narcotic painkillers.

Surgical treatment can be risky and can result in nerve damage and even paralysis. You may need medications and physical therapy if you choose this course of treatment. Drugs like prednisone, aspirin, painkillers, and muscle relaxants can help with the pain caused by cervical spondylosis and headache. Exercise and therapy might also decrease the pain by strengthening your muscles and providing you with a distraction from the pain. 


Home treatment for cervical spondylosis

Alongside particular fitness methods, you can do some of your own home treatment to ease signs of cervical spondylosis if it starts to cause pain. Most people use drugs to treat cervical spondylosis. These drugs do not typically require a prescription.

Other options include: 

  • Regular exercise – This can help speed up recovery from intense muscle pain. 
  • Heated pads and cold packs – This can relieve severe tightness in the muscles that can’t be loosened with regular stretches.
  • A soft cervical collar – These can help relieve pain if a person wears it for short-term periods. However, using the soft cervical collar too often can weaken the muscles in the neck.


Exercises for cervical spondilosys

A person can ease the symptoms at home with a few simple neck exercises. The following exercises can be done daily and at home and can help relieve neck and arm pain that are often associated with this condition.

Neck stretch

  • Keep your body straight 
  • Push your chin forward in a way that stretches your neck muscles
  • Wiggle your eyebrows for an additional stretching effect 
  • Pull back to the center
  • Repeat Steps 2 to 5 five times 

Neck tilt

This exercise is done by tilting your head forward, then backward, and then side to side, ten times for each direction. This will help stretch out the muscles in the neck and even the vertebrae.

Neck turn

  • Start with a simple neck turn to the left. 
  • Place right palm on the face and left hand on top of the right shoulder to provide balance.
  • Now twist your head to the left
  • Then lean your body to the left
  • Then tilt your head down. 
  • Hold for a few seconds and return to the center position. 
  • Repeat ten times

Since the cervical spondylosis home treatment exercises are non-medical remedies, they can only aid in managing the symptoms and pain associated with the condition.


Exercises to avoid

While exercise is one of the best ways to manage pain and other symptoms, it is crucial to make sure that you are doing exercises that will not do more harm than good. While some exercises might feel great, these can increase inflammation in the joints and put you in a lot of pain. These types of activities include:


Sit-ups

Crunches and sit-ups can put excessive strain on the neck and should not be performed.

Military press

The military press involves pushing a weighted barbell over your head. It requires strength to lift the weight above your head and even more strength to hold it up there. Often when people experience neck pain. It’s because they lack strength and stability in their shoulder muscles, otherwise known as the periscapular muscles.

If one uses the military press exercise, tight upper trapezius muscles can pull on the neck, causing pain and limited cervical spine range of motion.

Bridges

The bridge exercise is performed with the back flat and knees bent, using the glute muscles to raise the hips towards the ceiling, resulting in a bridge formation.

While performing glute bridges is a great way to strengthen the glutes, it can be incredibly dangerous for your neck if performed incorrectly.


Conclusion

Cervical spondylosis is very common among the aging population and can cause stiffness, discomfort, and headaches. Your doctor may be able to recommend conservative cervical spondylosis home treatment to help alleviate your pain and discomfort, but they are often not able to reverse this condition.

One way to prevent this condition from getting worse is by staying active, maintaining good posture, and avoiding trauma to your neck. For example, don’t sit for too long at a time without taking breaks, don’t wear clothes that are too tight or heavy, and avoid exercise routines and sports activities that you’re not well-versed in.



Also read: Latissimus dorsi pain – Complete guide, exercises, recovery

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