Many people get a pain in the neck which is due to cervical Spondylosis – if you see people walking around with a cervical collar, most likely they are suffering from Spondylosis.
Cervical Spondylosis is a disorder which involves the neck and various muscles around it. Spondylosis refers to a flare-up or inflammation which can last for several days. It is a musco-skeletal disorder. However, it should not be confused with cervical spondylosis which is a degenerative spinal disease and more serious, though sometimes the symptoms may be similar.
What is Cervical Spondylosis?
Cervical Spondylosis happens when neck, shoulder and back muscles get weak or the patient has suffered from an injury like whiplash, any kind of accident involving the spine, neck or head. Usually it occurs due to muscle spasm in the back, involving the spine and upper shoulder and mostly on one side.
It can also occur due to some age related degeneration in the spinal cord, in which case flare-ups can occur more often.
Symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis
Usually pain and stiffness in the neck, pain on movement, pain which radiates into the shoulder and arm, and often goes into the head. This may be accompanied by some numbness and tingling sensation, giddiness, loss of balance, which may result in nausea and vomiting.
However, as these can also be symptoms of a heart attack, please get that ruled out first.
When you go to a doctor – usually a neurologist or an orthopedic doctor – he should conduct a physical exam and then ask for X-rays or MRIs to get a definitive diagnosis. As symptoms of spondylitis and spondylosis may be similar, it is important to rule out the latter.
Depending on the severity of the condition, the doctor may advise one of more of the following:
Pain killers (NSAIDs)
Muscle relaxants cum pain killers
Steroids (oral or injectables)
Topical ointments or sprays
Exercise or physiotherapy
Use of assistive aids like a cervical collar and sleeping on a special pillow
Hot water bottle or heat packs
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If you keep on having repeated flare-ups of this condition, you need to go in for preventive measures which are most important. Otherwise, you will constantly be in pain and constantly on medication which has its own side effects. Constant pain can also lead to stress and depression.
When you are sleeping use a special pillow to support your neck and sleep on a firm mattress.
Do low-impact aerobic exercises.
Do special neck exercises which your physiotherapist will tell you to do.
Don’t hold your neck in one position for long periods of time.
If you are having a flare-up, but still have to work, sit in front of the computer or travel, use the cervical collar.
Avoid using the phone by holding it between the neck and shoulder.
Avoid looking down for long periods of time.
Keep a good posture when sitting and standing.
Complications of cervical spondylitis are that you can suffer from chronic neck pain which can lead to fatigue, loss of interest in anything, stress and depression. It can also lead to cervical spondylosis which is a more serious condition.
Alternative remedies are known to have a positive effect on some patients – you can try homeopathy, ayurveda, Chinese medicine, acupuncture and natural remedies. Yoga has some excellent exercises for recurring flare-ups and is a very good preventative. You can also see that you eat a good, nutritious and balanced diet and may try nutraceuticals as a a supplement as well.