Ayurveda and Neck Pain
A middle aged male patient, who is working as a driver in Dubai for 10yrs came to consult me in our clinic with pain around shoulder blade, right arm and fingers. while taking his detailed history ,he told me that1 yr back, he used to get neck pain very often which he neglected all the time or used some pain relieving balms to get rid of discomfort. But from 2 weeks he is getting slight numbness /tingling sensation in his right hand along with pain which alert him to come to our clinic. With the detailed physical examination and later with X ray its confirmed that it’s the case of moderately severe cervical spondylosis.
Definition of Cervical spondylosis
It is a chronic degenerative condition of cervical vertebrae (7 in numbers that begin at base of skull to thoracic spine), inter vertebral disc (in between each vertebral body) , facet joints , longitudinal ligaments and ligamentum flavum. In later stage , spondylotic changes may result in stenosis (compression) of spinal cord and foramina.
- Bone spurs means overgrowth of bones.
- Dehydrated spinal disc
- Herniated disc i.e inter vertebral disc can develop cracks in the outer tough layer of annulus fibroses which allow the leakage of inner soft jelly type nucleus pulpous to come out of disc and compress spinal cord and nerve roots. This disc needs to be well hydrated.
- Ligament stiffness
Apart from above mentioned complaints, person may also feel
- Pain at neck radiating to back of head and sometimes to upper part of chest and upper extremities.
- Loss of strength or sometimes with muscle wasting in later stages.
1.Age: Most commonly in elderly individual i.e above 40yrs.But now a days it is not uncommon in young individuals also due to their lifestyle.
- Injury to neck can accelerate ageing process.
- Work activity : it is significantly higher in patient who carry loads on their head and in office workers involving long sitting hours.
- Smoking contributes to degenerative disc diseases.
AYURVEDIC APPROACH TO CERVICAL SPONDYLOSIS
In Ayurveda , cervical spondylosis comes under vatavyadhi and it is named as Greeva sthamba or Apabahuka. Ayurvedic science always treat considering rogi bala (physical and mental health of person) and roga bala (disease strength by physical examination) and dosha (functional entities) along with supportive x rays or other imaging techniques (to rule out other space occupying lesions)
According to above said parameters and considering different stages of disease Ayurvedic oral medication and external therapies are suggested by ayurvedic physician .External therapies are Choorna pinda swedam ,Lepanam, Mrudu abhyangam (mild massage),Patra pottali swedanam (Herbal pouch with leaves) , Greeva vasti ( Oil pool over neck ),Pizhichil(oil bath), Njavara kizhi (Medicated rice bag massage) and Nasyam( Nasal drops).
By the combination of both internal and external treatment, facilitates better blood supply and improve nerve conduction to affected area and ultimately improves the functional status of patient.
How to prevent further relapses
- Regular neck exercises to strengthen muscles and reduce stiffness as suggested by the doctor.
- Avoid long sitting hours and always maintain normal neck posture and sit in a chair with arm rest
- Avoid taking heavy weight on head or on shoulders.
- Avoid cold exposures in form of diet and activities.
- Vitamin D supplements in diet.
- In case of chronic condition better to consult and have regular follow up in form of medicines and external therapies to prevent further relapse of the disease.
With change in life style in modern era, more number of people is inclined to desk workers and computer usage. Thus cervical spondylosis is emerging as a wide spread problem in the society and maximum number of desk workers are affected by one or other stage of disease. So treat through Ayurveda in initial stage of symptoms itself to avoid further progression of disease.