Cervical spondylosis or neck arthritis, is a common degenerative condition of the cervical spine that is most likely caused by age-related changes in the inter-vertebral discs. While it’s largely due to age, it can be caused by other factors as well. The pain is often found to radiate from the neck to one of the hands either right or left; and sometimes can be in both the hands.
Ayurvedic Understanding of Cervical Spondylosis
According to Ayurveda, Cervical Spondylosis is described as ‘Greeva graham’, a condition that is caused due to the vitiated ‘Vata’ dosha. Increase in Vata leads to depletion of body tissues, for an instance, with ageing Vata increases and body tissues start degenerating. The dryness and degeneration caused by Vata leads to decrease of Kapha Dosha that is responsible for cushioning in between bone joints. Thus, disc degeneration transpires which eventually leads to spondylosis.
Factors that cause Cervical Spondylosis according to Ayurveda
- Age – Cervical spondylosis is a normal part of ageing.
- Sedentary Lifestyle (Improper diet and no physical activity)
- Bad food habits
- Occupation – Having a job that requires heavy lifting or a lot of bending and twisting.
- Recent Neck Injuries or Surgery
- Genetic Factors – Family history of Spondylosis.
- Being Overweight
Symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis according to Ayurveda
- Neck stiffness that gets worse over time
- Tingling, numbness and weakness in your shoulders, arms, hands etc.
- Pain during neck movements
- Difficulty in writing, holding objects etc.
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty in walking, lack of co-ordination
Management of Cervical Spondylosis through Ayurveda
The Ayurvedic approach to the treatment of Cervical Spondylosis includes Ayurveda Vata pacifying herbs, Ayurveda recommended diet, lifestyle modifications, Ayurvedic therapies, stress management, yoga asanas and medications that help the body get back to state of balance and harmony.
Ayurveda Panchakarma therapies like Abhyanga swedam, Elakizhi, Nasyam, Shirovasti or shirodhara, Sarvangadhara, Greeva basti, Navara kizhi etc. are generally advised depending upon the condition of the patient and severity of the disease. Pizhichil (medicated oil bath) is administered to relieve pain, inflammation of muscles and ligaments and to improve flexibility of neck bone joints.
Home Remedies to Manage Cervical Spondylosis according to Ayurveda
Because of the strong anti-inflammatory properties, the below mentioned herbs and superfoods can act as the best medicines to manage the Cervical Spondylosis condition.
- Castor Oil
Take one tablespoon of castor oil before going to bed, once or twice a week. This helps cleansing ama (toxins) and balancing vata.
Eat a couple of raw garlic buds on an empty stomach each morning with water or you can heat 2 to 3 crushed garlic cloves in a pan with some vegetable oil. Allow it to cool, then use it to massage the painful area for 5 to 10 minutes. Follow this with a warm bath. Do this 2 times daily.
Mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of milk. Heat it on low heat for 5 minutes. Allow it to cool, then add a little honey. Drink it 2 times daily.
- Sesame Seeds
Apply some warm sesame oil on the affected area and massage for 10 minutes. Then apply a hot compress on the area. Do this 3 or 4 times daily.
Drink ginger tea 3 times a day. To make the tea, boil 1 tablespoon of thinly sliced ginger in 2 cups of water for 10 minutes. Strain, add honey and drink it.
- Cayenne Pepper
Mix together 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder and 2 tablespoons of lukewarm olive oil. Apply it on the affected area. Cover it with a cloth and leave it on for a few hours or overnight. Do this daily.
One of the major causes of cervical spondylosis is lack of regular exercise. Therefore, you can reduce pain and stiffness around your neck and shoulders by incorporating regular physical exercise into your lifestyle.
- Rotate your head in both clockwise and counter-clockwise directions, and nod the neck side to side from one shoulder to the other. Do this for 10 minutes 2 or 3 times daily. This will help the pain in your neck from getting severe.