Cervical spondylosis is a degenerative joint disease that can seriously affect the spinal column. Also known as cervical osteoarthritis, it can be painful. This is because it erodes the cartilage that protects the 5 corresponding vertebrae in the neck.
As this cartilage disappears, the bones begin to brush against one other and they get crushed. As you can imagine, this action causes severe pain and inflammation to such an extent that deformities occur. This disease generally develops as you age, so you should take note and be cautious once you suspect its presence.
What are the symptoms?
The hallmarks of cervical osteoarthritis are:
- a tingling or sharp pain that travels down the arm
- weakness in the muscles
- loss of strength and balance
- neck pain that is exacerbated by sharp movements
- stiffness and tension in the neck.
Diagnosis of cervical spondylosis
If you suspect that you’ve developed this condition, book an appointment with your GP. There, a simple diagnosis can be done by reviewing your medical history and examining the symptoms that have appeared. It is imperative that you see your GP so that, if necessary, he or she can refer you on to a specialist. This will mean that you’ll have access to the correct procedures, medications and therapies that will help you to combat this disease. Pay special attention to any post-diagnosis recommendations. These will be outlined later in this article.
There are ways to curtail or prevent this condition. We’ll share some of these important tips for prevention and also tell you how to care for it if you do develop it.
One of the main things you can do is to avoid lifting heavy things without using both arms. When you lift with one arm, your body is thrown off balance. This imbalance destabilises the neck and that leads to pain, tension, stiffness and torticollis – a twisted neck, in layperson’s terms.
It’s also suggest that sleeping on very high pillows isn’t a great idea. This is because it will cause stiffness and fatigue in your neck. Also bear in mind that you should avoid staying in the same position for a long time. Static postures can cause pain or discomfort when you’re lying down. Additionally, it’s investing in a proper mattress can make all the difference, as it will generally allow for better body posture.
If you’re physically active, you should avoid sudden, sharp or fast movements. Try, as well, not to put too many demands on yourself – especially anything strenuous or of the variety that could cause risk of injury to your spine.
For better prevention of cervical spondylosis, a variety of aerobic exercises are recommended. Activities that involve stretching or relaxation are particularly useful. Acupuncture, pilates and meditation can all be fantastically beneficial as a part of your treatment plan. They can help you to de-stress, a primary factor in many of the illnesses that affect modern humans.
Things to remember…
You don’t have to suffer – or, at least, not as much. There are many conditions that develop as you age. If you’re paying attention and staying in tune with your body, you can often prevent them. This is why looking after your body by fuelling it with healthy foods plays such a key role in later life. You should also focus on keeping your body healthy and flexible with regular activity. Moderate exercise keeps your bones, muscles, ligaments and cartilage supple and active. A balanced diet packed with fresh, whole foods and a mindful lifestyle will bolster your immunity and cushion you against any kind of disease that you may find yourself facing.