Cervical spine (neck) is made up of seven vertebrae (bones), which are separated by intervertebral discs. Intervertebral discs are filled with a gel-like substance which acts as a cushion between the vertebrae. Muscles and ligaments run between and are attached to the vertebrae. Nerves from the spinal cord pass through between the vertebrae and go to the shoulder, neck, arm, and upper chest.
Cervical spine not only stabilizes the neck but also allows smooth movements of the neck from side-to-side, forwards, and backward. Cervical spine acts as a shock absorber and helps in maintaining the body posture, but, over a period of time, this natural shock absorber starts to degenerate.
Cervical spondylitis results due to the age-related wear and tear (degeneration) of the intervertebral disc and vertebrae. Most often, in people above the age of 40, the intervertebral discs get progressively dehydrated and they become more compressible and less elastic than normal. As a result, they are unable to absorb shock and the vertebrae begin to rub together. In some cases, there is a formation of bony growths known as osteophytes.
In an initial stage of cervical spondylitis, you may not experience any symptoms. Gradually, the pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulder may develop. You may experience inter-scapular pain and the pain in the arm or forearm. If the bony growths causing compression of the nerves develop, it can lead to radiculopathy that is pain, numbness, weakness, and loss of reflex in the arm. Bad posture can aggravate the neck pain in cervical spondylitis.
The treatment for cervical spondylitis depends on the severity of your signs and symptoms. Cervical spondylitis can reduce the ability to perform the routine activities. The goal of the treatment is to relieve pain, help you maintain your day-to-day activities as much as possible, and prevent a permanent injury to the spinal cord and nerves. Certain bad postures and habits can interfere with the treatment of cervical spondylitis and long-term relief can’t be achieved. Hence, you should be aware of certain do’s and don’ts for cervical spondylitis. Read on to discover all about it.
|Do stretching exercises regularly to maintain neck strength, flexibility, and the range of motion.
|Don’t undergo spinal manipulations, if you are experiencing an acute pain.
|Practice yoga exercises which may be beneficial to relieve and prevent the neck pain.
|Don’t practice yoga exercises without expert’s guidance.
|Walk regularly or engage in a low-impact aerobic activity.
|Don’t try vigorous exercises without an expert’ s advice.
|Take rest, immobilize the neck, and take medications as directed during the acute episode of pain.
|Don’t exercise if you have acute neck pain or weakness in your hands or arms. If you happen to experience pain while you exercise, stop right away.
|Apply hot or cold fomentation to get relief from sore neck muscles.
|Don’t massage your back or neck if it causes pain.
|Use a firm mattress and thin pillow while sleeping.
|Don’t take many pillows below the neck and shoulder while sleeping.
|Lie flat on your back.
|Don’t lie flat on your stomach.
|Do turn to one side while getting up from lying down position.
|Don’t twist your neck or the body suddenly, instead turn around by moving your feet first.
|Use a seat belt when in a car, and use a firm collar while traveling.
|Don’t travel on bad roads, if traveling by two or four-wheeler.
|Take a break while driving, watching TV, or working on a computer and perform the cervical retraction exercise.
|Don’t drive for long hours. Avoid sitting for a prolonged period of time in stressful postures.
|Do set up your workstation so your computer screen is at eye level and your feet are supported on the floor.
Try to keep your smartphone as close to eye level as possible to avoid neck strain.
|Don’t hold your head in a bent position for more than 10 minutes, when you’re reading, looking at a smartphone, or working on a computer.
|Use a Bluetooth or hands-free headset to make calls.
|Don’t hold the telephone or mobile phone on one shoulder and avoid leaning at it for a long time.
|Wear a cervical collar during the day, if neck pain is severe.
|Don’t wear a collar for long periods of time because that can make your muscles weaker.
|Use a backpack that distributes weight evenly across the shoulders.
|Don’t lift heavy weights on head or back. Avoid using a heavy purse or briefcase on one shoulder & tilting the spine.
Related Article: Tips to aid ankylosing spondylitis
Please avoid following bad postures that can worsen cervical spondylitis
- Bending head forward from normal position for a long time
- Holding shoulders up and forward
- Drooping shoulders and a rounded upper back
- Bending hips, knees, and ankles
- Sitting with hanging legs
Proper medication and following the above-mentioned dos and don’ts will help you manage your cervical spondylitis effectively.
Get in touch with our doctors at Lifeforce to know about homeopathic treatment for Cervical spondylitis. Leave the details below or call us at 022-66888888 or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Written by Dr. Aparna, Associate doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah