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Cervical Spondylosis

Definition :

Cervical spondylosis is chronic cervical disc degeneration with herniation of disc material, calcification and osteophytic outgrowths.

Symptoms may include : 

• Neck soreness on or both sides 
• Burning pain 
• Tingling sensations 
• Stiffness 

Pain around the shoulder blades 

• Arm complaints (pain, numbness or weakness) 
• Pain that moves around your body (for instance, down an arm) 
• Trouble walking or writing
• Headache 
• Dizziness
• Tiredness 
• Unintentional weight loss 

It is important to treat your neck pain properly. Seek medical attention if your neck pain persists - and seek immediate attention if you have any of the emergency signs listed in the red box below.

Warning Signs 
Neck pain is one of the symptoms of meningitis, a relatively rare but very serious contagious infection. You need urgent medical care if you have neck pain with :

• High fever 
• Sensitivity to light 
• Irritability 
• Severe tenderness with neck movement 

Neck pain can also be due to injury. A severe neck injury could be life-threatening. You may need emergency medical treatment if you have neck pain with :

• Numbness 
• Weakness 
• Tingling symptoms 

PHYSIOTHERAPY :

Shortwave Diathermy - A disc or heating pad is placed over the back of the neck. The warmth obtained from the shortwave diathermy current relaxes the muscle and the pain is relieved.

Cervical Traction - Traction is a mechanical device, which supports the head and chin. It is used to relieve the nerve compression by a bone. 

Posture correction - Simple postural exercises can be taught to correct the faulty position of the neck. In the more severe cases judicious use of a close-fitting cervical collar for supporting the neck (it should be worn for 1-3 months depending on progress) and rest to the neck is advisable. In the exceptional cases in which the spinal cord is constricted, decompression from front or by laminectomy may be required and thereafter it may be advisable to fuse the affected segments of the spinal column by a bone-grafting operation.. In most neck conditions, pressure on the neck causes pain and pain causes muscle spasms, setting up a cycle. The best way to break the cycle and stop the pain is to relieve both pressure and spasms. There are various approaches to achieve each of these goals. Many of them require daily applications, so they must be done by the patient at home.

Relief of pressure :

Lying down is perhaps the simplest way to relieving the neck of its heavy load. Bed rest gives the muscles a chance to recover. The duration of bed rest should be advised by the physiotherapist

Not only is spinal molding a relaxing way to start and end your body, it also reshapes your spine into its natural curves. Begin by lying on the floor or on a firm mattress with rolled-up towels under your neck and low back. Your legs may be straight or bent. Lie in this position for 15-20 minutes.

Cervical collar helps the neck muscles support the head, it also reduces neck mobility. The therapist may prescribe wearing of a cervical collar for the acute phase of neck problems and the duration of wearing it. The collar should fit snugly around the neck and be long enough to support the chin. Men can minimize irritation from the collar shaving frequently

Motivation is given to maintain the erect posture : Collars - Two types of collars can be prescribed.

Soft Collar : Soft collar is used during night times to prevent awkward position of the neck during sleep.

Firm Collar : Firm collar steadies the neck and relieve pain, especially during traveling or work. It is removed when the pain subsides.

Extension and flexion is especially helpful when you feel your neck and back stiffen. While sitting, place your hands on your knees and push down. Slowly arch your back and bend your back backward. Then slowly slump forward. Repeat this exercise 10 times.

Side bends increase your side-to-side flexibility. Start by placing your fingers together and pointing your elbows outward. Bend at the waist, tilting your body to one side as far as you can. Then bend your head and neck in the same direction. Repeat on your other side. Repeat this exercise 10 times.

This exercise increases the flexibility of your entire spine. To begin, place your fingers together and point your elbows outward. Slowly and gently twist at your waist, rotating your head and neck to the same side. Repeat toward the other side. Repeat this exercise 10 times