Can physiotherapy cure cervical disc disease? Can it improve neck pain and your quality of life? Many such questions come to your mind, when you are gripped with pain from cervical spondylosis. Let us understand about physiotherapy for cervical disc disease or cervical spondylosis in detail.
Can Physiotherapy Cure Cervical Disc Disease?
Can physiotherapy cure cervical disc disease? Well the answer to this question is a big yes! Cervical disc disease can indeed be treated with physiotherapy. Also known as cervical spondylosis, this health issue is characterized by neck pain that arises due to problems with the discs set between the vertebrae. A physiotherapist can guide you with cervical disc disease, on how to improve posture, stretch and strengthen the neck and vertebrae, and prevent the reoccurrence of neck pain.
On their first visit to the physiotherapist, you would first be completely evaluated and the physiotherapist would examine your neck to assess its range of motion and any presence of swelling or stiffness in the nearby area. The physiotherapist would also enquire for symptoms like pain in the neck or between the shoulder blades, pain which radiates through the arm to the fingers, or tingling and numbness in the arm or shoulder. The examination would also assess the patient’s strength and reflexes.
How Can Physiotherapy Cure Cervical Disc Disease?
When we say that physiotherapy can cure cervical spondylosis, the next question that arises is the way in which it is done. There are many techniques and treatments which physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath can use to strengthen the affected area, ease the stiffness, and restore normal neck functioning.
Here are some effective ways to treat cervical disc disease through physiotherapy.
Physiotherapy can cure cervical disc disease with therapeutic exercises. During a physiotherapy session, the patient is made to perform a range of cervical exercises to strengthen and stretch the muscles which support their neck. Isometric exercises prove highly beneficial in this regard. Patients with cervical spondylosis are also taught how to improve their range of movement and posture. For the purpose of posture correction, the physiotherapist may ask the patient to stand in front of a mirror while exercising as this would help them spot their own mistake and rectify the same.
Neck Traction for Cervical Disc Disease
Cervical traction is one of the most common techniques by which physiotherapy can cure cervical disc disease. It helps to relieve pain and improve movement. This treatment helps to promote immobilization of the cervical area and broadens the foraminal openings.
In traction, the neck is gently extended to open up the space in between cervical vertebrae which in turn temporarily exerts less pressure on affected disc. One can take neck traction intermittently or continuously, alternating between short durations of pulling and resting, as advised by the physician. Cervical traction can also be done at home, as advised by the physiotherapists. The patient can place specialized pulley system to a doorway by hooking it or use other devices which can allow them to do cervical traction when lying down. However, it is important to first consult the experts and then buy the right equipment and learn the way to set it up correctly.
Cervical Pillows and Collars for Cervical Disc Disease
Another important way in which physiotherapy aims to cure cervical disc disease or cervical spondylosis is the use of cervical pillows and collars for support. It is for people suffering from severe cervical disc disease is immobilization of the cervical spine. Immobilization restricts the motion of the neck to reduce nerve irritation. Patients are advised to use cervical collars during daytime to stabilize and realign their spine and relieve the pain. Cervical pillows or neck pillows are designed specially to stabilize the neck while sleeping and can be used, if advised.
Passive Modalities in Physiotherapy
Physiotherapy also largely uses passive modalities to cure cervical disc disease or cervical spondylosis. Techniques used to ease cervical spondylosis include application of cold or heat, electrical stimulation, ultrasound and deep tissue massage on the cervical region. Some of these can be used at home,
Mobilization and Manipulation Techniques
Physiotherapists also use techniques wherein gentle adjustments are made to restore normal neck function that help in relieving pain. These techniques include manual therapy like massage, mobilization, and manipulation. These too are some of the ways in which physiotherapy can cure cervical spondylosis.
Mobilization deals with application of gentle pressure, within the limits of normal motion, by a physical therapist with the aim of increasing the range of motion. Compared to mechanical traction, manual traction is better tolerated by some patients.
Manipulation features a high-velocity thrust, which is generally delivered at or close to the limit of the range of motion, to realign the spine, decrease neck stiffness and increase articular mobility.
As there are some side effects of manipulative therapy, it is best consult your physician before beginning with these treatment modalities.
While physiotherapy can cure cervical disc disease or cervical spondylosis, such therapeutic exercises also need to be done at home for continued effect. The doctor may also advise the patient to engage in recreational and community activities to maintain their physical strength, keep up their social skills and stay motivated. These also prove helpful in decreasing the patient’s atypical behaviors, making them more independent, and assisting their family in adjusting with the disability.
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