Is Cervical Spondylosis A Progressive Disease & Alternative Treatments For It?

Cervical spondylosis is an umbrella term that encompasses a broad range of degenerative progressive condition that affects several parts of the cervical spine that includes intervertebral discs, hip bones, ligaments, muscles, and joints. The key risk component and the contributing factor of cervical spondylosis is age-related wear and tear.

In this disease, the vertebral column in the neck become swollen and inflamed and result in bone spur formation. These patients will experience stiffness, calcified when making movements.

Is Cervical Spondylosis A Progressive Disease?

Cervical spondylosis is the most common type of progressive disorder that occurs in the cervical spine over time due to degeneration changes. It produces recurrent neck pain typically in middle-aged and older patients.

The condition resolves on its own with a change in lifestyle, physical therapies, cold and heat treatments, and medications. However, patients with neurologic warning signs and symptoms, cervical spondylosis can cause severe complications and can even result in partial or complete paralysis limiting the patient’s life in a wheelchair.

In most cases, conservative treatment produces favorable results without the requirement of surgical intervention.1 Corrective surgeries can be helpful when the condition turns progressive and causes the cartilage in the joints to degenerate. However, for most patients, the symptoms of cervical spondylosis progress very slowly.

The measurement of the incidence of symptoms and progression differs from individual to individual. The growth of progression also varies depending on the patient’s health condition and their body responding to treatment. This may change over time. In most cases, it progresses rapidly over time and stops after entering a period of stability. However, there are instances where it progresses slowly and steadily.2

Are There Any Alternative Treatments For Cervical Spondylosis?

Medical studies show that patients with chronic symptoms will not improve nor will they experience continuous progression. On the contrary, mild to moderate symptoms in patients can be treated through suitable therapies and medications.

Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) are a treatment option for reducing flares and relieve symptoms like pain and stiffness. CAM is widely applied in the clinical practice of neck and osteoarthritis and this procedure has produced favorable results across a larger population.3 However, they are either used in conjunction or as an alternative to conventional therapies.

When you are identified with spondylosis, you can discuss with your doctor about alternative ways to help to manage your condition.

Acupuncture/Acupressure- Research demonstrates that traditional Chinese medicine measures such as acupuncture/acupressure relieve or remove neck pain in patients with cervical spondylosis. These techniques were not only effective for pain relief instead provided long-term benefits for pain relief for the short-term and intermediate periods.

Herbal Remedies- Ayurvedic treatments are part of herbal remedies that can help relax muscles, relieve inflammation, and can heal the damaged nerves.

Stretching Exercises- Exercises are the best treatment for healthy living. Neck stretching exercises can help cervical spondylosis patients to relax muscles, relieve a stiff neck, and ease symptoms. These exercises can support your spine and prevent neck pain.

Heat Therapy- In addition to medication, exercise, and physical therapy, heat therapy is found to be an effective treatment for cervical spondylosis. Heat can be applied to ease pain through warm showers, hot compresses, or heating pad.

Cold Therapy- For minor neck pains, cold packs can be applied to the painful area followed by heat. Cold pads are generally recommended to loosen muscles and improve stiffness.4

References:

  1. Zelman, David. “Cervical Osteoarthritis (Spondylosis): Symptoms, Treatments, & More.” WebMD, WebMD, 5 May 2018, www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/cervical-osteoarthritis-cervical-spondylosis#1
  2. “Multimedia Encyclopedia – Penn State Hershey Medical Center – Cervical Spondylosis – Penn State Hershey Medical Center.” Penn State Hershey Health Information Library, pennstatehershey.adam.com/content.aspx?productid=117&pid=1&gid=000436
  3. Highsmith, Jason M. “Alternative Treatments for Spondylosis.” SpineUniverse, www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/spondylosis/alternative-treatments-spondylosis 
  4. Wei, Xu, et al. “Complementary and Alternative Medicine for the Management of Cervical Radiculopathy: An Overview of Systematic Reviews.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : ECAM, Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4541004/

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