Most cases of cervical spondylosis can be managed with the help of medication and physical therapy. (1)
Studies conducted by Matsumoto & colleagues observed 497 individuals with no neck symptoms. Disc degeneration is found in around 15% of individuals in their 20s and around 85% of all individuals above 60. (2)
The treatment of cervical spondylosis is based upon decreasing the effect of degeneration coming with aging. As it is a slowly progressive disease, it can be fairly controlled with the help of various methods be it physical, medical, or surgical treatment modalities. When cervical spondylosis is initially diagnosed or in a very early stage then only physical therapy is sufficient along with some lifestyle modifications. It can not only further slow the progression but also can reduce the symptoms coming till the date. (3)
Is Massage Good For Cervical Spondylosis?
Physical treatment is based on simple exercises, manual therapy, heat application, etc. Simple neck exercises are advocated to maintain the tonicity of neck muscles and reduce the spasticity. It also helps to improve the stretchability and strength of the muscles which are beneficial in the patients of cervical spondylosis.
Passive modalities can also be used such as heat application which reduces the stiffness and improves the neck movement. It also helps to provide symptomatic relief from the pain because the heat receptors are activated and their tracts are the same as those of pain.
Manual therapy consists of three parts massage, mobilization, and manipulation. Massage is the most commonly used and very important component because it helps to relieve the muscles from excessive tension and maintain the smoothness of the movement of neck muscles. It also helps in relieving the pain but via a different mechanism. It activates the touch receptors additionally which has a counter effect on pain receptors via Renshaw cells. The pain is present but the patient cannot feel it because of excessive impulse going through touch receptors.
Mobilization is also a part of manual therapy and is very similar to that of massage except there is an attempt to increase the range of movement by applying gentle pressure at the painful areas which are not there in a massage. Manipulation is the least commonly used method of manual therapy because it acts upon the basis of sudden movement of the joint while remaining within the total range of movement of that joint and in this case, of the neck joint. Since the force used in manipulation is of a higher order, it is a contraindication for many cases where the condition is severe or there is a risk of additional damage occurring at the joint. (3)
Does Weight Loss Help With Cervical Spondylosis?
In a variety of degenerative diseases, the risk factors are divided into modifiable and non-modifiable factors. Weight is one of the most prominent modifiable factors present in almost all of the cases of degenerative diseases. Cervical spondylosis is also affected by weight gain because when there is fat deposition at the neck and back leading to a hump formation which also, in turn, decreases the range of movement of the neck joint. This helps to fasten the disease process of a degenerative condition such as cervical spondylosis because it is inversely proportional to the range of movement.
Weight reduction will not only help in countering the side effects of neck rigidity but also help the person in general to increase the exercising ability. So, weight reduction is very much helpful in cases of cervical spondylosis as the exercise and pain bearing ability are enhanced. (3)
The management of cervical spondylosis is based upon the stage of the disease at which it is presented to the physician and how much damage has already been sustained by the patient. A massage is a good form of therapy that helps relieve pain and reduce the stress upon the neck muscles. The good part about the massage is that it can be used at any stage of disease without any complications or further deterioration of the condition.
Weight reduction is also helpful to decrease the rate of degeneration of cervical spondylosis because it increases the mobility of the neck.