Spondylosis

Spondylosis is otherwise referred to as osteoarthritis of the spine is a degenerative condition that arises due to aging & other biochemical changes that affects the body. This degenerative condition affects individuals in a very different way. The location, as well as the rate of degeneration, also differs from person to person. However, it is to be noted that there are certain specific locations where spondylosis occurs. This is very important to know as far as the treatment is considered. The cervical or the neck region, thoracic or the mid back area, lumbar or the lower back region.

Causes

It affects the intervertebral discs, as age progresses, structural changes may occur & the bouncing capacity of the disc after compression is greatly affected. This causes the shortening of the height of the IV disc & causes herniation of the disc.

It affects the facet joints of the vertebral body. The degeneration of the cartilage occurs & osteophytes or bone spurs are formed. The osteocytes develop near to the endplates & interfere with the blood supply to the vertebra.

Symptoms occur at different spine levels

Tingling, numbness, weakness, difficulty in walking, loss of coordination, reduced bladder & bowel control are some of the general symptoms.

Cervical– The neck region is an anatomically complex region subjected to a wide range of movements. Hence this region is susceptible to degenerative changes. Neck pain that radiates to the shoulder & arms is one of the commonest symptoms. Osteophytes can cause compression to the nerve route & can cause weakness of the extremities. It can also cause dysphagia, if the osteophytes are present in the front side of the cervical spine in severe cases.

Thoracic

Painful hyperextension & forward bending is very evident.

Lumbar– It affects the lumbar spine of individuals over 40 years of age. Morning stiffness associated with pain is the cardinal feature. There will be multi vertebral involvement in these cases. The pain exacerbates by lifting, bending & manual labor. The lumbar spine is mainly responsible for supporting the weight of the whole body. Prolonged sitting or standing can cause discomfort in affected individuals.

Ayurveda perspective

Degenerative diseases are classified under Vata disorders. Due to ativyayama or physical overactivity, age, extreme & cold exposure, the Vata gets aggravated & undergoes vitiation causing symptoms like dryness along with Kapha dosha. Stiffness is also another feature of Kapha dushti. Several diseases like greevagraha, manya sthamba, viswachi, & kateegraha, come under spondylosis. The line of management in Ayurveda focuses on regaining the bone structure & nourishing them.

Treatment

Diet, medicines, sleep, & yoga therapies when combined can give promising relief in degenerative illnesses. Strictly following the treatment protocols is a must to regain normalcy.

Ayurveda provides a wide range of options for pain management, reducing stiffness & improving mobility. The treatment should be focused on reducing the Vata vitiation, reducing any inflammation & pacifying Kapha. Internal purification therapies, kashaya, & external therapies are recommended after analyzing the constitution of the patient, intensity of the disease by an expert physician.

Panchakarma therapies both external as well as internal are very much advised

Nasya– instilling medications through the nasal route can pacify Vata-Kapha vitiation. The herbs should be nourishing in nature. Nasya stimulates the olfactory pathway, stimulates the nodal points, thus reducing the pain.

Abyanga or gentle whole-body massage with hot potent herbs can reduce the pain & aches to a greater extend. If there is any inflammation this should not be done.

Pinda Swedana using herbal powders or herbal leaves- It reduces muscle spasms, stiffness & inflammation.

Greeva vasti, Katee vasti, & thaila dhara nourishes the region.

Njavara kizhi rejuvenates the Musculo skeleton

Dhanadanayanadi kashayam, Sahacharadi kashayam, Prasarnyadi kashayam, Asta vargam kashayam, balarishtam, karpasasthyadi tailam,

Single drugs

Rasna, guggulu, ashwagandha

Yoga with proper diet

Slow neck movements improve the mobility

Bhujangasana, & padmasana, can be done under the supervision of an expert trainer

Milk & Ghee should be consumed

Soups made with meat & bones nourishes the body

Leafy vegetables & Fish intake should be increased

Dos & Don’ts

Lifting heavyweights

Drink a good quantity of water

Moderate exercise

Adequate rest after physical activity