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CERVICAL SPONDYLOSIS INFORMATION

blue-light / 2011-04-02
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To some extent, we all develop a degree of degeneration in the vertebrae and discs as we become older. As the 'discs' degenerate, over many years they become thinner. Sometimes the adjacent vertebrae develop small, rough areas of bone on their edges. The nearby muscles, ligaments, and nerves may become irritated by these degenerative changes which can cause troublesome symptoms.

What is Cervical Spine ?
The cervical spine is made up of small circular bones (vertebrae) stacked on top of each other. Between each vertebrae is an intervertebral disc which acts like a shock absorber and allows flexibility of the spine. Muscles and ligaments run between, and are attached to, the vertebrae. Nerves from the spinal cord pass between the vertebrae going to the shoulder, neck, arm, and upper chest.

Neck pain is one of the most common problems that one encounters in day to day life. It is probably as common as common cold. Cervical spondylosis may be caused by one or more of several complaints. A very common mistake is to perceive the cause of illness as a singular factor. Treating the patient for a single factor like a spur seen on X-ray or a slipped disc in the neck seen on a myelogram or CT scan need not always completely alleviate the patient's suffering. Many a time reference to a specialist also may not prove fruitful.

Cervical Spondylosis is more frequently seen in women than men. Most people will experience neck pain at some point in their life. It is very important to attempt to ascertain the facts that can cause it.

A thorough knowledge of the structure and functioning of the neck has become essential to understand and hence successfully treat cervical spondylosis. There are several theories about why many people suffer neck pain. For most people, no specific reason for cervical spondylosis can be found. Cervical Spondylosis can come from a number of disorders and diseases of any structures in neck.

Neck pain can be caused by an injury, muscular problem or by trapped nerve between vertebrae. Inappropriate working or sleeping posture can also be the cause. Biochemical engineering has helped us to understand the dynamics of the functioning of the various joints of the cervical spine and thus their role in production of the pain. Mobility of the spine is dependent on several small joints, the derangement of the functioning of one of which, can cause neck pain and reduced movements.

It has also been possible to study the effects on the spine of external influences like concussion, hypertension, hyper flexion, etc. Routine activity like traveling, household work, office jobs though in themselves quite innocuous are potential harbingers of serious damage to the neck which results in prolonged cervical spondylosis. This will be explained later along with measures to avoid their deleterious effects.

A knowledge of such aggravating factors would prove beneficial and ensure a successful therapy. and thus helps fighting this, though general measures should always be taken to avoid it. With the increase in number of professionals who sit for hours together doing desk work or sitting for hours in front of the computer and call center jobs which requires continuous sitting in one posture the number of people suffering with cervical spondylosis is on the rise. Cervical spondylosis is a 'wear and tear' of the vertebrae and discs in the neck and is the most common cause.

 

What is fibromyalgia and myo-fascial pain syndrome?

These are conditions characterized by pain in the muscles following severe spasm associated with morning stiffness, disturbed sleep, a feeling of swelling and have clear trigger points. These points are tender and when palpated produce the typical pain.

What is Herniated inter-vertebral disk?
The inter-vertebral disks are made-up of two concentric layers, the inner gel like Annulus Pulposus and the outer fibrous Annulus fibrosus. As a result of advancing age, the nucleus looses fluid, volume and resiliency and the entire disc structure becomes more susceptible to trauma and compression. This condition is called as Dehydration of the disk. The disk then is highly vulnerable to tears and as these occur, the inner annulus pulposus protrudes through the fibrous layer, producing a bulge in the inter-vertebral disk. This condition is named as herniated disk. This can then cause compression to the spinal cord or the emerging nerve roots and lead to associated problems.

cervical spondylosis exercises

What are the symptoms of cervical spondylosis ? (in brief)

Symptoms can vary from mild to severe. You may have a flare up of symptoms if you over-use your neck, or if you sprain a neck muscle or ligament. Symptoms include:
Pain in the neck. This may spread to the base of the skull and shoulders. Movement of the neck may make the pain worse. The pain sometimes spreads down an arm to a hand or fingers. This is caused by irritation of a nerve which goes to the arm from the spinal cord in the neck. The pain tends to wax and wane with flare-ups from time to time. However, some people develop chronic (persistent) pain.

Some neck stiffness, particularly after a night's rest.

Headaches from time to time. The headaches often start at the back of the head just above the neck and travel over the top to the forehead.

Numbness, pins and needles or weakness may occur in part of the arm or hand. Tell a doctor if these symptoms occur as they may indicate a problem with a 'trapped nerve'.
What are these caused due to?

Pain in the neck region can be caused by a variety of reasons. Different centers in and around the cervical vertebrae are sensitive to pain and problems connected with any of these regions can cause pain. The Periosteum ( The outer layer of the cervical vertebrae ), The anterior and posterior ligaments ( the ligaments which run along the vertebrae and stabilize them ), The facet joints ( the joint formed between the sideward protrusions of the vertebrae ) The para-vertebral muscles are all pain sensitive and any lesions to the above structures are capable of producing pain.

Pain, numbness and lack of sensation in the other areas are produced by problems effecting the nerves that emerge from the cervical region. By far, the most common cause of cervical spondylosis is the spasm of the para-vertebral muscles of the neck.

The main causes of these problems are 1) Spondylosis, 2) Herniated inter-vertebral disks, 3) Fibro-myalgia and myo-fascial pain syndromes. Though the three refer to three different entities, they are interrelated and often super-imposed.

With age, osteophytes, or bone spurs form on vertebral bodies, as the body’s way of attempting an increase of the surface area and stabilizing the vertebral joint. Generally not successful in this mission, the bone spurs can become painful as they put pressure on cervical nerves, and in some cases the spinal cord. And may also result in shoulder pain.

Thus how to protect, we need exercises and use some daily health care products .

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