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CERVICAL SPONDYLOSIS A specific form of arthritis which attacks vertebrae and connecting bony and ligamental structures, is known as spondylitis. It is of three types. The osteo- arthritic type of spondylitis is known as spondylosis. Frequently it occurs in the cervical vertebrae. The spines of majority of people above the age of 50 have certain degree of osteo-arthritic changes. But they seldom cause acute symptoms. Certain precipitating factors like trauma, incorrect posture of the body, pressure while sleeping and excessive intake of sour food, usually precipitate these attacks. In Ayurveda this condition is known as griva sandhigata vata.

Pain in the back of neck, shoulder and arms, stiffness of the neck and even paraplegia occur due to this condition. The pain of the neck is generally aggravated by the movement of the spine. It is often associated with loss of memory and sleeplessness.

Ayurvedic Treatment for Cervical spondylosis: Any external massage is not of much use. Violent massage with deep pressure is very harmful for the patient. Only gentle massage over the muscles of the neck and shoulder joints should be applied and for this purpose Mahanarayana taila is best suited. This gentle massage can be given 2-3 times a day. In winter season, this medicated oil should be gently warmed before application.

Guggulu, gum-resin extracted from the plant is the best medicine for the treatment of this condition. A compound preparation named as Simhanada guggulu is popularly used by ayurvedic physicians for the treatment of this condition. It is given in a dose of 2-4 tablets, four times a day. Usually hot water or hot milk is given to the patient after the administration of this medicine. This medicine has a slightly laxative effect. For the patient to recover from this ailment, it is necessary that his bowels should move clearly and regularly. This medicine is very helpful for this purpose. For patients having clear motions, this medicine should be given in a dose of 2 tablets and for constipated patients the dose should be 4 tablets. If the constipation is not relieved even by taking 4 tablets, the dose can be further increased to 6 tablets.

At night some medicine should be given to the patient which will act as a purgative. Triphala powder is the best medicine for this purpose. One teaspoonful of triphala should be given to the patient, mixed with a cup of warm milk and one spoon of sugar. If the motions become regular by the intake of Simhanada guggulu, then triphala powder should be given only twice a week; otherwise it can be given every day.

Hot fomentation on the vertebrae of the neck is very useful for this condition. In a big handkerchief about 500 gm. of salt should be kept over a frying pan till it becomes tolerably hot. Then his should be applied over the .neck. Care should be taken to see that it not too hot. In that case, it may cause burns. Sometimes patients suffering from cervical spondylosis develop some anaesthetic patches in the back, neck, shoulders and arms, because of the pressure from nervous system. The patient is, therefore, not able to feel the quantum of heat applied during fomentation. It should, therefore, be the responsibility of the attendant to examine the heat of the bolus before applying it on the affected parts. This fomentation should be continued for about half an hour every day. After fomentation, the affected part should not be exposed to cold wind. In winter season, therefore, immediately after fomentation, the affected part should be covered with some woollen garment. In other seasons also, the affected part should be kept covered with some cotton garments after fomentation. It is very convenient to take the fomentation before bedtime. After the fomentation the patient should go to sleep so that he does not run the risk of exposure.

Diet to taken by Cervical spondylosis patients: Sour things, particularly curd, are strictly prohibited. Fried things, pulses and various preparations of pulses are also contra-indicated in this condition. Bitter vegetables like bitter variety of drumstick, neem flowers and bitter gourd are very useful. Wheat is better than rice for the patient. He should, however, avoid taking refined wheat which is known as maida (flour) and suji (semolina). To some extent they are constipative and do not help the patient in his recovery.

Other regimens: Exposure to cold, cold bath and any violent exercise of the neck muscles, including pressure, are very bad for the patients. Under the impression that this pain is being caused by some defects in the muscles, people undertake different types of exercise of the neck. While reading and writing, one should maintain a comfortable posture. The ratio between the height of the table and the chair should be correct, so that the patient while reading or writing, does not bend too much to put any pressure on his neck muscles. If the pain is acute even ordinary head bath is prohibited. Morning walk gives considerable relief to the patient; but if it is cold outside, the cervical spondylosis patient should always use a woollen scarf around his neck while going out of the house.