Cervical Spondylitis Ayurvedic Treatment in Kerala

Cervical spondylosis, also known as arthritis of the neck, is a condition that affects the bones, discs, and joints in your neck. It happens because of the natural wear and tear that comes with getting older. As we age, the discs in our neck start to wear out, lose their fluid, and become less flexible. This problem mostly happens to people who are middle-aged and older.

Theory and Ayurvedic View on Cervical Spondylitis

From a mechanical standpoint, the discs and facets in the neck serve as connectors between the cervical bones, allowing them to withstand external forces and enabling neck mobility. However, issues arise when osteophytes, bony growths develop and narrow the spinal canal’s diameter. This narrowing can be partly due to developmental factors in addition to age-related wear and tear. As a result, mechanical pressure is exerted on the spinal cord at one or more levels. This pressure can lead to direct damage to the nerves in the spinal cord or cause changes in blood flow (ischemic changes), resulting in disruptions to spinal cord function.In simpler terms, the cervical discs and facets are like connectors for the bones, helping the neck move and handle outside pressures. But when bony growths (osteophytes) form and shrink the space in the spinal canal, it can squeeze the spinal cord. This pressure, which can come from both aging and development, can harm nerves and affect blood flow, leading to issues in the spinal cord.

Ayurvedic view

In Ayurveda, cervical spondylosis is linked to a condition called Greeva Graham,  which is a type of disease related to the neck. This condition falls under the category of  Vata Vyadhi.Greeva” means the neck, and “Graha” signifies stiffness. When certain factors, known as Vataprakopaka Nidana(causative factors that lead to vitiation of Vata), trigger an increase in Vata dosha in the neck area. Vata is a natural bodily energy, and when it becomes excessive, it can deplete the body’s tissues. This depletion, in turn, causes dryness and degeneration, which leads to a reduction in kapha dosha, another vital bodily energy. This excess Vata affects the nerves in the neck, causing stiffness (Stambha) and pain (Ruja) in the neck

Sleshaka Kapha is responsible for providing cushioning between the joints of our bones. When Vata increases and Kapha decreases, this natural cushioning diminishes as well. Consequently, the discs between the neck bones start to wear down, resulting in a condition known as Greeva Graham.

Ayurvedic Treatment for Cervical Spondylitis: Causes

  1. Food Habits that Increase Vata Dosha:
  • Eating Dry and Light Foods: Consuming foods that are dry, not very substantial, and lack moisture can increase Vata.
  • Fasting for Extended Periods: Going without food for long periods, especially if it doesn’t suit your body type, can aggravate Vata.
  • Skipping Meals or Eating at Irregular Times: Not having regular, balanced meals can disrupt your Vata balance.
  • Processed Foods, Sugary Drinks, and Snacks: Eating a lot of processed foods, sugary drinks, and snacks like chips can disturb Vata.
  • Low Water Intake: Not drinking enough water or liquids can lead to Vata imbalance.
  • Eating Very Spicy and Hot Foods: Excessive consumption of spicy and hot foods like chili and curries can increase Vata.
  1. Lifestyle Habits that Increase Vata Dosha:
  • Staying Up Late at Night: Keeping awake during the night disrupts your body’s natural rhythms and can disturb Vata.
  • .Excessive Physical Activity or Overwork: Too much exercise or work without adequate rest can lead to Vata imbalance.
  • Suppressing Natural Urges: Holding back natural bodily urges like sneezing can disturb Vata.
  • Heavy Weight on the Spine: Carrying excessive weight on your back or spine can affect your Vata balance.
  • Long-Distance Walking and Bike Riding: Extended periods of walking or biking can also disrupt Vata, especially if not balanced with proper rest and nourishment.
  1. Psychological factors that can increase Vata dosha in Ayurveda include:
  • Excess Stress: When you experience high levels of stress, it can disrupt the natural balance of Vata in your body, leading to various health issues.
  • Prolonged Grief: Long-lasting and intense feelings of grief can also aggravate Vata dosha, potentially affecting your physical and emotional well-being.
  • Excessive Anger: Frequent and intense bouts of anger can disturb the balance of Vata in your body, contributing to imbalances and health problems.
  • Fear and Anxiety: Feelings of fear and persistent anxiety can have a similar effect on Vata dosha, leading to various health challenges.
  1. Smoking: This can impair circulation and contribute to neck problems. Additionally, maintain a healthy weight to reduce unnecessary stress on the neck.
  2. Injury: A neck injury, such as whiplash from accidents, can harm the neck’s bones, cartilage, and discs, eventually causing cervical spondylosis.

Ayurvedic Treatment for Cervical Spondylitis: Symptoms

In Ayurveda, cervical spondylosis is indeed correlated with Greeva Graham, and both terms are used to describe a similar condition related to the neck and cervical spine.

  • Neck and spine pain: You experience pain in your neck and along your spine.
  • Headache: You may have a headache, which could be related to your neck discomfort.
  • Numbness and tingling sensation: Your neck issue might cause your skin to feel numb or have a tingling sensation.
  • Difficulty moving your neck: It becomes hard to move your neck freely.
  • Dizziness: You might feel dizzy like the room is spinning, and this can be linked to your neck problem.
  • Limited neck movement: Your ability to move your neck is restricted or reduced

Ayurvedic Treatment of Cervical Spondylosis

In Ayurveda, the two primary treatment modalities used for managing diseases are Shamana and Shodhana therapies. These approaches are employed based on the nature and severity of the disease, as well as the individual’s constitution and condition. Panchakarma, a subset of Shodhana therapies, indeed plays a significant role in treating various disorders, especially Vatavyadhi (diseases related to Vata dosha).

1.Shamana Chikitsa(Conservative management)

 Shamana therapies are palliative treatments that aim to pacify and balance the doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) without necessarily purifying or eliminating them. These therapies are typically used for mild to moderate conditions. Shamana treatments can include the use of herbal medicines, dietary modifications, lifestyle changes, and external applications like herbal pastes or oils.

Nidana parivarjanam ( avoid causative factors )

Deepana and Pachana

  • Kashaya   (Decoction)

Decoction obtained by boiling course powder or Dried Drugs

  • Gulika     (Tablets)

In tablet form, they are made by rolling medicinal pastes into balls and drying them with the use of a drier

  • Choornam  (Powder) 

Choorna is obtained by Herbal drugs cleaned properly made dry and then powdered and steved it 

External body treatment

  • Abhyanga (Oleation): As mentioned earlier, Snehana involves the application of medicated oils or ghee to the body. This helps in reducing pain and stiffness while nourishing the tissues.
  • Swedana (Sudation): Swedana focuses on inducing sweating through various techniques. It possesses tikshna (penetrating) and ushna (warming) properties and is utilized for Vata Vikara management for the following reasons: Counteracting symptoms such as stiffness (stambhaghna), heaviness (gauravghna), and coldness (shitaghna), which are often associated with Vata disorders.
  1. Pathrapotala Swedam: The heat and herbal properties of the poultices help reduce stiffness, pain, and inflammation associated with cervical spondylosis
  2. Valuka Swedam: The dry heat from the sand helps to alleviate the feelings of heaviness and stagnation associated with Vata-Kapha imbalances
  3. Churna Pinda Sweda (Herbal Powder Poultice Sudation): The dry herbal powder helps absorb excess moisture and reduces Kapha-related symptoms, such as heaviness and congestion. The warmth of the poultices also aids in pacifying Vata.
  4. Njavara Kizhi.Njavara Kizhi is particularly beneficial for degeneration-related issues in cervical spondylosis. It nourishes the tissues, improves circulation, and provides relief from pain and stiffness
  • Greeva Basti: Medicated lukewarm oil is applied and held over the affected part(cervical spine area)to restore lubrication, protect against age-related changes, boost blood circulation, and enhance knee joint mobility.
  • Lepa: Application of medicated paste on the joint, left for several hours. Lepam therapy can provide localized relief by reducing pain and inflammation in the cervical region
  • Greeva Pichu: It involves the application of a piece of sterile cotton pad soaked in warm medicated oil to the neck. The warm oil is allowed to soak into the tissues, which can help alleviate pain, reduce stiffness, and promote relaxation.
  1. Shodhana (purification therapy)

 Shodhana therapies are cleansing or detoxification treatments designed to remove accumulated toxins (ama) and imbalances from the body. 

  • Nasya (Nasal Drops) Therapy: Nasya is a treatment involving the administration of medicated oils or substances through the nasal passages. It is highly beneficial for head and neck disorders.
  • Nitya Virechana (Regular Mild Purgation) Therapy: This therapy involves the gentle induction of purgation to help balance the body’s doshas.
  • Basti (Medicated Enema) Therapy: Basti therapy is particularly effective in alleviating Vata dosha-related symptoms, which often include pain, dryness, tingling sensations, and numbness.

    Diet and Lifestyle Changes for Ayurvedic Treatment for Cervical Spondylitis

    Ayurvedic treatment for cervical spondylosis involves changing your diet and lifestyle to improve your health and prevent the condition from getting worse.

    • Use Cow Ghee: Consuming pure cow ghee can help keep your body moist and nourish your neck. It’s especially good at balancing the vata dosha, which is important for cervical spondylosis management.
    • Eat Easily Digestible Oily Foods: Include more easily digestible oily foods in your diet. This means adding sweet foods, stews, vegetable soups, fresh juices, and similar items.
    • Beneficial Herbs: Turmeric, garlic, and ginger are herbs that can effectively reduce inflammation and pain associated with cervical spondylosis.
    • Avoid Constipation: Stay away from foods that can cause constipation. Constipation can make the pain and stiffness in your neck worse.
    • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to your body’s needs, including the type of food you eat and the climate you’re in.
    • Reduce Stress: Avoid things that cause stress. Stress is a major trigger for cervical spondylosis, so managing stress is important for your overall well-being.
    Cervical Spondylitis Ayurvedic Treatment

    Ayurvedic Treatment for Cervical Spondylitis: Prevention

    Prevention of cervical spondylosis involves adopting practices and habits that reduce the risk of developing this neck condition. By following these preventive measures, individuals can reduce their risk of developing cervical spondylosis and maintain good neck health over time.

    • Stay Active: Keep moving and stay physically active.
    • Maintain Good Posture: Proper alignment of the spine while sitting, standing, and sleeping can reduce strain on the neck and prevent excessive wear and tear of the cervical spine.
    • Prevent Neck Injuries: When you exercise or play sports, use the proper equipment and technique to avoid hurting your neck.
    • Avoid Neck Trauma: Steer clear of situations that could cause harm or injury to your neck.
    • Eat Fruits and Veggies: Have fruits and green leafy veggies in your diet.
    • Drink Water: Stay hydrated by drinking enough water.
    • Get Enough Calcium: Make sure you get your daily calcium.
    • Take Breaks: If you have a sedentary job or spend long hours driving or working on a computer, taking short breaks to stretch and move your neck and shoulders can alleviate strain.

    Cure Prospective of Ayurvedic Treatment for Cervical Spondylitis

    The primary approach to managing cervical spondylosis involves avoiding all the causative factors in cervical spondylosis. When diagnosed and addressed promptly, cervical spondylosis can indeed be effectively treated, offering the possibility of a complete recovery. However, if left unattended, this condition can lead to the gradual degeneration of the spinal structures, potentially resulting in disability in the extremities. Therefore, it is advisable to initiate early intervention for cervical spondylosis to prevent its progression into a chronic and more challenging condition.

    Recommended Yoga Poses for Cervical Spondylitis

    Yoga is a natural way to help with cervical spondylosis. Yoga is like a full-body and mind workout. Doing it regularly makes your body flexible, your mind calm, and makes you feel positive about life. It can also ease pain, make your muscles and tissues stronger, and get you moving if you’ve been sitting too much.

    Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose): It opens your chest, makes your spine strong, and can help with sciatica.

    Ardha Matsyendrasana (Sitting Half-Spinal Twist): This stretch is good for your neck, shoulders, and spine.

    Dhanurasana(Bow Pose): It stretches and stimulates your neck.

    Marjariasana (Cat Pose): This pose helps stretch the neck and relieve backache.

    Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose): It boosts blood flow to your head, easing headaches, and also stretches the neck.

    Matsyasana(Fish Pose): This asana strengthens the back of your neck,stretches and stimulates the throat and neck.

    Cervical Spondylitis Ayurvedic Treatment at Dheemahi Ayurveda

    Dheemahi Ayurveda is dedicated to prioritizing patient health and well-being through a rich tradition of Ayurvedic wisdom passed down through five generations. Dheemahi Ayurveda appears to prioritize the authentic and traditional practices of Ayurveda, ensuring that patients receive therapies and treatments rooted in ancient Ayurvedic wisdom.The provision of daily consultations is an important aspect of personalized care. Daily consultations allow doctors to closely monitor patients, conduct physical examinations, and make informed decisions about their treatment plans.

    Managing chronic illnesses requires ongoing attention and regular follow-up check-ups. This approach acknowledges the importance of continuous care for patients with long-term health conditions, ensuring that their progress is monitored and adjustments to treatment plans are made as needed.Panchakarma is a fundamental Ayurvedic detoxification and rejuvenation therapy. Having doctors supervise and document every step of Panchakarma therapy is crucial to ensure its effectiveness and safety for patients.Meticulously documenting treatment plans is vital for tracking a patient’s progress, understanding their response to therapies, and making necessary modifications to achieve the desired health outcomes.

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