What are the Symptoms of Spondylosis?
The main complication of spondylosis is low back, mid back, or neck pain. Usually, the back and neck pain caused by spondylosis is not serious, but some people develop chronic pain due to their condition. It is unusual for spondylosis to cause serious neurologic dysfunction due to nerve compression. Spondylosis is further categorized depending on the region of the spine that is affected.
Ayurveda the Ancient Science of life deals with the physical, mental, and spiritual health of mankind. It aims to preserve the health of healthy persons and cure the diseases of the patient.
Signs and symptoms mentioned in Ayurveda include:
- Cervical (neck)
- Thoracic (upper, mid-back)
- Lumbar (low back)
- Lumbosacral (low back/sacrum)
What causes spondylosis?
The main cause is aging, but the way aging affects your spine can lead to other changes and problems. Spondylosis is a cascade; one anatomical change occurs, which leads to more degeneration and changes in your spine’s structures. These changes combine to cause spondylosis and its symptoms.
Spondylosis can affect the spine’s intervertebral discs (degenerative disc disease) and facet joints. As people grow older, normal age-related cellular changes, coupled with the effects of daily wear and tear can cause or contribute to discs losing normal shape, size, and height. These structural alterations may reduce the amount of space (disc space) between vertebral bodies and subsequently affect the normal movement of the facet joints. Bone spurs (osteophytes) develop, which can pinch a spinal nerve root and cause inflammation and pain.
Spondylosis is more common in the neck and low back. The neck is susceptible because it supports the weight of the head throughout a wide range of movement. The low back is at risk because it manages and distributes most of the body’s weight and related structural stresses.
Pain: can result from a bulging or herniated disc that impinges (pinches) a spinal nerve. Nerve compressed in the neck may cause neck pain that may radiate down into the shoulder, arm, and hand. Similarly, if the low back is affected, the patient may experience buttock pain and sciatica (leg pain).
Stiffness: can occur after periods of inactivity or rest such as waking up after a nap.
Paresthesias : (abnormal sensations) may develop such as numbness or tingling.
What are the Ayurvedic Treatments for Spondylosis?
In Ayurveda, there are various diseases namely Greevagraham, Viswachi, Grudhrasi, Khalwi, Katigraham, etc. which can be correlated to spondylosis of different regions of the spine. The symptoms include pain with radiation in certain cases, stiffness, paresthesias, etc. Most of the symptoms can be attributed to vitiated Vata with occasional involvement of Kapha or Pitta, from person to person. The treatment modalities involved are Snehana and Swedana which helps in relieving the inflammation, toning, and strengthening of paravertebral muscles. In the case of obese people, weight management is another major area that is to be taken care of along with the symptoms of spondylosis.
Along with these treatments, paravertebral muscle strengthening exercises and yoga practices are equally important to improve spinal flexibility and build strength and endurance. Postural corrections and certain lifestyle modifications are also incorporated into the management of spondylosis to prevent pain flare-ups.
As mentioned earlier, spondylosis is often associated with aging. However, a genetic predisposition and/or injury may increase a person’s risk of developing spinal osteoarthritis. Patients typically report their first symptoms between the ages of 20 and 50 years and more than 80% of individuals older than 40 years to have radiological (X-ray) evidence of the condition. Lumbar spondylosis is especially common in people older than 40 years