Layman explanation of Cervical Spondylosis

Layman explanation of Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical spondylosis or cervical osteoarthritis is a condition characterised by wear on the cartilage (disks) and bones of the neck (cervical vertebrae). It is a degenerative disorder which usually occurs in men and women older than 40 and progresses with age.

Cervical spondylosis mostly affects people with sedentary lifestyle or those who sit for long hours with bad postures. This condition causes pain at the back of the neck which radiates towards the upper limbs. Some of the common problems faced because of Spondylosis are:

  1. Some people experience dizziness while bending downwards.
  2. This condition negatively affects the range of motion in your neck.
  3. Your neck becomes more vulnerable to injuries such as strained ligaments and muscles.
  4. It may cause headache and nausea in some cases.
  5. It may weaken or restrict the arms movement and may cause a tingling sensation in hands (in severe cases when a nerve is compressed between neck columns).


Neck Pain

Cervical Spondylosis


As per ayurvedic principle, problems relating to skeleto-muscular system and the nervous system are predominantly caused by vitiated vata dosha and ama (toxins). Treatment for this disease involves detoxification and removal of ama along with vata pacifying diet. Cervical spondylosis causes stiffness, pain and reduces mobility therefore some lifestyle changes along with herbal medicines are mandatory.

The most common complaint by a person suffering from cervical spondylosis is stiff and painful neck. But as mentioned earlier, some people may experience shoulder, arm or chest pain too. Furthermore, spondylosis may cause tingling and pinprick sensations in the arms, hands and legs, if it remains untreated for long time. Patients above fifty years of age may even lose bladder or bowel control.



Ayurveda is an ancient healing science which utilises the power of herbs and spices to treat various health ailments. Most of the spondylosis patients respond well to ayurvedic treatment. The treatment mainly focuses on balancing the vata, which is one of the main reason for this.

Ayurvedic experts use herbs like kaishore guggul, aloe-vera juice, yograj guggul to control vata. Some experts may prescribe Ashwagandha for stress support as stress could also be a cause of pain in the neck area.

Ashwagandha is an extraordinary, 100% natural, safe and anti-inflammatory herb.

Ayurveda also offers some special types of massage therapies for the treatment of cervical spondylosis. It has been proved time and again that gentle massage with medicated ayurvedic oils gives extraordinary relief from pain, stiffness and swelling. Massage with warm ayurvedic oils is a safe, effective and calming way of getting nourishment externally.

Massage for Cervical Spondylosis  

Massage for cervical spondylosis is done with utmost care. Therapist start with gentle massage strokes to gradually soften and relax the muscles. Circulatory massage, crosswise and lengthwise strokes, along with light- to medium-pressure techniques are applied for relaxation. This helps the muscles to loosen up and also leads to increase in blood circulation.

A light massage for neck pain

Massage for Neck

Your therapist may also assist you to stretch your neck gently to the front and back; under his/her supervision.

You could also try to roll your head gently to your left (with left cheek near your left shoulder). Now, slowly roll to your right side with right cheek near your right shoulder.

Therapies like panchakarma, abhyangam, shirodhara and potli massage give remarkable results. Ayurveda experts generally advise a suitable ayurvedic therapy depending upon the condition of the patient and severity of the disease.

Potli Massage for Cervical Spondylosis

Potli massage is one of the most popular treatment for neck and joint pain. It is a unique and extremely helpful natural remedy any kind of pain.

What is a POTLI?

Natural, pain relieving dried herbs are tied in a muslin cloth, in the shape of  potli or a pouch. These potlis are dipped in warm herbal oil and are used to massage the body. These heated medicated potlis provide instant results on the painful areas. They provide a refreshing, relaxing and therapeutic effect on the body. Ayurvedic herbs that are used in the pouches are carefully selected based on your ayurvedic constitution or your health problem. Herbs and oil combine together to open the pores and relax the muscles which creates a revitalizing and rejuvenating effect on the body and mind.

The ayurvedic experts and massage therapists commonly recommend potli massage for health issues like rheumatoid arthritis, spondylosis, frozen shoulders, osteoarthritis etc. It provides long-term relief from pain and inflammation. This stimulating treatment increases blood circulation, which in turn supports removal of metabolic wastes (ama).

Benefits of exercise and massage therapy for cervical spondylosis

Inactive urban lifestyle is one of the biggest reasons for problems like cervical spondylosis. Incorporating some exercise and yoga moves in your daily routine can help you get rid of pain or stiffness in your neck and shoulder area.

Physiotherapists usually suggest gentle rotation of the head in both clockwise and anti-clockwise direction, for few minutes, daily. Nodding the neck side-to-side from one shoulder to the other for 8-10 minutes, daily, can also prevent the pain in your neck from getting severe.

Morning walk, tai chi, and yoga are good activities to get some relief from pain, but extreme stretching or flexing could sometimes do more harm than good. So, when you are experiencing pain around your neck, shoulders or back just work within the range of motion that your body allows. Don’t try to force moves that cause you pain.

A leading Physiotherapist, Dr Kanika Khetrapal, Gurgaon says – “Good posture is important, and it’s even more crucial when you have cervical spondylosis. Therefore while working on laptop or watching a movie on television, maintain a comfortable posture.”

Correct posture for work station

A good posture goes a long way

“It is important to note that heavy exercises or fast movements may aggravate the pain, so don’t go for extreme work outs if you are suffering from spondylosis. Massage with deep pressure can be harmful for the people suffering with spondylosis. Therefore, it is always a good idea to take therapeutic massage from a trained and highly skilled therapist.”, adds Dr Kanika.

Gentle massage with warm ayurvedic oils over the muscles of the neck and shoulder joints is extremely useful for this purpose. If you are experiencing severe pain in neck and shoulder, then massage could be taken twice a week.

Dietary considerations

The Ayurveda philosophy suggests that sour things like curd, tamarind, mangoes and pickles are strictly prohibited for muscle pain, joint pain and arthritis etc.  Fried things, pulses and various food items made with pulses can also aggravate the pain and inflammation. Vegetables like drumstick, bitter gourd, carrot and cucumber should be preferred. Spices such as garlic, turmeric, ginger and coriander are most suitable for inflammation, pain and swelling.

So, if you are suffering from severe neck pain or cervical spondylosis, take great care of yourself, get a potli treatment done and walk pain-free.


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