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Cervical Spondylosis – Symptoms, Causes, Natural Treatments + Exercises Tips

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Cervical Spondylosis – Symptoms, Causes, Natural Treatments + Exercises Tips September 27, 2018

Did you know that cervical spondylosis affects almost 90% of people over the age of 60 or above? This condition affects the cervical spine located in your neck, and its incidence usually increases with age.

Long durations of sleeping or sitting in the wrong position can increase your risk of developing cervical spondylosis and also deteriorate your symptoms. However, there are natural treatment options that can help soothe the pain. To know how to combat cervical spondylosis, keep reading!

Table Of Contents

What Is Cervical Spondylosis?

Cervical spondylosis is an age-related medical condition that mainly affects the cervical spine, which is located in your neck. It is also known as cervical osteoarthritis and neck arthritis. The joints and discs of the cervical spine are the most affected.

Cervical spondylosis develops as a result of wear and tear of the bones and cartilages.

While some individuals do not develop any symptoms, some may experience chronic pain that is accompanied by stiffness. The symptoms of the condition are listed below.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Cervical Spondylosis

Those affected by cervical spondylosis hardly develop any significant symptoms. But, when the symptoms do surface, the condition may be mild to severe, and its onset could be gradual or sudden.

One of the most common symptoms of this condition is pain around the shoulder blades. Some have also encountered pain in their arms and fingers. This pain tends to increase when you are:

  • Standing or sitting for too long
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Tilting your neck backward

Other signs of cervical spondylosis may include:

  • Stiffness of the neck
  • A headache, especially affecting the back of your head
  • Tingling or numbness of your shoulders and arms that may also affect the legs at times

Some of the less frequent symptoms are:

  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Loss of balance

If you start experiencing these symptoms, it is wise to consult your doctor immediately.

The bones and the cartilage of your neck are quite prone to wear and tear, and this can result in cervical spondylosis. The possible causes of this wear and tear are mentioned below.

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Causes Of And Risk Factors For Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical spondylosis may be triggered by:

  • Bone spurs (overgrowth of bone that can put pressure on the delicate areas of the spine)
  • Dehydration of the spinal discs that can cause friction between your spinal bones
  • Herniated discs that cause the development of cracks between your spinal discs
  • An injury
  • Stiffness of your ligaments
  • Repetitive movements or pressure on the spine

Aging is one of the major factors that can increase your risk of developing cervical spondylosis. Other risk factors for this condition include:

  • Injuries to the neck
  • Indulging in activities that can put extra pressure on your neck, like weightlifting
  • Positioning your neck in an uncomfortable way for prolonged durations
  • A family history of the condition
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • A sedentary lifestyle

Your doctor may carry out the following diagnostic procedures to confirm your condition.

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Diagnosis

The doctor may begin with a physical examination that involves analyzing all your symptoms. If they suspect cervical spondylosis, they may ask for other tests that include imaging tests like:

  • X-ray
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • Electromyogram test
  • Myelogram test
  • Nerve conduction study

If you happen to test positive for the condition, your doctor will ask you to undergo the treatment procedures listed below.

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Best Treatment Methods

Some of the best medical treatments available for treating cervical spondylosis are:

  • Physical therapy that involves stretching and using weights
  • Medications like muscle relaxants (cyclobenzaprine), narcotics (hydrocodone), anti-epileptic drugs (gabapentin), steroids, and anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Severe cases of cervical spondylosis often require surgery.

However, if you are looking for natural alternatives to get relief from the discomfort, you have come to the right page. But before we proceed to the remedies, here’s something you should be aware of. These remedies, as well as medical procedures, help in alleviating the symptoms of pain and discomfort but cannot reverse your condition completely.

Some simple yet effective home remedies that can provide relief from cervical spondylosis are listed below.

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14 Home Remedies To Cure Cervical Spondylosis Symptoms

  1. Epsom Salt Baths
  2. Hot And Cold Compresses
  3. Garlic
  4. Turmeric
  5. Sesame Seeds
  6. Ginger
  7. Apple Cider Vinegar
  8. Cayenne Pepper
  9. Indian Lilac Or Neem
  10. Castor Oil
  11. Guggulu
  12. Omega-3
  13. Vitamins
  14. Essential Oils

Natural Ways To Manage Cervical Spondylosis

1. Epsom Salt Baths

1. Epsom Salt Baths Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 cup of Epsom salt
  • Water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a cup of Epsom salt to your tub.
  2. Fill the tub with water and allow the salt to dissolve.
  3. Soak in the Epsom salt bath for 20 to 30 minutes.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this once daily or every alternate day.

Why This Works

Epsom salt contains magnesium, which exhibits anti-inflammatory activities that can help with the pain and/or inflammation of your cervical spine (1).

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2. Hot And Cold Compresses

2. Hot And Cold Compresses Pinit

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You Will Need
  • A hot compress
  • A cold compress
What You Have To Do
  1. Apply a cold compress to the affected area for the first 24 to 48 hours.
  2. Place the ice pack on for at least a minute before taking it off.
  3. Repeat the procedure 3 to 4 times.
  4. After 48 hours, use a hot compress and repeat the procedure.
How Often You Should Do This

You may do this 2 to 3 times daily or whenever the pain strikes.

Why This Works

While a hot compress helps by increasing circulation and relieving pain and stiffness, a cold compress alleviates symptoms of inflammation and swelling and also numbs the affected area (2).

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3. Garlic

3. Garlic Pinit

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You Will Need

2-3 peeled garlic cloves

What You Have To Do

Chew on two to three peeled garlic cloves every morning.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once daily for the desired results.

Why This Works

Garlic has both anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties (3). It is a great remedy to alleviate pain, inflammation, and swelling of your cervical joints and discs.

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4. Turmeric

4. Turmeric Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 glass of hot milk
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of hot milk.
  2. Mix well and consume.
How Often You Should Do This

Drink this at least once daily, preferably before going to bed.

Why This Works

Curcumin in turmeric possesses anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties that can work wonders for cervical spondylosis (4).

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5. Sesame Oil

5. Sesame Oil Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • A hot compress
What You Have To Do
  1. Take a tablespoon of sesame oil in your palms.
  2. Gently massage it into the aching area of your body. Leave it on for 10 minutes.
  3. Apply a hot compress over it.
  4. Leave it on for another 10 minutes and remove.
  5. You can also consume a tablespoon of roasted sesame seeds daily.
How Often You Should Do This

Massage with sesame oil 3 to 4 times daily.

Why This Works

Sesame seeds are an amazing remedy to alleviate symptoms of pain when applied topically (in the form of oil) and also when ingested (5), (6).

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6. Ginger

6. Ginger Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of grated ginger
  • 1 cup of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a teaspoon of grated ginger to a cup of water.
  2. Bring it to a boil in a saucepan.
  3. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes and strain.
  4. Allow the ginger tea to cool a bit before drinking it.
  5. You can also soak a washcloth in the ginger solution and apply it to your neck and shoulders.
How Often You Should Do This

Drink ginger tea 2 to 3 times daily for optimum benefits.

Why This Works

The pungent constituent of ginger is called gingerol. This compound exhibits anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities that can help in relieving the symptoms of cervical spondylosis (7).

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7. Apple Cider Vinegar

7. Apple Cider Vinegar Pinit

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You Will Need
  • Apple cider vinegar (as required)
  • A clean washcloth
What You Have To Do
  1. Soak a clean washcloth in diluted apple cider vinegar.
  2. Place it on the painful areas of your neck/shoulders.
  3. Leave it on for an hour or two and remove.
  4. You can also consume a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed in a glass of water daily.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

Due to the presence of acetic acid in it, apple cider vinegar is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. It can thus be used to relieve symptoms of inflammation and swelling of your cervical spine (8).

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8. Cayenne Pepper

8. Cayenne Pepper Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder
  • 1 glass of warm water
  • Honey (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a teaspoon of powdered cayenne pepper to a glass of warm water.
  2. Mix well and drink daily.
  3. You can also add some honey to the solution for added flavor.
How Often You Should Do This

Drink this mixture twice.

Why This Works

Cayenne pepper contains a compound called capsaicin. Capsaicin is popular for its pain-relieving and analgesic effects and can help in alleviating the pain associated with cervical spondylosis (9).

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9. Indian Lilac Or Neem

9. Indian Lilac Or Neem Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of powdered Indian lilac
  • Water (as required)
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix a tablespoon of powdered Indian lilac with enough water to form a thick paste.
  2. Heat the paste a little.
  3. Apply the warm paste to the affected areas.
  4. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Wash off the paste.
  6. Alternatively, you can also massage the affected areas of the body with neem oil.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 1 to 2 times daily for optimum results.

Why This Works

Indian lilac (neem) is known for its excellent anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that help in managing cervical spondylosis (10).

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10. Castor Oil

10. Castor Oil Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of castor oil
  • A warm compress
What You Have To Do
  1. Take a tablespoon of cold-pressed castor oil and gently massage it onto your neck and shoulders.
  2. Place a warm compress on top and leave it on for about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the compress and rinse off the oil.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this twice daily.

Why This Works

Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid that helps in relieving the pain and inflammation that accompany cervical spondylosis (11).

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11. Guggul

11. Guggul Pinit

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You Will Need

500 mg guggul supplement

What You Have To Do

Consume 500 mg of guggul supplement after consulting a

  1. naturopathic doctor.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this once daily.

Why This Works

Guggul is extracted from the resin of the guggul tree. It has anti-inflammatory properties that help alleviate symptoms of inflammation in your cervical spine (12).

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12. Omega-3

12. Omega-3 Pinit

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You Will Need

250-500 mg omega-3

What You Have To Do
  1. Consume 250 to 500 mg of omega-3.
  2. You can either consume foods rich in omega-3 like fatty fish, flaxseed, nuts, walnuts, and chia seeds or take additional supplements for it.
How Often You Should Do This

You must incorporate omega-3 into your daily diet.

Why This Works

Omega-3s possess anti-inflammatory properties and can help you deal with the inflammation and swelling that surface with cervical spondylosis (13).

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13. Vitamins

13. Vitamins Pinit

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Deficiencies in vitamins B12 and D can increase your risk of developing cervical spondylosis and may even worsen your symptoms (14), (15).

Hence, it is necessary that you follow a diet rich in these vitamins like fatty fish, egg yolks, cheese, poultry, and milk. You can also take additional supplements for these vitamins as per your requirement and after consulting your doctor.

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14. Essential Oils

a. Lavender Oil

a. Lavender Oil Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 6 drops of lavender oil
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil (or any other carrier oil)
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix six drops of lavender oil with a teaspoon of coconut oil or any other carrier oil.
  2. Massage this gently onto the affected areas.
  3. Leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes or overnight.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

The anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities of lavender oil help in reducing the pain, inflammation, and swelling of the cervical spine joints and discs (16).

b. Peppermint Oil

b. Peppermint Oil Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 6 drops of peppermint oil
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil or any other carrier oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Add six drops of peppermint oil to a teaspoon of coconut oil or any other carrier oil.
  2. Mix well and massage it gently onto the affected areas.
  3. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes or overnight before rinsing it off.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 1 to 2 times daily for effective results.

Why This Works

The major constituent of peppermint oil is menthol. Menthol is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and helps in relieving pain and Inflammation (17).

In addition to these remedies, there is another natural way to deal with the symptoms of cervical spondylosis – exercise. The following are some of the best exercises that can help alleviate the symptoms of cervical spondylosis.

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Best Exercises For Cervical Spondylosis

1. Neck Stretch

Push your chin forward until your neck is completely stretched.

Duration

Hold the position for at least 5 seconds.

Repetitions

5

2. Neck Tilt

Tilt your head from one side to the other towards either shoulder.

Duration

5 seconds

Repetitions

5

3. Neck Turn

Turn your neck to one side and then to the other. Go as far as you can comfortably do it.

Duration

5 seconds

Repetitions

5

These exercises help stretch the muscles around your neck, thus relieving the stiffness and pain.

You can prevent your symptoms from getting worse by following these tips.

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Prevention Tips

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Try acupressure therapy from a professional.
  • Quit smoking as it can worsen your symptoms.
  • Use a neck brace for support.
  • Position your head, shoulders, and back properly when you are sitting or lying down for long durations.
  • Be careful while lifting weights.
  • Follow a healthy, low-fat diet.
  • Manage your weight.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Get ample rest.

It is easy to get relief from the symptoms of cervical spondylosis if you follow the tips, exercises, and remedies religiously for a while.

Do you have any more questions related to this condition? Ask us in the comments below.

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Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions

When to see a doctor for cervical spondylosis?

If you experience symptoms like loss of bladder control or loss of balance as a result of cervical spondylosis, it is best to seek medical attention immediately.

How can I relieve pain from cervical spondylosis?

The treatments listed in the article, both natural and medical, can alleviate the pain that occurs due to cervical spondylosis.

What is the best treatment for arthritis in the neck?

While arthritis of the neck (cervical spondylosis) cannot be reversed or cured, its symptoms can be successfully managed by following the tips, remedies, and medical treatments discussed in this article.

How to sleep if you are suffering from cervical spondylosis?

If you are suffering from cervical spondylosis, start by investing in a good mattress that provides support. Also, you must place a pillow in between your legs if you sleep on your side, or under your knees if you sleep on your back.

How long does cervical spondylosis last?

Since cervical spondylosis surfaces with age, it is believed to be a chronic joint disability. However, most affected individuals don’t develop any serious symptoms from this condition. And in those who do, the symptoms are manageable.

References

  1. Magnesium Decreases Inflammatory Cytokine Production: A Novel Innate Immunomodulatory Mechanism” Journal of Immunology, US National Library of Medicine
  2. Mechanisms and efficacy of heat and cold therapies for musculoskeletal injury” Postgraduate Medicine, US National Library of Medicine
  3. Immunomodulation and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Garlic Compounds” Journal of Immunology Research, US National Library of Medicine
  4. Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health” Foods, US National Library of Medicine
  5. Effects of sesame seed supplementation on clinical signs and symptoms in patients with knee osteoarthritis” International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, US National Library of Medicine
  6. The Effects of Topical Sesame (Sesamum indicum) Oil on Pain Severity and Amount of Received Non-Steroid Anti-Inflammatory Drugs in Patients With Upper or Lower Extremities Trauma” Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, US National Library of Medicine
  7. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities of [6]-gingerol” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, US National Library of Medicine
  8. Anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory effects of synthetic acetic acid vinegar and Nipa vinegar on high-fat-diet-induced obese mice” Scientific Reports, US National Library of Medicine
  9. The analgesic effect induced by capsaicin is enhanced in inflammatory states” Life Sciences, US National Library of Medicine
  10. Therapeutics Role of Azadirachta indica (Neem) and Their Active Constituents in Diseases Prevention and Treatment” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine
  11. Effect of ricinoleic acid in acute and subchronic experimental models of inflammation” Mediators of Inflammation, US National Library of Medicine
  12. Clinical observation on Greeva Stambha (cervical spondylosis) Chikitsa” AYU, US National Library of Medicine
  13. Anti-inflammatory effects of omega 3 and omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome” Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine
  14. Cervical spondylotic myelopathy with vitamin B12 deficiency: Two case reports” Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, US National Library of Medicine
  15. Vitamin D status in cervical spondylotic myelopathy: comparison of fusion rates and patient outcome measures. A preliminary experience” Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences, US National Library of Medicine
  16. Antioxidant, analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of lavender essential oil” Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências, US National Library of Medicine
  17. The anti-inflammatory activity of L-menthol compared to mint oil in human monocytes in vitro: a novel perspective for its therapeutic use in inflammatory diseases” European Journal of Medical Research, US National Library of Medicine
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