Neck pain can be caused by many things—but is most often related to getting older. Like the rest of the body, the disks and joints in the neck (cervical spine) slowly degenerate as we age. Cervical spondylosis, commonly called arthritis of the neck, is the medical term for these age-related, wear-and-tear changes that occur over time.
Cervical spondylosis is extremely common. More than 85 percent of people over the age of 60 are affected. The condition most often causes pain and stiffness in the neck—although many people with cervical spondylosis experience no noticeable symptoms. In most cases, cervical spondylosis responds well to conservative treatment that includes medication and physical therapy.
Most people experience no symptoms from these problems. When symptoms do occur, nonsurgical treatments often are effective.
For most people, cervical spondylosis causes no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they typically include pain and stiffness in the neck.
Sometimes, cervical spondylosis results in a narrowing of the space needed by the spinal cord and the nerve roots that pass through the spine to the rest of your body. If the spinal cord or nerve roots become pinched, you might experience:
When it comes to pain in your spine, the lower back gets all the attention. But the top of your spine—your neck—is equally vulnerable to pain. It’s especially important to be aware of this as we spend more time with our heads bent low over computers and cellphones. “For every 10 degrees forward the head is from a neutral position, the weight of the head on the neck increases about 10 pounds. This can place a great deal of strain on the muscles, ligaments, joints, and intervertebral discs in the neck,” says physical therapist Amy Devaney, of Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
You might have heard of the benefits of drinking lots of water in skincare, but staying hydrated also plays an essential role in keeping your internal organs functioning well. The discs separating the vertebrae in your spine serve as shock absorbers. These are mostly made up of water, so it is important to stay nourished and hydrated by drinking at least eight glasses of water every day to keep these discs healthy and properly functioning.
Screens of laptops and computers should not be too low that you have to look down to see the monitor. This puts an unnatural strain on your neck for long periods of time when you are using the computer, which causes neck pain. You can correct this by stacking up books below the monitor to reach your eye level.
The definition of “the right pillow” depends on your chosen sleeping position. Sleeping on your stomach is not ideal for your neck. If you sleep on your back, use a thinner pillow with a “bump” at the bottom to support the natural curve of the neck. Avoid using tall pillows as it causes the neck to flex forward. For those who sleep on their side, make sure to keep your head, neck, and spine in alignment using a pillow that has ample head support.
Poor postures such as slouching forward, rounded shoulders, and a head poked forward is the most common contributor to neck pain. To check if you have proper posture, look at your stance from the side. The opening of your ear should be directly above the shoulder. If your head is slanted forward, the neck gets strained to keep your head upright, which tends to cause neck pain.
The alignment of the neck vertebrae plays an important part in ensuring the neck’s overall health. Proper alignment of the neck maintains good posture, and lets you sleep better. It can also help in avoiding other neck-related complications. When the top two bones of the spine – the atlas (C1) and axis (C2) – become misaligned, it can cause extensive neck pain and other issues. Since these are the bones that directly support the weight of the head, the whole spine shifts and twists to compensate if they misalign. This irritates the nerves and muscles surrounding the spine, which leads to neck pain.
By carrying your bag on only one side of your body, it causes an imbalance in the weight carried by your shoulders and thus becomes a cause of neck pain. It would be better to carry your bag on both shoulders. If carrying it on only one side is inevitable, then lighten your load as much as possible by getting rid of unnecessary items and alternating sides every once in a while.
When you sleep on your stomach, you tend to extensively turn your head on one side to be able to breathe. No wonder that a lot of people who sleep on their stomach complain about neck pain. The best sleeping position to avoid neck pain is sleeping on your back for your neck to rest in a neutral position. Sleeping on your side is also acceptable, as long as your pillow is at the proper height to avoid turning the head too far to one side.
Cradling your phone between your head and neck is a common thing to do, especially when you want to keep your hands free to do other tasks. But, this is a very harmful action that can bring about neck pain, especially for those who use the telephone for long periods. It is better to use a headset or earpiece if you want to keep your hands free while on the phone.
The abundant use of mobile technology has given rise to a host of new neck pain complaints. Texting and looking down at your phone puts an excessive amount of stress and strain on the neck. When you add this up over time, it can cause extensive wear and tear on the joints, discs, and ligaments in your neck, which can lead to degeneration and pain. Bringing your device up to eye-level can help to reduce some of the strain on your neck.
We spend approximately one-third of our lives asleep; therefore, it is vital to have a good quality mattress that can adequately support your body as you sleep. A mattress can last up to a decade if you use it properly and care for it well. Classic mattresses need to be flipped and rotated every six months for them to be worn out evenly, while memory foams or “one-sided” mattresses should simply be rotated. A good indicator if you need a new mattress is asking yourself if you sleep well when on your bed. If not, then you might want to look for a new bed.
Risk factors for cervical spondylosis include:
If your spinal cord or nerve roots become severely compressed as a result of cervical spondylosis, the damage can be permanent.
At our center, Dr. Navin Tiwari who is among the best neurologist in Indore has a long history of recognizing and treating tough medical problems that go undiagnosed elsewhere. Thorough, thoughtful, and comprehensive evaluations and consultations are done for better results in the treatment of Neck Pain cervical spondylitis.
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