Cervical spondylosis, also known as osteoarthritis of the cervical spine, refers to the degeneration of structures (vertebrae, joints, spinal intervertebral disc, ligaments, tendons, muscles) of the cervical spine/ back of neck. Vertebrae are the bones stacked one above the other in the backbone. There are seven vertebrae in cervical spine present in the back of the neck immediately below the skull. Spinal discs are the intervertebral discs present in between the vertebrae that act as shock-absorbing cushions bearing all kinds of stress felt over the spine. Ligaments are bands connecting one bone to another. Tendons are the tissue bands that connect muscle with bone.
Homeopathy can work wonders in cervical spondylosis cases. These remedies provide symptomatic relief in cervical spondylosis. The medicines are selected as per individual symptoms and manage symptoms of pain, stiffness in neck, numbness/tingling in upper limbs and vertigo. These medicines also halt the further progression of the degenerative process in the spine from cervical spondylosis.
Homeopathic Medicines for Cervical Spondylosis and Neck Pain
The top homeopathic medicines for cervical spondylosis are Rhus Tox, Bryonia Alba, Guaiacum Officinale, Paris Quadrifolia, Kalmia Latifolia, Lachnanthes, Conium and Hypericum Perforatum.
1. Rhus Tox – Top Remedy For Cervical Spondylosis And Neck Pain
Rhus Tox is a leading medicine for managing cases of cervical spondylosis and neck pain. It proves highly effective for managing pain and stiffness in the neck. Neck pain from overstraining or overuse of neck (for example from working on computers for long hours, lifting weights) also can be best treated with this medicine. A person in need of Rhus Tox may get relief from warm applications on the neck. Neck massage may provide relief in some cases. Rhus Tox is also an important medicine to manage neck pain from injury to the neck.
When and How to Rhus Tox?
Rhus Tox is the best prescription for providing relief in neck pain and stiffness. It is particularly most beneficial for neck pain from overstraining or overuse of neck. One may take Rhus Tox in 30C potency two to three times a day as per intensity of symptoms. Its higher potencies like 200C, 1M can also be used but only after consulting a homeopathic doctor.
2. Bryonia Alba – For Neck Pain That Worsens With Movement
Bryonia Alba is a well indicated medicine for neck pain that increases from movement. It is accompanied by stiffness in the neck. Taking rest relieves the symptoms. It is also a valuable medicine when pain and stiffness in the neck arises from overuse of neck muscles like from using mobiles or computers for prolonged time without any break.
When and How to use Bryonia?
Bryonia should be the first choice of medicine when neck pain worsens from movement and gets better from rest. It is an ideal prescription for neck pain resulting from overuse of neck muscles. Its use is preferred in 30C potency that can be taken twice a week.
3. Guaiacum Officinale – For Pain In Neck, Back of Head and Shoulders
Guaiacum Officinale is a natural medicine highly beneficial when pain spreads over the entire neck, back of head and shoulders. The neck is stiff, shoulder feels sore (sensitive to touch). In some cases, stiffness from the neck may extend down the entire back on one side. It gets worse on movement.
When and How to use Guaiacum Officinale?
It is a highly recommended medicine for pain covering the entire neck, back of head and shoulders. It gives remarkable results in 30C potency. Guaiacum Officinale can be used twice a day – once in morning and once in evening.
4. Paris Quadrifolia – For Neck Pain And Numbness In Arms, Hands Or Fingers
Paris Quadrifolia is a herbal medicine prepared from plant one berry. This medicine is very effective in managing pain in the neck along with numbness in arms, hands or fingers. The pain from the neck radiates down the fingers in cases needing this medicine. Pain gets worse from exertion. The pain is attended by the sensation of a heavy weight around the neck and shoulders. There is also stiffness and swelling in the neck.
When and How to use Paris Quadrifolia?
Use of this medicine is considered when neck pain radiates to fingers along with numbness in arms, hands or fingers. It gives excellent results in 30C potency and can be used two to three times a day as per severity of the symptom.
5. Kalmia Latifolia – For Neck Pain Going Down The Arm, Numbness
Kalmia Latifolia is a natural medicine prepared from leaves of plant ‘mountain laurel’. This medicine works well in cases where pain from neck goes down the arms. Along with this, there is numbness, or tingling, pricking sensation in hands. In some such cases, upper limbs may feel week.
When and How to use Kalmia Latifolia?
Pain in the neck radiating to arms along with numbness or tingling in arms or hands is the key feature indicating its use. It can be taken two times a day in 30C potency.
6. Lachnanthes – For Neck Drawn To One Side From Extreme Pain And Stiffness
This natural medicine prepared from plant ‘spirit weed’ is an ideal prescription when neck gets drawn to one side from severe pain and stiffness. There is inability to move neck to the other side. This medicine helps to relax neck muscles and improve stiffness and pain in neck. In some cases needing it, pain extends to the head.
When and How to use Lachnanthes?
This medicine can be used when the neck gets twisted to one side from extreme pain and stiffness with inability to move it to the other side. Lachnanthes 30 C twice a day is a right dose to start with based on above symptom.
7. Conium – For Managing Vertigo And Neck Pain
Conium is a very useful medicine for managing vertigo episodes and neck pain. Stiffness is also present where this medicine is required. Mostly, vertigo worsens from the movement of neck.
When and How to use Conium?
Consider its use to manage vertigo episodes, especially from neck movement along with neck pain. It is usually recommended in 30C potency that can be taken one to two times a day. Its higher potencies can also be used but only after consulting a homeopathic physician.
8. Hypericum Perforatum – For Neck Pain From Injury
Hypericum Perforatum is a very significant medicine for neck pain resulting from an injury. Major symptoms deciding on Hypericum Perforatum as the best prescription are neck pain that may radiate to the shoulders and a spine that is extremely sensitive to touch. Tingling, burning, numbness in hands may also be present.
When and How to use Hypericum Perforatum?
It can be used in cases of neck pain post-injury. Though it can be used in different potencies, initially it is good to start with 30C potency twice a day. Higher potencies can be used afterward after consulting a homeopath.
Causes Of Cervical Spondylosis
Cervical spondylosis mainly arises from wear and tear of the cervical spine. The wear and tear of cervical spine results mainly due to age-related degenerative changes. In some cases, injury to the cervical spine may lead to early spondylosis changes in the cervical spine.
The degenerative changes in spine may include:
1. Dehydration and herniation of intervertebral discs
Intervertebral discs are fibrocartilagenous cushions in between the vertebrae that serve as shock absorber whenever some load is put on spine like when we twist, lift weights. The disc has an outer thick layer and gel like soft center.
Dehydration of these discs means drying of the its inner gel like matter that leads to rubbing together of vertebral bones and pain.
Herniation of disc also called slip disc means leakage of the inner jelly material due to a crack in the outer layer of disc. At times this material can press on spinal cord and nerves.
2. Bone spurs in spine
It refers to extra bony growth that may form in spine to make it stronger when discs break down. These bone spurs may pinch spinal cord and nerves.
3. Ligament Stiffness
Ligament refers to band of tissue that connect bone with bone. As the age progresses these ligaments can become stiff that hinders neck movements and cause neck stiffness
Risk Factors Involved In Cervical Spondylosis
The major factors that put a person at the risk of developing cervical spondylosis are:
1. Age – Cervical spondylosis is a degenerative disorder and therefore, directly related to age. Mainly cervical spondylosis complaints begin at the age of 40 years. By the age of 60 years, more than 85 percent of the people get affected with cervical spondylosis, those above 40 years are more susceptible.
2. Overstraining or overuse of neck muscles – It may occur in certain occupations involving repetitive motion or bending/twisting of the neck like in painters, some sport activity like playing badminton and from lifting heavy weight.
3. Holding neck in improper position for a long time period like a bent neck for extended time period, for example when working on computers placed too high or low, using mobiles in uncomfortable position. This puts extra stress on the neck and causes pain.
4. Neck injuries
5. Arthritis (joint inflammation)
6. Positive family history of cervical spondylosis
What Are The Symptoms Of Cervical Spondylosis?
1. The major symptoms that point towards cervical spondylosis include pain and stiffness in the neck. Pain from the neck may radiate down the arm, hands, and fingers.
2. If spinal cord/nerve roots are pinched in the cervical part of the spine, symptoms including numbness, tingling and weakness in the upper limb may be felt. Additionally, there may occur lack of coordination and trouble while walking.
3. Dizziness or vertigo attacks can also occur.
Lifestyle Changes To Manage Cervical Spondylosis And Neck Pain
Adopting a few lifestyle measures can help better manage complaints of cervical spondylosis and neck pain. These measures include:
Physiotherapy that helps strengthen the neck muscles and maintain flexibility of the cervical spine
Maintaining correct posture while sitting, lying down
Avoiding job or work that puts stress/strain on the neck
Avoiding lifting heavy weights
Warm applications and neck massages can help
Avoid putting thick pillows or too many pillows under the head while sleeping