Cervical Spondylosis

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The human back bone (vertebral column) is made up of vertebra bones separated by the intervertebral discs. Each disc has a gelatinous central portion and a fibrous outer portion. The major function of the discs is to serve as shock absorber and provide stability during mechanical stress. With ageing the discs begin to degenerate as evidenced by desiccation, fibrosis (hardening), and cleft formation of the central portion and fissuring of the fibrous outer portion. This abnormality commonly affects the lumbar and cervical region of the back bone.

Cervical spondylosis is therefore a degenerative disease affecting the discs in the cervical (neck) portion of the back bone. The discs flatten out and bulge slightly beyond the margins of the vertebral bodies. Where they protrude against the ligaments, reactive new bone formation produces bony spurs (osteophytes). The bulging disc and the osteophytes then compress the surrounding nerves and blood vessels. Changes are most common in the lower two segments of the cervical spine (C5/6 and C6/7)

Patients present with neck pain and stiffness, paraesthesia (numbness), weakness and clumsiness in the arm and hand. Muscles at the back of the neck may be tender with limitation in neck movement. Treatment is majorly conservative with the use of analgesics, heat, and massage, cervical collar and physiotherapy. Surgical intervention may however be needed in severe cases

The introduction of acupuncture as a treatment modality has brought succour to people suffering from cervical spondylosis. Many studies have shown that acupuncture alleviates/relieves neck pain in patients with cervical spondylosis. The effectiveness of acupuncture in alleviating the pain of cervical spondylosis was about 75.5% and about 83.3% when combined with Chinese massage. Studies have also shown a drastic and early onset improvement in stiffness and paraesthesia in patients treated with acupuncture and massage.

Cervical spondylosis is one of the causes of chronic neck pain in middle aged and elderly people. The use of acupuncture with or without massage as a treatment modality is second to none in alleviating the symptoms and improving patients’ quality of life.

 

Reference:

HealthCMi. Acupuncture Alleviates Neck Pain Due To Cervical Spondylosis. 27 MAY 2016 Link

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