Cervical spondylosis is a neck condition due to age-related wear and tear to the neck vertebrae, causing soreness, distention, radiating pain or heaviness of the neck, shoulder, arm or head, and even numbness of the fingers.
The cause is commonly due to degeneration of the discs and cervical vertebra which puts pressure on the spinal cord or surrounding nerves in the neck region.
The tender tissues of spinal cord and blood vessels are mostly protected by the bone of the spinal column.
As long as we are healthy everything is fine, but when we get older this bone starts to degenerate and bony protrusions can hurt the soft tissues.
Spondylosis means that the actual body of the vertebra starts to wear out and the disc in between becomes flatter and dryer.
This can lead to compression of the nerve or closing of the blood vessels.
Symptoms of cervical spondylosis are pain and stiffness in the neck, tingling and numbness in the arms, hands, legs or feet, limited range of motion, dizziness and headache.
The pain can be so severe that we can’t think clearly and it can keep us awake at night.
The condition can also affect coordination, reflexes and walking.
Exercises, gentle manipulations, traction, massage and warmth applications can be helpful to this condition.
Surgery is a last-case option, because of the delicacy of the surrounding tissues.
Acupuncture can be helpful too. In Chinese medicine we say the cause of this condition is due to kidney deficiency and qi-energy and blood stagnation.
The kidneys are said to control the bones and have an influence particularly on the spine.
As the kidneys weaken with age, the bones get weak. In some people the bones get weaker faster than others and this is a direct cause of a kidney deficiency.
Acupuncture works buy using needles to stimulate qi-energy and blood circulation in the area of pain and discomfort.
We do this by stimulating the meridian pathway associated with the pain, both locally and distally. Of course it is always important to do points for the root cause of this condition which is the kidneys.
One of the reasons for the pain can be a high level of tension in the surrounding muscles.
This is a defensive reaction by the body to protect the neck. But this tension can also maintain the pain.
So we have to release the tension gently—not too quickly—and acupuncture can help here.
When the tension is lessened more exercises can be done that will also increase the flow of energy and blood.
Acupuncture is a very helpful alternative in treating cervical spondylosis and is very effective in reducing the pain.
It mobilizes the body’s own reserves and helps to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes.
James Kaufman is a registered acupuncturist in Kelowna.