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Cervical spondylitis is on the rise... What can be done?

Cervical spondylitis is on the rise... What can be done?

People complaining of Neck pain in increasing a lot nowadays? Why? What can be the reasons. Know more about Cervical spondylitis :

1. People complaining of Neck pain in increasing a lot nowadays? Why? What can be the reasons
The reasons for the increase in neck pain are mainly due to the recent changes in the lifestyle especially of the newer generation. Bad posturing and sedentary lifestyles are the main culprits. Spending so much time with a mobile, laptop, or any electronic equipment with the neck in a bend posture causes so much strain on the neck muscles and led to spasm(text neck syndrome). Trying to relieve the spasm causes excess strain on the spine. This repeated activity will accelerate spine degeneration( Cervical spondylitis). Same also with people spending so much time driving with neck in a fixed position. Also sleeping on a soft sponge mattress, large pillow or sleeping in a sitting position or any awkward posture( especially in a moving vehicle) can cause excess neck strain and pain. Moreover  due to the increasing sedentary lifestyle neck muscles does not acquire the desired strength thus causing more strain on the spine.   Earlier cervical spondylitis was a disease of the elderly but recently due to an increase in neck strain, degenerative changes starts much earlier and has even started affecting teenagers. 

2. Which type of people or professionals are more prone to this type of pain?
 Professionals spending more time sedentary seated in front of a computer, long-distance drivers, manual workers, construction workers and head loading workers, policemen and security officials carrying heavy equipments, weight lifters, dentists and surgeons.

3.What are the lifestyle modifications and Habits required to reduce future neck pain?
Human body is designed to maintain erect posture so maintain proper posture always.  Sleep on our back on a firm mattress and use a small pillow or a cervical pillow. Never sleep in a sitting position or any other compromised positions especially when traveling.  Position the computer/laptop we use at eye level to avoid neck bending. Don’t forget to move your neck to both sides and up and down direction frequently in between computer work, driving or any other job. .  Practice neck exercises regularly to strengthen the muscles so that they can withstand more strain. Carry heavyweight (if required) evenly. Prevent jerky lifting of heavyweights. Avoid head loading as far as possible.

4. What are the home remedies and treatment options available?
Proper understanding of the causative factor and avoiding them is very essential and the most important step in treatment.  If acute pain proper rest and local appliable medications can be helpful in the majority of cases. Oral medicines like simple analgesics and muscle relaxants may also be tried.  Heat application, deep tissue massage, physiotherapy, ultrasound or electric stimulation can be helpful. Regular use of a cervical pillow can dramatically reduce the pain. If there is radicular or paraesthesia type symptoms in the arms and finger certain drugs may be given specifically. Once the pain subsides proper exercises, yoga etc can be done that helps to stretch and strengthen the muscles. Persistent or recurrent pain not subsiding with simple measures should be evaluated properly before planning further treatment.  Certain alternative medicine therapists have the habit of offering treatment without properly evaluating the exact cause of pain which has resulted in catastrophic consequences. Surgery can be helpful is a certain subset of problems like disc prolapse or severe degeneration not subsiding with medicine and other treatment. 

5. What are the surgical options available? What’s the success rate?
The majority of disc prolapse where surgery is needed is managed by a keyhole procedure where the prolapsed disc is removed and an artificial spacer/ disc is placed.  It’s a relatively safe procedure with a success rate of more than 95%.  In some severe cases, we may need to replace the diseased area with artificial cage implants. With the available modern equipment like operating microscopes and high-class implants, the surgeries for cervical spondylitis and related problems are relatively safe and simple.

MBBS,MS, Mch ( Neurosurgery), MRCS Ed, MBA
Consultant Neurosurgeon 
VPS Lakeshore Hospital