Introduction of Cervical Spondylitis:
Cervical Spondylitis is a common spine problem refers to inflammation of the vertebral joints pertaining to cervical area which primarily affects the axial skeleton, peripheral joint & extra-articular structures. It may lead to cervical disc problem or nerve compression. It is one of the causes of neck pain which starts to increase gradually. Other symptoms of spondylitis include extreme pain and contraction in the cervical region of the neck and shoulders. The pain usually flows further downwards. It also causes neck stiffness that it becomes difficult to move the neck and shoulders.
Cervical Spondylitis Symptoms:
Symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Symptoms often develop slowly over time, but may flare up if you over-use your neck, or if you sprain a neck muscle or ligament. Symptoms include:
1. Neck pain
2. Shoulder Pain
3. Neck stiffness, particularly after a night's rest
4. Neck movement pain
5. Radiating pain from neck to arms on both side or back of head
8. Numbness of hands
9. Morning Vertigo
11. Weakness in hands
12. May feel irritable and fatigue, disturb sleep and impair your ability to work
Diagnosis of Cervical Spondylitis:
Examination often shows limited ability to bend the head toward the shoulder and rotate the head.
Weakness or loss of sensation can be signs of damage to specific nerve roots or to the spinal cord. Reflexes are often reduced.
Physical examination- The doctor may identify tender spots along the neck and evaluate your ability to move the neck in various directions. The function of the nerves and muscles in the arms and legs may be tested. Others include the following with possible findings:
• Spurling sign – Radicular pain is exacerbated by extension and lateral bending of the neck toward the side of the lesion, causing additional foraminal compromise.
• Lhermitte sign – This generalized electrical shock sensation is associated with neck extension.
• Hoffman sign – Reflex contraction of the thumb and index finger occurs in response to nipping of the middle finger. This sign is evidence of an upper motor neuron lesion. A Hoffman sign may be insignificant if present bilaterally.
• Distal weakness
• Decreased ROM in the cervical spine, especially with neck extension
• Hand clumsiness
• Loss of sensation
• Increased reflexes in the lower extremities and in the upper extremities below the level of the lesion
• A characteristically broad-based, stooped, and spastic gait
• Extensor planter reflex in severe myelopathy
B. The following Tests may be done used to show bone spur and other abnormalities and reveal the extent of damage to the cervical spine:
• CT scan or spine MRI
• Spine or neck x-ray
• X-ray or CT scan after dye is injected into the spinal column (myelogram)
Outlook (Prognosis) of Cervical Spondylitis:
Most patients with cervical spondylitis will have some long-term symptoms. However, they respond to nonsurgical treatments and do not need surgery.
Possible Complications of Cervical Spondylitis:
• Chronic neck pain
• Inability to hold in feces (fecal incontinence) or urine (urinary incontinence)
• Progressive loss of muscle function or feeling
• Permanent disability (occasional)
Cervical Spondylitis Treatment:
They may be treated medically, by changing lifestyle factors or a combination of the two. However, they do not need surgery in most of the cases.
A) Lifestyle modification for Cervical Spondylitis:
Important lifestyle changes include using proper equipment and techniques in daily routine activities, and exercising regularly.
B) Conventional Treatment for Cervical Spondylitis:
The painkiller (analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs) with some muscle relaxant with physical therapy. Eg: hot packs and TENS etc. is given in acute stage with gentle exercise being the mainstay for chronic disease.
C) Homoeopathic Treatment for Cervical Spondylitis:
Homoeopathy includes many effective medicines for the relief in cervical spondylitis symptoms:
Colocynthis vulgaris – Remedy for constrictions and contractions felt wherever in the body, thus, indicated in muscle cramps; headache; & Neuralgia esp. pain radiating to right side of neck, shoulders, arms & hands.
Ruta graveolens – Acts on periosteum and cartilages indicated by pain in nape of neck, back, loins.
Hypericum perforatum- Acts on nerve endings releasing their compression & inflammation indicated in pain in nape of neck radiating to arms to fingers; pressure over sacrum; spinal concussion; coccyx injury from RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) with pain radiating up spine.
Ledum palustre – Indicated in painful stiffness in neck & back after sitting esp. radiating to left side of neck, shoulders, arms & hands, aggravated by cold or cold water.
Cuprum metallicum – Indicated in hyperaesthsia of spinal column; twitching of muscles of back up to neck.
Dulcamara – Indicated in stiff neck esp. in damp weather; pain in small of back; shooting contractions in the loins, shoulders and arms.
Conium maculatum – Indicated in tension, stiffness & pain in the nape of the neck as from friction in the cervical vertebrae or sprains; pain between shoulders; vertigo & headache.
SPONDINTM Drops – It is a homoeopathic proprietary medicine, a unique combination of the above seven universally acknowledged homoeopathic medicines. This is useful in comprehensive management of Cervical Spondylitis / Spondylosis and relieving its associated symptoms and improving the quality of life in the patients.