Cervical spondylosis is the clinical term for pain in your neck that is the result of wear and tear. Aging is the predominant cause of this condition as your tissues and bones start to break down over time and lose their structural integrity. People suffering from this condition usually have neck pain, headaches, and stiffness in their necks. Medical treatment for cervical spondylosis varies, but you can, however, get great results from home remedies as well. Home remedies are an excellent way to deal with cervical spondylosis; however, you should first take the time to understand what causes it so that you can identify the best remedy for you.
Your vertebrae have discs in between them which help the constituent parts move with minimal friction and also act as shock absorbers. They have a gel-like substance in them which wears out over time and leads to the vertebrae rubbing against each other when you move which is very painful. Other symptoms of cervical spondylosis include tingling in your shoulders and fingers, headaches, and loss of balance.
Research shows that over two-thirds of the population will suffer from neck pain at some point in their lives (12) and many of these people will be suffering from spondylosis. Besides aging, overgrowing bones may also cause this condition. As the body tries to grow extra bones to make your spine longer, the extra piece of vertebrae may pinch on delicate nerves and cause pain. Bad posture, smoking, genetic factors and a lifestyle with a lot of sitting down also increase the likelihood and severity of cervical spondylosis.
The good news is that spondylosis is relatively easy to treat. Simple lifestyle changes and medication will help. However, if you’re on this website then you are more interested in holistic methods of dealing with the pain, here’s a list of 15 home remedies that will help you combat the symptoms and causes of cervical spondylosis.
Home Remedies for Cervical Spondylosis
1. Regular Exercise
A major cause of cervical spondylosis is a lack of exercise which causes the muscles and tissue to atrophy and weaken. In their weakened state, these muscles are less capable of holding the spinal discs in the right place, and day-to-day activities become harder for your spine to handle. A simple exercise to keep your neck fit and strong is to simply rotate your head clockwise and anticlockwise for about 15 minutes every day. Low-impact exercises such as walking and swimming will also help keep those muscles strong. If you experience any pain while exercising then slow down on the physical activity and consult a doctor immediately. (1)
2. Hot and Cold Compress
Alternating between hot and cold is known to work wonders on an area that is afflicted by inflammation. Inflammation and swelling are the body’s first reactions to injured tissue to protect the damaged area and let you know that you need to slow down. It is a necessary part of the healing process however it tends to be more stubborn and painful than it needs to be. The cold compress works to reduce the swelling and pain. Once the swelling is down, then you can use a hot compress to increase blood-flow to the area which aids in faster healing. Just don’t use a hot compress until you’ve got the swelling down and keep the cold compress away if you’re already feeling cold because it will make you feel even stiffer.
The cold compress works to reduce the swelling and pain. Once the swelling is down, then you can use a hot compress to increase blood-flow to the area which aids in faster healing. Just don’t use a hot compress until you’ve got the swelling down and keep the cold compress away if you’re already feeling cold because it will make you feel even stiffer. (2)
Turmeric is a brilliant anti-inflammatory that can be taken orally. This makes it a great passive remedy for cervical spondylosis because all that you need to do to enjoy its inflammation-reducing properties is to add a one or two teaspoons of powdered turmeric to your diet. (3)
Garlic works as both an analgesic and anti-inflammatory to keep pain down and reduce the swelling associated with cervical spondylosis. It works best when taken raw and on an empty stomach so you can start by swallowing one or two buds with a glassful of water early in the morning. Swallowing garlic is a bit difficult for some people in which case they can crush a few cloves then heat it in a pan with vegetable oil to make a topical treatment that you can apply to the afflicted area. Keep using garlic in either of these ways until you heal completely. (4)
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is acidic. However, once digested or absorbed into the body it has a net alkalizing effect. A slightly alkaline environment is your body’s preferred state of being because it boosts your immune system and reduces inflammation. This makes apple cider vinegar a great option for a topical treatment if you can’t handle the taste. For the topical treatment, apply some ACV to a paper towel and lay it on the back of your neck for a few hours every day. Alternatively, you can mix 3 cups into your warm bath water and soak in the goodness. (5)
6. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are loaded with plenty of mineral nutrients such as magnesium, copper, zinc, calcium, and phosphorus along with Vitamin D, and Vitamin K. All of these minerals are needed for healthy joints. The seeds make a tasty addition to any salad or you can use sesame seed oil in cooking to reap the benefits of this nutritional powerhouse. The oil also works well as a topical treatment which you can apply directly to your neck with a mixture of lavender oil. (6)
Reducing the inflammation in your sore muscles is key to reducing the pain associated with cervical spondylosis and ginger is yet another super-food that works wonders when it comes to reducing inflammation. You can try adding it to your daily diet, or if you can stomach the taste, eat it directly. Consume it along with cumin seeds and celery sticks to improve the taste. Ginger tea and honey every morning will also aid in your healing process. (7)
8. Epsom Salt Bath
If you are a fan of soaking in the tub, then add a little Epsom salt to your bath water to ease the painful symptoms associated with cervical spondylosis. Epsom salt baths work because they give your body dose of magnesium which regulates your body’s pH levels and reduces the pain and stiffness. Add two cups of it to your bath and soak for about twenty minutes about three times a week. This remedy is not advisable if you have kidney problems or heart issues because the magnesium will exacerbate these conditions. (8)
9. Indian Lilac (Neem)
As an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, Neem works as one of the most effective topical treatments for battling pain and swelling. The best approach is to mix one tablespoon of neem powder with water to make a thick paste. Heat the paste for a few minutes then apply it while hot to the back of your neck and leave it on for at least 30 minutes. You can take neem internally as well by boiling the leaves to make a tea that you can drink every day. (9)
10. Cayenne Pepper
Capsaicin is the compound in cayenne pepper which slows down inflammation. You can apply cayenne powder as a topical treatment applied to a bandage or put one teaspoon in hot water and drink it 2 or 3 times a day. (10)
11. Devil’s Claw
Devil’s Claw is a South African plant that is related to the sesame plant. Like its relation, it has been used in herbal medicine to treat a variety of ailments from arthritis and fever to gastrointestinal problems. For spondylosis, it works principally as an anti-inflammatory, so pain relief comes from reduced swelling.
12. White Willow Bark
White willow bark is another treatment that can temper the symptoms of spondylosis. The bark’s active ingredient is Salicin which chemically is very similar to Aspirin so is both anti-inflammatory and analgesic. (11). Indeed it was research into the bark that led to the first synthesis of aspirin. As aspirin can cause stomach problems for many habitual users, white willow bark offers a natural alternative to help inflammation and alleviate pain.
Dos and Don’ts of Handling Cervical Spondylosis
1. Avoid Acid-Forming Foods
Foods that make your body more acidic increase your body’s rate of inflammation and keep you from healing as fast as you would like. Sugar, fried food, refined flour, alcohol, and tobacco should all be avoided as much possible or at least limited if you wish to manage the pain that comes with cervical spondylosis.
Sunlight in moderation is good for anything that ails you. It lightens your mood and releases feel-good endorphins in your body which makes it easier to handle any uncomfortable muscle pains.
3. Work on Your Posture
A lifetime of slouching and bad posture will cause your spinal cord to grow in incorrect angles which cause the vertebrae to push against each other. By standing tall, you stretch out your spinal cord and give the vertebrae a chance to set correctly.
4. Wear a Neck Brace
If the neck ache is both chronic and severe, where even small movements result in waves of pain, then invest in a neck brace. The brace will help support your neck and let the muscles heal unimpeded.
5. Sleep on Your Back
Lying flat down at night without a pillow will allow your spine to set into its natural position.
6. Don’t Overexert Yourself
Your spinal cord will be especially prone to serious injuries if you have this condition. Therefore, you should avoid very strenuous exercise to prevent further damage.
Regular massaging can loosen the stiff vertebra in your neck allowing for less painful and freer movement