Did you know, around 5% of the people affected by neck pain have a severe disability? And at least 10% develop chronic pain over the years?
Fortunately, the number of Coronavirus cases has decreased significantly in India. However, some of the changes brought by the pandemic, especially in the work culture, are still being practiced. For example, with everything returning to normal, many individuals are still working from home as organizations either follow working from home culture or have a hybrid work culture.
Undoubtedly, employees find working from home fascinating due to its numerous benefits. Honestly, I am fascinated by the advantages of working from home. But, being a doctor, I am also aware of its adverse effects on our health. From continuous neck and back pain to weight gain, various disadvantages are faced by individuals working from home. Today, I will introduce you to one of the worst gifts given by this work culture- Cervical Spondylitis. To start with it, let us first understand what cervical Spondylitis is.
Cervical Spondylitis Meaning
Also known as degenerative or cervical osteoarthritis, Cervical Spondylitis is a condition due to wear and tear in the cartilage, ligaments, bones, specifically neck bones.
In earlier times, joint problems were observed in people with old age. However, this is not the case anymore. Even at a young age, individuals now suffer from Cervical Spondylitis, and one of the major causes is the changing lifestyle.
As you are now aware of Cervical Spondylitis, I would like to address two of the most common questions people ask me.
1. Are Spondylitis and Spondylosis the Same?
Spondylitis and Spondylosis are two terms that are often confused with one another. Both these terms start with the prefix "spondy." Spondy means related to the spinal column or the bones of the spine. Hence, both these terms refer to specific conditions in the spinal column. However, even after sounding so similar and sharing similar symptoms, the two conditions are different from one another as they result from other influences on the body.
Spondylitis is an arthritic condition in which inflammation is observed between the spine's bones, causing the joints to swell and grow. This causes the bones to fuse into each other, decreasing the flexibility and mobility of the spin.
Spondylosis is also arthritic. However, it is caused due wear and tear on the spinal column joints with increasing age. With age, the softness of the disks reduces due to less water and consequently becomes rigid. Some people also develop gaps between bones due to the wearing of the disks.
2. What is the Difference Between Cervical and Lumbar Spondylitis?
Both Cervical and Lumbar Spondylitis are a type of inflammatory arthritis. However, the two are not the same. Cervical Spondylitis is the arthritic inflammation seen in the joints and discs of the cervical spine region. In comparison, Lumbar Spondylitis is the arthritic inflammation seen in the joints and discs of the lumbar region of the spine.
Causes: Why does Cervical Pain Happen?
Cervical pain is caused due to numerous factors. However, some common reasons cause cervical pain and might require you to buy a Cervical Spondylitis pillow for yourself.
Aging: With increasing age, the parts of the cervical spine degenerate due to natural wear and tear. The degenerate spine results in cervical pain.
Physical strain: Another common cause of cervical pain is the overuse of the neck muscles. Over usage refers to the overusing of muscles during stressed activities. It eventually leads to stiffness and pain.
Poor posture: It is a common cause of cervical pain today. In the era of working from home, numerous individuals suffer from cervical pain due to their bad posture while working on their screens at home.
Mental stress: Most people tighten their neck muscles while they are stressed. This tightening of muscles leads to cervical pain over time.
Injury: Injuries caused to ligaments, muscles, disks, and vertebral joints can also result in cervical pain. One of the most common injuries that lead to cervical pain is Whiplash during automobile accidents.
Growths: Growths of masses like cysts, tumors, and bone spurs also cause cervical pain.
Although the most common symptoms include stiffness and pain in the neck and back, there are some other symptoms of Cervical Spondylitis.
Lack of coordination
Difficulty in walking
Loss of balance
Pain in arms and shoulders
Numbness in arms, fingers, and hands
Impairment in functions of bladder and bowel (in severe cases)
Healthcare professionals use both surgical and non-surgical methods to treat Cervical Spondylitis.
Cervical Spondylotic myelopathy
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Soft cervical collars
Are Cervical Collards Beneficial?
When one hears the word cervical, the first thing that comes into mind is a cervical collar. And one of the common questions asked is if they are beneficial. Yes, they are advantageous for individuals with cervical pain or are advised to keep their necks immobilized after cervical surgery.
What kind of Collar is the Best?
Now coming to answering the question of which collar is the best, both soft and rigid collars do wonders for individuals with cervical pain. However, each of them is best in some specific conditions. For example, soft collars are usually recommended when a person is injured or has chronic cervical pain, like Spondylitis or Spondylosis. In contrast, rigid collars are used when a person has undergone cervical surgery.
Which Cervical Spondylitis Pillow is the Best?
Another excellent aid for people with cervical pain is a pillow for Cervical Spondylitis. A Cervical Spondylitis pillow is the best option for people who do not want to trigger their cervical pain during sleep. These pillows are beneficial because they help maintain a proper sleeping posture to avoid neck pain. However, with several options in the market today, it becomes difficult to choose the best type based on your condition.
To help you with this dilemma, I would like to introduce some factors that will help you find the best pillow for Cervical Spondylitis.
Firmness- Choose the firmness of a Cervical Spondylitis pillow that feels comfortable to you.
Fills- You can find pillows filled with materials like foam and water.
Size- The pillow for Cervical Spondylitis should be large enough to support the head and neck.
Height- The last factor is to choose the right height. You can also find pillows with adjustable height options.
I suggest you choose your pillow wisely, considering all the factors, as the wrong one can increase your neck pain instead of decreasing it.
Can Cervical Spondylitis be Cured?
Unfortunately, Cervical Spondylitis cannot be cured as it is a degenerative disease. However, using various preventative measures and surgical and non-surgical methods, the pain caused due to this condition can be reduced or managed.
Unlike earlier times, Cervical Spondylitis is not only observed in old aged people, even young individuals are developing this condition. One of the major causes is the bad posture people maintain while working on their screens, especially those working from home. As Cervical Spondylitis is not curable, it is best to prevent this condition. If you have developed it, do not take it lightly and use the best Cervical Spondylitis pillow or a neck collar to avoid triggering your pain.
The Author :
Dr. Sunil Khattri
Dr Sunil Khattri MBBS, MS(General Surgery), LLB, is a Medical doctor and is a practicing Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi.