Cervical spondylosis causes the degeneration of bones and discs, as well as the cartilage cushion between the bones and joints of the neck. This condition is more common in middle-aged or elderly people. This condition generally manifests from wear and tear of the cervical discs and causes pain, stiffness, headaches, numbness, and reduced movement. Cervical Spondylosis is a disorder where an Ayurvedic protocol has shown promising results in relieving the symptoms.
In Ayurveda, there is a condition called Greeva Graham, which is similar to Cervical Spondylosis. The primary symptom of Greeva Graham is a stiff neck. Greeva means neck and graham refers to stiffness. This condition is a primary vata disorder associated with dry and degenerated tissues. The dryness and degeneration caused by vata dosa also leads to decreased kapha dosa. This becomes a problem because Sleshaka kapha is responsible for cushioning the discs between the joints as well as overall movement and flexibility.
When degeneration occurs it leads to spondylosis, and this same pathology also leads to other degenerative disorders like Vishwachi (brachial neuralgia) and Apabahuka (frozen shoulder).
The etiological factors of vatavyadhi (vata disorders) have two types of pathology: dhatukshaya (depletion) and avarana (obstructing by covering). With dhatukshaya, the vitiated vata assumes the status of gatavata (increased movement of vata) and occupies various sites leading to dhatugata vata (affecting tissues), ashayagata vata (affecting various locations) and avayavagata vata (effecting various organs). Avarana is a distinct pathology of vata in which the free mobility of vata is hampered either by the other two dosas, dhatus, or malas.
Avarana may also happen between two subtypes of vata as the direction of movement differs. This is called anyonyavarana.
Avarana is commonly responsible for many neurological disorders, including greeva graham (cervical spondylosis), viswachi (cervical brachial neuralgia), avabahuka (frozen shoulder), pakshaghata (stroke), ardita (facial palsy), gridhrasi (sciatica), etc.
Causative Factors for Greeva Graham
Food habits that increase vata dosa
- Intake of dry, light, cold, and frozen foods
- Fasting for extended periods
- Irregular or sporadic meal times
- Processed food, sodas, chips, etc.
- Low intake of water or liquids
- Excess pungent taste, chili, curries, etc.
Lifestyle habits that increase vata dosa
- Staying awake at night
- Sleeping during the day
- Excessive exercise or work
- Suppression of natural urges (sneezing, etc.)
- Too much weight bearing on the spinal column
- Walking for long distances
- Bike riding for long distances
Psychological factors that increase vata dosa
- Excess stress
- Prolonged grief
- Excessive anger
- Fear and anxiety
Clinical Features of Greeva Graham
- Chronic neck pain and stiffness
- Loss of movement: rotation, flexion, extension, etc.
- Pain radiating to the shoulder, back, arms or jaw
- Muscle spasms
- Numbness, tingling, weakness in the arms
- Difficulty in walking; lack of coordination
Ayurvedic Management for Greeva Graham
- Three therapies that move vata in the proper direction
- Nasya is good for many disorders pertaining to the head, neck, and senses. Many disorders caused by vata dosa, pain, stiffness, numbness, tingling, loss of movement, and paralysis are helped.
- In one published study on cervical spondylosis, Gandharvahastadi Kashaya, Guggulu Tiktaka Kashaya, and Nasya therapy with Dhanwantaram 101 Oil reduced the symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis, especially for pain, tenderness, and numbness. The nasal passages are a direct pathway to the brain, and the olfactory cells respond to volatile, water soluble, and lipid soluble substances. Many medicinal oils used for nasya contain these qualities and stimulate the brain through this pathway by inducing the production of neuropeptides, which reduces pain.
- Greeva Vasti (retention of medicinal oil) is a retention dam made with black gram to hold the medicinal oil over the neck region. Many Ayurvedic oils like Dhanwantaram Oil and Balaswagandhadi Oil help support pain, stiffness and loss of movement associated with Cervical Spondylosis.
- In another published study, Greeva Vasti and Dasamula Tailam for the management of Greeva Asthi Sandhi Gata Vata (Cervical Spondylosis) produced positive results. The relief in the neck disability index was 65.70%, which is statistically significant.
Other Ayurvedic therapies useful for reducing vata dosa include Shirodhara, Abhyanga, Patra Pinda Sweda, Shastika Sali Pinda Swedan or Navarakizhi, and Pizhichil.
Oils for Greeva Graham
- Bala Oil 10ml
- Balaswagandhadi Oil
- Dhanwantaram Oil
- Maha Narayana Oil
- Prasarani Oil
- Valiya Sahacharadi Oil
Products for Greeva Graham
Ahara - Vata Pacifying Foods
- Red rice - rakta shali
- Wheat - Godhuma
- Milk - Ksheera
- Ghee - Ghrita
- Butter - Navaneeta
- Warm water - Ushna jala
Devices to Help Support the Neck
- Cervical collars restrict the movement of the neck which helps reduce pain and heal the ligaments. They also help increase the space between each disc, which helps with prolapse (herniation).
- Cervical pillows help keep the neck in a comfortable position while sleeping.
Yogasana for Cervical Spondylosis
- In the early stages, yoga can be utilized to strengthen the neck muscles and ligaments. The following asana may be helpful, Surya Namaskara, Bhujangasana, Makarasana, Ardha Naukasana and Marjariasana. It is vital to seek the guidance of an experienced Yoga Therapist to know the proper alignment for your condition. The benefits of Yogasana are enhanced when applying Maha Narayana Oil before practising.
For more in-depth information, order this book from Arya Vaidya Sala from our store, Inter vertebral disc prolapse (IVDP).
 Radhika, C., Kumar, G. V., & Mihirjan, K. (2012). A randomized controlled clinical trial to assess the efficacy of Nasya in reducing the signs and symptoms of cervical spondylosis. Ayu, 33(1), 73–77.
 Pandey, Y. K., Shalini, & Sharma, A. K. (2013). Effect of Greeva Vasti in management of Greeva Asthi Sandhi Gata Vāta (Cervical Spondylosis). Ancient science of life, 33(1), 71–75.
Original source: Dr JV Hebbar, EasyAyurveda.com
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