Cervical spondylosis is a degenerative weakening of the spinal disc usually triggered by an incorrect posture or by overusing neck muscles.
Less than a decade ago, the condition affected people aged above 60. Yet, but today increasing number of young professionals under 40 years are being diagnosed with the condition.
Ergonomics at the workplace makes a huge difference. The lighting, desk height, placing of computer in terms of angle, height of the computer and placing of the footrest, all play a role in improving spine comfort. Chairs must be comfortably cushioned with arm rests. The back should be tilted ten to fifteen degrees back and should not be ramrod straight as believed. For tall people, the chair should be deeper to support the thighs. The knees should be at the same level as the hips.
Taking a break from the workstation once every hour for five minutes is advised. You should stretch every 30 minutes but since it’s not practical, an hourly break is a must. Just get up and walk for a few minutes while stretching the arms, neck, back and legs.
Neglecting the pain could lead to a slipped disc, which is a far more painful condition. One of the first warning signs of cervical spondylosis is pain in the neck and shoulders, which may lead to excruciating pain shooting down the arms. If unchecked, it could hamper body’s coordination abilities and make it hard to perform simple, day-to-day activities such as buttoning a shirt or brushing hair.
In the early stages, improving posture and strengthening neck and back muscles by exercising regularly helps reverse the condition. Swimming is the best exercise to strengthen back and neck muscles. Tennis and badminton also help, but if the pain is severe, we recommend physiotherapy.
Doctors, however, warn against popping painkillers indiscriminately. Paracetamol may be taken on SOS basis but it is best not to depend on any medicines and be regular with the physiotherapy sessions. Most cases are relieved of the symptoms and very rarely would one need surgery.