View Full Version : aikido and spondylosis

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reyne caritativo
04-09-2006, 04:54 AM
hi everybody! i was diagnosed last month by my doctor that i have spondylosis. this is a degenerative disease that affects your cervical spine and if you got it worse will affect your bicep and deltoids. anyways, i just want to know from any of our doctor aikidokas if it is safe for me to practice aikido. i can still lift a bokken and i can still do any techniques but the problem is my neck becomes stiff and it really bothers me during my work at the office, that is working in front of the computer. can any of you guys help me solve this delibitating disease that i have right now. western medicine has no solution for my problem,but will alternative medicine help? thanks in advance for your help and comments. domo arrigato!

04-09-2006, 06:47 AM
Spondylosis is calcium or spur build up on the vertebra bodies (usually anterior). It can be problematic or symptom free depending on severity. Of more concern, is the fact it is usually accompanied by degenerative disc disease-loss of the disc space height which can compromise the nerve and sometimes cause spinal canal stenosis (narrowing). Depending on the severity, it might require surgery.

Conservative treatment would involve:
1. Stretching, exercise and massage. If severe, water aerobics, tai chi are good non joint stress exercises.
2. Nutrition: I have patients use glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate and sometimes MSM, with Boswellic acids and fish oils. I have seen this combination work as well as Bextra with elderly patients and without the heart side effects. Glucosamine is contraindicated if diabetic (affects insulin) or on blood thinning medications without doctors approval, or if you are allergic to shellfish.
3. Stop smoking if you do and get off junk food and red meat. High glycemic index foods and red meat are pro-inflammatory. In addition to the heart benefits, you are better off eating cold water fish (salmon, mackerel, trout, cod, herring) and other omega 3 fatty acid sources of EPA/DHA or ALA or take supplements (possible mercury risk eating too much fish). It is also a good idea to eliminate carbonated drinks-sodas, colas (diet and regular). Also, if on blood thinners and using fish oils you should check with your medical doctor.

A lot depends on the severity of your condition, age, etc. The above are what I use to treat my patients naturally and are not intended to be recommendations for your situation. Always check with your doctor before embarking on any self treatment program. The legal disclaimer.

reyne caritativo
04-09-2006, 07:14 AM
thanks for the info sir, but is it safe for me to practice aikido? my x-ray showed that i have arthritis gowth between my c5 and c6. i'm in my early forties right now and my problem right now regarding this disease is i cannot control my neck. i can't keep it in a steady position. i don't feel any pain right now but i'm worried that sooner or later i will. i'm taking glucosamine/chondroitin tablets and i hope this will make my situation stable. is homeopathy good for me?

04-09-2006, 07:15 AM
sorry to hear about your condition.

the above advice seems very good though over my head as i am not a doctor.

though i would suggest looking for a way to avoid neck strain at work. how heavy is the style of aiki that you do? as much of it isabout relaxation etc. maybe there is hope?

reyne caritativo
04-09-2006, 07:41 AM
hi there deb, our training in our dojo is moderate to hard, depending on your uke, we do lots of hardfalls and as uke we usually resist the technique so that our nage will learn what's wrong with his/her technique.lately we've been doing lots of koshinage and endurance training for preparation for our exam. i was planning to take my nidan exam this year but i think that would be a very wrong desicion. hope i can still do soft to moderate aikido at my present situation. last practice in had was two to three weeks ago. it was a very good practice but after that my neck got stiffed and i had a hard time controlling it. but i didn't feel any pain in my neck or back.

04-09-2006, 06:33 PM
I'm not sure what you mean by a hard time controlling your neck. However, maybe it is not spondylosis or arthritis causing your problem. C5-C6 is the most common level to have degeneration.

Dirk Hanss
04-10-2006, 02:16 AM
Hi Reyne,
I am no doctor, so it is no medical advice, just my personal experience (with my arthrosis /displaced hip and our dog's spondilosys):

From the readings, I would say you should take care about your workplace rather than aikido. Computer work is very unhealthy. So make sure, that you are seated relaxed, but active - not sloppy, especially your neck area. Probably you can lift the monitors to look straight ahaed to them. I guess you will find good advice.

Without aikido it might probably get even worth, so my advice is not to stop practicing aikido, but learn to make it softer. Maybe you really should postpone your nidan test, until you found a healthier way to do techniques or to take ukemi.
Focus on soft breakfalls, resistance by ki (intelligent power), not brute physical force, and the same for your techniques. Improve your sensitivity for uke's power flow and lead it relaxed.

That is easy to say, I am not able to do it at all ;)

Only if you do not have a chance to do softer - nevertheless effective - aikido at your dojo or another one, I would suggest to switch to tai chi or healthy gymnastics to keep and improve your vitality and flexibility, without harming.

Just my 2 (+2) cts

All the best


reyne caritativo
04-14-2006, 11:54 PM
hi again! thanks for the advise guys. maybe you are right Dirk, i should not stop practicing aikido and should do it softer. ;) i should avoid heavy training and do soft breakfalls instead. anyways, my first doctor advised me not to stop doing aikido and do all the normal things that i do, but this spondylosis got me thinking that i might end up paralyzed and that worries me. c5 is a very sensitive part of our skeletal system, right? and i guess this is a very serious matter. so i seeked for a second opinion and my second doctor advised me not to do any high impact sports for a while and have a six session with a physical therapist. i was treated with ultrasound gel, neck traction, electric massage with hot compress, shoulder massages and lots of neck stretching, but still my neck didn't improve. i still can't hold it in a neutral position. i had another appointment with the second doctor and was advised that maybe i have muscular spasms around my neck, that's why i can't hold it in a steady or neutral position. and maybe you're right doc, this neck problem of mine is not caused by my spondylosis. the second doctor also found my case weird. i suspect that maybe it's the nerves in my neck is the cause of my neck problem. am i right?

Amelia Smith
04-15-2006, 05:37 AM
The neck problem does sound very weird and annoying. Have you seen a chiropractor? Of course, you have to find a good one. If it's a neck-nerve-muscle problem, going to a chiropractor followed by a good massage of the area (to loosen the muscles) might help. Just a thought. Good luck with it.