What is Cervical Spondylosis?

October 26, 2022

What is Cervical Spondylosis?
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Cervical spondylosis is the normal deterioration of your neck’s cartilage, discs, ligaments, and bones. The most common symptoms are neck discomfort or stiffness. Physical therapy, cold and heat massage, and medicines are the first treatments to be explored. Injections or surgery treat challenging situations, such as herniated discs, bone spurs, or pinched nerves.

Cervical spondylosis is a word used to describe age-related wear and tear in the cervical spine (neck), which can cause neck discomfort, stiffness, and other symptoms. This ailment is also known as neck arthritis or osteoarthritis.

How common is cervical spondylosis?

Spinal changes are considered a specific aspect of ageing. This deterioration of the spine most commonly begins in your 30s. However, by age 60, nearly nine out of ten persons develop cervical spondylosis.

Who is at risk of cervical spondylosis?

The risk of cervical spondylosis increases with age. Aside from age, you are more likely to have neck discomfort or other symptoms of cervical spondylosis if you:

  • Smoke cigarettes or used to.
  • Have one or more family members with this condition.
  • Strain your neck often for your job, like looking overhead or downward for many hours every day or keeping your head in an improper position for long periods.
  • Have a previous neck injury.
  • Do heavy lifting like construction workers.
  • Are exposed to a lot of vibration, like bus or truck drivers.

Causes of Cervical Spondylosis

Your spine changes due to decades of regular wear and tear. The discs between your vertebrae begin to deteriorate in middle age. These modifications may include the following:

  • Degeneration:The spinal discs in your neck may gradually deteriorate (degenerate). The discs narrow out with time, and the soft tissue loses flexibility. If you or your parents are a little lower in height than you were years ago, this is due to natural disc collapse or settling.
  • Herniation:Normal ageing might result in a portion of your spinal disc tearing or cracking. This is known as a herniated disc. Because of herniation, the disc might expand, pushing on surrounding tissues or a spinal nerve. Pain, tingling, and numbness may result.
  • Osteoarthritis:It is a chronic condition in which the cartilage in your joints degenerates. Cartilage degenerates more quicker in osteoarthritis than in normal ageing.
  • Bone spurs:When the cartilage in your spine’s vertebral joints degenerates and bone tissue scraps directly against the other bone tissue, impaired bone growths form along the borders of the vertebrae. These growths are frequent as you become older. They frequently have no symptoms.

Symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis

You may have cervical spondylosis and be unaware of it. However, it is typical to experience no symptoms of this illness.

If you do encounter symptoms, they are likely to include the following:

  • Neck pain or stiffness.
  • A nagging soreness in the neck.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • A clicking, popping or grinding sound when you move your neck.
  • Dizziness.
  • Headaches.

What is cervical myelopathy?

As your vertebral discs deteriorate over time, your spinal cord may experience increasing pressure as the canal narrows due to arthritis and disc protrusions. This compression might aggravate neck discomfort and other symptoms. This is known as cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM).

If you have CSM, you will experience the symptoms of cervical spondylosis as well as the following additional symptoms:

  • Weakness, tingling or numbness in one or both arms or legs.
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control.
  • Trouble walking (feeling unsteady on your feet).
  • Loss of function in hands, like having problems writing.

CSM-related symptoms may gradually worsen over time. However, if your symptoms persist or substantially impact your life, your doctor may send you to a spine surgeon specialising in treating this illness.

Diagnosis for Cervical Spondylosis

Your doctor will perform a physical exam to determine the source of your neck discomfort or other symptoms. Your signs and severity indicate the strain on your cervical spine. In addition, your healthcare professional may perform the following tests during a physical exam:

  • Neck flexibility.
  • Muscle strength and reflexes in your hands, arms or legs.
  • Reflexes.
  • Gait (how you walk).
  • Neck and shoulder, looking for trigger points.

Cervical spondylosis can sometimes be diagnosed with merely a physical exam. They may also prescribe tests to discover more about what is causing your symptoms. These examinations may involve the following:

  • X Rays
  • Computer Tomography (CT) scans
  • MRI Images
  • Myelogram or Electromyogram tests

Treatment for Cervical Spondylosis

Symptoms do not usually accompany cervical spondylosis. Therefore, you may not require therapy if you do not have any symptoms. When your illness does create signs, most instances may be adequately treated with conservative treatment. Your doctor may advise you to do the following:

  • Physical therapy:Specific workouts and stretches may help to alleviate your problems. Physical therapy concentrates on stretching and toning muscles and improving posture. These stretches may be done at home or with the help of a physical therapist at a clinic. Based on your specific symptoms and condition, your healthcare professional will advise you on how long and frequently you should perform these exercises.
  • Ice, heat and massage:may help alleviate your symptoms. You’ll have to experiment to find if heat or cold relieves your pain and suffering better. Heat or ice should be applied for not more than 20 minutes at a time, multiple times each day. Massage is another alternative that some patients may try. Inquire with your healthcare provider if this is a viable solution for your unique situation.
  • Soft collar or brace: Your doctor may advise you to use a remedial collar for a short period. This can assist stressed muscles in rest and recovery by limiting neck mobility. However, wearing a brace for an extended period might result in muscular atrophy. Therefore, use a collar only under the supervision of a medical practitioner.

Your healthcare experts may recommend surgery for the most severe cervical spondylosis, such as cervical myelopathy or radiculopathy. Surgical procedures may include removing bone spurs and fusing the vertebrae or making extra room for the spinal cord by removing a section of the vertebrae.

Spine surgery is complicated, and the recovery period can be extensive. Therefore, before evaluating if surgery may help you, your healthcare professional will assess your symptoms, condition, and general health.

What are the parts of the cervical spine?

There are 24 vertebrae in your spine (bones of the spine). The cervical spine comprises seven vertebrae that start at the base of the head and work their way up. The spinal cord and its nerves undergo an aperture in the vertebral column. The spinal cord and nerves transmit information from the brain to the rest of the body, including muscles and organs. There are discs between each vertebra. The discs function as shock absorbers for the body. The discs are constructed of flexible yet robust connective tissue filled with a gel-like substance. Between each vertebra, discs are like “jelly-filled, comfy doughnuts.”

Each pair of vertebrae has three joints between them. The front joint is referred to as the intervertebral disc. Facet joints are two joints in the rear of the spine. Cartilage, which softens the ends of bones, is found within every joint. Ligaments are soft tissue bands that link the vertebrae. Spondylosis is the normal deterioration of these vertebrae. Cartilage degrades with time, discs lose volume and become dry and cracked, ligaments stiffen, and bone spurs grow as bones push against one other in regions where cartilage is no longer present. Spondylosis refers to all of these alterations.

When to See a Neuro Specialist?

Seek medical treatment if you have abrupt numbness or weakness or lose bladder or bowel control. Consult our Neuro specialists for any emergency.

People also ask

1. What causes cervical spondylosis?

Your spine changes as you age, owing to decades of regular wear and tear. As a result, the discs between your vertebrae begin to deteriorate in middle age. These modifications may include the following:

  • Degeneration
  • Herniation
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Bone spurs

2. How do you treat cervical spondylosis?

Symptoms do not usually accompany cervical spondylosis. You may not require therapy if you do not have any symptoms. When your illness does create signs, most instances may be adequately treated with conservative treatment. Your doctor may advise you to do the following:

  • Physical therapy
  • Ice, heat and massage
  • Oral medications
  • Soft collar or brace

3. Is cervical spondylosis serious?

Most instances of cervical spondylosis have a favourable prognosis. Most representatives respond well to therapy within a few weeks. Symptoms may return later. In one case, a person will have long-term (chronic) neck discomfort.

4. What triggers cervical spondylosis?

Cervical spondylosis is a frequent feature of ageing. Jobs requiring repetitive neck motions, uncomfortable placement, or a lot of overhead workplace additional strain on the neck. Injuries to the neck.

Disclaimer: We recommend consulting a Doctor before taking any action based on the above shared information.



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