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What is cervical spondylosis ? Causes, symptoms and treatment

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

/ by Admin

What is cervical spondylosis?

Cervical spondylosis is a general term for age-related wear on the cervical spine (neck) that can cause neck pain, stiff neck, and other symptoms. This condition is sometimes called arthritis or osteoarthritis of the neck.

What causes cervical spondylosis?

As you grow older, your spine changes due to decades of normal wear. Starting in middle age, the discs between your vertebrae begin to change. These changes may include:

    Decay: The spinal discs in your neck may erode slowly (eroded). Over time, the discs become thinner and the soft tissue has less elasticity. If you or your parents measure your height a little less than a few years ago, it is normal for your discs to break or set.

    Herniation: Normal aging can tear or rupture part of your spinal disc. This is called a herniated disc. Herniation causes the disc to swell by pressing on nearby tissues or spinal nerves. This stress can cause pain, tingling or numbness.

    Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is a progressive (ongoing) condition that causes cartilage degeneration in your joints (decreases over time). In osteoarthritis, cartilage decays faster than normal aging.

    Bone spurs: When cartilage begins to erode at the vertebral joint of your spine and the bone tissue rubs directly against other bone tissue, abnormal bone growth along the vertebral edge occurs. These growths (called osteophytes or bone spurs) are as common as your age. Often, they do not cause any symptoms.

What are the most common symptoms of cervical spondylosis?

You may have cervical spondylosis and don't even know it. It is common to have no symptoms associated with this condition.

If you experience symptoms, the symptoms usually include:

  •  Neck pain or stiffness. This can be a major symptom. Moving the neck can make the pain worse.
  •  An uncomfortable pain in the neck.
  •  Muscle cramps.
  •  A click, popping or grinding sound when you shake your neck.
  • Dizziness.
  • Headache.

How do healthcare providers diagnose cervical spondylosis?

Your healthcare provider will perform a physical examination to find out the cause of your neck pain or other symptoms.

Your symptoms and their severity indicate how much pressure your cervical spine may be under. During a physical exam, your healthcare provider can examine you:

    Neck flexibility.

    Muscle strength and reflection in your arms, arms or legs.


    Guide (the way you walk).

    Neck and shoulder, looking for trigger points (a small bump or knot in your neck or shoulder muscle that could be the source of your pain and tenderness).

Sometimes, healthcare providers can only diagnose cervical spondylosis through a physical examination. At other times, they may order tests to find out more about the cause of your symptoms. This test may include the following:

    X-rays show your neck bones, their alignment, bone loss and bone spurs (if present). Not all bone changes cause symptoms. Healthcare providers may use X-rays as a starting point. X-rays or other tests can help rule out other causes of your discomfort, such as spinal tumors.

    Computed tomography (CT) scans provide more details than X-rays. This scan can help you better see the spinal canal and bone spurs.

    MRI images show details of soft tissues such as cartilage, nerve roots, muscles, spine and discs. This test can show more clearly the contraction of the spine or herniated disc than X-rays.electromyelography. An MRI can help identify the source and location of the pain.

    Other tests may include a myelogram (type of CT scan) or electromyogram (nerve function test). These tests provide more details on how cervical spondylosis can affect your nerves.

What is the treatment of general cervical spondylosis?

Cervical spondylosis does not always cause symptoms. Without symptoms, you may not need treatment.

When your condition causes symptoms, conservative treatment effectively treats most cases. Your healthcare provider can recommend:

    Physical therapy: Your symptoms can be relieved by specific exercises and stretching. Physical therapy focuses on stretching and strengthening your muscles and improving your posture. You can do this at home or at a clinic with the help of a physical therapist. Your healthcare provider will advise you on how often and how often to practice these exercises based on your specific symptoms and condition.

    Ice, heat and massage can help relieve your symptoms. You will need to conduct your own trial to see if the heat or cold relieves your pain and discomfort. Apply heat or ice, usually no more than 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Massage is another option that can be tried in some patients. Ask your healthcare provider if this is a reasonable alternative to the cause of your specific problem.

    Oral medication: Depending on how much you are in pain, a healthcare provider may prescribe or prescribe over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) or naproxen sodium (Aleve®). Muscle relaxants such as cyclobenzaprine (Amrix®, Fexmid®) can treat muscle cramps. From neurological obstruction to severe arm pain, gabapentin (Neurontin®) may reduce pain.

    Soft collars: Your healthcare provider may advise you to wear a therapeutic collar for a short time. It can limit neck movement and help relax and restore tense muscles. Wearing braces for too long can lead to muscle atrophy (loss). Only use a collar under the direction of a medical professional.

    Injection therapy: Steroids can be injected into the affected area of ​​the spine. Injectable drugs can make your symptoms better in a short time. There are three common steroid injection methods:

        Cervical epidural block: Pain in the neck or arm due to cervical disc herniation can be treated with an injection of a combination of steroids and anesthetics. The injection is made in the epidural space, which is next to the lining of the spine.

        Cervical Facet Joint Block: This steroid plus anesthetic injection is made into small joints in the affected part of the cervical spine.

        Media branch block and radiofrequency ablation: This technique is used in both the diagnosis and treatment of chronic neck pain. If the pain is relieved with an anesthetic injection, the site is marked for treatment. This treatment, called radiofrequency ablation, damages nerves with sound waves that cause joint pain.

In the most severe cases of cervical spondylosis - including cervical myelopathy or cervical radiculopathy - your healthcare provider may consider surgery. Surgery may involve removing bone spurs and assembling the vertebrae or removing a portion of the spine to create more space for the spine.

Spinal surgery is complicated and may involve a lengthy recovery. Your healthcare provider will consider your symptoms, condition and overall health before deciding whether surgery can benefit you.

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