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What Is Cervical Spondylosis C5 C6?

What Is Cervical Spondylosis C5 C6?

The C5-C6 vertebrae, as well as intervertebral disc spondylosis (degeneration), develop at a greater rate relative to other cervical vertebrae. Spondylosis typically results in bone overgrowth (osteophytes), which ultimately leads to stenosis or shrinking of the spinal canal. Section C5-C6 of the spinal motion contains the relevant frameworks: (1)(2)

C5 And C6 Vertebrae: These vertebrates each consist of one vertebral body, one vertebral spine, and two transverse processes.

C5-C6 Intervertebral Disc: A disk composed of gel-like material enclosed by a dense fibrous ring lies within the C5 and C6 vertebral bodies.

C6 Spinal Nerve: The C6 spinal nerve leaves the spinal cord around C5-C6 through a narrow, bony gap on both the left and right ends of the spinal canal labeled as the intervertebral foramen.

Spondylosis is a degenerative disease affecting the spine. As you age, cartilage and bones can suffer from excessive wear. These age-related changes in the spine vary from person to person and generally do not cause major problems.

Spondylosis, A Disease Mainly Affecting Seniors

When spondylosis causes symptoms, these are usually occasional pain and stiffness. Spondylosis in the neck is called cervical osteoarthritis. It can also be seen in other segments of the spine, such as the lumbar region or the lower back.

You are more likely to be affected by spondylosis as you age. However, spondylosis can also affect around 10% of people as young as 25 years old. But in 95% of cases, it does not occur until 65 years of age.

Almost all people over the age of 70 are likely to show some x-ray spondylosis and the researchers confirmed that wear and tear affect almost everyone.

Another term for spondylosis is spinal osteoarthritis. It is a type of arthritis caused by wear and tear that can affect all joints of the body.(3)

Causes Of Spondylosis

The spine is the backbone from the base of the head to the tailbone. This part of the skeleton gives structure to the body and supports most of its weight. It transports and protects almost all of the main nerve branches that also go to the brain.

The spine has the shape of an elegant curve. It consists of vertebrae which are joined together to allow the column to move flexibly. The bones of the vertebrae are separated by rubbery tissue. These cartilage surfaces and the discs between the vertebrae form a cushion against the impact on the bones. As the body ages, the discs gradually lose some of their cushioning capacity.

The joint between the vertebrae is formed by articular facets. These joints generally decompose with age due to the wear of their cartilage surfaces.

The body can respond to spondylosis. Bone growth can occur, triggered by direct contact between the vertebrae which rub against each other. Spondylosis can then lead to bony growths called spurs.

The loss of rubbery tissue and the formation of spurs make the spine more rigid. The back movements also become less gentle and there is more friction between the bones of the spine.

For some people, symptoms worse and general stiffness may also result from these changes in the spine. Spondylosis can lead to a narrowing of the canal that carries nerves from the spinal cord. Doctors call this symptom spinal stenosis. Changes in the bones of the spine can also cause friction against the spinal nerves, leading to other problems. The causes are known: overweight/obesity, inactivity/sedentary lifestyle, spinal injury, smoking, certain jobs involving repetitive actions or heavy loads, anxiety, or depression.

Treatments For Spondylosis

Most cases of spondylosis do not require treatment as they only cause mild occasional problems. Pain relievers may be used in the event of pain and ibuprofen. To effectively fight against spondylosis, it is recommended to stay physically active. The exercise will effectively loosen the joints and strengthen the muscles that support the spine during aging.

However, if the pain is bothersome, rest is recommended and higher doses of pain relievers, or even codeine, will usually be prescribed. For severe pain, it is possible to take steroids in tablets or to give injections intended to relieve the pain for a certain time by reducing the inflammation.

It is also possible to be prescribed muscle relaxants in case of muscle spasms, topical creams, or drugs for nerve pain.

Surgery is always the last option after other treatments have failed. It is limited only to the most severe cases, due to the prolonged pain and intensity. However, most people with spondylosis do not require surgery.(2)(4)


  1. Qayyum S, Waqas S, Asim HM. Outcomes of mechanical traction and manual therapy in C5-C6 cervical spondylosis for radicular pain relief. Manual therapy. 2017;25(6.2800):2.20832.
  2. Robinson J, Kothari MJ. Treatment and prognosis of cervical radiculopathy. UpToDate, Waltham, MA.(Accessed on August 21, 2019.). 2017.
  3. Binder AI. Cervical spondylosis and neck pain. Bmj. 2007;334(7592):527-531.
  4. Luo M. Arthritis Relief and Remedy Method. Google Patents; 2018.

Also Read:

Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 14, 2020

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