Who Is At Risk For Cervical Spondylosis & Is There A Blood Test For It?

Cervical spondylosis severely affects the quality of life because of its progressive nature. It has become a common disorder after the fourth decade and is typically identified by the wear and tear affecting the spinal disk in the nerve.

In general, the soft discs between the cartilages and joints provide cushions to make easy and flexible movements. However, with this condition, the discs become compressed and the ligaments of your spine become swollen and inflamed due to aging. As a result, it becomes more rigid and movements become painful and difficult.

Who Is At Risk For Cervical Spondylosis?

As you age, the bones and cartilage that make up your backbone and neck gradually age and its functionalities start declining. Nearly 50% of the population who are over 50 years and 75% of the population who are 65 years and above most likely develop this condition. Cervical spondylosis, in other words, called an aging disease.

Many people don’t show symptoms and they are not even aware that these changes are happening in your neck. But you may feel weak or clumsy when the condition progresses step by step as your nerve roots attached to the spine starts to compress.1

In addition to age, several other risk factors cause this condition:

Occupation- Occupation is one of the primary risk factors for having a cervical disorder. A study shows 9 out of 10 adults have some degree of cervical spondylosis and in fact, it is turning out to be the highest factor of morbidity and persistent stabbing pain. Computer programmers and IT operators are at an increased risk of cervical diseases.

Injuries – Records of neck injuries increase the risk of cervical spondylosis. When you give repeated motions or overuse your neck after the injury, it often enhances the stress on your neck bones and can eventually result in neck pain and stiffness.

Genetic Factors- Cervical spondylosis is often associated with mechanical stress, biochemical sources, and genetic factors. Many studies strongly support that genetic condition can contribute to this disorder however it has never been proven.

Smoking Habits- Cigarette smoking can cause chronic pain to neck and experts have linked smoking to degenerative disc disorder. For instance, smoking can trigger severe neck and back pain and result in the deterioration of the discs.2

Is There A Blood Test For Cervical Spondylosis?

When you experience pain in the neck and spine region, your health care provider suggests a physical exam to check for symptoms and to rule out other conditions. Symptoms are usually dependent on the pressure on the spine.

Physical exam typically diagnoses for the

  • Range of motion in your neck
  • Observe your posture and symptoms including neck, shoulder and arm pain
  • Your doctor will notice for bend and orientation and test for spasms.3

The doctor may perform several tests to identify problems in touch sensation, reflexes, and blood flow. There is no specific blood test to determine the condition however imaging tests are often recommended to get detailed information about the diagnosis and treatment of cervical spondylosis.

Imaging tests include

  • Neck x-ray to determine abnormalities such as bone spurs, a typical symptom of cervical spondylosis and to rule out life-threatening conditions such as tumors and cancers
  • CT scan to find breaks in the cervical spine and also help diagnose a narrowing of the spinal canal.
  • Myelographic evaluation for dynamic findings.4

References:

  1. Singh, Sudhir, et al. “Risk Factors in Cervical Spondylosis.” Journal of Clinical Orthopaedics and Trauma, Elsevier, Dec. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4264061/  
  2. “Cervical Spondylosis.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 16 June 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cervical-spondylosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20370787              
  3. “What Are the Risk Factors for Cervical Spondylosis?” Latest Medical News, Clinical Trials, Guidelines – Today on Medscape, 9 Nov. 2019, www.medscape.com/answers/1144952-103967/what-are-the-risk-factors-for-cervical-spondylosis       
  4. “Cervical Spondylosis.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 16 June 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cervical-spondylosis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20370792

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