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Can Stress / Anxiety Cause Cervical Spondylosis & Does Heavy Lifting Cause It?

Cervical spondylosis is a common problem that affects more than 85 percent of the adults who are over 60 years old. (1)

Cervical spondylosis generally does not cause disability. In some cases, these changes within the spine can lead to the spine to become compressed. This will cause your legs or hands to feel clumsy. (2)

Cervical spondylosis is a chronic condition occurring due to degenerative processes in the vertebral column. It can affect both the vertebrae as well as intervertebral discs of the spinal column. It can comprise of the destruction of the intervertebral disc, fracture of the vertebrae or its any part, spur formation, collapse of the vertebrae, etc.

Can Stress / Anxiety Cause Cervical Spondylosis?

There can be many reasons responsible for causing the condition of cervical spondylosis. Anxiety and stress are mental traits and signifies a psychological problem. Although many psychological illnesses have been known for causing a physical symptom it is contradictory in this condition. Stress is not known to cause cervical spondylosis but rather the opposite is true.

According to a study conducted in the US, it has been found that cervical spondylosis causes a variety of symptoms like loss of sensation, motor disability, neck pain, etc. which may make the patient feel regressed and he is unable to perform various tasks. This may lead to the generation of lots of stress and anxiety which can further worsen the symptoms of cervical spondylosis in later stages (3).

It has been also found that nearly one-third of the patient suffering from cervical spondylosis is known to have some kind of stress in their life after the condition has started. So, the factors of stress/ anxiety have been secondarily related to cervical spondylosis after the condition has first caused stress in the patient but vice versa is not true.

Since a variety of modifiable and non-modifiable factors are responsible for causing cervical spondylosis, there has been widespread research going on in this field. In the modifiable factors, it has been found that excess weightlifting for a prolonged period can be one of the factors in causing the condition.

Does Heavy Lifting Cause Cervical Spondylosis?

Heavy weight lifting produces a lot of pulling force at the arms which get transferred to shoulders and the cervical spine. When the person begins pulling there is a lot of tractional force applied and it may lead to the formation of spurs in the long term. Also, according to the study, the persons who had lifted a lot of weight on their back and head are more liable for getting the cervical spondylosis as compared to the persons who did not work in such conditions. Also, the symptoms of cervical spondylosis appeared earlier in such patients (4).

Another mechanism of weight by which it can cause the condition is a repetitive activity. The greater number of times weight is put upon the head and back on the ground is also proportional to the production of symptoms of cervical spondylosis. Repetitive activity is known to be responsible for the production of symptoms at a very early stage. Such cases can be seen in the gym going individuals and heavy weight lifters without appropriate technique.


Since cervical spondylosis is a degenerative condition associated with the main factor of aging which is a non-modifiable factor, it progressed very slowly and presents usually after the age of 50- 55 years. It is known to cause a lot of symptoms and stress/anxiety is one of them which can occur secondarily due to loss of various abilities such as sensory and motor deficits, bladder/bowel incontinence, etc.

In the various risk factors listed for the cervical spondylosis, heavy weight lifting, and repetitive activities forcing the cervical spine movements are very much responsible for it. Inappropriate neck holding positions and usage of high pillows can worsen the condition and lead to the development of the symptoms at an early age.

The patient should go to the doctor for consult when symptoms arise and act upon the advice given to him for preventing further deterioration of the condition.


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:June 8, 2020

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