Cervical spondylosis can be regarded as a degenerative disorder with abnormal wear of the fibers of the neck (cervical vertebrae – part of the spinal cord near the neck). It is the most common cause of chronic neck pain (chronic). Middle-aged people and women are the most likely patients of this disorder.(1)
How Common Is Cervical Spondylosis Or Is It A Rare Disease?
Cervical spondylosis is very common, but its condition worsens with age. About 85% of individuals with age more than 60 years are affected by it. Most people do not have any symptoms of this problem. When symptoms occur, nonsurgical treatments are often effective.
How Does Cervical Spondylosis Occur?
A sedentary lifestyle, with little or no exercise for the neck, causes cervical spondylosis when sustained for a long time. Other reasons include being overweight and having diabetes for a long time.
When individual ages, your bones, as well as cartilage making up your spine and neck structure, deteriorate. These reasons may include the following changes:
Disk Dehydration – Spinal discs act as cushioning agents between the spine discs or bones. The spinal discs of most people begin to dry up and shrink while reaching 40 years of age, causing more bone-to-bone contact that should not occur.
Herniated Disc – Old age influences the outer parts of the bone in your spine. This often leads to cracks appearing, leading to embossed (herniated) discs – which allow leakage of internal fluids acting as a cushioning agent. This leaked fluid might cause additional pressure on the nerves and bones of your spinal cord.
Bone Spurs Or Bone Overgrowth – Disk Decomposition often produces excess bone in an attempt to fortify the spinal cord. However, excess bone can create pressure on delicate areas of the spine, such as the spine and nerves, resulting in pain.
Stiffness In The Ligament – These are tissues, which help in connecting one bone to another. Spinal ligaments can stiffen as you get old age, making your neck flexibility less.(2)
Common Symptoms Of Cervical Spondylosis?
For most people, there is no symptom of spondylosis. When symptoms occur, they usually include neck pain and stiffness. Symptoms are most severe at the end of the day and again in the morning. Some of the common symptoms are:
- Headache (rear of the neck region)
- Not able to rotate or bend your head or neck, often causing trouble in driving.
- Lack of coordination and difficulty walking
- Loss of control of your bladder and bowel
- Muscle spasms
- Neck stiffness and pain
- Swelling or sweating on the neck
- Weakness, numbness, tingling in arms, hands, feet, or legs.(3)
What Are The Common Diagnostic Processes For Cervical Spondylosis?
Diagnosis of this disorder involves turning the neck and examining the remaining affected muscles, discs, nerves, and different bones. Your physician might treat the disease or suggest an orthopedic doctor, neurosurgeon, neurology specialist, or more diagnostic testing (specific).(1)
What Are The Common Treatment Protocols For Cervical Spondylosis?
For recovery, your physician can send you to a physiotherapist. Physiotherapy allows muscle stretch stretching in the shoulder and neck area. The exercises allow the muscles to become more flexible and stronger, thus relieving pain. You might get a stiff neck too. Often the physiotherapist uses certain weights to expand the gap between the compressed joints of the cervical spinal cord, thus help to relieve pressure on the associated nerve roots and cervical discs.
In case the over-the-counter medications do not work, your doctor may prescribe some medicines.
If these treatments fail to relieve you from pain or if your neurological symptoms start getting worse – such as weakness in your arms or legs, you may need surgery to make more room for your spinal cord as well as nerve roots.(4)
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Cervical Spondylosis?
Cervical spondylosis cannot be cured, but with proper therapy and care, we can stop the disease from growing and avoid problems. Neck pain goes away in 3-4 weeks with proper home therapy. Where symptoms are prolonged (4–12 weeks), an exercise practitioner should be contacted to formulate a medical plan for various channels. It may take a few months to recover from this condition.(5)
How Can You Avoid Cervical Spondylosis?
You can prevent cervical spondylosis by living an active lifestyle as well as by taking a healthy diet and adopting neck exercises. Do not let you gain weight at any stage of life.
- Metzger RL. Evidence-based diagnosis and treatment of cervical spine disorders. The Nurse Practitioner. 2019;44(8):30-37.
- Robinson J, Kothari MJ. Treatment and prognosis of cervical radiculopathy. UpToDate, Waltham, MA.(Accessed on August 21, 2019.). 2017.
- Ahmed SB, Qamar A, Imran M, Usmani A, Mehar Y, ul Haque S. Cervical Spondylosis; An Inevitable But Preventable Catastrophe. 2019.
- Bai J, Yu K, Sun Y, Kong L, Shen Y. Prevalence of and risk factors for Modic change in patients with symptomatic cervical spondylosis: an observational study. Journal of pain research. 2018;11:355.
- Karadimas S. Mechanistic Insights and Neuroprotective Approaches to Enhance Recovery in Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy, University of Toronto (Canada); 2018.
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