Cervical Spondylosis is a very known condition today. It affects the joints and discs present in your cervical spine, which is located in your neck. Cervical Spondylosis is also commonly known as cervical osteoarthritis or neck arthritis.
It is mainly caused due to wear and tear of cartilage and bones, age is one of the most contributing factors to cervical spondylosis.
This condition is not common for everyone. Some patience does not experience anything while others suffer from severe pain and discomfort.
The bones and defensive cartilage in your neck are prone to wear and tear that can lead to cervical spondylosis. Possible causes of the condition include:
The body’s attempt to generate more bone to strengthen the spine is the cause of these overgrowths of bone.
The spinal cord and other fragile structures may be compressed by the additional bone, causing pain.
Dehydrated Spinal Discs
Your spine’s bones are separated by discs, which operate as thick, pad-like cushions to soften the stress of movements like raising and twisting. These discs’ interior gel-like substance has a tendency to dry out over time. Your bones (spinal vertebrae) will rub against one another more as a result, which may be uncomfortable.
In your 30s, this process may start to take place.
Cracks in spinal discs can occur, allowing the internal cushioning substance to flow out. The spinal cord and nerves may be compressed by this substance, causing symptoms including arm numbness and discomfort that travels down an arm.
Injury And OverUse
The ageing process can be sped up if you’ve suffered a neck injury (from a fall or automobile accident, for example).
Some hobbies or professions require heavy lifting or repetitive motions (such as construction work). This may increase pressure on the spine and hasten wear and tear.
Over time, the tough cords that hold your spinal bones together might stiffen even more, which impairs neck movement and gives the sensation of a tight neck.
Most cervical spondylosis sufferers don’t have any noticeable symptoms. If symptoms do appear, they might range in severity from mild to severe and can appear suddenly or gradually.
One typical symptom is shoulder blade area soreness. Some people express pain in their fingertips and down their arms. The discomfort could get worse while:
- Stretching your neck backwards
Muscle weakness is another typical sign. It is challenging to lift the arms or securely grasp objects when one’s muscles are weak.
Other typical symptoms include:
Stiff necks that get worse
Headaches that largely impact the back of the head, although they can also affect the legs, tingling or numbness that primarily affects the shoulders and arms.
Other less frequent symptoms are:
- Loss of Balance
- Loss of Bladder and Bowel Control
Risk factors for Cervical Spondylosis
Ageing is the biggest risk factor for cervical spondylosis. In many cases, aging-related alterations to your neck joints lead to cervical spondylosis. Age is the biggest factor in disc herniation, dehydration, and bone spurs.
Your risk of cervical spondylosis can be increased by factors besides ageing. These consist of:
Injuries on Neck and Back
Physical activities like weight lifting that put extra strain
Retaining an unpleasant neck position for an extended period of time
Being overweight and obese
Diagnosis And Testing
When cervical spondylosis is suspected, other possible diagnoses, such as fibromyalgia, must be ruled out. Testing for movement and identifying the nerves, bones, and muscles that are impacted are additional diagnostic steps.
Your doctor might recommend further testing from an orthopaedic expert, neurologist, or neurosurgeon in addition to treating your condition.
Various steps of diagnosing the condition include:
- Physical Exam
- Various Imaging Tests such as CT Scan, X-Ray and MRI.
Treating Cervical Spondylosis
The goals of cervical spondylosis treatments include relieving discomfort, reducing the chance of long-term damage, and restoring your ability to function normally. Nonsurgical procedures are frequently highly successful.
Your doctor could recommend that you receive treatment from a physical therapist. Your neck and shoulder muscles can be stretched with the use of physical therapy. This strengthens them and ultimately aids in pain relief.
If the physical therapies don’t work efficiently your doctor can prescribe you various medications like painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants and other steroid injections.
If your condition is severe and doesn’t respond to other forms of treatment, you might need surgery. A bone spur, part of the neck bone, or a herniated disc can be removed to give more space to the spinal cord and nerves.
Surgery is rarely necessary for cervical spondylosis. However, a doctor may recommend it if the pain is severe and it’s affecting your ability to move your arms.
- Take an Over The Counter(OTC) medication to relieve the pain.
- Use a heating pad or cold ice pack.
- Increasing physical activity will help you recover fast.
- To get temporary relief, put on a soft collar or neck brace. Wearing a collar or neck brace for an extended period of time, however, is not advised as it may weaken your muscles.
Common and frequently age-related, cervical spondylosis can result in stiffness, discomfort, and headaches associated with neck pain.
Although your doctor might not be able to reverse the illness, they can frequently suggest conservative therapy to help you manage your pain and discomfort.