Sometimes referred to as “arthritis of the neck,” cervical spondylosis is an age related cause of neck pain.
If you answer yes to any of the following questions, then you may have cervical spondylosis.
- Are you over 65?
- Have you played a lot of sports maybe on the collegiate level?
- Have you had a fair amount of physical trauma in your past such as multiple motor vehicle accidents?
What is cervical spondylosis?
Cervical spondylosis is the medical term for wear & tear of your cervical discs and joints. Cervical spondylosis occurs when trauma or age causes the discs to shrink and bone spurs to form and other signs of osteoarthritis to appear.
What are your risk factors for cervical spondylosis?
- Multiple neck injuries
- Jobs that have strenuous physical demands
Cervical spondylosis is very common and worsens with age. There are some suggestions that there is a genetic component to the severity of degeneration that will occur. This means that if someone in your family has serious arthritic symptoms in their neck then you may be more likely to develop more severe cervical spondylosis.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “More than 90 percent of people older than age 65 have evidence of cervical spondylosis and osteoarthritis that can be seen on neck X-rays.”
What causes cervical spondylosis?
There are many causes for cervical spondylosis and all increase in severity with age.
The most common causes of cervical spondylosis are:
- Dehydrated discs
- Herniated discs
- Bone spurs
- Stiff ligaments
If you have more questions about discs and what they do please check out our page on degenerative discs.
What are the symptoms of cervical spondylosis?
If you are experiencing sudden numbness, loss of strength or loss of bladder or bowel control seek emergency medical help as soon as possible.
Often cervical spondylosis produces very few symptoms. When symptoms do occur they are often pain in stiffness located in the area of the neck.
However symptoms can arise from the bone spurs and disc height loss associated with cervical spondylosis. Bone spurs and loss of disc height can narrow the space required by the spinal cord and nerve roots.
If this space is compromised it can cause symptoms that present as:
- Numbness or tingling
- Loss of balance
- Loss of reflexes, decreased sensation and loss of muscle strength along one part of the arm
- Loss of bladder or bowel control.
What are the treatments for cervical spondylosis?
Treatments for cervical spondylosis are geared toward pain relief and motion preservation.
Chiropractic adjustments can help to reduce the loss of motion in cases not presenting with worsening neurological symptoms.
The treatments available for cervical spondylosis are:
- Chiropractic adjustments in cases not presenting with worsening neurological symptoms.
- Range of motion exercises
- Cervical stretches
- Cervical traction
- Pain medication
- Steroid injections
- And in cases of severe neurological symptoms surgery
A word of caution to anyone experiencing cervical spondylosis/arthritis in the neck, cervical traction should only be done under direct supervision of a medical professional! Even at home units leave the potential for serious harm and should only be used under a professional’s guidance. I know the infomercial and online ads look simple but please contact a qualified medical professional to see if this treatment is right for you.
If you are experiencing cervical spondylosis symptoms and wish to discuss your treatments options please schedule your appointment today.