American Hospital Blog

Cervical spondylosis

Cervical spondylosis

Cervical spondylosis is the wear and tear of the spinal disks in the neck that happens with age. Around 85 percent of people over age 60 complain of cervical spondylosis, commonly known as neck arthritis.

It is a typical age-related condition wherein the discs and joints in the neck (cervical spine) begin to degenerate gradually. They dehydrate and shrink, indicating signs of osteoarthritis development that worsen as you get older.

Generally, people notice no symptoms from this condition, and when symptoms begin to appear, the patient responds well to nonsurgical procedures.

Understand the symptoms

In most cases, people don’t observe any signs of cervical spondylosis. And if symptoms appear, it includes pain and stiffness in the neck.

Some may experience narrowing of space required by the spinal cord and the nerve roots, which pass through the spine to the rest of your body. Here, when the spinal cord or nerve roots become pinched, the person can experience:

  • Tingling sensations and feel numbness and weakness in the arms, hands, legs, or feet
  • May have lack of coordination and difficulty while walking
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

Consult the doctor

You must see a specialist doctor when you experience sudden numbness or weakness or bladder or bowel control loss.

Know the causes

Age is the main factor that leads to Cervical spondylosis, as the bones and cartilage that form the backbone and neck start to degenerate: This may include the following:
Dehydrated disks: The disks work as the cushions between the vertebrae of your spine. Most people’s spinal disks begin to dry out and shrink since age 40, increasing the bone-on-bone contact between the vertebrae.

  • Herniated disks: The exterior of your spinal disks can experience cracks, leading to bulging (herniated) disks that may press on the spinal cord and nerve roots.
  • Bone spurs: In some cases, the spine may develop extra amounts of bone in a misguided way to strengthen the vertebrae, but these bone spurs, instead, may pinch the spinal cord and nerve roots.
    Stiff ligaments: Spinal ligaments may become stiffen with age, making the neck less flexible. These ligaments are cords of tissue that link bone to bone.

Recognize the risks

  • Age: Ageing is one of the natural causes of cervical spondylosis.
  • Occupation: Some jobs put extra stress on the spine and neck, such as those that require repetitive neck movements, awkward positioning, or a lot of overhead work adding pressure on your neck.
  • Neck injuries: Past injuries in the neck may raise the risk.
  • Genetic factors: Certain individuals may face more risk of developing cervical spondylosis over time in some families due to some genetic conditions compared to others.
    Smoking. Smoking can raise the risk of neck pain.

Associated complexities

In some cases, when the spinal cord or nerve roots are severely compressed due to cervical spondylosis, the damage may become permanent.

Measures for prevention

Although there is no way to prevent age-related deterioration leading to cervical spondylosis, some steps can help avoid stress on the neck caused by a job or other daily activities. These are as follows:

When the job or activity involves more time spent looking overhead, downward, or having to position the head in an awkward posture, you can take multiple short breaks in your day. Practicing proper stretching and strengthening exercises can help; consult a physical therapist for advice. Self-care measures like applying ice or heat to your neck can help ease muscle soreness and pain. Follow the guidance of your healthcare provider.

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