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Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical Spondylosis - What it is

Overview

What is Cervical Spondylosis?

Cervical spine is made up of bones (vertebraes) with cushions (discs) between them. As we grow older, the bones and the discs will degenerate. Bone spurs (osteophytes) may form and spinal canal may narrow (stenosis). These changes are known as cervical spondylosis. 

Cervical Spondylosis - Symptoms

Symptoms

What are the symptoms?

As the spine degenerates, osteophytes formation occurs which intends to fuse the vertebrae together to minimise movement. These osteophytes may cause the unwanted symptoms once it comes into contact with any of the nerve root or the spinal cord. The symptoms vary with each individual.

You may experience:

  • Neck pain
  • Constant deep ache that radiates over the shoulder and down to the arms, hands and fingers numbness or weakness of the arms, hands, fingers or legs
  • Muscles spasm, neck stiffness
  • Headache
  • Neck and arm pain can be caused by compression of nerves travelling from cervical spine to arm

Cervical Spondylosis - How to prevent?

​Prevention

How do I prevent cervical spondylosis?

There is no specific way to prevent this condition. However, some lifestyle modifications may slow the process of the degeneration.

Lifestyle Modifications include:

  • Regular strengthening and flexibility exercises for neck and back muscles
  • Regular aerobic exercises e.g. running, swimming, cycling
  • Postural awareness to maintain good posture
  • Workplace modifications to reduce stress to the back and neck
  • Quit smoking
  • Maintain healthy weight range

Cervical Spondylosis - Causes and Risk Factors

Cervical Spondylosis - Diagnosis

Diagnosis

How is cervical spondylosis diagnosed?

The doctor will perform physical examinations including x-rays. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) studies are also helpful. These imagings may indicate abnormalities and reveal the extent of damage to the cervical spine.

Cervical Spondylosis - Treatments

Treatment

What are the treatment options?

Your symptoms may last for several months to years. If you have mild symptoms, the doctor may recommend some rest, medication and physical therapy. Surgery will be the last option.

Rest

In the acute phase, you may need to wear a cervical collar to limit neck movement and relieve the nerve irritation.

Medication

The doctor may prescribe some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (nSaiDs) or other pain relievers to relieve pain and reduce swelling. Usage of muscle relaxants may be useful.

Physical Therapy

A cervical traction, hot/cold therapy or active exercise programme may help to relieve symptoms. Exercises aim to improve muscle strength and flexibility.

Surgery

It is only necessary if you have severe pain that does not improve with other treatments or when there is progressive neurological symptoms.

Cervical Spondylosis - Preparing for surgery

Cervical Spondylosis - Post-surgery care

Cervical Spondylosis - Other Information

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