Cervical Spondylosis – How the Condition is Caused, its Symptoms and How to Fix it
Cervical spondylosis is a condition that affects the discs and joints in the neck. The condition is so common that more than 85% of individuals over the age of 60 are affected. Often referred to as arthritis of the neck, cervical spondylosis is the medical term for age-related wear and tear. Over time, the discs along your spine may dry out and shrink, developing into osteoarthritis which worsens as you age. Fortunately, most individuals do not experience any symptoms at all and if a problem should arise, non-invasive treatments are usually very effective. At Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic, we strive to preserve motion of the spine through nonoperative and surgical treatments include disc replacement for the neck and back.
The Causes of Cervical Spondylosis
While age is the most common cause of cervical spondylosis, it can occasionally be caused by other factors as well. Some possible causes of this condition may include:
- For most people, spinal discs begin drying out and shrinking by the age of 40. As a result, they no longer act as cushions between each vertebra and instead result in more bone-on-bone contact.
- Age has a great impact on the exterior of your spinal discs, where cracks can form over time. This usually leads to herniated discs which can sometimes put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
- When your spine produces more bone growth in a misguided attempt to strengthen the spine, bone spurs are the result. The extra amount of bone can sometimes pinch nerves and the spinal cord.
- Ligaments that connect spinal bones can become stiff with age which causes your neck to lose its flexibility.
The Symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis
If symptoms of cervical spondylosis appear, they can range from mild to severe and may either develop gradually or spontaneously. If you are diagnosed with cervical spondylosis, you may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Pain, tingling and numbness around the shoulder blades, arms and hands.
- Weakness in the arms and hands that makes it difficult to grasp onto objects.
- A stiff neck and frequent headaches that get worse over time.
- Loss of balance and control over your bowel and bladder are rare symptoms but they require immediate medical attention.
Treatment Options for Cervical Spondylosis
Treatments for cervical spondylosis are meant to provide pain relief, minimize the risk of permanent damage and help you continue to live life normally. Most cases respond well to non-surgical methods such as medications and physical therapy. For more serious cases, minimally invasive surgery may be considered. Here are some treatment options that may be able to provide you with long-term relief:
- Over-the-counter pain medications or medications prescribed by your doctor.
- Use an ice pack or heat pad on the affected area.
- A physical therapist can teach you stretching and strengthening exercises for the muscles in your neck.
- Steroid injections may be administered into painful neck joints or in the spaces next to the spinal cord.
- Surgery may not be necessary in most cases but a neurosurgeon can use minimally invasive techniques to relieve the pressure or remove a damaged disc that is causing pain.
If you are suffering from chronic neck pain caused by cervical spondylosis, talk to Dr. Lewis at Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic. If non-surgical methods have not provided adequate relief for your symptoms, we can determine if your condition can be helped with minimally invasive surgery.
Contact us today to learn more about cervical spondylosis or to schedule a consultation with one of our specialists. We’ll find a solution that works for you! Call us at (601) 366-1011.