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Cervical Spondylosis

What is Cervical Spondylosis?

Cervical spondylosis is a disorder caused by abnormal wear on the cartilage and bones of the neck with degeneration and mineral deposits in the cushions between the vertebrae. The bones of the neck are called cervical vertebrae. The cushions between the vertebrae are called cervical disks.

The abnormal wear on the cartilage and bones of the neck can gradually compress one or more of the nerve roots. When nerve roots are compressed, pain in the neck and arm, weakness, and changes in sensation will occur. In advanced cases of cervical spondylosis, the spinal cord maybe become compressed. If the spinal cord becomes compressed, the pain, weakness and changes in sensation will also occur in the legs.

Cervical spondylosis is also called cervical osteoarthritis.

What Causes Cervical Spondylosis?   

Cervical spondylosis is caused by chronic degeneration of the cervical spine, the cushions between the neck vertebrae, and joints between the bones of the cervical spine. A previous neck injury can predispose to a person to cervical spondylosis.

What are the Symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis?

The most common symptoms of cervical spondylosis are:    

  • neck pain (may radiate to the arms or shoulder)
  • loss of sensation or abnormal sensations of the shoulders, arms
  • weakness of the arms
  • neck stiffness that progressively worsens
  • loss of balance
  • headaches
  • loss of control of the bladder or bowels

Can Cervical Spondylosis be Treated?  

Yes. However, in mild cases, no treatment is required. When treatment is required, it is aimed at relieving pain and preventing permanent spinal cord and nerve root injury. Treatments include neck brace, anti-inflammatory medication, neck traction, bed rest, and cortisone injections. In some cases, surgery is necessary to remove bone and disc tissue.

Complications of Cervical Spondylosis

Some common complications of cervical spondylosis are:

  • chronic neck pain
  • progressive loss of muscle function or feeling
  • inability to retain feces
  • urinary incontinence

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