A common age-related condition, cervical spondylosis is caused due to deterioration of the vertebrae, discs, and ligaments in the neck or the cervical spine. It is also referred to as the arthritis of the neck and most often causes stiffness and pain in the neck. Although many people with problem experience no noticeable cervical spondylosis symptoms.
Here are a few quick facts on cervical spondylosis that you must know:
- Nearly 85% of the people over the age of 60 years live with cervical spondylosis but not all of them may suffer from any form of pain
- A range of physiotherapy and neck stretching exercises can help control the condition and prevent any further damage to the neck and spine
- Men generally develop cervical spondylosis before women
- A degenerative process, it occurs due to constant wear and tear of bones and cartilage found in the cervical spine. But there is no evidence to support it cannot happen to those younger in age (people in 20s and 30s)
Cervical spondylosis causes:
Among the most commonly known reasons for cervical spondylosis are disc degeneration and bone spurs. As the disc in the spine age, they begin to lose height, dry out, weaken and bulge. As a result, they often lose the disc space and collapse. If the cartilage wears away completely, it increases the risk of increased pressure on the joints and developing painful symptoms of cervical spondylosis, which have been explained in detail in the section given below.
Cervical spondylosis symptoms:
Most people experience no to very mild cervical spondylosis symptoms. But when cervical spondylosis symptoms do occur they include extreme stiffness and pain in the neck while moving the neck in any direction or by indulging in activities that require holding the neck in one position for long, such and driving, reading or working on the computer/laptop. Other known cervical spondylosis symptoms include:
- Grinding or popping sound while turning the neck in any direction
- Lack of coordination & trouble while walking
- Loss of balance or weakness in legs & hands
- Muscle spasms in the neck and shoulders
- Inability to turn the head or bend the neck
With adequate rest, the cervical spondylosis symptoms can easily be managed. However, it must be noted that the cervical spondylosis symptoms are most severe in the morning and at the end of the day. So, take adequate precautions.
Other types of cervical spondylosis:
- Myelopathy: A form of cervical stenosis in which one may experience too much pressure on their spinal cord. Its symptoms include tingling or numbness in the arms and legs, abnormal reflexes, muscle spasms, and loss of control over bladder and bowel movement.
- Cervical radiculopathy: It occurs when bone spurs press on the nerves as they exit the bones of the spinal column. One may experience pain shooting down in one or both the arms as a result of it.
While it’s easy to gather information on cervical pain symptoms and treatments nowadays, one must keep in mind that no two cases are the same. The symptoms in each patient may differ and so the treatment options must be chosen in accordance to the need and not on popularity.
What is the most common cervical spondylosis treatment?
Here’s how you can carefully manage the condition in order to stay healthy and pain-free.
- Nonsurgical treatments:
In most cases, cervical spondylosis treatments are conservative and include:
- Medicines: Use of anti-inflammatory drugs, pain killers and muscle relaxants to address the issues of inflammation, muscle spasms and alleviate pain
- Physiotherapy: Regular practice of physiotherapy is suggested to restore balance, improve the flexibility of the neck, prevent further damage to the nerves in the area, regain normal neck function and provide long-term relief from pain. Physiotherapy for cervical spondylosis is by far the best treatment option available as it not only helps in strengthening of the joints & muscles but also improves posture and get rid of any of the symptoms that can lead to any kind of functional disability in the neck or spine. A physiotherapy session may vary in length but it usually lasts from six to eight weeks.
- Soft cervical collar: To limit your neck motion and allow your muscles to relax, your doctor may ask you to wear a soft cervical collar. It must be worn for a short period of time as its long term use can affect the strength of the muscles in the neck.
- Ice, heat & other massage therapies: Doctors often advise patients of cervical spondylosis to regularly indulge in the use of ice, heat and other massage and local therapies to help control the condition and reduce extreme episodes of pain.
- Steroid-based injections: For short-term pain relief, many patients sort the help of these injections. They help provide stability and movement and find immediate relief from chronic neck pain.
Although not a very common procedure, surgery is recommended to the patients of cervical spondylosis only when the doctor feels that:
- A spinal nerve is being pinched by a herniated disc or bone
- The spinal cord is being compressed and required immediate medical intervention
Only patients who have been diagnosed with progressive neurologic symptoms, such as weakness or numbness in the arm, loss of balance and frequent episodes of fall are most likely to be helped by surgery. Also, those who continue to experience severe pain and have not been relieved of the symptoms with the use of nonsurgical methods can be a candidate for surgery.
Home-based physiotherapy as a treatment for cervical spondylosis:
Physiotherapy is a non-invasive treatment option that can not only improve the condition of your neck but also free you from the hassle of taking medicines and undergoing any form of painful surgical procedure. At HCAH, we have a team of qualified and highly professional physiotherapists who are trained in the latest techniques of cervical spondylosis treatment that too from the comfort and safety of your home. A trusted name in home healthcare, HCAH’s personalised and outcome-based treatment plans are the best option for those seeking pain relief and recovery from cervical spondylosis in the quickest timeframe.
Still, have any questions? Get FREE telephonic consultation at our helpline 0120-6783277, or call toll free 1800-102-2224 to speak with our expert physiotherapists.