Cervical Spondylosis

These articles are for general information only and are not medical advice. Full Disclaimer. All articles compliments of the AAOS.


Pain in the neck is common and may be a natural consequence of aging in people over 50. Like the rest of the body, bones in the neck (cervical spine) progressively degenerate as we grow older. Over time, arthritis of the neck (cervical spondylosis) may result from bony spurs and problems with ligaments and disks. The spinal canal may narrow (stenosis) and compress the spinal cord and nerves to the arms. Injuries can also cause spinal cord compression. The pain that results may range from mild discomfort to severe, crippling dysfunction.

Symptoms

Cervical spondylosis can lead to chronic pain and stiffness in the neck that may also radiate to the upper extremities (radiculopathy).

  • Neck pain and stiffness may be worse with upright activity.
  • You may have numbness and weakness in the arms, hands and fingers, and trouble walking due to weakness in the legs.
  • You may feel or hear grinding or popping in the neck when you move.
  • Muscle spasms or headaches may originate in the neck.

The condition can make you feel irritable and fatigued, disturb your sleep and impair your ability to work. See your doctor soon for diagnosis and treatment.

Doctor’s Exam

Give the doctor your complete medical history. This can help him or her rule out other conditions that cause symptoms similar to cervical spondylosis. The doctor will examine you physically and may take X-rays or use other diagnostic imaging tests to see inside the body.

Medical History

Tell the doctor if you have any illnesses or chronic conditions. Describe the exact location of neck pain and when the problem began. What does the pain feel like? Have you ever injured your neck or been previously treated for neck pain?

Physical Exam

The doctor may identify tender spots along the back of your neck and evaluate your ability to move the neck in various directions. He or she may test your reflexes and the function of nerves and muscles in the arms and legs. The doctor may want to watch you walk.

Imaging

X-rays and/or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) studies may show bone spurs and other abnormalities and reveal the extent of damage to the cervical spine.

In certain cases, you may need additional tests before the doctor can make a diagnosis. Sometimes the doctor may want you to see a neurologist for evaluation.

Treatment

If you have cervical spondylosis, symptoms may last for several months or become chronic. Most of the time if symptoms are mild, the doctor may recommend a variety of non-surgical treatments. Rest, medication and physical therapy may take away most of your symptoms, but do not treat the underlying cause. The doctor may want to see you again to check if symptoms have gotten better, worse or stayed the same.

Rest

You may need to wear a soft cervical collar or neck brace to limit neck motion and relieve nerve irritation.

Medication

The doctor may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) or other non-narcotic pain relievers to relieve pain and reduce swelling.

Physical Therapy

A cervical traction device, hot and cold therapy or active exercise program may help relieve symptoms. Exercises may include neck strengthening, neck and shoulder stretching and aerobic exercises. Gentle massage and improving your posture may also help.

Surgery

Surgery may be necessary if you have severe pain that does not improve with other treatments or progressive neurological symptoms. Surgery may remove bone spurs or disk material (decompression) and provide lasting relief.


Maintained and hosted by Medical Informatics Solutions LLC

OUR SUBSIDIARIES & AFFILIATES

Orthopedics & Sports Medicine

Our highly experienced and regarded orthopedic surgeons specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders that affect bones, joints, muscles, cartilage, ligaments and nerves of the extremities and spine. They are proud to be affiliated with both St. Mary Mercy Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital..

Back, Neck & Spine

You’ll have the advantage of the latest surgical and non-surgical procedures in back and neck pain. A team approach to your spinal problems may include physical therapy, medication, exercise, weight loss and therapeutic spinal injections. Additionally, we offer the area’s best orthopedic spine surgeons for repair or reconstruction of structural disorders.

Pain Management

The pain management / physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians at Mendelson Kornblum have a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge regarding pain-relieving techniques and treatments. Areas of specialty include back pain, neck pain, herniated discs, pinched nerves, post-surgical pain, cancer-related pain, musculoskeletal injuries, and rehabilitation for back and neck injuries. If you have acute or chronic pain that affects your mobility and ability to function, Mendelson Kornblum Orthopedics can help restore your quality of life.

Physical Therapy

Our rehabilitation approach complements your surgeon’s intervention with continual sharing of diagnostic information that can help promote a speedy recovery. In addition, due to our exclusive dedication to orthopedic conditions, we have developed many techniques that can significantly reduce the amount of pain during your rehabilitation.