Cervical spondylosis, also known as cervical osteoarthritis or neck arthritis, is a common, age-related condition that affects the joints and discs in your neck. It develops from wear and tear of the cartilage and bones found in your cervical spine, which is in your neck.
Wear and tear of spinal disks at the neck that usually worsens as we age is termed as cervical spondylosis. The spinal discs get dehydrated and shrink, resulting in bone spurs and other associated signs of osteoarthritis. There could be a genetic factor linked to this disease in a few families, where it is being observed more than the rest. Around 90 percent of people, above 65 years of age tend to develop cervical spondylosis and osteoarthritis, which is visualized by performing x-ray of the neck.
Symptoms Of Cervical Spondylosis
- Pain in the neck
- Some neck stiffness
- Headaches may occur
- Clumsiness of a hand
- Problems with walking
- Develop pins and needles in part of an arm or hand
Majority of the people do not show any symptoms, but a few may experience stiffness and pain in the neck. In severe cases, cervical spondylosis may result in narrowing of the spinal cord space, causing nerve roots and spinal cord to be compressed, making one undergo numbness, tingling sensation and weakness in hands, arms, legs and feet. People may also show difficulty in walking, lack of coordination and loss of bladder control.
How To Treat Cervical Spondylosis
To correct the faulty position of neck, which develops on maintaining the wrong posture for prolonged time, simple and easy postural exercises can be taught. One is then motivated to follow the correct posture further on.
In shortwave diathermy, a heating pad or disc is placed on the back of the neck to relieve the pain and relax the muscles, through warmth of the current originated by the therapy.
Two different kinds of collar can be used. One is the soft collar that is used at night to prevent attaining any awkward neck position during sleep. Second is the firm collar that keeps the neck steady and even relieves the pain, majorily during travel or work hours. It is used for long duration, till the pain subsides.
When both physiotherapy and medications does not remain effective, under severe nerve damage, surgery could be the option. For those who show neurological symptoms of weakened legs and arms that become worse with time, surgery is used. With help of surgery, nerve can be decompressed to create space for nerve roots and spinal cord. This may involve removal of a herniated disc, bone spurs or removal of a part of vertebra.
Various drugs may be prescribed based on the seriousness of the situation. Muscle relaxants like methocarbamol (Robaxin) and cyclobenzaprine (Amrix) may help those with neck muscle spasms. Relaxation is essential to relieve tension in the shoulder and neck muscle, anxiety and pain. In severe cases, orthopedic may recommend cortisone injections near the vertebral joints to ease pain and swelling of the nerves.
A physical therapist helps one with strengthening and stretching exercises of the neck and shoulders. In cases, where nerve roots are pinched, traction may be employed to provide enough space within the spine and offer relief to the nerve roots. The goal of physiotherapy is to enhance neck movements and reduce pain.
It is the pulling force executed to treat skeleton disorders and treat muscles. The cervical traction supports the chin and head to relive the nerve compression, caused by spinal bone.