Cervical spondylosis is a condition in which the spinal discs in the neck have suffered age-related wear and tear. Bone spurs develop, the discs shrink from dehydration and the signs of osteoarthritis can crop up. This is a very common condition and can be seen on X-rays in most people over age 65.
Symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis
Most people will not have any symptoms with this condition. If they do occur, pain and stiffness confined to the neck are the most common. If this condition causes narrowing, nerve roots or the spinal cord can become pinched.
When a nerve root or the spinal cord are pinched, there is a chance that the following will occur:
- Difficulty walking and lack of coordination
- Weakness, tingling and numbness in the hands, feet, arms or legs
- Losing control of the bowel or bladder
Potential Complications of Cervical Spondylosis
There really are not many potential complications with this condition. A problem can arise when when a spinal nerve root or the spinal cord are severely compressed. In some instances, the associated damage will be permanent.
Causes and Risk Factors of Cervical Spondylosis
Age is really the primary cause of this condition, as it is nearly inevitable for most people. If someone has dehydrated spinal discs, the bones will contact each other. This can cause pain and stiffness.
Bone spurs are a common result of disc degeneration. This is an issue where the bones in the spine start to produce extra bone. They really do look similar to a cowboy’s spur on one of his boots. If a bone spur is present, there is the risk of a nerve or the spinal cord getting pinched.
Herniated discs are another potential consequence of age. The discs can crack, allowing the inside components to leak out. If the inside components are out enough, there is the risk for a pinched nerve or spinal cord.
Ligaments connect bone to bone. As we age, the ligaments surrounding our cervical spine can become stiffer and calcified. This has a negative impact on the neck’s flexibility.
Treatments for Cervical Spondylosis
The severity of signs and symptoms will dictate the types of treatment used. If you are experiencing pain and stiffness because of this condition, there are medications that can be prescribed to lessen discomfort. Muscle relaxers are commonly prescribed. These are generally given when this condition is causing muscles in the neck to spasm.
Narcotic pain relievers can be prescribed. However, these are generally reserved for acute episodes of moderate to severe pain.
Anti-seizure drugs are sometimes effective in alleviating pain. If a nerve is damaged, these are often given in an attempt to alleviate the nerve damage-related pain.
When pain and stiffness are affecting your quality of life, steroids may be considered. These are typically injected directly into the painful and stiff area of the neck. They can help to alleviate pain and inflammation, which in turn, reduces overall discomfort.
Physical therapy is commonly used because exercise can help us to maintain neck mobility. This type of therapy may also help to keep pain and stiffness to a minimum. One of the things that physical therapists often use is known as neck traction. This is a method that safely and effectively stretches the neck. This is especially helpful for stiffness and relieving pressure on pinched nerves, allowing them to heal over time.
(Watch How to Use ChiSoft Neck Traction Device)
Neck Traction To Help Relieve Pain From Cervical Spondylosis
Neck traction can begin with a physical therapist, but it can also be done at home. You can pick up a neck traction device. These are generally set up over the back of a door, so they are easy to put together. This method can be done several times a day if needed to relieve pain and stiffness. This should be done regularly, which is considered to be two times a day, at 15 minutes per session. Doing this regularly will help to keep pressure off of pinched nerves, as well as keep pain and stiffness at bay.
Surgery is another option to help alleviate the symptoms of this condition. However, this is generally reserved for severe cases where all other conventional treatments have failed to provide relief. If a nerve root or the spinal cord is pinched and is causing disabling symptoms, such as severe weakness in a limb, or bowel or bladder incontinence, surgery may be considered.
There are a few different procedures that may be done depending on the primary issue. For example, if a spinal disc is the issue, a surgery to remove the disc may be done, while if a bone spur is the issue, a surgery to remove the spur and part of the bone it is attached to may be done.
You can see our hot product “ChiSoft Neck Traction Device” below.