What Is Cervical Spondylosis?
Spinal degeneration occurring in the cervical vertebrae of the spine is broadly referred to as cervical spondylosis. Spondylosis is considered a broad term because it is more of a description of degenerative conditions of the spine than a specific diagnosis.
What Causes Spondylosis in the Cervical Spine?
Spondylosis is most commonly the symptomatic result of growing older and osteoarthritis. Since the seven vertebrae in the neck are highly mobile and support the weight of the head, degeneration is common and can be seen in a CT scan, X-ray or MRI of any individual past the age of 40. Over time, discs shrink and weaken, facet joint cartilage begins deteriorate leading to possible bone spurs or structural instability, and ligaments and tendons tighten and lose flexibility. Spinal injuries and trauma may also accelerate the natural degenerative process that can lead to spondylosis.
Cervical Spondylosis Symptoms
Because spondylosis is such broad term used to describe multiple conditions, symptoms vary widely. Many people will have cervical spondylosis without experiencing any symptoms at all. In some cases, cervical spondylosis leads to the narrowing of the spinal canal, which compresses or irritates the nerve roots or spinal cord.
When symptoms are present, they oftentimes include:
- Stiffness and/or pain in the neck
- Reduced range of motion
- Muscle weakness
- Tingling or numbness in the arms, hands
- Difficulty with coordination and balance
Who’s at Risk for Cervical Spondylosis?
- Older age
- Overuse or neck strain over time
- Previous neck injuries
- Genetic tendencies
The MISI Approach to Cervical Spondylosis Treatment
Due to the multiple conditions associated with cervical spondylosis, the physicians at the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute customize treatment based on individual causes and symptoms. Some conservative treatments may include:
- Chiropractic therapy
- Physical therapy
If conservative treatments have failed, your physician may discuss minimally invasive treatments to address your pain. Minimally invasive procedures are performed through a tiny incision which allow for faster recovery over traditional spine surgery.
Dr. Bryce Benbow has either authored or reviewed and approved this content.