Spondylosis of the cervical spine is a common, age-related condition affecting the joints and discs in your neck. Cervical osteoarthritis is also known as neck arthritis in medical terms.
It develops because of the wear and tear of cartilage and bones in the neck. While it is primarily caused by ageing, with more than 90 per cent of people aged 60 and older are affected by cervical spondylosis, it can also result from other factors.
It does not always cause severe symptoms in everyone who has it, and can present as a painful neck or stiffness. Despite this, most people suffering from it can perform daily activities normally.
Risk Factors For Cervical Spondylosis
Just as we mentioned, old age is a risk factor for cervical spondylosis, but other factors that can lead to it include:
- People who smoke cigarettes
- Jobs that can strain your neck like painting, plumbing, desk jobs that include computers, etc.
- If you have a past neck injury
- If you lift heavy, for example, a construction site
- Experiencing a lot of vibrations as bus or truck drivers
- Being overweight and sedentary
What Causes Cervical Spondylosis?
Age changes your spine due to decades of wear and tear. Your spinal discs start to deteriorate as you reach middle age. Some of the changes can include:
Your vertebrae are cushioned between the padlike disks and help absorb the shock of lifting, twisting, and other activities. Many people's spinal disks begin drying out and shrinking by age 40, allowing their vertebrae to contact each other more frequently.
When one starts ageing, there are changes in the spinal discs. By the age of 40, the spinal disc starts degenerating and develops cracks that can lead to allowing leakage of the gel-like material in the disc. Symptoms such as arm numbness and pain that radiates down an arm can result when this material presses against the spinal cord and the nerves.
An abnormal bone growth develops along the edges of the vertebrae when cartilage in the joints of the vertebrae begins to degenerate, and bone tissue rubs against bone tissue—growing old causes this growth to occur. There are rarely any symptoms.
Bones are connected by ligaments, which are cords of connective tissue. The strong cords between the spinal bones can become stiffer over time, causing your neck to feel tight and affecting your neck movement.
What Are The Symptoms Of Cervical Spondylosis?
- A painful shooting sensation, tingling, or weakness down the arm or fingers, caused by a compressed or damaged nerve in the cervical spine as it leaves the vertebra.
- Coughing or bending backwards causes grinding sensations in the neck.
- An inability to fully turn the head or movement of the neck.
- A severe stiff neck or a headache at the back of the head.
- An unusual sensation of tingling or numbness that mostly affects the shoulders and arms and can also affect the legs.
What Includes In The Treatment Of Cervical Spondylosis?
Cervical spondylosis treatment aims to reduce pain, lower the risk of permanent damage, and help you live a normal life.
Exercises and stretches may relieve your symptoms. Physical therapy aims to stretch and strengthen your muscles while improving posture. Your healthcare provider will recommend the duration and frequency of these exercises based on your symptoms and condition.
Hot And Cold Compression:
You can relieve your symptoms by applying cold and hot compression or massage. To find out if heat or cold relieves your pain and discomfort best, you'll have to conduct a trial. The results are typically obtained with a few minutes of heat or ice. Massage is another option that some patients may consider.
In addition to muscle relaxants and narcotics like anti-seizure medications, steroid injections may also be used.
Soft Collar Or Brace:
Your healthcare provider may recommend wearing a therapeutic collar for a short time. Resting stiff neck muscles can be made easier by this. Consult your doctor before using a collar.
As the old saying goes, "Prevention is better than cure". Let's examine our daily practices carefully and prevent cervical pain. With these methods and assistive devices, such as Vissco cervical collars and heating belts, you recover quickly and get back to your best.
Sources:Cervical spondylosis - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic
Cervical Spondylosis: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments
Cervical Spondylosis: Causes, Symptoms, Home Treatments, and More