Cervical spondylosis, commonly caused by cervical spine degeneration or cervical osteoarthritis, can be exacerbated by bone spurs or mineral deposits in the disc that may lead to chronic neck pain and neck stiffness. Patients often show limited head felxibility and mobility. Cumulative degeneration can gradually compress cervical spinal nerve roots causing increased pain, as well as, weakness or sensation loss in the arms and legs. Cervical spondylosis is primarialy diagnosed in persons over 40 years of age and incidence increases with age.
What causes cervical spondylosis?
Any prior neck injury, recent or not, can predispose a person to cervical spondylosis. However age is the major risk factor. Nearly 80% of 60 year olds will show cervical spondylosis on X-ray examination. Disc degeneration from general wear and tear may be a natural part of aging.
Often, if cervical spondylosis symptoms are mild, non-surgical treatments are recommended, including rest, a cervical collar to restrict head motion, anti-inflammatory medication, pain medication, and physical therapy.
Surgery may be necessary if pain increases or progressive neurological symptoms, such as limb weakness and numbness, persist. Surgery to remove bone spurs or disc material (decompression) and spinal fusion, can stabilize the neck and provide lasting pain relief.