Cervical spine is made up of bones (vertebraes) with cushions (discs) between them. As we grow older, the bones and the discs will degenerate. Bone spurs (osteophytes) may form and spinal canal may narrow (stenosis). These changes are known as cervical spondylosis.
As the spine degenerates, osteophytes formation occurs which intends to fuse the vertebrae together to minimise movement. These osteophytes may cause the unwanted symptoms once it comes into contact with any of the nerve root or the spinal cord. The symptoms vary with each individual.
You may experience:
There is no specific way to prevent this condition. However, some lifestyle modifications may slow the process of the degeneration.
Lifestyle Modifications include:
The doctor will perform physical examinations including x-rays. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) studies are also helpful. These imagings may indicate abnormalities and reveal the extent of damage to the cervical spine.
Your symptoms may last for several months to years. If you have mild symptoms, the doctor may recommend some rest, medication and physical therapy. Surgery will be the last option.
In the acute phase, you may need to wear a cervical collar to limit neck movement and relieve the nerve irritation.
The doctor may prescribe some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (nSaiDs) or other pain relievers to relieve pain and reduce swelling. Usage of muscle relaxants may be useful.
A cervical traction, hot/cold therapy or active exercise programme may help to relieve symptoms. Exercises aim to improve muscle strength and flexibility.
It is only necessary if you have severe pain that does not improve with other treatments or when there is progressive neurological symptoms.