Cervical Spondylosis has become extremely common these days. These are more than 85% people suffering from this condition. Cervical Spondylosis is a degenerative condition of the cervical spine caused by age-related changes in the intervertebral disc. It is very common in people above 50 years of age and those who sit on computers typing or keeping the neck in one position while reading, writing, etc.
This may be ligamentous or muscular and could be either localized or radiating in nature. This involves changes to the bones, disc, and joints of the neck. The disc of the cervical spine break down, lose fluids and become stiffer, resulting in reduced space between two vertebrae later spurs or osteophytes forms on the bones of the neck. The osteophytes formed may compress the cord which will produce weakness of the whole limb.
Causes of Cervical Spondylosis:
Aging – This is age related condition degenerative changes occurs in the intervertebral disc.
Poor Posture – Posture adopted due to wrong habits while sitting or working with keeping the neck in one position, anxiety and stress can lead to severe damage.
Occupational – Typist working on wrongly positioned desks. Person lifting or carrying things on their head. Prolonged driving, Habit of holding the phone on one shoulder while talking, Using a thick pillow while sleeping.
Injury – Any injury or jerky movement may be the cause of cervical spondylosis.
What are the Cervical Spondylosis Symptoms:
Neck Pain – Depends on the site of the cervical spine affected and could be a headache, neck pain, radiating pain in shoulders, arms. Pain is sometimes sharp and cramp type in nature. There could be some stiffness with limited movement and tightness in neck muscles.
Muscle Weakness – Due to compression of the nerves, the muscle that is connected with nerves get affected and weakened.
Sensation – The pain may be present with tingling, numbness which occurs due to compression of nerves sometimes altered sensation.
Inability to move Neck – The neck movements becomes limited either unilateral or bilateral.
Muscle Spasm – There are muscle spasm and tightness present in the neck.
Cervical Spondylosis is usually associated with a headache, vertigo and loss of balance which is due to postural changes. Neck discomfort becomes severe in the morning and at the end of the day. The symptoms improve with the rest.
The Cervical Spondylosis results in the pressure on spinal chord and this condition is known as Cervical Myelopathy. It includes tingling, numbness or weakness of the arms, hands, legs and feet. The patient may experience a lack of coordination and difficulty in walking, muscle spasm, abnormal reflexes and loss of control over bladder or bowel.
cervical radiculopathy occurs when bone spurs put pressure on nerves and cause loss of function, irritation, compression of nerve root of the neck. Pain radiates down into one or both arms are the common symptoms.
Diagnosis – Physical Examination, X-Rays, CT Scan and MRI
Treatments – Symptoms improves with the rest. NSAID may be used to relieve pain and inflammation. The cervical collar can be used to limit movement and to provide support. Injecting drugs like corticosteroids can be used to relieve pain. Physical therapy helps in relieving the pain in great amount. Further, the patient has to be educated for posture correction, strengthen the cervical muscles with the use of heat modalities, manipulative therapy, soft tissue techniques, traction, etc.
Surgery – Surgery is required only in rare cases. Surgery is performed to remove the source of pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. The surgery is done for stabilization in the form of implants or through the fusion of the vertebrae. But surgery is considered only when there is severe loss of function like progressive loss of function in arms, legs, feet or fingers. Any cord compression could result in permanent disability.
Surgery is performed on either front or back of the neck bones. The front procedure includes removal of discs and spurs that are causing compression. The disc may be replaced with an implant. Removal of both disc or parts of vertebrae. These parts are replaced with a bone graft or implant.
The back procedure includes Laminectomy or a Laminoplasty. In Laminectomy the lamina and the spinous process of the vertebrae are removed. While in Laminoplasty the vertebrae are left in the place but are cut free along one side. Both the procedures relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves and the surgery is usually followed by the rehabilitation program.
For free consultation get in touch with our Physiotherapist in Dehradun – Dr.Sapna Diwaker.