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Cervical spondylosis: symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The spine is one of the most important parts of our body, because it is responsible for supporting all the weight of our trunk, arms and legs to be carried to the legs. In addition, it protects the spinal cord, which is the projection of our nerves from the brain to the extremities and distant organs of the head. This means that injuries located in the spine are considered delicate due to the possibility of causing significant damage to many parts of the body. Among these injuries is cervical spondylosis, a condition that affects a good proportion of the population. In this FastlyHealarticle, we will explain the symptoms and treatment of cervical spondylosis so that you take precaution of the situations that can produce this condition and know how to identify its first symptoms.

What is cervical spondylosis

Each of the vertebrae in our spine is separated from the next by a cartilaginous structure called the intervertebral disc , which provides the spine with mobility and cushioning for the weight of the body and actions such as walking. The term cervical spondylosis refers to a progressive degeneration of these discs , whereby over time, the spine begins to lose its proper function.

Causes of cervical spondylosis

Cervical spondylosis can occur by two main mechanisms. The first of these is the degeneration of the intervertebral disc , which may be due to any of the following reasons:

  • Alteration of the composition of the disc , product of the passage of the years with which dehydration and decrease of the vascularization in the disc occurs.
  • Due to constant mechanical overload due to excessive weights or improper posture that lasts for a considerable time, or due to trauma that causes acute damage to the disc. It can be linked to the profession of the affected person.
  • The genetic predisposition plays an important factor, being most likely descendants of those who suffer or who have cervical congenital malformations.

The second mechanism is the formation of a herniated disc , which is a projection of the soft nucleus of the disc towards the back. It is due to a tear in the outer part of the disc, usually due to dehydration of the nucleus. This causes the disc to open over time and the contents of the disc to project outward.

Symptoms of cervical spondylosis

Due to the chronic nature of cervical spondylosis, symptoms are generally progressive, with some appearing first that worsen over time and produce other symptoms. The most characteristic is pain in the cervical region , which can worsen after making movements to get up or sit, when sneezing, moving the neck or walking.

Over time, neck stiffness may occur and due to compression of the spinal cord, the presence of bone growths in the cord or the poor position of the discs, there may be symptoms such as pain and loss of strength, sensitivity and ability in the upper or lower limbs and, therefore, slowness of gait, loss of balance and sphincter control.

Diagnosis of cervical spondylosis

When a doctor notices symptoms of neck pain that worsens when making neck movements, as well as possible involvement of the upper or lower limbs, he may begin to suspect cervical spondylosis.

The diagnosis is usually made with the help of a cervical X-ray to check for degeneration of the discs, poor position of the vertebrae, the presence of herniated discs, or the formation of bony outgrowths on the vertebrae. These lesions are much more noticeable in computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging than in conventional radiographs, with MRI being the study that provides the greatest amount of information.

Treatment of cervical spondylosis

The treatment of cervical spondylosis will depend on the severity of the case. Less complicated cases can be controlled with correction of the situation that produced the condition, such as posture correction. It is necessary to correct the position of the cervical spine by implementing a collar when necessary and sleeping with several pillows to align the spine. In the following article we show some helpful tricks to improve body posture .

Physiotherapy can be very helpful, as it can give mobility to the spine and strength to the neck muscles. Acupuncture, massage, and manipulation of the spine help relieve symptoms. When necessary, pain relievers or muscle relaxants may be prescribed .

When there are symptoms that suggest spinal cord compression, a surgical procedure to correct cervical spondylosis should be considered. This procedure consists in the removal of the disc or the overgrown bone portion, after which the two vertebrae, which were separated by the removed disc, are fixed by bone extracted from another part of the body or titanium plates, maintaining the space that it must exist between one vertebra and the other.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Cervical spondylosis: symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Bones, Joints and Muscles category .

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