Spondylosis

Overview

Spondylosis refers to the degenerative changes that occur in the spine. It is also known as spinal osteoarthritis and can be quite painful. The structural alterations may reduce the amount of space between vertebral bodies and can affect the normal movement of the joints. The condition may worsen as a person grows older and can affect neck, thoracic, lumbar or lumbosacral region of spines. Out of all this, lumbar and cervical spondylosis are the most common.

What is cervical spondylosis?

Cervical spondylosis is a age-related condition which affects the joints and discs in the cervical spine of neck.

Cervical spondylosis causes

The wear and tear of bones and protective cartilage in the neck can lead to cervical spondylosis. Some of the spinal spondylosis causes includes: 

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    Risk factors

    The greatest risk factor for cervical spondylosis is aging. Some other factors that increases the risk are:

    Symptoms of cervical spondylosis

    Some common cervical spondylosis symptoms are:

    Pain around the shoulder or arm . The intensity of pain increases while sitting, standing, coughing sneezing etc.

    Muscle weakness

    Neck stiffness

    Numbness in the shoulders and arms 

    Diagnostic Tests

    Diagnosis involves the testing for movement and checking the affected nerves, bones and muscles. It includes:

    Physical exam
    Physical exam include testing of reflexes, checking for muscle weakness and the motion of neck.

    Imaging tests
    X-rays for bone spurs and other abnormalities.
    CT scan
    MRI
    Electromyogram to check whether the nerves are functioning normally.

    Treatment

    Cervical Spondylosis treatment lowers the risk of permanent damage and provide pain relief which helps to lead a normal life.

    Physical therapy
    Physical therapy involves the stretching of neck and shoulder muscles and helps to relieve pain.

    Medications
    ome medications can help treat the condition . These include:
    muscle relaxants cyclobenzaprine to treat muscle spasms
    hydrocodone for pain relief

    anti-epileptic drugs, such as gabapentin
    steroid injections
    nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as diclofenac to reduce inflammation

    Cervical spondylosis surgery
    If the condition is severe and others treatments prove ineffective then only the doctor recommends for cervical spondylosis surgery. 

    Home treatment
    Doing few things at home can help if the condition is mild:
    Taking OTC pain reliever such as acetaminophen or an NSAID
    Using a heating pad or a cold pack
    Regular Exercise
    Soft neck brace for temporary relief.

    What Types of Doctors Treat Spondylosis?
    There are physicians of different specialties such as general practitioners, rheumatologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, orthopedists and pain-management specialists who can treat spondylosis. In addition, physical therapists, massage therapists, and chiropractors can also treat it.

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