Cervical spondylosis is the term given to normal wear and tear of the neck's spinal discs. The discs lose moisture and shrink, bone spurs develop, and bones become weaker. This worsens with age, with more than 85% of people over 60 affected by cervical spondylosis. Nonsurgical treatments are typically effective when symptoms are present.
Signs and Symptoms
In most cases, there are no noticeable symptoms of cervical spondylosis. Some mild symptoms that may occur are pain and stiffness in the neck.
If cervical spondylosis causes a narrowing of the spinal canal, you may experience the symptoms of the spinal cord or nerves being pinched, such as:
- Tingling, numbness, and weakness in your arms, hands, legs, or feet
- Lack of coordination and difficulty walking
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
Diagnosis and Treatment
In addition to a physical exam to note range of motion, reflexes, and fine motor skills, the spine specialists at Kelsey-Seybold Spine Center can perform imaging and other tests to determine the exact cause of your symptoms and what treatment is appropriate.
These tests may include:
- X-rays of the neck to discover any abnormalities
- CT scan for more detailed imaging of bones
- MRI to find any areas where nerves may be pinched
- Myelography in which a dye is injected into the spinal canal prior to imaging tests
- A nerve function test called electromyography (EMG) that tests electrical activity in your nerves
- A nerve conduction study during which electrodes attached to the skin strength and speed of nerve signals
Treatment for cervical spondylosis depends on the severity of your symptoms. Our spine specialists will develop a treatment plan to relieve your pain, avoid future damage, and help you manage your condition.
This treatment plan may include:
- Medications (anti-inflammatories, corticosteroids, muscle relaxants, pain relievers)
- Physical therapy
- Neck brace
- Surgical intervention if nerve damage is possible
Almost everyone develops cervical spondylosis at some point, but not everyone experiences symptoms. If you have chronic pain and stiffness in your neck, the team at Kelsey-Seybold Spine Center in Houston can determine if cervical spondylosis is the cause and what treatment, if any, is needed. Contact us today for an appointment.