Cervical spondylosis is a common degenerative condition of the cervical spine. It is most likely caused by age-related wear and tear of the intervertebral disks and worsens with age. Many times this condition is asymptomatic, however, several symptoms may be experienced simultaneously or independently. These include neck and shoulder pain, headaches, radicular symptoms, and cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM).
As disk degeneration occurs, mechanical stresses result in osteophytic bars, or bone spurs, which form along the inside of the spinal canal. Frequently, associated degenerative changes in the surrounding joints and ligaments occur.
All can contribute to impingement on pain-sensitive structures (eg, nerves, spinal cord), thus creating various clinical syndromes including pain, weakness, numbness, atrophy of muscles and tingling sensations. Spondylotic changes are often observed in the aging population. However, only a small percentage of patients with radiographic evidence of cervical spondylosis are symptomatic.
Treatment is initially conservative in nature; the most commonly used treatments are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), physical modalities, and lifestyle modifications. Surgery is advocated for cervical radiculopathy in patients who have intractable pain, progressive symptoms that fail to improve with conservative therapy, weakness and signs of spinal cord dysfunction.
Dr. Ram R. Vasudevan, MD, FAANS
Austin NeuroSpine PLLC
5300 Bee Cave Road, Building 1,
Suite 220 Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 640-0010
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