Cervical spondylosis is an age-related 'wear and tear' of the bones and discs in the neck. It tends to start sometime after the age of about 30. Features of the degeneration is the development of small, rough areas of bone called osteophytes and thinning of discs.. This degeneration is a normal ageing process. In many people, the degeneration does not cause any symptoms. However, in some people, the nearby muscles, ligaments, or nerves may become irritated or 'pressed on' by the degenerative changes. So, cervical spondylosis often causes no problems but can be a cause of neck pain, in older people.
symptoms of cervical spondylosis
Symptoms of cervical spondylosis may include pain in the neck, neck stiffness, particularly after a night's rest, headaches and "pins and needles' in part of an arm or hand, These symptoms suggest more pressure on a nerve. This is called a 'cervical radiculopathy'. Rarely, problems with walking, or clumsiness of a hand or problems with bladder function occur when pressure from a disc damages the spinal cord. This is called 'cervical myelopathy'.
Diagnosing Cervical Spondylosis
Typical exams include testing your reflexes, checking for muscle weakness, and testing the range of motion of your neck and the gait. Imaging tests are also used for the confirmation of the diagnosis. X-rays can be used to check for bone spurs and other abnormalities. A computerized tomography scan (CT scan) can provide more detailed images of the neck. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which produces images using radio waves and a magnetic field, helps locate pinched nerves. A myelogram uses a dye injection to highlight certain areas of the spine; CT scans or X-rays are then used to provide more detailed images of these areas. Nerve function tests are also done to find out the neurological damage if any. An electromyogram (EMG) is used to check if the nerves are functioning normally when sending signals to your muscles; it measures your nerves' electrical activity. A nerve conduction study is used to check the speed and strength of the signals the nerves send; this is done by placing electrodes on the skin where the nerve is located.
Medicines for pain management is the conventional method of treatment. Paracetamol at full strength is often sufficient. Some people find that the anti-inflammatory painkillers work better than paracetamol. Some people with stomach ulcers, asthma, high blood pressure, kidney failure, or heart failure may not be able to take anti-inflammatory painkillers. Stronger painkiller such as codeine is an option if anti-inflammatories do not suit or do not work well. Codeine is often taken in addition to paracetamol. Constipation is a common side-effect from codeine. To prevent constipation, have lots to drink and eat foods with plenty of fibre. A low-dose tricyclic antidepressant, such as amitriptyline, is sometimes used for persistent (chronic) neck pain. The dose of amitriptyline used for pain is 10-30 mg at night. At higher doses, tricyclic antidepressants are used to treat depression. However, at lower doses they have been found to help relieve certain types of pain, including neck pain. Nonsurgical Treatment are physical therapy, soft collars. Ice, heat, and other modalities like. steroid-based Injections and cervical epidural block. Surgery is advised in case of severity.