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Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical Spondylosis (also known as arthritis or osteoarthritis of the neck) is a general term for age-related wear and tear in the cervical spine (neck) that can lead to neck pain, neck stiffness and other symptoms.

What is Cervical Spondylosis?

Cervical spondylosis is a type of degenerative disease that affects your neck. Normally, soft disks between the bones in your spine (vertebrae) give cushioning. With cervical spondylosis, these disks become squeezed (compressed). Also the facet joints and ligaments of your spine become larger and thicker. As a result, your neck becomes more stiff over time.

When this happens, the connective tissue (cartilage) that lines the vertebrae on each side of the disk where they touch can wear away. Once this protective cartilage is gone, bony growths called bone spurs may form on your vertebrae where they rub together. Nerves attached to your spinal cord may have less room to pass between the vertebrae on their way out of the spine.

Cervical Spondylosis

Signs and Symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis

Symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis can include:

  • Pain in the neck that can radiate to the shoulder and arm
  • Headaches
  • Grinding or popping sound when turning the neck
  • Neck stiffness
  • Numbness or weakness in hands, arms and fingers
  • Muscle spasms in neck and shoulder
  • Difficulty walking, loss of balance or weakness in legs
  • Difficulty with bowel and bladder control

Causes of Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical Spondylosis is caused by wear and tear, and thus the main risk factor is age. Other risk factors are:

  • Genetics
  • History of smoking
  • Previous injury or trauma to the neck
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Any job with heavy lifting eg construction workers
  • Occupations with higher risk of neck strain eg painters, plumbers, working at a computer 

Statistics and Epidemiology related to Cervical Spondylosis

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