Understanding Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical Spondylosis Information

Cervical Spondylosis is a condition that affects the intervertebral discs of the spine in the neck. It is commonly seen in older adults and involves the drying and shrinking of the disc’s spongy center along with arthritic changes and bony prominences, also referred to as spurs. The discs’ centers may also bulge or herniate out of the natural line of the spinal column causing the normally supple ligaments to become stiff.

What Are the Symptoms?

Most individuals do not display any symptoms and are able to functional normally without any intervention such as physical therapy or spine surgery. Occasionally, patients complain of discomfort and decreased mobility of the neck. If a narrowing of the spinal canal has occurred due to spondylosis, the spinal cord and the spinal nerves may become pinched and result in:

  • Impaired coordination
  • Stumbling
  • Numbness and tingling in the arms and legs
  • A loss of bowel or bladder control

How is Cervical Spondylosis Treated?

Individuals who are experiencing occasional, mild to moderate symptoms can treat their discomfort with over-the-counter pain relievers and heat or ice. Many patients may find that a soft, cervical collar allows their muscles to rest and provides relief.

Severe pain may require prescription pain medications, oral corticosteroids and muscle relaxants. Some individuals feel better after they receive periodic steroid injections that are administered directly into the area of the affected part of the spine.

The sudden onset of severe symptoms such as weakness, numbness, or loss of bowel and bladder control often necessitates more aggressive interventions. A board-certified spinal surgeon may need to perform surgery such as partial or complete discectomy, spinal fusion, or the removal of spurs.

What is the Prognosis?

As individuals age, spondylosis in the neck normally worsens, but studies have shown that older adults who walk or perform other exercise regularly report fewer problems than their inactive counterparts.

To learn more about spondylosis or to determine the most appropriate treatment option for your particular case, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. Medical Director, Dr. Hyun Bae, can help you determine if a fusion surgery, cervical artificial disc replacement, or other non-invasive procedure would be in your best interest for relieving pain and discomfort. Call (310) 828-7757 and schedule your in-person consultation today.