Cervical spondylosis is also known as Cervical Osteoarthritis or neck arthritis. It occurs in the middle aged and elderly people. It affects the joints, discs and bones of the neck. These changes happened due to normal wear and tear of aging. The discs of cervical spine gradually break down, becomes stiffer and lose fluid.
Cervical Osteoarthritis is quite common in people who spend long hours on computer and who have careers that require excessive stress on their neck like athletes and gymnasts. The causes of Cervical Osteoarthritis are as follows:
Dehydrated Spinal Disks: Spinal bones have discs between them. They are thick, pad like cushions that absorbs twisting, lifting and other activities. The gel like susbstance inside these disks can dry out over a period of time. This cause your spinal vertebrae to rub together more which is painful.
Herniated Disks: Spinal disks develops cracks which allows leakage of internal cushioning material. This material can be pressed on the spinal cord and nerves result in symptoms like sciatica and arm numbness.
Injury: You might got injury to your neck during car accident. This may cause severe pain to your neck after a period of time.
Ligament Stiffness: Tough cords that connects your spinal bones to each other. It becomes even stiffer over time which damages your neck movement and neck feels tight.
Overuse: Some occupations involve repetitive movement like construction work. This will put an extra pressure on your spine.
Cures or Treatments for Cervical Osteoarthritis:
Cervical spondylosis treatments provides relief, lowers the risk of permanent damage and helps to lead a normal life.
Physical Therapy helps you to stretch your neck and shoulder muscles. Stretching exercise makes muscles stronger and helps to relieve pain. If you have neck traction which involves using weight to increase the space between joints and relieve pressure on the cervical discs and nerve roots.
Ice, Heat and Other Modalities: Doctor may recommend to use ice, massage, heat and other therapies to get relief from pain.
Soft Cervical Collar: It is a padded ring that wraps around the neck. Doctor may advise to wear a soft cervical collar to limit neck motion and it allows muscles to rest. It should be worn for a short period of time because long time wear may decrease the strength of muscles in your neck.
Medications: At initial stages, doctor may prescribe certain medications to address pain and inflammation. Muscle Relaxants: Medicines like cyclobenzaprine can be used to treat painful muscle spasms. Acetaminophen: Mild pain can be relieved with acetaminophen.
Nonsteroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs:
It is often prescribed with acetaminophen. NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen are considered first line medication for neck pain. They relieve pain as well as swelling. Other types of medications are considered if you are suffering from serious contraindications to NSAIDs or if pain is not controlled.
If the condition is severe and does not respond to any other forms of treatment, then you might need surgery. Surgery involves getting rid of bone spurs, herniated disks to give your spinal cord and nerves more room. Doctor recommends surgery if the pain is severe and affects your ability to move your arms.