The wear and tear in the vertebrae and intervertebral disk of the neck resulting in degeneration of the cervical spine, the condition is called cervical spondylosis.
The degeneration causes reduced elasticity of intervertebral disk resulting in more risk of injury and tear. Deposition of calcium also occurs leading to bone formation at the site of degeneration called osteophytes.
There are 33 vertebrae. The cervical (neck) spine is made up of 7 vertebrae ( C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, C7). Between each vertebra is an intervertebral disc which acts like a shock absorber and allows flexibility of the spine. They are held in position with ligaments, joints, capsules and muscles of the neck. Nerves from the spinal cord pass between the vertebrae going to the shoulder, neck, arm, and upper chest. C5, C6, C7 vertebrae are more vulnerable to degeneration.
With advancing age the hydration and elasticity of intervertebral disk reduces resulting in cracks and fissures. The surrounding ligament also decreases its elastic properties causing further damage to the disk and finally the disk collapses
Mortality rate of Cervical Spondylosis
No mortality rate is known. It can remain asymptomatic for years or there may be mild cervical pain.
People younger than 30 years of age are known to be affected by this condition. Commonly it occurs between 40-60 years of age.
• Chronic wear and tear of the cervical spine.
• Maintaining bad posture.
• Age over 40.
• History of neck injury.
• Osteoporosis affecting cervical spine.
• History of spine surgery.
• Slip disk.
People who are at more risk:
• Travelers who do long distance traveling.
• Watching TV.
• Computer professional.
• Intermittent neck and shoulder pain.
• Tingling and numbness in arms and hands.
• Radiating pain in arm shoulder, back.
• Pain from sub-occipital region radiates to the neck or vertex of the head.
• Stiffness in neck region.
• Weakness in hands with numbness.
• Restriction of neck movement.
• Pain gets worse with bending, coughing, sneezing.
• Swelling and tenderness in the neck.
• Cervical Disc Disease.
• Cervical Sprain and Strain.
• Chronic Pain Syndrome.
• Cervical Myofascial Pain.
• Cervical Myofascial Pain.
• Adhesive Capsulitis.
• Osteoporosis and Spinal Cord Injury.
• Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Physical examination shows stiffness in head making it difficult to rotate.
Other tests include:
• X-ray spine.
• CT scan spine.
• MRI spine.
• EMG (electromyelography)
• Nerve conduction velocity test
• Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, naproxen sodium (Aleve), and ibuprofen(Advil) can help with the pain.
• Sleep on a firm mattress.
• Avoid using pillows or use thin pillows.
• People of sedentary job should stand up every hour.
• Avoid soft cushioned seats.
• Mild oil massage on neck with hot fomentation.
• Maintaining a straight neck posture.
• Take rest after every two hours of working.
• Simple and gentle exercise.
• Avoid lifting heavy weight.
• Avoiding cold bath.
• Salad of raw vegetables such as carrot, tomato, cucumber, radish, lettuce.
• Plenty of fresh fruits containing vitamin C.
• Avoid fatty, spicy and fried food.
• Diet should contain vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus and proteins.
• Lemon juice with table salt twice a day helps in relieving pain.
• Adding zinc, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids.
The symptoms respond well to medicines. Symptoms sometimes get worse and improve there after. Symptoms persist for long time.
• Incontinence of feces or urine.
• Poor balance.
• Loss of muscle function.
• Unsteady gait.
• Pain in occiput.
• Stiffness in nape of neck.
• Loss of power in forearm and fingers.
• Tingling sensation on tips of fingers.
• Pain in muscles of back and neck.
• Stiffness and contraction in neck and back.
• Cervical spine very sensitive.
• Nape of neck is stiff and rigid.
• Pain as if sprained.
• Worse from exertion.
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