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   Health > Ailments > Cervical Spondylosis
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Cervical Spondylosis - Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

With the increase in number of professionals who sit for hours together doing desk work or sitting for hours in front of the computer and call center jobs which requires continuous sitting in one posture the number of people suffering with cervical spondylosis is on the rise .Cervical spondylosis is a 'wear and tear' of the vertebrae and discs in the neck. It is a common cause of neck pain.

Cervical Spondylosis is the most common disorder of the cervical spine. It is caused by degenerative changes in the vertebrae and intervertebral discs that occur as a result of ageing or due to injury or rheumatoid disease. In advanced disease this may lead to cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) which results from compression of the spinal cord.

Cervical spondylosis is a degenerative disorder of the neck bones. This disorder is caused by abnormal wear of the neck bone cartilage. The bones present in the neck are called as cervical vertebrae and the cushions situated between these vertebrae are called cervical disks.

The condition of cervical spondylosis is caused due to mineral deposits in the cushions located between vertebrae and degeneration of neck bones cartilage. The abnormal wear on the neck bones and cartilage can lead to gradual compression of one or more than one nerve roots. This compression of nerve roots result in changes in sensation, pain in neck and arm and sufferer may even experience weakness.

Causes

Cervical spondylosis results from chronic degeneration of the cervical spine including the cushions between the neck vertebrae (cervical disks) and joints between the bones of the cervical spine. There may be abnormal growths or 'spurs' on the vertebrae (the bones of the spine).

These accumulated changes caused by degeneration can gradually compress one or more of the nerve roots. This can lead to increasing pain in the neck and arm, weakness, and changes in sensation. In advanced cases, the spinal cord becomes involved. This can affect not just the arms, but the legs as well.

Symptoms

Pain in the neck. This may spread to the base of the skull and shoulders. Movement of the neck may make the pain worse. The pain sometimes spreads down an arm to a hand or fingers. This is caused by irritation of a nerve which goes to the arm from the spinal cord in the neck. The pain tends to wax and wane with flare-ups from time to time. However, some people develop chronic (persistent) pain.

Diagnosis

The following methods are used to diagnose arthritis of the neck: MRIs - Particularly useful for viewing the condition of the spinal nerves, MRIs take pictures from many angles.

CT scans provide good views of the encroachment on nervous tissue caused by the remodeling/reshaping of bones.

Myelogram - this imaging technique enhances the visibility of X-rays. They are especially good for seeing problems located at nerve roots.

Treatment

The goal of treatment is relief of pain and prevention of permanent spinal cord and nerve root injury.

In mild cases, no treatment is required. Symptoms from cervical spondylosis usually stabilize or regress with simple, conservative therapy including a cervical collar (neck brace) to restrict motion and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs). Cortisone injections to specific areas of irritation may also be helpful.

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Peter Hutch
 
 
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