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Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical Spondylosis: Introduction

Cervical spondylosis is a common degenerative joint disease that is due to aging and time related wear and tear on the cervical vertebrae (bones) of the neck. The deterioration of cervical spondylosis also affects the cartilage, a slippery substance that helps bones to move easily, and the cervical discs, which are pillow-like tissues that allow for and cushion movement of the neck. Cervical spondylosis can lead to abnormal growths (bone spurs) on the cervical vertebrae.

The changes in the neck due to cervical spondylosis can lead to compression of the spinal nerves (nerve roots). Typical symptoms of cervical spondylosis include neck pain, weakness of the extremities, and headaches. Cervical spondylosis can lead to cervical osteoarthritis and other complications that can result in difficulties performing daily activities and disability in some cases. For more details on complications and symptoms, refer to symptoms of cervical spondylosis.

Degenerative changes in the cervical spine generally begin by age 30, although symptoms often do not appear until after age 55. Risk factors for developing cervical spondylosis include being over age 55, or having a neck injury, a herniated disc, or spinal stenosis.

Making a diagnosis of cervical spondylosis begins with taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination and neurological examination. During the physical exam, the physician will also asses the flexibility of the neck. A neurological exam evaluates the muscles, nerves and nervous system and such functions as reflexes, sensation, movement, balance, coordination, vision, and hearing.

Diagnostic tests may also include an electromyography (EMG) which tests the nerve and electrical activity of muscles. A nerve conduction test may also be performed to test how fast the nerves transmit impulses to the muscles. Imaging tests, such as X-rays, CT scan, myelogram, or MRI may be done to determine if there is joint or nerve damage.

It is possible that a diagnosis of cervical spondylosis can be missed or delayed because people generally have no symptoms in early stages of the condition. Symptoms of cervical spondylosis can also be similar to symptoms of other diseases and conditions. For more information on misdiagnosis and other disease and disorders that can mimic cervical spondylosis, refer to misdiagnosis of cervical spondylosis.

Treatment for cervical spondylosis varies depending on the severity of symptoms, the presence of complications, a person's age and medical history, and other factors. Cervical spondylosis cannot be cured, but treatment can help to reduce symptoms. Treatment can include a combination of medication, exercise, physical therapy, and surgery. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of cervical spondylosis. ...more »

Cervical Spondylosis: Condition where bony changes within the cervical spine causes spinal cord compression with associated neck pain; usually seen in patients over 40 years of age. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Cervical Spondylosis is available below.

Cervical Spondylosis: Symptoms

The types and severity of symptoms of cervical spondylosis vary between individuals. At the onset of the condition, which can begin by age 30, many people do not have symptoms. Symptoms of cervical spondylosis can be vague and develop slowly or in some cases they can occur suddenly. Symptoms often do not appear until after age 55 or 60. Some people never develop symptoms.

Symptoms ...more symptoms »

Cervical Spondylosis: Treatments

There is no cure for cervical spondylosis, but with early recognition and treatment, it is possible to minimize discomfort and risks of complications of the condition. The most successful treatment plans usually use a multipronged approach, including physical therapy, exercise, medications, and in some cases surgery.

Physical therapy includes range-of-motion exercises that can ...more treatments »

Cervical Spondylosis: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of cervical spondylosis may be delayed or missed because there are often no symptoms in early stages and symptoms can develop slowly over a period of years. In addition, symptoms of cervical spondylosis can mimic symptoms of a variety of other diseases and conditions as rheumatoid arthritis, minor neck trauma, aging, excessive exercise, cervical strain, and ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis

  • Neck pain (usually worse on arising in the morning), pain in back of head, shoulder blades or down the arms
  • Neck stiffness, painful and difficult movement of neck
  • Pins and needles (paraesthesia), arm weakness and clumsiness
  • more symptoms...»

Treatments for Cervical Spondylosis

  • Cervical (neck) support collar
  • Physiotherapy: gentle exercises, passive manipulation techniques
  • Pain relief/analgesia
  • Avoidance of lifting heavy loads
  • Surgery - anterior fusion of spinal vertebrae
  • more treatments...»

Home Diagnostic Testing

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Wrongly Diagnosed with Cervical Spondylosis?

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Diagnostic Tests for Cervical Spondylosis

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Cervical Spondylosis: Complications

Read more about complications of Cervical Spondylosis.

Causes of Cervical Spondylosis

Read more about causes of Cervical Spondylosis.

Cervical Spondylosis: Undiagnosed Conditions

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Misdiagnosis and Cervical Spondylosis

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Cervical Spondylosis: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Hospitals & Clinics: Cervical Spondylosis

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Evidence Based Medicine Research for Cervical Spondylosis

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Cervical Spondylosis: Animations

Research about Cervical Spondylosis

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Cervical Spondylosis: Broader Related Topics

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