Cervical spondylosis involves changes to the bones, discs and joints of the neck, which are caused by aging and daily wear and tear. It generally occurs in middle-age and elderly people, as the discs of the cervical spine break down, lose fluid and become stiff over time.
Cervical spondylosis symptoms can include:
- Neck stiffness and pain
- Headaches, which may originate in the neck
- Pain in the shoulders or arms
- Inability to fully bend the neck or turn the head
- A grinding noise or feeling when turning the neck
Cervical spondylosis treatments are usually very conservative and consist of rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), physical therapy and traction. Other options include injecting drugs into the spine or surrounding area, or wearing a cervical collar to provide support and limit movement.
Surgery is only considered in rare cases when there is a severe loss of function in the arms, legs, feet or fingers. With any type of procedure, the goal is to remove the source of pressure (a disc or spur) on the spinal cord and nerves.