Cervical Spondylosis (Neck pain and stiffness):
Cervical spondylosis which can also be said as neck arthritis or cervical osteoarthritis. It is a very common age-related condition which affects the joints and discs in our neck. Cervical spondylosis develops from wear and tear of the cartilage and also bones can be found in your cervical spine which is in your neck. Cervical spondylosis can be experienced by the people over the age of 60 years in more than 85 % of the people. It can cost severe pain, chronic and stiffness. In some people, pain is normal to conduct the daily routine activity. Like other parts of the body, the cervical spine slowly degenerate as we age. With the degeneration of discs and other cartilage, spurs (abnormal growths) called osteophytes often form on the bones in the neck. This osteophyte can cause narrowing of the interior of the spinal column or in the openings where spinal nerves exit, thus this situation is called cervical spinal stenosis. Mostly, Cervical spondylosis can often cause stiffness and neck pain. People older than 50 years often experience that the discs between the vertebrae become less spongy and provide less of a cushion. Also, the ligaments and bones get thicker, encroaching on the space of the spinal canal.
Symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis:
The symptoms of cervical spondylosis may include the following difficulties for patients:
- The patient may suffer from pain and stiffness in the neck. The pain can extend from mild to severe.
- The patient may experience pain in the neck during looking up or looking down for a long time.
- If the patient is in the same position which has kept the neck in the same position for a prolonged period of time; like reading a book, watching television for the long time or driving, etc.
- The pain may improve during rest or sleeping.
- Headaches can be experienced by the patient.
- When the patient turns the neck a kind of popping noise or grinding or sensation occurs.
- The neck and shoulders face muscle spasms.
- Difficulty in walking, loss of balance, and weakness in the hands or legs.
- Some patients may result in a narrowing of the space required for the spinal cord or nerve roots. If such situation occurs, symptoms like numbness and weakness in the arms, fingers and hands occur.
- Loss of bladder or bowel control.
Causes of Cervical Spondylosis:
The following are the reasons responsible for the cervical spondylosis:
- With the growth of our age, our backbone and neck which are made up of bones and cartilage gradually develop to wear and tear.
- Our growing age also affects the exterior of your spinal disks, which causes an appearance of cracks, causing herniated disks, leading to cervical spondylosis.
- As people cross the age of 40, the spinal disks begin to dry and shrink, which allows more bone-on-bone contact between the vertebrae leading to dehydrated disks and reasons for cervical spondylosis.
- Stiffness in spinal ligaments which happens with age leads to lessening your neck flexibility.
- Bone spurs which happen due to disk degeneration can sometimes pinch the spinal cord and nerve roots.
- Due to family history of neck pain and spondylosis can often cause cervical spondylosis.
- Smoking is directly connected to the increase in neck pain.
- Any kind of depression or anxiety can also lead to neck pain.
- The previous injury or trauma to the neck can also lead to cervical spondylosis.
Diagnosis and Tests for Cervical Spondylosis:
During your physical examination, your doctor will check your tender points and also ask some questions to understand your symptoms and injuries. Later, your doctor may order imaginary diagnostic tests to confirm the diagnosis of cervical spondylosis:
Your doctor will check the physical strength of your arms, fingers, and hands. Your doctor will also diagnose your blood flow. The neck and arms flexibility is also diagnosed. The way of walking or gait is also diagnosed. Your sensation during touch on a particular area of pain is also checked.
MRI Scans: The magnetic resonance imaging gives the better images of the body’s soft tissues, like muscles, disks, nerves, and the spinal cord. MRI determines the damage to soft tissues such as a herniated disk.
X-Rays: The x-rays show the image of dense structures like bone. It will also show the alignment of the bones along your neck and also the degenerative changes in your cervical spine.
CT Scans: The CT scans show the more detailed x-ray, which shows the better view of your spinal canal and bone spurs.
Myelogram: In this kind of CT scan, a contrast dye is injected into the spinal canal to make the spinal cord and nerve roots more visible.
Home treatment for Cervical Spondylosis:
In some of the cases, the cervical spondylosis is not much severe, so that it can recover with the help of some home remedies:
- To provide support to your neck and to make the movement limited, a cervical collar can be worn.
- The hot water bags and cold ice packs can be used to provide relieve in your swelling, stiffness, and pain.
- Your doctor may suggest you to take rest whenever possible.
- Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or other non-narcotic products to relief from inflammation can be used only after the recommendation of your doctor.
Physiotherapy treatment for Cervical Spondylosis:
The following physiotherapy treatment can be given by your doctor:
Exercise for Cervical Spondylosis:
- Neck extension
- Side Bending
- Neck flexion
- Neck rotation
Physiotherapy treatment in cervical spondylosis
Cervical traction: Cervical traction can be recommended by your doctor to help the harness which is fastened around the patient’s neck. It can be used while sitting, lying, also in an anti-gravity position.
SWD: The Short Wave Diathermy can be used by placing a heating pad over the back of the neck. The warmness of the shortwave diathermy current relaxes the muscle and the pain is reduced.
TENS: The Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation can be used to stimulate your muscles with by the variable electrical current. It helps to reduce the muscle spasm, stiffness and pain. It also promotes the flow of endorphin which is a natural painkiller.
Laser: A new and advanced method for pain and swelling reduction. We are using the laser for best relief in pain.