Overview of Cervical Spondylosis and Arthritis of the Neck
Cervical spondylosis is a common neck condition often due to age related, plus other types, of degenerative changes that take place in spinal joints and discs.
You may know cervical spondylosis as neck osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease of the neck.
Osteoarthritis of the neck typically starts to make itself known at around the forty year mark, and it progresses as more years pile on. That said, men tend to develop it at a younger age than women.
Cervical spondylosis causes
The bones and protective cartilage in your neck are prone to wear and tear that can lead to cervical spondylosis. Possible causes of the condition include:
These overgrowths of bone are the result of the body trying to grow extra bone to make the spine stronger.
However, the extra bone can press on delicate areas of the spine, such as the spinal cord and nerves, resulting in pain.
Dehydrated spinal discs
Your spinal bones have discs between them, which are thick, padlike cushions that absorb the shock of lifting, twisting, and other activities. The gel-like material inside these discs can dry out over time. This causes your bones (spinal vertebrae) to rub together more, which can be painful.
This process can begin to happen in your 30s.
Spinal discs can develop cracks, which allows leakage of the internal cushioning material. This material can press on the spinal cord and nerves, resulting in symptoms such as arm numbness as well as pain that radiates down an arm.
If you’ve had an injury to your neck (during a fall or car accident, for example), this can accelerate the aging process.
The tough cords that connect your spinal bones to each other can become even stiffer over time, which affects your neck movement and makes the neck feel tight.
Some occupations or hobbies involve repetitive movements or heavy lifting (such as construction work). This can put extra pressure on the spine, resulting in early wear and tear.
Treatments and drugs
Treatment for cervical spondylosis depends on the severity of your signs and symptoms. The goal of treatment is to relieve pain, help you maintain your usual activities as much as possible, and prevent permanent injury to the spinal cord and nerves.
If over-the-counter pain relievers don't help, your doctor might suggest:
Muscle relaxants. Drugs such as cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril, Amrix) and methocarbamol (Robaxin) may help if you're having muscle spasms in your neck.
Anti-seizure drugs. Some types of epilepsy drugs, such as gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise, Horizant), and pregabalin (Lyrica), also work well to dull the pain of damaged nerves.
Narcotics. Some prescription pain relievers contain narcotics, such as hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, others) or oxycodone (Percocet, Roxicet, others).
Steroid injections. In some cases, injecting prednisone and a numbing agent into the area affected by cervical spondylosis may help.
If conservative treatment fails or if your neurological signs and symptoms — such as weakness in your arms or legs — are getting worse, you may need surgery to create more room for your spinal cord and nerve roots. This may involve removing a herniated disk or bone spurs, or it could require the removal of part of a vertebra.
A physical therapist can teach you exercises to help stretch and strengthen the muscles in your neck and shoulders. Some people with cervical spondylosis may benefit from the use of traction, which can help provide more space within the spine if nerve roots are being pinched.
Moxibustion is also a good physical therapy way. Moxibustion is a form of acupuncture that has been used by therapists and doctors for thousands of years. It improves the flow of Qi, which is the energy in the body, by the heating moxa that causes stimulation in the nerves and releasing endorphins to block pain.
iJoou is the world's first smart gear and app that brings the ancient healing power of Moxibustion to the modern world. Many sports stars and celebrities utilize Moxibustion to heal and return to the prime state.