Cervical spondylosis is a degenerative diseasein which there is abnormal wear on the cartilage and bones of the neck(cervical vertebrae).
It is a common causeof chronic neck pain. The fourth to seventh cervicalvertebrae are most commonly affected by these degenerative changes. Middle-aged people and women are more prone to cervicalspondylosis.
Thebones in the neck begin to degenerate with aging. Disc degeneration (collapse,of the disc spaces and loss of disc space height) andbone spurs lead to cervical spondylosis. The disc space becomes narrow andgradually compresses the nerve. In advanced cases of cervical spondylosis,spinal cord is affected and may also lead to paralysis of the arm.
Neckpain and stiffness resulting in limitation of movement; and numbnessor weakness in arms, hands, and fingers can be commonly seen in patients with cervical spondylosis.
A thorough physicalexamination, neck X-ray, MRI of the neck and EMG aid in the diagnosis.
Neck immobilizationwith soft collars, pain management with NSAIDs or muscle relaxants, cervicaltraction and physiotherapy prove to be efficacious in treating cervicalspondylosis. However, surgery is advised in cases of severe pain and nerve rootcompression. Surgery for cervical spondylosis involves correction of thedegenerative pathologic entities that compress a nerve root or the spinal cord.
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