About one-third of people with neck arthritis also have headaches, which tend to be located in the lower skull area. Two other types of symptoms that are common in people with cervical spondylosis are radiculopathy and myelopathy.
Most of the time some form of pressure on the spinal nerve root is what causes the symptoms. The spinal cord is a long, tube-like nervous structure that runs the length of the spine.
In the spine they serve a purpose by helping to increase the joint's surface area and more evenly distribute weight that's placed on it during everyday activity. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons says the condition is very common in this and older populations.
If your spinal canal and/or intervertebral foramen are naturally small in diameter, your risk for complications of degenerative changes may be higher. It is also associated with increased risk for degenerative disc disease and failed back surgery.
A 2009 study published in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders reported a strong link between psychosocial factors and neck pain in general. The authors conclude by saying “the higher the neck pain level, the more attention should be paid to psychosocial distress as a related burden.” The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons says that if your job involves a lot of repeated neck motion and/or work that takes place above your head, your risk may again be higher.
CT geography is most often used when surgery is involved, as opposed to first time or asymptomatic diagnosis. Another type of test that doctors use to diagnose (or confirm a diagnosis of) radiculopathy is a nerve conduction study.
It is sometimes given in conjunction with an electromyography (EGG) test which measures nerve to muscle functioning both during contraction and relaxation. The nerve conduction test may give you some discomfort as an electrical stimulus will be introduced via electrodes on the skin.
Pain relievers. Peter Pamela/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images Your primary care doctor or general internist may be able to provide treatment for your cervical spondylosis. Instead, conservative care may help you control pain and slow the progression of the disease.
Signs you may need surgery include pain that is difficult or impossible to control, and/or radiculopathy symptoms that worsen over time. If your symptoms are mild or moderate, and if you do not have progressive nerve problems, you may only need conservative care.
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Like the rest of the body, the disks and joints in the neck (cervical spine) slowly degenerate as we age. Cervical spondylosis, commonly called arthritis of the neck, is the medical term for these age-related, wear-and-tear changes that occur over time.
The seven small vertebrae that begin at the base of the skull and form the neck comprise the cervical spine. These “electrical” cables travel through the spinal canal carrying messages between your brain and muscles.
Nerve roots branch out from the spinal cord through openings in the vertebrae (foramen). Cervical spondylosis arises from degenerative changes that occur in the spine as we age.
In fact, nearly half of all people middle-aged and older have worn disks that do not cause painful symptoms. The smooth, slippery articular cartilage that covers and protects the joints wears away.
Specific exercises can help relieve pain, as well as strengthen and stretch weakened or strained muscles. During the first phase of treatment, your doctor may prescribe several medications to be used together to address both pain and inflammation.
Often prescribed with acetaminophen, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen are considered first-line medications for neck pain. They relieve both pain and swelling and may be prescribed for a number of weeks, depending on your specific symptoms.
Medications such as cyclobenzaprine or carisoprodol can be used to treat painful muscle spasms. This is a padded ring that wraps around the neck and is held in place with Velcro.
A soft collar should only be worn for a short period of time since long-term wear may decrease the strength of the muscles in your neck. Your doctor may recommend careful use of ice, heat, massage, and other local therapies to help relieve symptoms.
This procedure is typically used for neck and/or arm pain that may be due to a cervical disk herniation, also known as radiculopathy or a “pinched nerve.” In this procedure, steroid and anesthetic medicine is injected into the capsule of the facet joint.
The facet joints are located in the back of the neck and provide stability and movement. During the diagnosis portion of the procedure, the nerve that supplies the facet joint is blocked with a local anesthetic.
Patients who have progressive neurologic symptoms, such as arm weakness, numbness, or falling, are more likely to be helped by surgery. This may be due to the widespread nature of their arthritis, other medical problems, or other causes for their pain, such as fibromyalgia.