Cervical Spondylosis

It’s a disorder that results from abnormal growth of the bones of the neck (cervical vertebrae) and degeneration and mineral deposits in the cushions between the vertebrae (cervical disks). Cervical spondylosis results from chronic degeneration (wear and tear) of the cervical spine.

These accumulated changes from degeneration can gradually compress one or more of the nerve roots. This can cause increasing pain in the neck and arm, weakness, and changes in sensation. In advanced cases, the spinal cord becomes involved which can affect not just the arms but the legs as well.


  • Dizziness
  • Progressive neck pain is a key indication of cervical spondylosis.
  • Weakness, numbness in one arm
  • Examination often shows limited ability to bend the head toward the shoulders and limited ability to rotate the head.

Diagnostic Tests

  • A spine or neck X-ray shows abnormalities that indicate cervical spondylosis.
  • A spine MRI confirms the diagnosis.
  • A myelogram (X-ray or CT scan after injection of dye into the spinal column) may be recommended to clearly identify the extent of injury.


The goal of treatment is relief of pain and prevention of permanent spinal cord and nerve root injury.
In mild disease, no treatment is required. Symptoms from cervical spondylosis usually stabilize or regress with simple, conservative therapy including a cervical collar (neck brace) to restrict motion and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs). Rarely, intermittent neck traction may be recommended instead of, or in addition to, a cervical collar. This usually consists of a halter-like device placed on the head and neck and attached to pulleys and weights.

For severe disease, hospitalization with complete bed rest and traction for 1 or 2 weeks may be needed. Narcotic medicine or muscle relaxants may help to reduce pain.

Surgical decompression of the spinal cord in the neck may be recommended for severe pain or for significant loss of movement, sensation, or function. Surgical procedures may involve removal of bone and disc tissue impinging on the nerves of the spinal cord and stabilization of the neck by fusing the cervical vertebrae.

One needs to see an orthopedician (specialist of bone disease) for further evaluation and diagnostic tests.

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