How Cervical Spondylosis Occurs and How To Treat It
Have you ever experienced sudden pain in your neck whenever you tilt your head, cough, sneeze or even when you stand? Do you experience muscle weakness, stiff necks, and consistent headaches? At some point in time, whenever we experience any form of pain on our backs, we almost always blame it on our age, by saying “I’m getting old” or stress. However, have you realised that it could be an actual problem?
This could be Cervical Spondylosis, an age-related condition affecting the discs and joints in the cervical spine located in the neck.
Cervical Spondylosis is pretty common among older people and is also known as neck arthritis or cervical osteoarthritis. This occurs because of the wear and tear of bones and cartilage as you age, but there are also other possibilities that cause cervical spondylosis.
In most cases, people with cervical spondylosis do not show major symptoms to alert them of the condition, other than feeling severe stiffness and pain in the fingers, along the arm and neck.
Not all is doom and gloom with cervical spondylosis, though; even if you have it, you can still live a perfectly normal life. How exactly? Read on to find out more!
What are the Causes for Cervical Spondylosis?
Other than the age factor, there are also many other reasons as to why someone may have cervical spondylosis, such as:
- Dehydrated Spinal Discs: Frequent rubbing of spinal vertebrae due to a lack of hydration in the spinal discs causes it to lose ability to absorb shock from physical movements, causing pain.
- Bone Spurs: As the body tries to grow extra bone to strengthen the spine, it can press on the nerves and spinal cord.
- Ligament Stiffness: A lack of proper exercise and stretching techniques can cause our ligaments in our neck to feel stiff over time, making it harder to move our neck.
- Herniated Discs: Also known as “slipped disc”, the tissue that is pushed out of its alignment can press on your nerves and spinal cord, causing further wear and tear on your spinal discs which can cause pain in various parts of the body.
- Overuse: When you do continuous and repetitive actions such as heavy lifting (and bad posture), extra pressure is put on the spine and result in premature wear and tear of your vertebrae.
- Existing injuries: Neck injuries caused by car accidents or falls can speed up the ageing process and lead to cervical spondylosis.
- Genetics: If you have a family member who also has cervical spondylosis, the likeliness of having it is possible.
- Lifestyle: Pre-existing conditions like obesity, lack of movement and exercise and smoking make it highly possible to cause cervical spondylosis.
When Do You Visit A Doctor or Chiropractor?
Although cervical spondylosis usually has no symptoms, if you suddenly experience symptoms as listed below, you should immediately seek professional help from a medical doctor or Chiropractor.
Do not delay treatment and seek help if:
- You experience sudden tingling or numbness in the legs, arms, or shoulder
- You lose bladder or bowel control
- The discomfort and pain interfere with your daily activities
How is Cervical Spondylosis Diagnosed?
Before getting treatment, medical doctors and chiropractors will do physical evaluations, ask questions and may refer for X-rays or other imaging to make certain that the condition is indeed cervical spondylosis.
Other conditions such as fibromyalgia must be ruled out, and the affected muscles, bones, and nerves must be determined. Other tests such as nerve function, imaging tests and reflex tests will also be carried out to check on sensory deficits and muscle weakness. Walking tests are also included to check on your posture and observe if there are any other indicators of cervical spondylosis.
How Do You Treat Cervical Spondylosis?
Getting professional help in order to deal with your condition, especially cervical spondylosis isn’t scary and something to be worried about. In fact, most cases of cervical spondylosis can be treated by conservative methods such as physical therapy and chiropractic care, and are considered some of the most effective ways to relieve pain and lower the risk of further damage to the neck and spine.
If the pain that you are experiencing in your neck is mild, you may consider getting a neck brace to provide more support and to relieve pressure. A heating or cold pack may also help in terms of relieving sore muscles. It is advisable to not wear a neck brace for too long as it can cause lack of blood circulation and weaken your neck muscles. Doing light exercise may also be beneficial.
However, if the pain does not subside and becomes worse, then it is strongly recommended to seek professional advice from a chiropractor or physical therapist and schedule an appointment to get a better look at your condition.
In cases where cervical spondylosis is too severe and cannot be treated with physical therapy or chiropractic care, surgery is usually the last resort. Although it is rare for surgery to be suggested, it still remains an option especially when movement of arms or neck is too painful to be carried out, or to remove excessive bone spurs or treat herniated discs that can be impinging on nerves causing neurological problems.
Book an Appointment at Elite Spine Centres, We Can Help
Remember, you don’t have to deal with this alone. At Elite Spine Centres, we use the Functional Correction Method (FCM) to treat both the cause and symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis.
Our FCM combines chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue therapies, deep tissue and sports massages, and rehabilitative exercises to strengthen your spinal column, muscles, and joints and give your body the capacity to heal properly on its own. It is a super non-invasive way of treating cervical spondylosis, and making sure you are comfortable and healthy in the long run is our priority.
Interested to learn more? Call us now to book an appointment and we’ll get you feeling better in no time!
Dr. Michael Bryant, doctor of chiropractic and member of the Alliance of Chiropractic (AOC) Singapore, graduated summa cum laude from Life University in Atlanta and received several distinctions, as well as completing additional coursework and NBCE certification in physiotherapy. Michael Bryant is the founder of Elite Spine Centers. Read more about Dr. Mike here.