Cervical spondylosis is a disorder that affects some of the seven cervical vertebrae and elastic cartilage discs between them. Bone extrusions are developed on vertebrae, often accompanied by distortion or curing of discs (which resemble sealing rings). The neck therefore becomes stiff and the nerves in the upper part of the spinal cord, especially those that connect the spine with their hands and fingers, are subjected to abnormal pressure. The cause of this disorder is unknown, and occurs especially in middle-aged people and older people. However, it is well known that, with years, bones become roughen and they bend.
The main symptom of cervical spondylosis is a stiff, painful neck. Pressure that affects the nerve that leads to the hand and arms may cause symptoms such as tingling, numbness, and sometimes pain (most commonly in hands). These symptoms usually occur on one side only.
A pressure in the neck may eventually affect other parts of the spinal cord. Thus, for example, if cervical spondylosis becomes more severe, there may be a gradual weakening of the leg, possibly even urinary disorders. In some cases, a tightening of the blood vessels through the cervical spine to the brain is possible, with symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, convulsion or double vision, especially if you try to bend your neck.
Cervical spondylosis is a common disorder, especially in the elderly. In the United Kingdom approximately 1 person out of 150 is diagnosed with this disorder per year. There are many more people with a mild form of this disorder who do not seek medical help. Cervical spondylosis affects equally men and women.
Mild symptoms of cervical spondylosis cause discomfort, but they are not a serious problem. In many cases, the symptoms do not deteriorate. However, if the symptoms do get worse and if the lower spinal cord is affected, there is a risk of serious and irreversible damage, which in severe cases can lead to paralysis of the lower half of the body.
What to do?
If the mild symptoms persist, and they seem to get worse, contact a doctor who will look at you and, probably, take X-rays of neck. If cervical spondylosis caused your legs to become weaker, you will probably have to go to myelography to determine the extent of spinal cord injury.
Uncomfortable symptoms of cervical spondylosis are cured by regular wearing of a plastic collar during the day; at night, a person wears a more comfortable, soft collar. The collar limits the head movements and supports it in a position that minimizes pressure on the cervical nerves and blood vessels. A patient usually wears this collar for about three months and, in most cases, there are no further difficulties. While you wear a collar, your doctor may advise you to take analgesics, such as aspirin or paracetamol, as well as a resting agent, to relax and prevent neck muscle twitching.
If symptoms persist, which is rare, or if new symptoms appear, you may need to go to hospital for stretching or surgery. The surgical procedure extends the passage of the nerve through the spinal cord and / or ”fusion” of some cervical vertebrae is performed. Any of these procedures, or both, will usually significantly alleviate the symptoms, although they may affect the ability to bend the neck.