Cervical spondylosis is also known as neck arthritis and cervical arthritis. Affecting the discs and joints of the neck, cervical spondylosis is a relatively common condition that develops due to wear and tear on the bones and cartilage of the cervical spine, which is found in the neck. Cervical spondylosis is most commonly associated with age, but it can also be caused by various other things. According to doctors it is present in over 85% of those over 60 years old.
Although cervical spondylosis is found in a large percentage of older people, many have few or no noticeable symptoms. If symptoms are present, they range from mild to very severe and can develop either suddenly or over a period of time. While the condition is not reversible, custom made pillows, supportive neck braces, and physical therapy often help to alleviate the symptoms.
One of the more common symptoms is pain in and around the area of the shoulder blade. Many patients complain of pain in the fingers and along the arm as well. This pain may increase in severity when:
- Tilting the head back
Another symptom commonly reported is muscle weakness that makes it difficult to grasp things firmly or lift the arms. Other signs that you may suffer from cervical spondylosis can include:
- A stiff neck which becomes worse rather than going away
- Recurring headaches that seem to center at the back of your head
- Numbness or tingling that affects mainly the arms and shoulders, but may also affect the legs
Less frequently, sufferers reported other symptoms such as loss of bowel or bladder control and loss of balance. If these symptoms occur, immediate medical attention is warranted.
There are many treatments for cervical spondylosis. For severe symptoms surgery may be necessary, but most often physical therapy and medication are the treatment of choice. Medications often include muscle relaxants to relieve muscle spasms or steroid injections to reduce the inflammation causing the pain. In addition to treatment, doctors often recommend custom made pillows that are made to support the head properly while you sleep. A custom made pillow conforms to the head and supports the cervical spine to minimize stress on the joints and discs.