Before we start explaining about the causes of Cervical Spondylosis, let’s define it.
Spondylosis is a disorder that occurs due to degenerative changes of the spine, primarily of the intervertebral discs (which is a structure placed between two vertebrae) and of the articular cartilage. Depending on the affected area of the spine, we differ:
- Cervical Spondylosis – which affects the spine in the area of the neck
- Thoracic Spondylosis – which affects the middle area of the spine
- Lumbar Spondylosis – which affects the lower back
What are the symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis?
- Pain and stiffness in the neck
- Limited movements of the neck
- Pain and stiffness in the shoulders
Finally, let’s discuss the causes of this condition
Cervical Spondylosis most commonly occurs due to aging. Over 85% of the individuals diagnosed with this condition are over 60 years of age. Over time there are certain changes which occur in the spinal structures that can lead to Cervical Spondylosis. Other causes, apart from aging, are:
- The occurrence of osteophytes. Osteophytes represent bone growths that form in the spine and therefore cause pressure on the nerve roots and/or the spinal cord.
- Degeneration of the intervertebral disc. As we mentioned before, the intervertebral disc represents a structure that is inserted between two vertebrae. This disc acts as a “shock absorber” of the spine. Over time certain changes occur which cause a loss of elasticity and reduced overall mass of the disc. This leads to an increased risk of a direct contact between the two vertebrae.
- Intervertebral disc herniation. A herniated disc occurs when the fibrous outer portion of the disc ruptures or tears and the central part squeezes out and can cause a pressure on the nerve roots and/or the spinal cord.
- Thickening of the ligaments. Ligaments are represented as structures which connect the bones to one another. In the case of a thickening of the ligaments in the area of the cervical spine, the movements of the neck are limited.
The good news – there are many treatment options!
Luckily doctors have found many treatment options that can help you relieve the pain and with time to increase the neck’s ability to move at its normal ranges. Most commonly this condition is treated with massage, physical therapy and the use of medications. Some cases where there is a pressure on the nerve roots or the spinal cord may require a surgical treatment.
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