Diagnosis: Cervical spondylosis refers to wear and tear of cervical disks in the spine. As people age, discs begin to dehydrate and signs of arthritis develop, such as bony prominences on the edges of the vertebrae. It is a common diagnosis and tends to worsen with age.
Symptoms: For many people, cervical spondylosis is present without symptoms. Apparent symptoms might include pain and stiffness of the neck.
In other cases, spondylosis might result in narrowing of the canals the spinal cord and nerve roots pass through to connect to the rest of your body. If the spinal cord or nerve roots are pinched due to decreased space, symptoms might include:
- Numbness, tingling, and/or weakness of extremities
- Difficulty walking with decreased coordination
- Bowel and bladder symptoms
Causes: General aging results in wear and tear of the spine resulting in:
- Dehydrated discs: Discs act as cushions supporting each vertebrae of your spine. As we age, discs begin to dry out resulting on increasing bone-on-bone contact between the vertebrae.
- Herniated discs. The exterior of the spinal discs are also affected by age. They can crack which leads to disc bulging (herniation). This can sometimes push on the nerve roots causing symptoms further down the extremities.
- Bone spurs. Disc degeneration can result in increased amounts of bone formation in an attempt to strengthen the spine. Such bone spurs can sometimes pinch off the spinal cord and nerve roots.
- Stiff ligaments. Ligaments, tissue in a cord formation that connects bone to bone, can stiffen with age. This might limit range of motion making your neck less flexible.
Our Physical Therapy Treatment: A physical therapist will diagnose the contributing factors toward spondylosis and develop a treatment plan to address such problems. Treatment is dependent on the individual and the severity of spondylosis, however it might include:
- Mechanical diagnoses/treatment for promotion of improved movement and pain reduction
- Postural education and awareness
- Cervical stability and strengthening exercises
- Functional activity training