Cervical spondylosis, also referred to as neck arthritis, is the degeneration that occurs in the neck's vertebrae. The bones and cartilage begin to show wear, and the joints are not as cushioned as in normal situations. Age is the primary cause of spondylosis, though the condition may develop as a result of injury or other trauma to the back and neck. Spondylosis may present itself in a wide range of symptoms, which will vary from person to person. Treatment for cervical spondylosis includes rest, physiotherapy, medication for pain control, and in some severe cases, surgery.
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Pain is the primary symptom of cervical spondylosis, and may occur in many areas of the body. Neck pain may be caused by the degeneration of the joints and from bone spurs that sometimes form in conjunction with spondylosis. The pain may also spread down to the arms and legs if the wear and tear causes a nerve in the neck or back to be compressed. Some patients who have spondylosis also complain of headaches. Patients can take over-the-counter medications to alleviate their pain, but should discuss their symptoms with a doctor if they do not get relief.
Loss of Feeling
Numbness and tingling is consistent with many back and neck problems that cause irritation to the nerves, including cervical spondylosis. Most often, the loss of feeling is limited to the arms, but may also affect a person's legs. Loss of feeling in the bladder area due to spondylosis may lead to both urinary and fecal incontinence, according to the experts at the Mayo Clinic. Loss of sensation in the bladder is rare and usually points to severe damage that can be corrected through surgery.
People who have spondylosis may sometimes have difficulties holding their balance and walking. These balance issues should be examined by a doctor to rule out other underlying conditions, such as ear infection, vertigo or other neurological disorders. Loss of balance usually comes along with other symptoms of spondylosis, such as pain and tingling in the extremities.
Weakness and having poor reflexes in your arms (and sometimes legs) upon a physical exam can be another sign of spondylosis. The weak muscle tone and reflexes are both a direct result of nerve damage that occurs during the degeneration process. The reduction in reflexes may be something you have not even noticed until you are examined by your doctor.
Range of Motion
Having a limited range of motion in your neck as you turn your head to each side can be a symptom of spondylosis, especially if your neck is very painful. Doing exercises as prescribed by your doctor or physical therapist and applying heat to your stiff muscles can be ways of managing this painful symptom. Over time, if you are responding to treatment, your range of motion will return.
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