Symptoms of cervical disc osteophyte complex

Written by erin watson-price
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Symptoms of cervical disc osteophyte complex
That stiff neck may be more than just sore muscles. (shoulder and neck masage image by Sean Wallace-Jones from

Cervical disc osteophyte complex originates in the vertebrae of the neck and is one form of cervical disc degeneration. Symptoms vary depending on the degree and location of the degeneration.


Cervical discs are fluid-filled sacs that act as cushions between the bony surfaces of vertebrae. Cervical disc degeneration results over time as a natural part of ageing or from severe injury to the neck. As the disc degenerates, the body responds by forming an osteophyte to protect the damaged area.

What is an Osteophyte?

An osteophyte is a bone spur or area of extra calcification that forms in response to bone-on-bone stress. Bone spurs are actually smooth areas of extra growth that cause pain by pressing against surrounding tissue and nerves.

Mild Symptoms

Initial symptoms of cervical disc osteophyte complex include stiffness in the neck or arms, as well as headaches.

Cervical Radiculopathy

Severe osteophytes may press against spinal nerves causing shooting pain in the neck and arms. Patients may experience numbness or weakness in their extremities.

Cervical Myelopathy

If the osteophyte presses against the spinal cord, the result is extreme pain in the arms and legs. Additionally, the patient will develop trouble using their hands and walking.

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