Cervical Spondylitis is characterized by abnormal growth of bones of the spine in the neck region, degeneration, protrusion and deposition of calcium in the cushions (known as intervertebral discs) between the cervical vertebrae.
In middle-aged and elderly persons, some degree of degenerative changes in the cervical spine is a common finding and it usually does not produce any symptom. Degeneration of the cushions between vertebrae may compress the nerves and cause symptoms of cervical Spondylitis. Usually, the disc between fifth and sixth (C5/ C6), sixth and seventh (C6/ C7) or fourth and fifth (C4/ C5) cervical vertebra are affected.
Individuals with increasing degenerative changes in the cervical region may not experience any symptoms or discomfort. The symptoms usually appear when the cervical nerves or spinal cord get stretched or compressed. They include:
- Neck pain, which may also be felt (radiate) in arms and shoulder
- Neck stiffness with restricted head movements
- Headache, particularly at the back of the head (occipital headache)
- Tingling, burning sensation or loss of sensation at shoulder, arms or fore arm.
- Nausea, vomiting, giddiness or vertigo
- Muscle weakness or wasting of muscles of the shoulder, arms, or hands
- Weakness in lower limbs and loss of control of the bladder and bowel movements (if spinal cord is compressed).
The goal of the treatment is to:
- Relieve pain and other symptoms due to nerve compression
- Prevent permanent spinal cord or nerve root damage
- Prevent further degeneration.
These can be achieved by the following measures:
- Exercises to strengthen the neck muscles may prove beneficial but should be done only after consulting the doctor. Exercises maybe learned from a physiotherapist and practiced at home regularly.
- Cervical collar: Restriction of neck movements by means of cervical collar may relieve pain.
Source: Portal Content Team
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