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Cervical Spondylosis

Daily wear and tear on the body can cause changes to the bones, discs and joints of your neck, a condition called cervical spondylosis. The most common symptoms of cervical spondylosis are neck pain and stiffness, the result of the cervical discs losing fluid and becoming stiff over time. In some cases, these changes can compress the nerve roots in the spinal cord, causing numbness, tingling and difficulty walking. Cervical spondylosis is very common - affecting more that 85% of people over 60 - and tends to get worse as you age.

If you have chronic neck pain, schedule an appointment with your SSM Health provider to learn how we can help you feel better and improve your quality of life.

Signs & Symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis

Symptoms of cervical spondylosis may develop over time. These can include:

  • Neck stiffness and pain
  • Headaches, which may originate in the neck
  • Pain in the shoulders or arms
  • Inability to fully bend the neck or turn the head
  • A grinding noise or feeling when turning the neck

If you notice your symptoms worsening or if you’re experiencing new symptoms, schedule an appointment with your SSM Health provider for an evaluation.

Treating Cervical Spondylosis

To determine the cause of your neck pain, your physician will ask you about your symptoms and perform a physical exam. In addition, your physician may order an X-ray of your neck and spine to look for any changes. If your pain does not improve with treatment, or if you begin experiencing weakness or numbness in your arms and hands, an MRI may be necessary to give your doctor a more detailed view of your neck and spine. In most cases, conservative treatments will successfully treat your neck pain. These may include:

  • Rest
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Physical therapy
  • Traction
  • Medications injected into the spine or surrounding area
  • A cervical collar to provide support and limit movement

Surgery is only considered in rare cases when there is a severe loss of function in the arms, legs, feet or fingers. As with any type of procedure, the goal of surgery is to remove the source of pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.

Should surgery be necessary, you can trust that you are in good hands. SSM Health back and spine specialists offer the most advanced techniques available. Throughout your treatment they’ll work closely with SSM Health occupational and physical therapists to support you in your recovery. Find a provider today to learn how we can help you overcome your neck pain.

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