Cervical Spondylosis

The term "cervical spondylosis" refers to age-related wear and tear to your neck's spinal discs. Osteoarthritis starts developing when the bony protrusions around the bone and discs dry out and shrink (also known as bone spurs).

The prevalence of cervical spondylosis increases with age. Cervical spondylosis affects more than 85% of adults over the age of 60.

Typically, cervical spondylosis has no symptoms. However, when symptoms do appear, nonsurgical therapies can usually help improve the condition.

Cervical Spondylosis


Mostly, patients do not report any symptoms for cervical spondylosis. When symptoms appear, they usually involve neck discomfort and stiffness.

Sometimes, the spinal canal within the bones of the spine narrows due to cervical spondylosis. The spinal canal is the area between the vertebrae through which the spinal cord and nerve roots travel in order to reach the rest of the body. The following symptoms could occur if the spinal cord or nerve roots are pinched:

  • Tingling of arms, hands, legs, or feet, making you feel numb, or weak
  • Walking difficulties and a lack of coordination
  • A lack of bowel or bladder control

When to see a doctor?

If you experience a sudden onset of numbness, weakness, or loss of bladder or bowel control, seek immediate medical attention.

Get the best treatment for Cervical spondylosis from our experienced Orthopaedics,and Neurosurgeons at Medicover Hospitals.


The elements that make up the backbone and neck increasingly deteriorate with old age in both men and women. These alterations could involve:

Dried-up discs:

The discs between the spine's vertebrae function as cushions. Most people's spinal discs start drying out and shrinking by the time they turn 40. There is increased bone-on-bone contact between the vertebrae as the discs get smaller.

Disc herniations:

The outer surfaces of the spinal discs also show signs of cracking. These gaps are small enough for a disk's soft interior to fit through. This can occasionally cause the spinal cord and nerve roots to be compressed.

Bone growths:

The body may make more bone as the discs degenerate in an erroneous attempt to fortify the spine. Sometimes, these bone spurs can enclose the spinal cord and roots of nerves.

Rigid ligaments:

Ligaments are tissue strands that join one bone to another. Age-related spinal ligament stiffening can reduce flexibility of the neck.

Risk factors

The following are risk factors for cervical spondylosis:


As people age, cervical spondylosis is a regular occurrence.


The neck is particularly stressed by jobs that require a lot of overhead work, uncomfortable posture, or repetitive neck movements.

Neck wounds:

Cervical spondylosis risk seems to be increased by prior neck traumas.

Genetic influences:

Over time, some people in particular families go through more of such changes due to genetics.


Smoking is associated with worsening neck pain.

Diagnosis and treatment

To diagnose this condition, your doctor will suggest some tests and physical examinations such as:

  • Evaluating your neck's range of motion
  • Finding out if there is pressure on your spinal nerves or spinal cord. This requires testing your reflexes and muscular strength.
  • Observing your gait to see there is an impact on spinal compression

Imaging tests

Imaging exams can deliver comprehensive information to support diagnosis and care. Examples are-

A neck X-ray:

Bone spurs and other abnormalities to the spine that are indicative of cervical spondylosis can be seen on an X-ray. Additionally, a neck X-ray can rule out uncommon and more severe causes of neck pain and stiffness including tumors, cancer, infections, or fractures.


Intense magnetic field and radio waves are used in MRIs to provide precise images that can assist in identifying potential nerve compression sites.

MRI of the spine

An imaging dye is injected into the spinal canal during this sort of CT scan to produce more precise results. This examination makes it simpler to see the spinal cord, spinal canal, and nerve roots in detail.

Tests of nerve function

Tests may be required to establish whether nerve signals are reaching your muscles correctly. Tests of nerve functions include:


This examination tracks the electrical activity of your nerves as they communicate with your muscles both, while they are contracting and when they are at rest

Study of nerve conduction:

Above the nerve to be investigated, electrodes are affixed to the skin. The strength and speed of nerve signals are measured by administering a brief shock through the nerve.


The severity of cervical spondylosis affects the course of the treatment. The purpose of treatment is to reduce discomfort, assist you in continuing your regular activities to the greatest extent feasible, and guard your spinal cord and nerves against long-term damage.


If over-the-counter painkillers are insufficient, your doctor may advise:

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory:

NSAIDs, including ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and other brands) and naproxen sodium (Aleve), are frequently sold over-the-counter and may help with the inflammation. To treat the pain and inflammation brought on by cervical spondylosis, you might need prescription-strength versions.


Prednisone used orally for a brief period of time may reduce discomfort. The use of steroid injections may be beneficial if your discomfort is severe.

Muscle relaxants:

Some medications, including cyclobenzaprine (Amrix, Fexmid), can ease neck muscle spasms.

Anti - epileptic drugs:

The discomfort from injured nerves can be reduced by some epilepsy drugs.


Some antidepressants may reduce neck pain brought on by cervical spondylosis.


You can learn exercises from a physical therapist to help stretch and build up the muscles in your neck and shoulders. One of the best remedies for pain and stiffness may be therapy. In some individuals with cervical spondylosis, traction can offer greater room within the spine if nerve roots are being compressed.


  • In order to give your spinal cord and nerve roots more room, surgery may be necessary. This is usually done if nonsurgical treatments are unsuccessful or neurological problems such as weakness in your arms or legs worsen.
  • A herniated disk, bone spurs, or a portion of a vertebra may all need to be removed during surgery. Your neck may require bone grafts and hardware to fuse a section.

Lifestyle changes and Selfcare

Responses to mild cervical spondylosis may include:

Exercising regularly:

Even if you temporarily change parts of your routines due to neck pain, continuing your exercise regimen will aid in your rehabilitation. Neck and lower back discomfort are less common in those who walk regularly.

Over-the-counter painkillers:

For most people, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, etc.), naproxen sodium (Aleve), or acetaminophen (Tylenol, etc.) are sufficient pain relievers for cervical spondylosis-related discomfort.

Ice or heat:

Painful neck muscles can be relieved by applying heat or cold to the area.

Soft neck supporters:

Thanks to the brace, your neck muscles can rest. A neck brace should only be worn for brief periods of time as long-term usage can weaken neck muscles and result in stiffness.

Do’s and Don’ts

A person with Cervical spondylosis has to follow sets of do’s and don’ts to manage it and related symptoms and infections.

Do’s Don’ts
Treat acute discomfort with medication as prescribed, rest, and immobilise your neck as needed Forget to sit and walk with proper posture
Perform neck-strengthening and active motion activities Forget to wear seat belts while driving
Extend and bend your neck carefully Engage in any vigorous activity until your doctor gives advice
Reduce cervical spine bruising Stop working out and maintain your optimum body weight
Avoid "popping" your neck Play contact sports
Call your doctor if you have abrupt paralysis or muscle weakness Sit in a slouched chair or bed

Cervical spondylosis has to be taken care of and managed properly. Follow the above tips to prevent complications.

Cervical Spondylosis Care at Medicover

At Medicover Hospitals, we have the most trusted team of doctors and medical experts who are experienced in providing excellent healthcare services to patients with compassion and care. Our diagnostic department is equipped with modern technology and equipment to conduct the tests required for the diagnosis of Cervical spondylosis based on which a dedicated treatment plan is designed. We have an excellent team of Orthopaedic specialists Neurologists and Physiotherapists who diagnose and treat this condition with utmost precision that brings successful treatment outcomes.



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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is cervical spondylosis?

Cervical spondylosis, also known as cervical osteoarthritis or neck arthritis, is a degenerative condition that affects the cervical spine (neck region). It involves the wear and tear of the neck's spinal discs, bones, and joints.

2. What causes cervical spondylosis?

Cervical spondylosis is primarily driven by ageing. Over time, the discs in the cervical spine dehydrate and shrink, leading to bone spurs (osteophytes) and other degenerative changes. Other factors like genetics, injury, and poor posture can also contribute.

3. What are the common symptoms of cervical spondylosis?

Common symptoms include neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and numbness or tingling in the arms, hands, or fingers. Some people may experience muscle weakness and difficulty in maintaining balance or walking.

4. How is cervical spondylosis diagnosed?

Diagnosis typically involves a physical examination, medical history review, and imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), or CT (Computed Tomography) scans—these help assess the extent of degeneration and any nerve compression.

5. Can cervical spondylosis be prevented?

While you can't avoid the natural ageing process, you can reduce the risk of developing cervical spondylosis by maintaining good posture, avoiding excessive neck strain, and practising regular neck-strengthening exercises. Quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy lifestyle may also help.

6. What are the treatment options for cervical spondylosis?

Treatment options vary depending on the severity of symptoms. Conservative treatments include rest, physical therapy, pain medications, and cervical collars. In more severe cases, injections or surgery may be recommended to alleviate pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.

7. Is surgery necessary for cervical spondylosis?

Surgery is usually considered when conservative treatments fail to provide relief or when there is a risk of permanent nerve damage. Standard surgical procedures include discectomy, cervical fusion, and artificial disc replacement. Your doctor will determine if surgery is necessary in your case.

8. Can cervical spondylosis lead to other complications?

In some cases, untreated cervical spondylosis can lead to complications such as spinal cord compression, myelopathy (spinal canal narrowing), or radiculopathy (pinched nerves). These conditions can result in weakness, loss of coordination, or even paralysis.

9. Can lifestyle changes help manage cervical spondylosis?

Yes, lifestyle modifications can play a significant role in managing cervical spondylosis. Maintaining a healthy weight, practising good posture, staying physically active, and avoiding activities that strain the neck can help alleviate symptoms and slow the condition's progression.

10. Is cervical spondylosis a lifelong condition?

Cervical spondylosis is a chronic condition, but its progression can be managed with appropriate treatment and lifestyle changes. Many people with cervical spondylosis can experience relief from their symptoms and lead an everyday life with proper care and management.