Cervical spondylosis

Cervical spondylosis is a general term for age-related wear and tear affecting the spinal disks in your neck. As the disks dehydrate and shrink, bone spurs and other signs of osteoarthritis develop.

Cervical spondylosis is very common and worsens with age. There also appears to be a genetic component involved because some families will have more of these changes over time, while other families will develop less.

More than 90 percent of people older than age 65 have evidence of cervical spondylosis and osteoarthritis that can be seen on neck X-rays. Most of these people experience no symptoms from these problems. When symptoms do occur, nonsurgical treatments often are effective.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications

In most cases, cervical spondylosis causes no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they typically affect only the neck — causing pain and stiffness.

Sometimes, cervical spondylosis results in a narrowing of the space needed by the spinal cord and the nerve roots that originate at the spinal cord and pass through the spine to the rest of your body. If the spinal cord or nerve roots become pinched, you may experience:

  • Tingling, numbness and weakness in your arms, hands, legs or feet
  • Lack of coordination and difficulty walking
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

When to see a doctor

Seek medical attention if you notice sudden onset of numbness or weakness, or loss of bladder or bowel control.

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