Cervical Spondylosis in older adults

By avn
9:56 am Posted June 3, 2016
In Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical spondylosis is caused due to the shrinking and degeneration of bones in the vertebrae. This syndrome majorly affects the bones in the neck and shoulders resulting in discomfort and severe pain. Cervical spondylosis or osteoarthritis is associated with aging and degeneration of the bones. In extreme cases of cervical spondylosis, bony projections or abnormal growth may occur in the edges of the bones. Survey has proved that more than 85% of people older than 60 years are affected by cervical spondylosis.

Most commonly cervical spondylosis has no alarming symptoms. The pain and disturbance in performing daily activities can be eased by few non-surgical treatments.

Symptoms

Cervical spondylosis causes no symptoms. If they do occur, it surfaces out in the form of pain. Pain, stiffness of the neck and shoulder. In few cases, the duct of the spinal cord is narrowed due to impingement of the bones. This disables the nerves to smoothly communicate with the rest of the body leading to pain and inability to function normally. Here, the patient may experience:

  • Tingling, numbness and weakness of the arms, hands, legs or feet
  • Lack of coordination and difficulty in performing daily activities
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

Causes

Due to aging, bones and cartilages gradually wear out, which is unavoidable. Cervical spondylosis is most commonly due to such wear-and-tear but can also be caused in exceptional cases due to:

    • Dehydration of disks in the spine

The disks between the vertebrae and spine act as a lubricant or more like a cushion, which avoid the bones from coming in contact with each other. Age, shrinks out, dries out this lubricant, and gives way for the bones to contact each other between the vertebrae. This causes pain in the functioning of the arms, hand and legs.

    • Herniated disks

In few other cases of cervical spondylosis, the exterior disks of the spine are damaged due to cracks in its surface. This results in bulged out or herniated spinal disks which applies pressure on the spinal cord and the nerve roots

    • Bone spurs

The degeneration of the spinal disks produces abnormal growth of the bone, impinging the spine path. This also results in pain, which affects the spinal cord and nerve roots

    • Stiff ligaments

The neck bones comprise of ligaments, which facilitate the free movement of the neck. These ligaments connect from bone-to-bone lubricating the movement. Aging, stiffens these tissues or ligaments which may also cause cervical spondylosis

Risk factors

Cervical spondylosis is majorly caused due to the following reasons:

  • Aging is a major reason
  • Occupational factors like poor posturing or continuous stress on the neck is yet another cause
  • Severe injuries in the past may also contribute towards this clinical condition
  • Smoking has been associated to cervical spondylosis
  • Genetic factors also play a very important role in the occurrence of cervical spondylosis

In extremely complicated conditions, the damage to the spinal nerves may be irreversible and permanent leading to paralysis or complete disability.

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