Cervical Spondylosis, also called as cervical osteoarthritis is the damage of the vertebrae or spinal bone, due to changes in the bones, discs, joints due to wear-and-tear, which comes along with aging.
This spinal dysfunction is very common in the middle aged and elderly people. Because of aging, the cervical spine loses its fluidity, flexibility, becomes stiffer and gradually tends to break down.
This degeneration of discs and cartilages catalysis the formation of abnormal growth in the bones of the neck called as osteophytes. This external growth tends to narrow down the spinal column/openings of the spinal nerves. This condition, cervical spinal stenosis, is a complication arising out of cervical spondylosis.
Cervical spondylosis is accompanied by neck pain and stiffness of the bone. Though it is rarely progressive, corrective surgery is the only treatment helpful in complicated conditions.
In a percentage of people suffering from cervical spondylosis, the continuous pressure exerted on the spinal nerves complicates to a medical condition called cervical radioculopathy. Constant nerve compression may lead to a variety of symptoms based on the nerve, which has been affected. Cervical radioculopathy brings with it a tingling sensation, numbness and weakness of the arms and legs. Acute pain of the shoulder and chest, loss of body coordination, difficulty in walking, abnormal spinal reflexes, loss of bladder and bowel control are few other complications. Also due to the weakening of the muscles in the spinal nerve, the nerves are no longer able to signal the body muscles to contract normally. These are also because of nerve compression.
Cervical spondylosis, when unattended for a considerably long time complicates into yet another condition called as spinal stenosis wherein the spinal canal is impinged. This narrowing down of the spinal canal may damage the spinal cord itself. This condition is named as cervical myelopathy and is similar to cervical radioculopathy. Similar to cervical radioculopathy, this medical condition may cause a tingling sensation, discomfort of the shoulders, arms and legs. People suffering may also experience lack of coordination in extreme conditions.
With constant damage to the vertebrae, the impact of cervical myelopathy and cervical radiculopathy may be irreversible. The patients may become too weak to even walk and perform their daily chores, affecting their day-to-day routine life. In extreme cases, surgery may be the only option to ease pain and restore partial functionalities.