Cervical Spondylisis is the particular condition wherein the discs and joints in the neck gets adversely affected. Wear and tear of the cartilage and bones found in the cervical spine in the neck are the reasons for this problem. It may affect because of age and other factors. People more than sixty years of age are more prone to this problem.
Symptoms –Following are the usual signs:
- Painful sensations along the arm and in the fingers. Pain may enhance when one is sitting or standing. Likewise the effect may increase when the patient is involved in sneezing or coughing. Tilting the neck backward may also result in pain.
- Usual weakness is another symptom of this disease. It becomes difficult to lift the arms in even manners. Likewise grasping the objects in firm manners is also difficult.
- Stiffness of the neck is another symptom of Cervical Spondylisis. It results in painful sensations.
- Headaches occurring in the back of the head.
- Numbness or tingling that affects the arms and shoulders. It may spread to legs too.
- Other symptoms of this disease include loss of bladder or bowel control.
Treatment – The doctor may ask the patient to undergo physical exam. Testing the reflexes, checking the muscle weakness or sensory deficits are necessary. Testing the range of motion of the neck is also warranted in certain cases. This is to determine whether your nerves and spinal cord are under any type of pressure. Imaging tests and nerve function tests become necessary in few cases.
X-rays and CT scans may be informative about the detailed images of the neck. MRI helps in locating the pinched nerves. EMG, i.e. electromygram may be required to check the functioning of the nerves when signals are sent to the muscles. It helps in measuring the electrical activity of the nerves. Nerve function tests may also be necessary for few patients.
The physician focuses the attention on providing relief and lowering the risk of permanent damage. He is interestd in helping a normal life for the patients.
The physcial therapist may be of great help for giving sufficient relief to the patients. The process involves stretching of the neck and shoulder muscles. It is helpful in reducing pain in a big way. Neck traction is another beneficial method that involves use of weights for inreasing space between the cervical joints. It is useful in enhancing the space between the cervical joints and relieve the pressure on the cervical discs and nerve root.
Medications – Following medicine may also be useful:
- Muscle relaxants including cyclobenzaprine to treat muscle spasms.
- Narcotics including hydrocodone.
- Anti-epileptic drugs like gabapentin.
- Steroid injections like prednisone to reduce tissue inflammation and subsequently lessen pain.
Note – Serious patients of this disease may have to undergo surgery.
Over-the-counter pain relievers like Advil or Aleve may also give good results. Use of heating pads or cold packs on the neck is also good. Regular exercising is also beneficial. Soft neck brace or collar may be good. Prolonged use may be prevented.