What Are the Treatments for Cervical Spondylosis?

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According to the Mayo Clinic, cervical spondylosis is an umbrella term for age-related wear and tear that effects the joints in the neck. This condition may also be referred to as cervical osteoarthritis, which is progressive and usually occurs among men and women above age 40. The symptoms for cervical spondylosis include stiffness and pain in the neck, shoulder or arm, tingling, pinprick sensations in the feet, legs, arms or hands, trouble walking, unusual reflexes, loss of bodily functions (bowel and bladder), lack of bodily functions (bowel or urinary retention), and weakness in the hands, arms, feet or legs. Treatments for this condition include medications, surgery and home remedies.

Cervical Collar

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, cervical spondylosis can either stabilize without treatment or worsen. Treatment should be used to relieve pain and prevent permanent injury to the spine and nerves. Cervical collars or neck braces are sometimes used to limit movement in the neck and reduce nerve irritation and can be worn during the day.

Medications

Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen can be used to treat pain associated with cervical spondylosis. These nonsteroidal drugs may help relieve pain by reducing inflammation. Other medications include prescription drugs like muscle relaxants and corticosteroids (which are injected in the joints).

Surgery

According to the Mayo Clinic, surgery may be necessary when other treatments fail or if weakness in the arms or legs persists, though it may not eliminate every problem that accompanies the condition. Common types of surgery include the frontal approach, the back approach and the laminectomy. In the frontal approach, an incision in the front of the neck is made, while the windpipe and swallowing tube is moved, exposing the cervical spine. The herniated disks are then removed. The back approach is done by removing or rearranging bone in the back of the neck. The laminectomy operation uses an incision in the neck to remove the back part of the bone. These procedures can present risks such as blood clots, bleeding, infections and neurological damage.

Alternative Treatments

Aside from medications, wearing a cervical collar and surgery, simple remedies for spinal spondylosis include steamy showers, regular walks and other low-impact aerobic exercise.

Considerations

According to the Mayo Clinic, certain practices may help you reduce the risks of developing cervical spondylosis. Consider the following: avoid high-impact activities like running and take breaks to relieve your neck when driving, watching television or focusing on a computer screen. Good posture and exercises that strengthen the neck are also useful.

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