Cervical spondylitis is usually an age-related condition that affects the joints in develops as a result of the wear and tear of the cartilage and bones are of the cervical spine. While it is largely due to age, it can be caused by other factors as well. Alternative names for it include cervical osteoarthritis and neck arthritis.
In others word, it is an age-related degeneration ('wear and tear') of the bones (vertebrae) and discs in the neck.
Aging - Cervical spondylitis often develops as a result of changes in your neck joints as you age. Your spinal disks can become dry and begin shrinking around the time you turn 40, reducing the cushioning between the bones in your neck.
Cervical spondylitis can develop due to factors other than aging. These include:
- Neck injuries
- Work-related activities that put extra strain on your neck from heavy lifting,
- Holding your neck in an uncomfortable position for prolonged periods of time, or repeating the same neck movements throughout the day (repetitive stress)
- Genetic factors (family history of cervical spondylosis)
- Being overweight and inactive
Pain from cervical spondylosis can be mild to severe. It is sometimes worsened by looking up or down for a long time, or with activities such as driving or reading a book. It also feels better with rest or lying down.
Additional symptoms include:
- Neck pain and stiffness (may be worse with activity)
- Numbness and weakness in arms, hands, and fingers
- Trouble walking, loss of balance, or weakness in hands or legs
- Muscle spasms in neck and shoulders
- Grinding and popping sound/feeling in neck with movement
Testing and Diagnosing Your doctor will start by asking you several questions regarding your symptoms. Then, he or she will run through a set of tests. Typical exams include testing your reflexes, checking for muscle weakness, and testing the range of motion of your neck. Your doctor might also want to watch how you walk. All of this helps your doctor determine if your nerves and spinal cord are under too much pressure. If your doctor suspects cervical spondylosis, he or she will then order imaging tests and nerve function tests to confirm the diagnosis. Imaging Tests