Beejal Y. Amin MD

Cervical Spondylosis

What is cervical spondylosis?

Cervical spondylosis is also known as spinal stenosis. It is the narrowing of the space for the spinal cord or nerve roots in the neck. As the spine degenerates over time, it can lead to the formation of bone spurs. As bone spurs form, the size of the spinal canal (boney tunnel transmitting the spinal cord and nerves) becomes smaller. The bone spurs press on the spinal cord or the nerve roots, often causing pain, numbness, or weakness. While spinal stenosis can affect younger patients, it is most common in those 60 and older. Arthritis is the most common cause of cervical spondylosis.

What are the symptoms of cervical spondylosis?

Patients with spinal stenosis may have the following symptoms:

  • Pain that travels from the neck down the arm and sometimes into the hand
  • Numbness or tingling in the arm or hand
  • Weakness in arms or hands
  • Loss of position sense, meaning the inability to know what position your arms or legs are in if they are not visible.
  • With major weakness or loss of bladder or bowel control, seek medical attention immediately as this could signal a serious problem

What are the treatment options for cervical spondylosis?

Non-surgical Treatment

Dr. Amin recommends non-surgical treatments as the first-line. The treatment options for cervical spondylosis are aimed at controlling pain and improving quality of life for patients. These treatment options include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling
  • Physical therapy to increase flexibility
  • Spinal steroidal injections or “blocks”
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects overhead
  • Avoid repetitive neck movements

Surgical Treatment

If a patient does not improve after non-surgical treatment, Dr. Amin may recommend surgery. The goal of the surgery is to open the spinal canal to provide adequate space for the spinal cord and nerve roots. Dr. Amin will recommend a surgical procedure based on the patient’s imaging results. These surgical options may include: