April 20, 2024
Cervical Spondylosis Treatment

Cervical Spondylosis Treatment Options Explained

Cervical spondylosis is a medical condition affecting the spinal discs and joints in the neck, commonly referred to as “wear and tear” of the neck. As we age, the discs that act as cushions between the vertebrae may begin to degenerate, and the bones may develop spurs. This can put pressure on the spinal cord and nearby nerves, causing neck pain and other symptoms. While there is no cure for cervical spondylosis, many treatment options exist to help manage pain and improve mobility and quality of life.

Non-Surgical Treatment Methods

For most cases of cervical spondylosis, non-surgical treatment methods are sufficient to relieve symptoms. The goal is to reduce inflammation and pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Some common non-surgical options include:

– Physical therapy/exercises: Specific stretching and strengthening exercises target the neck muscles to improve flexibility, posture, mobility and pain levels. A physical therapist can design an individualized home exercise program.

– Lifestyle changes: Maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding excessive stress on the neck from activities like heavy lifting, and getting adequate rest and sleep are important lifestyle modifications.

– Pain medication: Over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen help reduce inflammation and pain. Prescription strength oral or topical medications may be tried if needed.

– Injections: Steroid injections directly into the painful joints or epidural space in the neck administered by a doctor can temporarily reduce inflammation and relieve neck and arm pain.

– Bracing/collars: Wearing a soft cervical collar or lumbar support brace helps take stress off the neck and promote healing.

– Alternative therapies: Massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care and other complementary therapies may provide additional pain relief when combined with other treatments.

If non-surgical methods of Cervical Spondylosis Treatment provide inadequate relief after 2-3 months, other options must be considered. However, most people see significant improvement with conservative first-line treatments alone.

Surgical Treatment Options

For cases that do not respond sufficiently to non-surgical treatment, or when cervical spondylosis causes progressive neurological problems, surgical intervention may become necessary. The goals of surgery are to decompress nerves and restore stability and mobility to the affected spinal segments. Some common surgical procedures include:

– Laminectomy: This involves removing part or all of the lamina bone at the back of the vertebrae to relieve pressure on spinal nerves.

– Discectomy: The entire intervertebral disc or disc fragments putting pressure on nerves are removed surgically.

– Fusion: Two or more unstable vertebrae are fused together. Bone graft material and instrumentation like plates and screws are used to permanently connect the vertebrae and eliminate motion at that spinal segment.

– Disc replacement: In some cases, artificial discs that act as cushions between vertebrae are implanted to restore natural movement and relieve pressure on nerves.

– Laminoplasty: The lamina bone is opened like a door but left attached, to widen the spinal canal without fusing bones.

The specific procedure depends on factors like severity, location and type of symptoms. Surgery is generally reserved for cases where conservative methods have not worked or there is significant nerve or spinal cord compression. With rehabilitation, outcome is excellent in relieving pain for most patients.

Long-Term Management

While treatment provides symptom relief, cervical spondylosis is a progressive condition, so long-term management strategies are crucial. Even after successful surgery or a period of remission, symptoms may return over time as degeneration continues. Maintaining an active lifestyle with post-treatment exercises prescribed by a physical therapist can help slow progression. Leading a healthy lifestyle with posture awareness can minimize future episodes. Physician follow-ups every 6-12 months allow early identification of recurrence for prompt modification of treatment as needed. With proper long-term care, quality of life for most cervical spondylosis patients is good.

Cervical spondylosis treatment depends on each individual case but generally focuses on reducing inflammation, alleviating pressure on nerves, restoring mobility and maintaining ongoing management. Both non-surgical and surgical options exist to treat symptoms and minimize disability effectively. With a multi-disciplinary treatment approach and active self-care, people can lead full lives despite this common condition affecting their neck health.

 

*Note:
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it