Cervical spondylosis and neck pain - Introduction
Cervical spondylosis is a degenerative condition that describes age-related changes in the cervical spine. There may be changes in the spinal disc, vertebrae, joints and ligaments.
The consequence of these changes may be a narrowing (stenosis) of the spinal canal or the intervertebral openings, which can lead to spinal cord and nerve root compression. This can cause stiffness of the neck and produce an apparent weakness in muscle groups.
Symptoms can be quite vague, such as headache, neck pain, dizziness, stiffness, pain spreading down the arms, numbness of fingers and difficulty with tasks such as writing, closing buttons or tying knots.
Cervical radiculopathy or myelopathy occurs as a result of the compression of nerves or cord, most commonly from degenerative changes combined with some degree of narrowing of the space available for the spinal cord or specific cervical nerve roots. Symptoms of a cervical radiculopathy include pain, pins and needles or numbness in the arm, and specific muscle group weakness. Reflexes may also be changed. Cervical myelopathy means that the spinal cord does not work as well as it normally would because of compression of the spinal cord. Patients with cervical myelopathy most often complain of neck pain, difficulty of moving, instability during walking, numbness, tingling and stiffness in the legs, and sometimes even difficulty passing urine.