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Cervical spondylosis and neck pain - Introduction

More than 60% of the general population can have symptoms of neck pain. Wear and tear as described on an x-ray or MRI scan may not be relevant to self-reported pain in the cervical spine.

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.
The Patient Line website offers information for patients with spinal conditions:
Sciatica, back pain, spinal stenosis, disc herniation, scoliosis and many other spine conditions explained in a clear reliable, and trustworthy way. Not for profit EUROSPINE experts are here to help patients and their families understand what may be worrying them.

EUROSPINE is a society of spine specialists of various disciplines with a large knowledge of spine pathologies. All well-known and accepted treatment modalities for spine pathologies are represented by the members of the society. However, the Society cannot accept any responsibility for the use of the information provided; the user and their health care professionals must retain responsibility for their health care management.
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page last updated on 23.02.2021