Cervical Spondylosis Treatment

Cervical Spondylosis Treatment: Managing the Wear and Tear of the Neck


Cervical spondylosis is a degenerative condition affecting the cervical spine or neck. It commonly occurs due to the normal aging process which causes wear and tear in the disc and joints (facet joints) of the neck. As the condition progresses, it can lead to neck stiffness, pain, and headache. In severe cases, it can even cause nerve compression. Here are the various treatment options for managing cervical spondylosis:

Lifestyle Modifications
Simple lifestyle changes can help reduce neck pain and discomfort from cervical spondylosis. Maintaining a good posture and avoiding activities that strain the neck should be the first step. Exercises that strengthen the neck muscles like isometric neck exercises done regularly under supervision can also relieve symptoms. Weight loss if overweight further relieves pressure on the neck. Using good supportive pillows and avoiding sleeping in uncomfortable positions helps the neck rest better.

Physiotherapy focuses on reducing inflammation, muscle spasms and pain through heat or ice therapy, massage, ultrasound therapy and other physical modalities. Gentle stretches and specific exercises taught by a physiotherapist can improve mobility and neck function over time without aggravating symptoms. Those with more severe spondylosis may need regular physiotherapy sessions along with home exercises.

Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen can help provide temporary relief from neck pain and stiffness. Prescription strength oral steroids may be given for short periods in cases with severe inflammation. However, medications only treat symptoms and do not modify the condition. They work best as an adjunct to other treatments rather than as the primary treatment.

Cervical collar/cervical pillow
Using a soft cervical collar or special ergonomic cervical pillow particularly while sleeping can help support the neck. This takes pressure off the spine and joints, improving comfort. However, collars should not be worn for extended periods as they can weaken neck muscles if used as the sole treatment. They work well as part of a comprehensive Cervical Spondylosis Treatment plan.

Corticosteroid injections are sometimes recommended in cases of cervical spondylosis with more severe and persistent neck pain. The anti-inflammatory medication is injected into the affected facet joints under image guidance. This can provide several months of pain relief. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, which deliver concentrated platelets from the patient’s own blood to the site of injury, are also gaining popularity.

Surgical Options
For those with failed conservative treatments, nerve root compression or spinal cord compression, surgery may become necessary to prevent permanent damage. Common procedures include cervical discectomy to remove a herniated disc, laminectomy to decompress nerves, and fusion surgery to join two or more vertebrae using bone grafts and plates/screws. Newer minimally invasive techniques are also available. Complete relief from arm/hand symptoms is the goal of surgery in advanced cervical spondylosis. Careful patient selection is important for best results.

Alternative Therapies
Supplements: Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements often used for arthritis have shown some potential for spondylosis as well. Omega-3 fatty acids and various herbal supplements may aid pain relief. However, evidence is still limited, so medical advice must be sought before use.

Acupuncture: Traditional Chinese acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into specific points. This is thought to boost natural pain relievers in the body and relax muscles. Studies have reported benefits, though larger trials are still needed to establish its efficacy for spondylosis.

Yoga and Pilates: Low-impact neck exercises and stretches from yoga and Pilates done under guidance can help strengthen neck muscles as well as back muscles. Proper form is crucial to avoid aggravating the condition. Gentle regular practice may improve mobility, posture and manage symptoms over time.

Lifestyle changes, physiotherapy and medications form the first-line conservative treatment approach for most cervical spondylosis cases. Injections, special collars/pillows, and alternative therapies provide additional relief options. But in advanced cases, surgical decompression may be recommended to prevent nerve damage. With a customized multi-modal plan and regular follow-ups, most patients can effectively manage their spondylosis symptoms.

cervical spondylosis is a degenerative condition affecting the neck which commonly develops with age. A variety of treatment options exist to manage symptoms ranging from simple lifestyle modifications, physiotherapy and medications to injections, bracing, and in severe cases, surgery. With a combination of conservative treatments and guidance from spine specialists, most patients can effectively reduce spondylosis related neck pain and disability over time.

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