Wear and tear. Age-related degeneration. Osteoarthritis. Degenerative disc disease. These have all been used to say the same thing: cervical spondylosis. The wearing down of the cervical discs, ligaments, bones, and cartilage.
While this does happen in most people, it seems to happen more quickly in those with previous neck injuries or those with poor neck alignment and posture. While some people may not feel the progressive process of degeneration, many will feel neck stiffness and pain in the beginning stages.
IMPORTANT: If you ever have loss of bladder or bowel control or facial numbness, please seek immediate medical care.
Symptoms are usually progressive and slowly worsen over time. Some people will develop more severe problems over time – disc herniations, bone spurs, nerve compression or spinal instability. These cases may require more extensive interventions.
It is important to get a proper diagnosis as soon as you begin to feel symptoms. X-rays of the neck are necessary to determine if there is damage and the severity of the damage. This will help guide appropriate treatment.
Seek help from a health professional like a chiropractor. Chiropractors are experts in spinal health and will be able to diagnose cervical spondylosis and provide a treatment program to help you. A thorough examination and x-rays will be necessary to determine the correct course of management.
In the meantime, here are some exercises and stretches that can help with cervical spondylosis. However, always check with your health care provider to make sure they are appropriate for you. In certain cases, some of these will be contraindicated and not recommended.