What is Cervical Spondylosis?

Cervical spondylosis, also known as cervical osteoarthritis or arthritis of the neck, is wear and tear that occurs in the cervical spine (the part of the spine that runs through the neck) and can lead to problems such as pain and stiffness in the neck, muscle spasms, headaches, and dizziness. People with cervical spondylosis may also experience a clicking, popping, or grinding sound while moving their neck. However, many people with this condition may not experience any symptoms at all.

Wear and tear on the cervical spine can cause several changes to occur over time. Some of these include wearing down (also known as degeneration) of cervical disks, herniation (or bulging out) of spinal disks, osteoarthritis (the wearing down of cartilage), and bone spurs (bone growths that develop due to cartilage rubbing against bone tissue).

Changes in the spine due to wear and tear often begin in a person’s 30s and become increasingly common as people age. Aside from age, other factors that can make these changes more likely or severe include:

  • Smoking
  • Family history of cervical spondylosis
  • Frequent neck strain, which may occur in people who keep their neck in an improper position for long periods of time
  • Prior neck injuries
  • Frequent heavy lifting
  • Frequent exposure to vibration, which may occur in people who drive frequently for work

Your doctor will typically diagnose you with cervical spondylosis based on a physical exam and/or imaging tests that provide more detailed information about your cervical spine. The physical exam will usually check your neck flexibility, muscle strength, reflexes, gait (the way you walk), and knots of muscle in your neck and shoulders. Imaging tests may include an x-ray or CT scan (showing the bones of your neck), an MRI (showing the soft tissues of your neck), or a myelogram or electromyogram (showing any effects of cervical spondylosis on your nerves).

You can receive diagnostic testing or treatment for cervical spondylosis with an orthopedic specialist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. To schedule an appointment, please call (718) 206-6923. You can also schedule an appointment at our Woodside office by calling (929) 429-3222, or our Fresh Meadows office by calling (718) 408-6977.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.