(Dys)Functional Friday




Welcome to this week’s (Dys)Functional Friday post! Todays’ topic of discussion is Cervical Spondylosis. Cervical spondylosis is a general term for age-related wear and tear affecting the spinal disks in your neck. As the disks dehydrate and shrink, signs of osteoarthritis develop, including bony projections along the edges of bones (bone spurs). Cervical spondylosis is very common and worsens with age. More than 85 percent of people older than age 60 are affected by cervical spondylosis. With cervical spondylosis, the disks and joints in the neck slowly degenerate due to wear-and-tear as we age. Cervical spondylosis is also commonly called arthritis of the neck.


As the disks in the spine age, they lose height and begin to bulge. They also lose water content, begin to dry out and weaken. This problem causes settling, or collapse, of the disk spaces and loss of disk space height. Eventually, the cushioning qualities of the disks begins to decrease.

As the facet joints experience increased pressure, they also begin to degenerate and develop arthritis, similar to what may occur in the hip or knee joint. The smooth, slippery articular cartilage that covers and protects the joints wears away.

If the cartilage wears away completely, it can result in bone rubbing on bone. To make up for the lost cartilage, your body may respond by growing new bone in your facet joints to help support the vertebrae. Over time, this bone overgrowth — called bone spurs — may narrow the space for the nerves and spinal cord to pass through (stenosis). Bone spurs may also lead to decreased range of motion in the spine.

Symptoms


For most people, cervical spondylosis causes no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they typically include pain and stiffness in the neck. This pain can range from mild to severe. It is sometimes worsened by looking up or looking down for a long time, or by activities in which the neck is held in the same position for a prolonged period of time—such as driving or reading a book. The pain usually improves with rest or lying down.


Other symptoms may include:


· Headaches

· Grinding or popping noise or sensation when you turn your neck

· In some cases, cervical spondylosis results in a narrowing of the space needed for the spinal cord or nerve roots. If this occurs, your symptoms may include numbness and weakness in the arms, hands, and fingers

· Trouble walking, loss of balance, or weakness in the hands or legs

· Muscle spasms in the neck and shoulders


A person can ease the symptoms of cervical spondylosis with a few simple neck exercises.

Neck stretch

  1. Keep your body straight.

  2. Push your chin forward in a way that stretches the throat.

  3. Softly tense the neck muscles.

  4. Hold this for 5 seconds.

  5. Return your head to its center position.

  6. Push your head back with the chin held high, and hold for 5 seconds.

  7. Carry out 5 repetitions.

Neck tilt

  1. Tilt your head forward so that the chin touches the chest.

  2. Softly tense the neck muscles.

  3. Hold this for 5 seconds.

  4. Return the head to a neutral position.

  5. Carry out 5 repetitions.