Cervical spondylosis

Alternative Names

Cervical osteoarthritis; Arthritis – neck; Neck arthritis

Definition of Cervical spondylosis

Cervical spondylosis is a disorder in which there is abnormal wear on the cartilage and bones of the neck (cervical vertebrae).

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Cervical spondylosis is caused by chronic wearing away (degeneration) of the cervical spine, including the cushions between the neck vertebrae (cervical disks) and the joints between the bones of the cervical spine. There may be abnormal growths or “spurs” on the bones of the spine (vertebrae).

Symptoms

Symptoms often develop slowly over time, but may start suddenly.

Signs and tests

Examination often shows limited ability to bend the head toward the shoulder and rotate the head.

Treatment

Even if your neck pain does not go away completely, or it gets more painful at times, learning to take care of your back at home and prevent repeat episodes of your back pain can help you avoid surgery.

Expectations (prognosis)

Most patients with cervical spondylosis will have some long-term symptoms. However, they respond to nonsurgical treatments and do not need surgery.

Review

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 7/10/2009

Skeletal spine
Cervical spondylosis

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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