Cervical spondylosis without myelopathy is an age related degenerative medical condition in which the spinal discs in your neck are affected. This is also known as cervical osteoarthritis. Usually affecting those over 40, it is a very common form of spondylosis.
Over the years, the spinal discs start to dehydrate and lose elasticity; causing them to shrink. The ligaments that join the muscles and bones in the neck start to stiffen and bone spurs are formed along with other signs of osteoarthritis. This condition where the spinal nerves are not affected or the spinal cord is not compressed during cervical spondylosis is called cervical spondylosis without myelopathy. The general causes behind this condition include the wear and tear process with age, certain occupations where your neck muscles are subjected to extra stress, previous neck injuries and genetic factors.
Most of the time, there are no pronounced symptoms, if they appear, they are rather mild. The symptoms usually affect only the neck. Most commonly they include pain and stiffness. Sometimes the pain spreads to shoulders or arms. Headaches that are located in the back of the neck may also occur. Tingling and numbness in the arms or loss of bladder or bowel control indicates spinal cord suppression which is a more serious condition requiring immediate medical attention.
In the absence of a nerve or spinal cord suppression, most of the patients do not need surgery. The aim of the treatment encompasses relieving pain and helping you undertake your regular activities, while taking caution against any kind of permanent damage to your spinal nerves. Mild cases are treated by over the counter pain relievers and anti inflammatory medicines such as Ibuprofen, acetaminophen etc. For muscle spasms in the neck, your doctor may recommend muscle relaxants. Sometimes in order to dull the persistent chronic pain, anti seizure or anti depressants may be prescribed. Acute or severe cases may be treated with steroid injections in the affected joints.
If your problem doesn't improve over a week, you may be referred physiotherapy. The exercise will help you in stretching and strengthening your neck and shoulder muscles. Use of traction, manipulation, heat and cold therapy by a licensed physiotherapist may benefit you. These exercises and therapies are helpful to a considerable extent in relieving the pressure on the nerve root.
Certain lifestyle changes and home remedies would also be helpful in easing out the condition. Gently exercising with a goal to keep your neck moving will help in lessening the stiffening of neck muscles and speeding the recovery process. During a flare up, taking rest for a day may help in recovering from the pain. If your neck muscles stiffen or are sore, an application of a heat or cold pack may help in relaxing the muscles. Wearing soft neck brace for a short duration would support your neck muscle and allow them to rest but if worn for longer period, the neck braces can eventually weaken your neck muscles. If your pain becomes a chronic case then you may be referred to a pain management program or pain clinic for helping you control and manage your pain.
So, cervical spondylosis without myelopathy is a common form of spondylosis that is going to affect all of us sooner or a little later. By managing the symptoms and preventing a further damage is how we can cope with the condition. Keeping yourself active and undertaking your regular activities as much as possible helps in keeping your morale high which is much essential for fighting any situation in life.