Spine Conditions

Painful Spine Conditions

CERVICAL SPONDYLOSIS (Arthritis of the Neck)

Neck pain is extremely common. It can be caused by many things, and is most often related to getting older.
Like the rest of the body, the bones in the neck slowly degenerate as we age. This frequently results in arthritis. Arthritis of the neck is called cervical spondylosis.
Cervical spondylosis is the degeneration of the joints in the neck. It becomes increasingly more common as people age. More than 85% of people over age 60 are affected.

Although it is a form of arthritis, cervical spondylosis rarely becomes a crippling or disabling type (AAOS, 2015).

SYMPTOMS

Pain from cervical spondylosis can be mild to severe. It is sometimes worsened by looking up or down for a long time, or with activities such as driving or reading a book. It also feels better with rest or lying down.

Additional symptoms include:

  • Neck pain and stiffness (may be worse with activity)
  • Numbness and weakness in arms, hands, and fingers
  • Trouble walking, loss of balance, or weakness in hands or legs
  • Muscle spasms in neck and shoulders
  • Headaches
  • Grinding and popping sound/feeling in neck with movement

TREATMENT

Treatment for cervical spondylosis depends on the severity of your signs and symptoms. The goal of treatment is to relieve the neck pain, help you maintain your usual activities as much as possible, and prevent permanent injury to the spinal cord and nerves.

Painful Spine Conditions

Medications

If over-the-counter pain relievers don’t help, your doctor might prescribe:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Prescription-strength ibuprofen (Ibuprofen) or naproxen sodium (Anaprox, Anaprox DS) might be needed to relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Corticosteroids. Oral medications, such as prednisone, might help ease pain. If your pain is severe, your doctor might suggest steroid injections.
  • Muscle relaxants. Certain drugs, such as cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) and methocarbamol (Robaxin),• can help relieve muscle spasms in the neck.
  • Anti-seizure medications. Some types of epilepsy medications, such as gabapentin (Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica), can dull the pain of damaged nerves.
  • Antidepressants. Certain antidepressant medications have been found to help ease neck pain from cervical spondylosis.
  • Prescription pain relievers. Your doctor might prescribe oxycodone (Percocet, Roxicet).

 

Therapy

A physical therapist can teach you exercises to help stretch and strengthen the muscles in your neck and shoulders. Some people with cervical spondylosis benefit from the use of traction, which can help provide more space within the spine if nerve roots are being pinched.

Acupuncture

Your doctor might recommend trying acupuncture to reduce your pain. Acupuncture is best provided by a licensed acupuncture practitioner.

Surgery

If conservative treatment fails or if your neurological signs and symptoms — such as weakness in your arms or legs — worsen, you might need surgery to create more room for your spinal cord and nerve roots.

The surgery might involve:

  • Removing a herniated disk or bone spurs•
  • Removing part of a vertebra
  • Fusing a segment of the neck using bone graft and hardware

RISK FACTOR

Risk factors for cervical spondylosis include:

  • Age. Cervical spondylosis is a normal part of aging.
  • Occupation. Jobs that involve repetitive neck motions, awkward positioning or a lot of overhead work put extra stress on your neck.
  • Neck injuries. Previous neck injuries appear to increase the risk of cervical spondylosis.
  • Genetic factors. Some individuals in certain families will experience more of these changes over time, while others will not.
  • Smoking. Smoking has been linked to increased neck pain.

Meet

Dr. Hamid Mir, M.D.

Dr Hamid Mir is a board certified orthopedic spine surgeon with fellowship training in combined neurosurgery and orthopedic spine surgery. He has offices in OC, Los Angeles & Riverside. Dr Mir specializes in spinal fusion, lumbar surgery and treating trauma as well as other conditions affecting the lumbar, thoracic, and cervical spine including degenerative diseases, stenosis, fracture, infection, adult scoliosis, revision, and complex reconstructions.

Testimonials

You are more than just a patient.

Dr. Hamid Mir is a member of American Board of Orthopedic Surgery with fellowship training in combined neurosurgical and orthopedic spine surgery at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in 2004. As a top rated spine surgeon, he specializes in cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine diseases including degenerative, stenosis, fracture, infection, scoliosis, revision, and complex reconstructions.

Dr. Mir focused his practice on minimally invasive techniques. As Medical Director of DISC Sports & Spine Center, Dr. Mir is at the forefront of the field of minimally invasive spine surgery. The benefits of these techniques include less post-operative pain, quicker recovery reduced blood loss, less soft tissue damage, smaller surgical incisions, less scarring and improved function.

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