Cervical problem or cervical spondylosis is a common condition that affects older people in the area around the joints and the discs in the neck. The pain arises as a result of constant wear and tear of the bones and cartilage located in the cervical spine area. Aside from age being the most dominant factor cervical spondylosis can arise as a result of other reasons.
The possible reasons for cervical problem include bone spurs, herniated disks, dehydrated spinal disks and injury. In bone spurs sometimes the excess growth of bone can put pressure on the vulnerable areas of the spine, such as the nerves and the spinal cord. The spinal cord has thick, cushiony disks between the bones that help in shock absorption that happens as a result of lifting, twisting and various other activities. With age and time the gel-like substance inside the disks can become dry. This results in bone friction that can be extremely painful; this is known as dehydrated spinal disks. In herniated disks, the spinal disks stand the risk of forming cracks which result in a leakage of the gel-like substance. This substance can add pressure on the spinal cord thus causing problems such as numbness of the arms and sciatica. If you sustain an injury due to a sudden fall or an accident then it fasten the process of ageing.
The factors responsible for ageing and in turn that of cervical spondolysis include activities that can put added strain on the neck, neck injuries, repetitive stress, smoking, bodyweight issues, inactivity and also genetic factors.
On noticing the signs and symptoms of cervical problem it is advised that you go visit a doctor. These symptoms generally include pain near the shoulder blade location, muscle weakness, headaches at the back of the head, neck stiffness, numbness of limbs and imbalance.
The doctor will begin the process of treatment first by establishing your condition by understanding your symptoms. Then he will make you go through a number of physical examinations such as reflex tests, muscle weakness and sensory deficits. If the doctor diagnoses cervical spondylosis then he will suggest further tests such as CT scans, MRI, X-rays, an electromyogram or EMG or a myelogram test.
Treatment options include physical therapy which will help to stretch the shoulder and neck muscles. Flexibility of the muscles will increase strength and will help to give you relief from pain. A traction therapy can also be prescribed to you which involves making use of weights to heighten the space between joints. This reduces pressure.
The doctor can prescribe a number of prescription drugs such as cyclobenzaprine or muscle relaxants, hydrocodone or narcotics, prednisone or steroid injections and gabapentin or anti-epileptic medications. If no other forms of treatment work then the supervising doctor may have to prescribe surgical methods that will result in a removal of bone spurs, sections of the neck bones or the herniated disks. Surgery is recommended in only rare cases when the pain is too severe to bear.
People who are experiencing numbness or a tingling feeling in the legs, arms or shoulder or are experiencing poor bladder or bowel control should make it a point to visit doctor as soon as possible.
People who are allergic to certain ingredients contained in the drugs prescribed to you are not eligible to go for treatment involving prescription drugs.
The possible side effects associated with a cervical spondylosis surgery includes bleeding, infection, allergic reactions to anaesthesia, stroke, heart attack, lung problems or various other complications.
Side effects of taking cyclobenzaprine includes dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, difficulty with concentration, nausea, constipation, dryness of mouth and burry vision. Side effects of hydrocodone include dizziness, anxiety, vomiting, constipation, headache, nausea, ringing sensation in the mouth. And lastly the side effects of gabapentin include breast swelling, dryness of mouth, nausea, diarrhoea, constipation and fatigue.
The post-treatment guidelines after a surgery includes restricting the time spent sitting or walking, keeping an eye out for allergic reactions such as fever (more than 101.5 degrees), chills, leakage from the wounded area, constant increasing pain and skin rash near the wound. Other guidelines include removal of the sutures two weeks post surgery, avoiding anti-inflammatory medications for a period of at least six weeks and do not engage in strenuous activities such as lifting heavy objects driving a car.
Post-surgery the doctor can ask you to stay back in the hospital for a period of one or two days. Some able can get back to normal activity such as walking on one day after the surgery. Some patients can experience difficulty with swallowing solid food items the first few weeks after the surgery.
The results of a cervical spondolysis surgery treatment varies from person to person.
Certain alternatives of the treatment include taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammation medication such as Aleve or Advil or taking a pain killer such as acetaminophen. Other options include using a heating pad or cold pack, exercising often, wearing a soft brace for temporary relief.