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What is Cervical Spondylosis ?

What is Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical Spondylosis is a disease that affects the joints and is characterized by wear of the inter-vertebral discs, the cartilage of the inter-vertebral joints, associated with affected bone nearby. The cervical osteoarthritis (sometimes called cervical spondylosis) is a form of arthritis affecting the cervical vertebrae located in the neck. This pathology appears most often from 40 years, mainly concerns people over 50 years and causes pain, headache (headache), rigidity of the neck and cause what is called cervico-brachial neuralgia. The proposed treatments are aimed at soothing the pain and curbing the progression of the disease.

Cervical Spondylosis is defined as the cartilage wear that occurs in the joints of the cervical vertebrae (neck), and this wear is associated with reactions of the proximal bone. It is a chronic disease that evolves gradually over several years. Osteoarthritis often causes crises that are sometimes painful, but which resolve and do not necessarily return.

Causes Cervical Spondylosis

The causes of cervical spondylosis are not well known. While it is true that cartilage degradation is often associated with too much strain on the neck, wear also occurs in people whose necks are motionless for long periods of time, for example, the military and police who often have to hold rights for several hours. Apart from the fact that the neck is more or less solicited, cervical spondylosis is also due to the mechanisms involved in the degeneration and regeneration of cartilage.

Diagnostic of Cervical Spondylosis

The doctor will ask the patient about the pains, their appearance, intensity and frequency. The clinical examination is then very important so that it understands at what level of the spine can be located osteoarthritis.

Medical imaging examinations (X-rays, MRI, and CT scan) will highlight the presence of osteoarthritis. In case of suspicion of arterial damage, other examinations are performed as arteriography or angiography.

The clinical manifestations of the disease vary from case to case. In about 50% of cases, cervical spondylosis, although visible on radiography, does not cause any annoying signs. In other people, cervical spondylosis causes more or less intense pain in the neck and neck (cervicalgia) and predominant on one side, radiating to the scapula and occipital area.

Other symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis 

Rigid neck: the affected person feels stiffness when performing movements, especially to answer a question with a nod.

Torticollis: the neck is blocked in flexion and in rotation,

Cervico-brachial neuralgia: it is a unilateral pain, radiating for example to the scapula, breast, skull or arm, and calmed by certain postures and increasing in other postures. Neck movements are limited by pain. This pain is due to the compression of a nerve. This pain is made worse by coughing and more important at night.


Medullary compression or myelopathy: there is pressure on the spinal cord due to narrowing of the spinal canal due to osteoarthritis lesions. This triggers various signs: tingling in the arms, feelings of numbness, lack of movement (such as difficulty in taking an object in the hands, walking); Urinary or anal incontinence disorders when compression is important.

Basilar vertebral insufficiency: it occurs when an artery is squeezed by the osteoarthritis process. It can lead to vertigo, disturbances of balance, hearing or vision problems, speech difficulties, depending on the area affected by compression.

Cervical spondylosis mainly affects people over 40 years of age. Repeated microtrauma in the cervical area increases the risk of osteoarthritis at this level, such as cervical spine malformations, trauma (such as whiplash), or people with an occupation seeking this area of the spine.

Several medications can be prescribed to soothe pain and reduce inflammation: analgesics (acetaminophen or paracetamol), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (ibuprofen for example), anti-inflammatory creams of local application. NSAIDs should be used with caution because of the side effects that may occur (gastrointestinal disorders, cardiac disorders).

When the pain is very intense, the doctor may use corticosteroids or opiates (opium derivatives)

The physiotherapy also helps to relieve pain and to avoid recurrences, with push-ups on the hydrotherapy table, massages, stretching exercises, bodybuilding and relaxation of the affected areas, learning adapted gestures to not reactivate the pain.

Wearing a foam collar or using a proper pillow can help relieve pain.

Surgery will be used when serious complications are diagnosed, such as neurological or arterial damage: these are cases in which the nerves, spinal cord or arteries are compressed.


When you have already experienced a neck pain, it is strongly recommended to practice physiotherapy, to prevent recurrence. The physiotherapist can prescribe appropriate exercises of stretching and bodybuilding, as well as learn to have hygiene of the movements and postures according to the profession practiced.

The work in front of a computer for example requires excellent ergonomics so as not to stress the area of ​​the neck.

The Meier method and osteopathy are an interesting remedy.

Several complementary approaches exist to stop the progression of cervical spondylosis and relieve the pain it causes.

Several substances are traditionally used to soothe pain or promote the regeneration of cartilage: capsaicin (present in chilli), glucosamine, chondritin (substances present in the body), green tea.

Complementary medicine

Among the most appropriate alternative medicines to treat cervical spondylosis, it is worth mentioning:

Acupuncture, which is known to act on pain and muscular tension.

The spa treatment, which may be prescribed in the indication of cervicalgia.

Food supplements

The most used dietary supplements for osteoarthritis are glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. The usual dosage is 1500 mg glucosamine and 1000 to 1200 mg chondroitin daily.


Homeopathy can offer Rhus toxicodendron, Arnica Montana and Angustura Vera in 5 CH to fight osteoarthritis pain.

As a field treatment Dulcamara will be used in 7 CH in case of increased pain in rainy weather, Nux vomica and Calcarea phosphorica in 5 CH for arthrosis which increases in cold weather.

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