Cervical Spondylosis

What Is Cervical Spondylosis?

Cervical spondylosis is a general term for the age-related degeneration of your cervical spine, which is located in your neck. Over time, the gel-like discs in your spine become less hydrated, causing the disc to lose height. In some cases, disc degeneration can lead to tears and weak spots in the outer part of the disc, allowing the soft inner part of the disc to leak out. This causes the disc to bulge which can affect nearby nerves, causing pain.

Disc degeneration also makes it more likely that the vertebrae protected by these discs will rub together, causing more pain. Also, the more worn down these discs become, the more susceptible you will be to issues like bone spurs and stiff ligaments.

Symptoms

The symptoms of a degenerative disc vary from person to person. Many people with deterioration have no pain, while others may experience pain so intense that it interferes with daily activities. When symptoms do occur, they typically include pain and stiffness in the neck and often often starts in one of three ways:

  • a major injury followed by sudden and unexpected pain
  • a trivial injury followed by sudden neck pain
  • pain that starts gradually and gets progressively worse

Sometimes, cervical spondylosis results in a narrowing of the space needed by the spinal cord and the nerve roots that pass through the spine to the rest of your body. If the spinal cord or nerve roots become pinched, you might experience:

  • Tingling, numbness and weakness in extremities (arms, hands, legs or feet)
  • Grinding or popping noise or sensation when you turn your neck
  • Difficulty walking or loss of balance
  • Muscle weakness
  • Headaches that sometimes overrides pain and/or stiffness, and become the dominant symptom
  • Pain that increases when you sit, stand, sneeze, cough or tilt your head
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness
  • Writing and related activities can become problematic with “numb, clumsy hands”
  • Muscle spasms in the neck and shoulders
  • Loss of bladder control

Note: Seek medical attention if you notice a sudden onset of numbness or weakness, or loss of bladder or bowel control.

Causes

Age-related issues are the main causes of cervical spondylosis. These issues are explored below in more detail.

Dehydrated discs

Discs act like cushions between the vertebrae. By the age of forty, your discs may begin drying out and shrinking, allowing for increased bone-on-bone contact between vertebrae.

Herniated discs

Age also affects the strength of the outer layer of your discs. Cracks can appear, allowing the inner material to come out. These can press on the spinal cord and the nerve roots.

Bone spurs

Disc degeneration can result in the spine producing extra bone in a misguided effort to strengthen the spine. Bone spurs can pinch the spinal cord and nerve roots, too.

Stiff ligaments

Ligaments are cords of tissue connecting your bones. Due to age-related degeneration, spinal ligaments can stiffen, making that your neck less flexible.

"The BEST spine surgeon in the county!"

"My husband, Mom and I have been patients of Dr. Huffman’s for quite a number of years. The BEST spine surgeon in the county! He has operated on me twice in the past year with amazing results. Would highly recommend this gifted man."

- Vivian B., Facebook Review

"I wouldn't go anywhere else."

"I have been a patient of Dr Huffman's for many years, with some major back issues. The care I received (and still receive) is exemplary. Staff members Sarah and Dawn are amazing. I wouldn't go anywhere else."

- Deborah N., Facebook Review

"Brilliant, dedicated and really cares about his patients"

"Dr. Huffman is by far the best spine surgeon for so many reasons. I have worked for him, with him and been apart of his surgeries with assisted fluoroscopy. He is brilliant, dedicated and really cares about his patients. That said why would anyone go anywhere else. Did I mention he loves gummy bears, who doesn't love that."

- Sheila B., Facebook Review

Book a Consultation

Now offering Telemedicine appointments (Virtual Visits).

You can now see our specialists from the comfort of your own home via cell phone, tablet, or computer. You will sit in front of a camera where you will be able to see yourself and your Health Care Provider on the screen once your session begins. Our Telemedicine appointments are HIPPA compliant. Most insurances are now covering Telemedicine.

Address: 3273 Claremont Way, Ste. 201, Napa, CA 94558

Phone: (707) 254-7117

Fill out our intake form to start scheduling your appointment so we can set up your visit: