“Cervical Spondylosis” describes age-related spinal degenerative changes, eventually causing nerve root irritation and/ or compression, resulting in radiating signs and symptoms into one or both upper extremities.”

Cervical spondylosis is a common disorder that begins with degenerative changes in the intervertebral disc (DDD – degenerative disc disease). As the nucleus pulposis dehydrates, the disc flattens and the outer annular lamellae buckle outward causing a stress reaction along the vertebral endplate margins. In an effort to stabilize the resultant hypermobility, the body begins to produce subperiosteal bone (bony bars) along the ventral aspect of the spinal canal. Loss of disc height also leads to disproportionate loading of the facet joints resulting in degenerative change (DJD – degenerative joint disease). This process, which is often accompanied by uncinate hypertrophy, may lead to foraminal encroachment and radicular complaints. Macroscopic and histological study has clarified fibrous bands connecting the cervical nerve to the zygapophysial joint capsule that can be a static factor in cervical spondylotic radiculopathy. (45) Ligamentum flavum hypertrophy and ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament may generate additional compressive forces on the nerve roots or spinal cord. (1,2)

Cervical spondylosis is an age-related disorder (41), affecting half of the population by age 40 and up to 85% of the population by age 60 (3). Women are affected more often than men (33,34). The most commonly involved spinal segments are C5/6 and C6/7. (5,26,35,36,41)

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What we do in our office to help this condition:

1. Perform a detailed exam, assessing the alignment of the spine. Due to the fact that the nerves exiting the spine in the cervical region (neck) branch off and go to the head, face, neck, shoulders, and arms, improper alignment in any of these areas may be detrimentally affecting the cervical spine and its surrounding tissues.

2. As indicated, adjust areas of spinal subluxations (misalignments), restoring proper alignment and nerve system function, which facilitates healing.

3. Apply electrical stimulation and heat to the muscles of the upper back and trapezius muscles. Applying an electrical current helps strengthen muscles, block pain signals, and improve blood circulation.

4. If there is degeneration or herniation of the disc that is compressing a nerve, we will recommend sessions on the decompression table. Spinal decompression is a non-invasive form of traction treatment that calls for the use of a special motorized table to relieve pressure, give spacing back to the spinal discs, and promote natural healing. When the pressure on the disc is decreased or relieved, it can often return to its normal position and stop the pain.

5. Prescribe stretches and exercises in conjunction with chiropractic care to strengthen the soft tissues of the neck and shoulders.