Osteoarthritis of the neck, also known as Cervical Spondylosis, is the term doctors use to describe age-related wear and tear of the discs and vertebrae along the cervical (upper) spine. This condition is evident in more than 85 percent of men and 75 percent of women over the age of 60.
While Cervical Spondylosis begins developing in adults younger than 50, most people do not notice symptoms in the early stages of joint degeneration. Because of this, by the time people are in significant pain, damage to the joint can be severe.
Cervical Spondylosis is caused by inflammation and irritation in and around the spine and the growth of osteophytes (bone spurs) on the joints. These developments may lead to chronic, painful conditions including:
Any or all of these conditions can lead to pressure on the nerve roots in the spine, leading to pain and weakness in the neck as well as numbness and tingling, which can radiate into the shoulders and arms. While, sometimes, Cervical Spondylosis is not progressive, the longer symptoms are left untreated, the worse the damage may become.
Because neck pain may be caused by a variety of injuries and medical conditions, proper diagnosis is key to effective treatment. During your initial visit with Dr. Skaliy, you may expect:
Depending on the results of the examinations, Dr. Skaliy will recommend a treatment program to ease your pain and discuss possible ways to repair the damage causing your neck pain.
When neck pain is sporadic or mild, Dr. Skaliy may recommend rest, over-the-counter pain relievers, physical therapy and low-impact exercise or stretching. The goal of these treatments is pain relief as well as prevention of any further injury or joint degeneration.
When initial pain-relieving steps are no longer effective, Dr. Skaliy may recommend one of these minimally-invasive pain-relieving treatments, based on the type and location of your neck pain:
In some cases of severe, chronic neck Osteoarthritis physicians may recommend surgery to remove bone spurs as well as any tissue that may be compressing spinal nerves. In more extreme cases, Cervical Fusion Surgery may be suggested.
Because these surgeries are highly invasive and come with the risk of side-effects and uncertain prognosis, Dr. Skaliy recommends minimally-invasive, nonsurgical options to treat chronic neck pain.