Ask Your Health Question and Get an Answer ASAP
The osteophytes are part of the degenerative process going in our body with progression of the age. These are new bone formation when we the disc between our two vertebrae also degenerates and loose elasticity or shock absorbing capacity. Most of the people will have some changes. Many of us would become symptomatic because of the pinched nerves by these osteophytes and disc (which can press the nerves, nerve roots and spinal cord itself). The disc is best thought of as a jam donut. The bun around the outside is called the annulus, and the jam in the middle is called the nucleus. The 'Bun" part of your disc is bulging. Bones in the neck degenerate with aging. Over time, cervical spondylosis may result from bony spurs and problems with ligaments and disks. The spinal canal can stenose and compress the spinal cord and nerves to the arms. Cervical spondylosis is a common progressive degenerative process. Disk degeneration causes cervical spondylosis. As disks age, they fragment, desiccate and collapse. This starts in the nucleus pulposus and progresses to the annulus fibrosis which bulges outward. The most commonly involved nerve roots are the sixth and seventh cervical nerve roots, caused by C6-7 spondylosis. People can present with pain, numbness, tingling, and/or weakness. This is not dangerous and is initially managed by conservative treatment (called as medical management). Following is the treatment;
1) Neck care in the activities of daily living.
a) No working on computer for more than half an hour in a single stretch. Same for TV.
b) Monitors and televisions exactly in front (180 degrees).
c) Contour pillow: Should fill the hollow when lying on back or straight. Available over the counter.
2) Cervical Collar
3) Cervical traction
4) Anti-inflammatory analgesics
5) Some physicians do give oral steroids in severe radiculopathy cases.
6) Physical therapy: gradually increasing exercises from passive stretching to active against resistance regime.
7) Electrotherapy in the form of TENS, interferential and laser and ultrasound.
Failure of conservative treatment (increasing pain, numbness or no relief, spasm in the limbs etc) will warrant surgery.
You should consult either an orthopedic specialist or rehab specialist (MD in physical medicine and rehabilitation). Surgery, if warranted, is usually done by neurosurgeons or spinal surgeons.
Please feel free for your follow up questions.