Cervical spondylosis is a common, age-related condition that affects the joints and discs in your cervical spine, which is in your neck. It’s also known as cervical osteoarthritis or neck arthritis. It develops from wear and tear of cartilage and bones. While it’s largely due to age, it can be caused by other factors as well. For some, it can cause chronic, severe pain and stiffness. However, many people who have it are able to conduct normal daily activities.
Risk factors for this condition
The greatest risk factor for cervical spondylosis is aging. Cervical spondylosis often develops as a result of changes in your neck joints as you age. Disc herniation, dehydration, and bone spurs are all results of aging.
Factors other than aging can increase your risk of cervical spondylosis. These include:
- Neck injuries
- Work-related activities that put extra strain on your neck from heavy lifting
- Holding your neck in an uncomfortable position for prolonged periods of time or repeating the same neck movements throughout the day (repetitive stress)
- Genetic factors (family history of cervical spondylosis)
- Being overweight and inactive
Symptoms of cervical spondylosis
One common symptom is pain around the shoulder blade. Some complaint of pain along the arm and in the fingers. The pain might increase when:
- Tilting your neck backward
- Another common symptom is muscle weakness. Muscle weakness makes it hard to lift the arms or grasp objects firmly.
Other common signs include:
- A stiff neck that becomes worse
- Headaches that mostly occur in the back of the head
- Tingling or numbness that mainly affects shoulders and arms, although it can also occur in the legs