|Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs in Richmond, VA
Wang, Xiaoyan, L. Ac., MD (China)
Phone: (804) 301-1784
Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
|Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.|
| Cervical Spondylosis
Cervical spondylosis refers to common age-related changes in the area of the spine at the back of the neck. With age, the vertebrae (the component bones of the spine) gradually form bone spurs, and their shock-absorbing disks slowly shrink. These changes can alter the alignment and stability of the spine. They may go unnoticed, or they may produce problems related to pressure on the spine and associated nerves and blood vessels. This pressure can cause weakness, numbness, and pain in various areas of the body. In severe cases, walking and other activities may be compromised.
As people age, shrinkage of the vertebral disks prompts the vertebrae to form osteophytes to stabilize the back bone. However, the position and alignment of the disks and vertebrae may shift despite the osteophytes. Symptoms may arise from problems with one or more disks or vertebrae.
Osteophyte formation and other changes do not necessarily lead to symptoms, but after age 50, half of the population experiences occasional neck pain and stiffness. As disks degenerate, the cervical spine becomes less stable, and the neck is more vulnerable to injuries, including muscle and ligament strains. Contact between the edges of the vertebrae can also cause pain. In some people, this pain may be referred--that is, perceived as occurring in the head, shoulders, or chest, rather than the neck. Other symptoms may include vertigo (a type of dizziness) or ringing in the ears (Tinnitus).
The neck pain and stiffness can be intermittent, as can symptoms of radiculopathy. Radiculopathy refers to compression on the base, or root, of nerves that lead away from the spinal cord. Normally, these nerves fit comfortably through spaces between the vertebrae. These spaces are called intervertebral foramina. As the osteophytes form, they can impinge on this area and gradually make the fit between the vertebrae too snug.
The poor fit increases the chances that a minor incident, such as overdoing normal activities, may place excess pressure on the nerve root, sometimes referred to as a pinched nerve. Pressure may also accumulate as a direct consequence of osteophyte formation. The pressure on the nerve root causes severe shooting pain in the neck, arms, shoulder, and/or upper back, depending on which nerve roots of the cervical spine are affected. The pain is often aggravated by movement, but in most cases, symptoms resolve within four to six weeks.
Cervical spondylosis can cause cervical spondylitic myelopathy through stenosis- or osteophyte-related pressure on the spinal cord. Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal-- the area through the center of the vertebral column occupied by the spinal cord. Stenosis occurs because of misaligned vertebrae and out-of-place or degenerating disks. The problems created by spondylosis can be exacerbated if a person has a naturally narrow spinal canal. Pressure against the spinal cord can also be created by osteophytes forming on the inner surface of vertebrae and pushing against the spinal cord. Stenosis or osteophytes can compress the spinal cord and its blood vessels, impeding or choking off needed nutrients to the spinal cord cells; in effect, the cells starve to death.
Phone: (804) 301-1784