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What is spondylosis?

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Quick Answer

Spondylosis, also called cervical osteoarthritis, classifies as a degenerative disease: it results when cartilage in the vertebral discs of the neck and spine lose fluid and mobility, in turn causing pain and stiffness. Cervical osteoarthritis typically appears in middle-aged people and older adults. It arises from gradual wear and tear on the spine and neck, although some athletes putting stress on their necks, such as gymnasts, might develop spondylosis at earlier ages.

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Full Answer

Spondylosis generally exhibits a gradual increase in the quantity and severity of symptoms over time. Pain and stiffness from spondylosis stems from a hardening and thickening of bones and ligaments along the spine, along with the loss of spongy protective biomaterials between individual vertebrae. Symptoms associated with cervical osteoarthritis include neck pain and stiffness, a grinding sensation upon turning the neck, difficultly fully rotating the head and neck, pain in the shoulders and headaches, sometimes starting in the neck, according to WebMD.

Upon the onset of symptoms, rest provides some preliminary relief. Sometimes, spondylosis puts pressure on the spinal cord. This pressure produces additional symptoms, including numbness or tingling in the extremities, difficulty walking, incontinence and impaired reflexes. Although spondylosis may arise spontaneously in individuals, it frequently appears as a hereditary condition. Patients with spondylosis receive relief through surgery as well as non-surgical treatment.

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