Symptoms: What does Cervical Spondylosis feel like?
- The symptoms of neck arthritis can vary person to person but the most common symptom is localized neck pain. The pains overall can range from mild to severe varying from person to person.
- Headaches are a common symptom.
- Hearing a grinding, popping, or clicking from your neck is common as the facet joints and discs wear away.
- Periods of immobility and inactivity can cause feelings of neck stiffness. People may feel worse in the morning and at the end of the day.
- You may feel you have limited range of motion of your neck.
- The muscles in your neck may become tight, fatigued, or even spasm.
- The arthritis in your neck can also lead to pinching of the nerves in your neck, which can cause arm pain, numbness and tingling of your upper extremities, and sometimes arm weakness.
- Neck arthritis can sometimes lead to feelings of clumsiness with walking, balance issues, or weakness in your upper or even lower extremities.
Evaluation: How is Cervical Spondylosis diagnosed?
To begin, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and evaluate your risk factors. A physical examination will also be performed to evaluate your neck and neurological function (testing the nerves in your neck which allow you to have strength and sensation to your arms).
Radiographs: X-rays are a helpful tool in looking at bony changes. The joints and vertebrae can be visualized and assessed for any visible changes such as facet arthritis, disc collapse, bony spurs, and spine curvature.
MRI: An MRI is an advanced image that not only allows the bones to be visualized, but also the intervertebral discs and nerves. The nerves may become pinched and cause arm symptoms if you have arthritis in your neck. It can also evaluate the spinal cord, which if pinched can cause symptoms of weakness and clumsiness to your legs.
CT: A CT looks closer are the bony make up of your spine and can give finer detail of bone changes or arthritis.
Bloodwork: If an autoimmune component is suspected, then labs may be drawn which can help diagnose different disorders.
Recovery: What Can Be Expected?
This will depend on if a surgical intervention is offered and thought to be helpful in your specific case. There are a bevy of surgical interventions that can be performed when it comes to neck arthritic changes, thus recovery may vary. If spine surgery is offered, common restrictions and recovery periods may be as listed:
- Follow up in clinic in 2-3 weeks for incisional check.
- Neck pain is common over the first few weeks while you are beginning your recovery period. The pain will dissipate over time as you continue your recovery
- Restrictions of no lifting greater than 10-15 lbs for up to three months.
- No excessive bending and twisting during the recovery period, or motions that can put more stress on your neck.
- No driving while on narcotic pain medications, which may be required for pain control over the first few weeks. No driving while wearing neck brace if prescribed by your surgeon.
- Physical therapy will be started when appropriate, which is usually at 2 weeks. The requirements initially consist of being able to walk distances and avoid sitting or standing in positions for longer than one hour periods.
The following physicians specialize in the treatment of Cervical Spondylosis:
I first saw Dr. Chang 14 years ago …I had nerve conduction studies, followed by 8 acupuncture treatments, and was pain-free after years of chronic sciatica back pain. I then joined a local fitness center to continue the healing, as I was actually able to exercise again! I have never even had to go back for any more treatments for that health problem! His gifts of healing, experience, and expertise have changed my life forever for the better! He is compassionate, caring, kind, thorough, and so intelligent.
I returned to him years later for a very painful neck and shoulder, with the same successful results. I am now seeing him for the third time … once again for acupuncture for pain relief of a new problem area. All of my 3 treatment periods over the past 14 years have been consistent of the highest quality.
We are blessed to have Dr. Chang here in Sioux Falls. I tell others about him all the time, and try to help promote acupuncture as a viable option for pain relief. I had a “needle phobia” most of my life, so it took ALOT for me to decide to try this. If you are worried about the needles, don’t be! You will be fine!
My pain is so much better; I owe that to Dr. Baumgartner professional knowledge. He was most courteous, so was the entire staff. Even the X-ray nurse. Now my PT will get me back on track to more strength in my arms. Taking my shower, wiping off with a towel was so much easier, the very next day. I have better strength to do my daily walks, n chores, get dressed easier too. My immune system is not overwhelmed like it was when I had so much pain & inflammation in my arms, shoulders, & neck. I sleep better too.
I’ve only seen Dr. Wingate once. He was extremely thorough in studying my history with neck and back problems and the treatments I’d had over the years. While there are very few procedures available to me surgically, he offered me the possibility of some alleviation that had not been attempted previously. We are in the process of checking this out.
OI has outstanding staff and Dr’s. They are with you every step of the way-before and after surgery. It has been YEARS since I felt this good- Thanks to TEAM WINGATE (including the Spine Therapy dept) performing a successful ACDF C6/7. I definitely recommend. And… thank you Dr. Windgate!
The staff at OI are very professional and helpful and the surgeons are the best at what they do. Had foot surgery a few years ago and have also been seen for my spine and my daughter was seen for a knee injury. They’re not knife-happy, they treat conservatively and do surgery when necessary. I appreciate the time they and their PAs take to answer questions and make sure the patient knows the plan of action. The PT staff is awesome too. Very thorough and they all know what they’re doing.