Diagnosis and Treatment of Cervical Spondylosis

Diagnosis and Treatment of Cervical Spondylosis

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Diagnosis and Treatment of Cervical Spondylosis

Diagnosis of cervical spondylosis involves physical examination, imaging tests (such as X-ray, CT scan, MRI etc.) and nerve function test.

Physical examination:

Your doctor may check range of movement of your neck. Your doctor may also ask you to walk to see if there is spinal compression that may affect your gait. Your doctor can strength of your muscles as well as reflexes to find out if there is pressure on spinal cord or nerves., Diagnosis and Treatment of Cervical Spondylosis


Imaging is helpful in diagnosis as well as to pinpoint the cause of cervical spondylosis. It can also guide the treatment needed by the patient.

  • X-ray neck: X-ray is commonly done if anyone have symptoms of cervical spondylosis. It can show bony abnormalities such as bone spur, fracture or tumor in neck region.
  • CT scan: this can provide more detail information, especially of bones in neck region.
  • MRI: this can give better picture of any soft tissue problems, such as pinching of nerves.
  • A technique called “myelography” can also be used in diagnosis of cervical spondylosis. In this procedure, a dye is injected into spinal canal and detain X-ray or CT scan taken. This provide clearer picture of the problem.

Nerve function tests:

Your doctor may ask you to undergo nerve function test to find out if your nerves are functioning properly and nerve signals are passing to muscles properly. Following nerve function tests may be done,

  • EMG or electromyography: this test measures the electrical activity of nerves while they transmit messages during muscle contraction and during resting stage of muscles.
  • Nerve conduction test: this test is done to check strength and speed of nerve signals.

Treatment of cervical spondylosis:

The treatment depends on the severity of your problem (i.e. Severity of symptoms). The main aim of treatment in cervical spondylosis is provide pain relief, help maintain your normal activities as far as possible and to prevent permanent damage to nerves and spinal cord.

Medications in treatment of cervical spondylosis:

Medications include use of nsaids (commonly used pain medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen etc.), prescription pain medications (e.g. Oxycodone), corticosteroids (e.g. Prednisolone, may also need injectable prednisolone), muscle relaxants (e.g. Cyclobenzaprine), antidepressants, anti-seizure medications (gabapentin, pregabalin etc.) Etc.

Physiotherapy for cervical spondylosis treatment:

This is an important part of optimal management of cervical spondylosis. Used properly this can be better than using medications and every patient should be advised to use physiotherapy for treatment of cervical spondylosis.

Surgery in management of cervical spondylosis:

In some cases, surgery may be required, especially when conservative management fails or there is development of neurological symptoms. Surgical process involve removal of bone spurs, removal of part of a vertebra, bone graft etc.

Alternative medicines such as acupuncture can also be tried, in management of cervical spondylosis. This can help in reducing pain. However, always keep it in mind to go to a certified acupuncture practitioner.


Image courtesy of [David Castillo Dominici] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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