Frequently Answered Questions
What is cervical spondylitis?
Cervical spondylitis is an age related degenerative disease that affects the vertebrae (spine), specifically the joints of the cervical vertebrae (the thin, delicate bones that facilitate mobility in the neck and head). Typified by inflammation in the spine and the spinal joints, this condition is hereditary and degenerative in nature, affecting more men than women.
What are the causes of cervical spondylitis?
Following are the leading causes of cervical spondylitis:
• Bad posture
• Lack of exercise
• Sitting hunched up over the computer for prolonged hours
• Stiffness of the muscles that develops over the years
• Lying in bed in an unnatural position
• Reclining on sofa or propping head on a lot of pillows.
What are the symptoms of cervical spondylitis?
The symptoms of cervical spondylitis can vary from mild to severe. Among the most common ones are
• Pain in the neck. This may spread to the base of the skull and shoulders. Movement of the neck may make the pain worse. The pain sometimes spreads down the arm to the hand or fingers.
• Stiffness in the neck
• Headaches that often start at the back of the head (just above the neck) and travel to the top to the forehead.
• Numbness, pins and needle like sensation, or weakness in any part of the hand or arm.
How is cervical spondylitis diagnosed?
Generally, physical examination, coupled with history of the patients’ complaints, is adequate for the diagnosis of cervical spondylitis. However, on some occasions, patient might have to undergo tests, which would include:
• X-ray of the neck
• CT (Computerized Tomography) scan
• MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) of the spine
• EMG (Electromyogram)
Can a person’s life style cause cervical spondylitis?
Yes, it can. Reading and writing for an extended period of time demands continuous muscle and ligaments tension, which can lead to neck strain. Other activities that can do that are:
• Tucking the cellphone on one shoulder and having long conversations in that position
• Sitting or standing still for long period
• Driving continuously for long hours
• Sleeping in an awkward position
What precautions should I take to keep cervical spondylitis under control?
To avoid neck strain that can aggravate cervical spondylitis, you should take small breaks from your work and do muscle strengthening exercises
Will cervical spondylitis affect my work and personal life?
Cervical spondylitis can cause severe neck pain and stiffness that can greatly reduce your ability to perform simple day to day activities like driving, working, exercising and even sitting and lying down.
What kind of professions can lead to cervical spondylitis?
People working in some professions are more likely to develop cervical spondylitis. These would include computer operators, drivers of vehicles, and any occupation that involves carrying and lifting heavy weights on their heads, like construction workers. Any job that puts considerable strain on the back, neck or shoulder could be a probably cause of cervical spondylitis.
What is the conventional treatment for cervical spondylitis?
The conventional treatment of CS consists of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) and muscle relaxants: However, it’s important to note that they don’t generally modify the course of the disease but only help in easing the pain. Surgery is usually not indicated for most mechanical causes of neck pain.
What precaution is required from my side to keep cervical spondylitis under control?
An active lifestyle is instrumental in keeping neck and shoulder pain at bay. In addition to regular exercise, it’s important to take small breaks while at work. For instance, if you have to sit at a table for long hours, get up every hour, stretch your body and do some muscle strengthening exercises.