Symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis
What are the symptoms of cervical spondylosis?
If symptoms develop, they can range from mild to severe. Symptoms depend on type of cervical spondylosis. There are 3 types.
Cervical spondylosis without radiculopathy or myelopathy (Neck pains)
Cervical spondylosis with radiculopathy (Neck pains and arm symptoms)
Cervical spondylosis with myelopathy (Neck pains and cord compression)
What is cervical spondylosis without radiculopathy or myelopathy (Neck pains)?
Pain in the neck. This may spread to the shoulders and base of the skull. Movement of the neck may make the pain worse. The pain sometimes spreads down an arm to a hand or fingers. This is caused by irritation of a nerve which goes to the arm from the spinal cord in the neck. The pain tends to come and go with flare-ups from time to time. You may have a flare-up of pain after unaccustomed use of your neck, or if you sprain a neck muscle or ligament. However, a flare-up often develops for no apparent reason. Some people develop chronic (persistent) pain.
What is cervical spondylosis with radiculopathy (Neck pains and arm symptoms)?
- Some neck stiffness, particularly after a night's rest
- Headaches may occur. The headaches often start at the back of the head just above the neck and travel over the top to the forehead.
What are the symptoms of cervical disc herniation?
- As before with neck pains
- You may develop 'pins and needles' in part of an arm or hand. This symptom is caused by irritation of a spinal nerve as it leaves the vertebral area. However, do tell a doctor if loss of feeling (numbness) or weakness develops in a part of a hand or arm. These symptoms suggest more pressure on a nerve. This is called a 'cervical radiculopathy'.
A herniated cervical disc occurs when a nerve root is irritated and/or pinched as a result of a cervical disc’s inner core extruding through the outer core and coming in contact with the nerve root. Depending on the location of the cervical disc herniation various cervical symptoms may occur.
What is cervical spondylosis with myelopathy (Neck pains and cord compression)?
- C5 – shoulder pain, deltoid weakness, small amount of shoulder numbness, and/or diminished biceps reflex
- C6 – weakness in the biceps and wrist extensors, radiating arm pain/numbness in the thumb, and/or diminished brachioradialis reflex (mid-forearm)
- C7 – radiating arm pain/numbness to the middle finger and/or a diminished triceps reflex
- C8 – hand dysfunction pain/numbness on the outside of the hand
A doctor's examination may show changes to the sensation, power and tendon reflexes to the legs and arms. You are likely to be referred to a specialist for further tests, usually an MRI scan. This will show how the spinal cord is affected and whether any surgical treatment to relieve the pressure is likely to help.
- As before with neck pains
- More rarely, clumsiness of a hand, problems with walking, or problems with bladder function occur when pressure from a worn vertebra or disc damages the spinal cord. This is called 'cervical myelopathy'. Again, it is important to report these symptoms to a doctor.
This information is for educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as medical advice.
It has not been designed to replace a physician's independent judgment about the appropriateness or risks of a
procedure for a given patient.