Cervical Spine Conditions
Cervical spine refers to neck portion of spine, and cervical spine conditions may result from overuse injuries, trauma and certain diseases. Some of the cervical conditions that require immediate medical attention include:
Cervical stenosis refers to narrowing of the spinal canal that protects the spinal cord and its branching nerves. The condition causes neck pain radiating to arms and hands, numbness or weakness in the legs. This condition causes cervical myelopathy and cervical radiculopathy. The abnormal pressure placed on the spinal cord causes damage and results in spinal cord dysfunction. This condition is known as myelopathy. Cervical radiculopathy occurs when the nerve root connecting the spinal cord is injured or pinched as they exit the spinal canal. Myeloradiculopathy occurs when there is damage to the spinal cord and nerve roots.
Cervical Disc Herniation:
A cervical disc herniation is a condition affecting the neck, in which the outer fibers surrounding the disc (annulus fibrosis) may cause tears or cracks. As a result of this the soft central portion called nucleus pulposus bulges out through the tear in the capsule. The condition can be caused by the normal aging, or by traumatic injury to the spine. The condition results in painful burning, tingling or numbing sensations in the neck, shoulders, arms and hands.
It is an auto-immune disease in which the body's immune system attacks healthy joints, tissues, and organs. The condition occurs most often in women of childbearing age causing inflammation of the lining (or synovium) of joints resulting in pain, stiffness, swelling, and loss of function in joints.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Diagnosis of cervical spine disorders is made with physical examination and other imaging techniques including electromyography (EMG), X-ray, MRI scan, CT scan, blood tests and bone density assessment.
Treatment options for different cervical conditions are best decided by your spine surgeon based on the disease condition and severity of disease.
- Medications: Anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics and muscle relaxants may be prescribed to reduce the pain and inflammation.
- Physical therapy: A wide range of exercises for flexibility, toning, strengthening, stability and restoration of range of motion may be recommended.
Anterior cervical discectomy with spinal fusion and decompression combined with fusion are some of the surgical treatments recommended for cervical spine conditions; and the surgical procedures are recommended in cases where conservative treatments are a failure or if not appropriate.