Neck pain and lower back pain is very common and is a result of many things, quite often it is associated with getting older. The bones that make up the spine like the rest of the body slowly degenerates. Normally caused by the wear-and-tear of aging and can frequently lead to arthritis. Cervical spondylosis is the degeneration of the joints in the neck. This problem becomes ever more common as people age. Today Cervical Spondylosis affects 65% of people who are over the age of 60.
Arthritis in the spine can develop as the disc degenerates and loses water content. In children and young adults, discs have high water content and as we get older, our discs start to dehydrate and weaken. This condition causes settling, or collapse, of the disc spaces and decrease of disc space height. As the facet joints (smaller joints at the back of the spine) experience increased pressure, they start to degenerate and develop arthritis. The cartilage that covers and protects the joints starts to wear away. As the cartilage wears away completely, this results in, bone rubbing on bone. To make up for this, your body may respond by forming new bones in your facet joints to help support the vertebrae. This bone overgrowth (called spurs) may narrow the canal for the nerves to exit the spine (stenosis).
Arthritis Risk Factors
The following things have been linked to higher risks of neck pain and spondylosis:
• Genetics – family history of neck pain
• Smoking – linked to increased neck pain
• Occupation – jobs that involve lots of neck motion and overhead work
• Mental health issues – depression/anxiety
• Injuries/trauma – car accident or on-the-job injury
• Neck pain and lower back pain and stiffness worse with activity
• Numbness and weakness in arms, hands, and fingers or legs.
• Trouble walking, loss of balance, or weakness in hands or legs
• Muscle spasms in neck and shoulders
• Grinding sound/feeling in neck with movement
• It is important to Strengthen and stretch weak or strained muscles. Usually this is the first treatment that is advised.
• Your chiropractor may also use gentle neck traction techniques and joint mobilisations to help restore normal joint mechanics and improve posture.
• Taking Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be helpful in addressing both pain and swelling. Depending on the specific problem will determine how long you will be prescribed the drugs for.
• With careful use of heat, muscle cross-friction and other local therapies can help relieve symptoms. Surgery is only required in rare cases and to patients who have severe chronic pain that has not been relieved by other treatments. Cervical spondylosis tends to be a chronic (long-term) condition. But in most cases, it is not progressive.