Cervical spondylosis - Causes
The bones and protective cartilage in your neck are prone to wear and tear that can lead to cervical spondylosis. Possible causes of the condition include:
The spine is made up of:
vertebrae: ridge-shaped sections of bone that make up the structure of the spine (spinal column) and protect the nerves
discs: discs of tissue that have a tough, flexible outer shell and a softer inside that is the consistency of toothpaste. They lie in between the vertebrae, cushioning and supporting them
spinal cord: the main bundle of nerves carrying messages up and down your spine, between the brain and the rest of the body
nerve roots: the beginning sections of the nerves that come out of the spinal cord, exiting through 'key holes' all the way down the spine
As you get older, the discs tend to bulge and become susceptible to tears. Your body will also try to compensate for the wearing of the joints by producing small lumps of extra bone to better support your neck and stiffen the spine. These lumps of extra bone are known as bone spurs or osteophytes.
Osteophytes can cause the spine to become too rigid, leading to stiffness and neck pain. The changes in bone structure can also squash nearby nerves and the spinal cord. This tends to be more common in older people.
Dehydrated Spinal Disks
Your spinal bones have discs between them, which are thick, pad-like cushions that absorb the shock of lifting, twisting, and other activities. The gel-like material inside these disks can dry out over time. This causes your bones (spinal vertebrae) to rub together more, which can be painful. However, this process can begin around age 40.
The spinal disks can develop cracks, which allows leakage of the internal cushioning material. This material can press on the spinal cord and nerves, resulting in symptoms such as arm numbness and sciatica.
Some occupations or hobbies involve repetitive movements or heavy lifting, such as construction work. This can put extra pressure on the spine, resulting in early wear and tear.
If you’ve had an injury to your neck, such as during a fall or car accident, this can accelerate the aging process.
These overgrowths of bone are the result of the body trying to grow extra bone to make the spine stronger. However, the extra bone can press on delicate areas of the spine, such as the spinal cord and nerves, resulting in pain.