Cervical Spondylosis — The Working Person’s Disease

Cervical Spondylosis — The Working Person’s Disease

As a young working-age man or woman, do you recognize any of these symptoms? Neck pain, pain in the shoulder or shoulder blades and extending along the arm, numbness or muscle weakness, and, for some, inability to lift the arms or a lack of coordination and difficulty walking? If you have any of these symptoms, be careful and aware, as they may be indications of cervical spondylosis or cervical degenerative disc disease.

Causes and Symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical spondylosis can develop either with or without an injury or accident. If caused by an accident, the explanation is relatively straightforward, as the injury can cause the intervertebral discs in the neck area to be moved or to compress either the spinal cord or nerves. For those whose condition is not caused by an accident or injury, they are usually in the at-risk group due to poor posture and incorrect use of the neck and back muscles. This group can include, for example, those sitting in one position using an iPad for long periods of time, or particularly those who work at a computer for many hours each day—people in this category tend to have issues with neck pain or pain in the shoulders and shoulder blades, often experiencing a sharp, electric shock-like pain radiating down the arm, numbness, and in some cases, muscle weakness to the point of being unable to carry out normal work or daily tasks.

Treatment Approaches and Guidelines for Cervical Spondylosis

Contemporary treatment has the benefits of advanced, modern equipment, enabling doctors to better analyze and diagnose, in a simpler, clearer, and more efficient manner. Treatment options are divided into three main categories or groups:

Group 1: This is the group, whose symptoms are less severe, and therefore are able to be treated without surgery. Treatment usually involves the prescription of medication and/or physical therapy.

Group 2: Patients who have already taken medication and have not responded to the treatment. This group has the option of undergoing innovative treatments to aid in recovery that does not involve surgery, such as heat therapy or medical injections into the affected area above the nerves in the neck region as well as treatment using nucleoplasty.

There are three principal uses for the application of nucleoplasty techniques, or high-frequency radio waves, in the treatment of cervical spondylosis or disc degeneration:

  1. To reduce pressure inside spinal intervertebral discs (disc decompression)
  2. To dissolve nerves that have grown into the nucleus of the spinal column and have become a source of pain. Normally, nerves to the disc space only penetrate into the area surrounding the spinal intervertebral discs and do not reach the inner portion. The radio wave energy helps to dissolve any nerves that have started to grow into the central portion of the intervertebral discs.
  3. As a method of treatment utilizing molecular alteration and disc restructuring in order to reduce or relieve some of the chemical forces causing pain.

For whom is nucleoplasty a viable and suitable treatment option?

Patients for whom part of the spinal disc center has slipped out (herniated nucleus pulposus (HNP), although not too much, but who are experiencing a great deal of pain and have not improved or responded to conservative treatment with medication, physical therapy and modification of their daily routines; patients who have undergone an MRI scan in order to examine the disc protrusion or abnormal bone growths or spurs on the vertebrae, but without significant nerve compression and yet are experiencing a lot of pain – patients in this group will reap the greatest benefits from nucleoplasty treatment.

Benefits of Nucleoplasty

  • Elimination of general anesthesia
  • Elimination of complications that may result from open surgery
  • Reduced hospitalization time
  • Rapid recovery time – patients can go home the same day of treatment, or after just one night of hospital bed rest
  • Rapid relief of pain and symptoms within two weeks, for most patients

Group 3: This group is made up of patients showing indications for surgical treatment. These include:

  • Symptoms ongoing for a period longer than six weeks and increasing in frequency and severity of pain
  • Lack of response to other forms of treatment or suffering from significant chronic pain
  • Weakness in the joints, such as the wrist, elbow or shoulder
  • Symptoms of spinal cord compression, whereby patients lose the ability to use their hands properly or to balance
  • Conditions involving infection or growths

Simple Self-care Techniques to Reduce the Risk of Cervical Spondylosis

Those who would rather avoid suffering the pain and effects of cervical spondylosis (cervical degenerative disc disease) causing spinal nerve compression, or painful, tense muscles in the neck, shoulder and shoulder blade areas, must continually remind themselves that for every hour they sit, they should stand for one minute of time stretching, extending and stretching their muscles as per a doctor’s instructions. If work requires that you sit in front of a computer for long periods of time, you should do so facing forward with the monitor directly in front of your face; your desk should have a hand-rest to minimize strain on the wrists; the computer monitor should be at eye level; you should be totally and comfortably seated with your hips as far back as possible in the chair, and your chair should have a backrest. If you can follow these few simple guidelines, you will be well on your way to preventing neck, shoulder and shoulder blade pain associated with Office Syndrome, or, beyond that, the severe and painful effects of degenerative or slipped discs and nerve compression.


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