As you get older, age-related wear and tear starts affecting the joints in your neck. Known as cervical osteoarthritis, this condition is degenerative and usually happens after age 40 and results in the bones and cartilage deteriorating, causing bone spurs and when severe enough, can cause pain, stiffness and muscle spasms. In fact, more than 85% of people over age 60 are affected.
The irregularities caused by cervical spondylosis can reduce the diameter of the canal that houses the spinal cord, possibly leading to permanent disability. Factors that increase the risk for cervical spondylosis include genetics, smoking, jobs with a great deal of neck motion and working overhead, as well as mental health and certain injuries.
For some, it can cause chronic pain, although many people who have it are still able to conduct normal, daily activities. Although most people with cervical spondylosis don’t have noticeable symptoms, when they do, it’s commonly pain around the shoulder blade, along the arm and in the fingers. Many have muscle weakness, making it hard to lift the arms or hold objects firmly.
Determining the source of the pain is essential to recommend the appropriate treatment and rehabilitation. In most cases, symptoms can be relieved using a combination of medication, exercise and taking the stress off the affected area.