Treatment for cervical spondylosis depends on the severity of your signs and symptoms. The goal of treatment is to relieve pain, help you maintain your usual activities as much as possible, and prevent permanent injury to the spinal cord and nerves.
If over-the-counter pain relievers don't help, your doctor might suggest:
- Muscle relaxants. Drugs such as cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril, Amrix) and methocarbamol (Robaxin) may help if you're having muscle spasms in your neck.
- Anti-seizure drugs. Some types of epilepsy drugs, such as gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise, Horizant), and pregabalin (Lyrica), also work well to dull the pain of damaged nerves.
- Narcotics. Some prescription pain relievers contain narcotics, such as hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, others) or oxycodone (Percocet, Roxicet, others).
- Steroid injections. In some cases, injecting prednisone and a numbing agent into the area affected by cervical spondylosis may help.
A physical therapist can teach you exercises to help stretch and strengthen the muscles in your neck and shoulders. Some people with cervical spondylosis may benefit from the use of traction, which can help provide more space within the spine if nerve roots are being pinched.
If conservative treatment fails or if your neurological signs and symptoms — such as weakness in your arms or legs — are getting worse, you may need surgery to create more room for your spinal cord and nerve roots. This may involve removing a herniated disk or bone spurs, or it could require the removal of part of a vertebra.
Jun. 12, 2012
- Bradley WG, et al. Neurology in Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Butterworth-Heinemann Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7506-7525-3..X5001-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-7506-7525-3&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed April 6, 2012.
- Cervical spondylosis. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00369. Accessed April 6, 2012.
- Takagi I, et al. Cervical spondylosis: An update on pathophysiology, clinical manifestation and management strategies. Disease of the Month. 2011;57:583.
- Shelerud RA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 4, 2012.
- Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed April 6, 2012.