Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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.

Medications

If over-the-counter pain relievers don't help, your doctor might prescribe:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Prescription-strength ibuprofen (Ibuprofen) or naproxen sodium (Anaprox, Anaprox DS) might be needed to relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Corticosteroids. Oral medications, such as prednisone, might help ease pain. If your pain is severe, your doctor might suggest steroid injections.
  • Muscle relaxants. Certain drugs, such as cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) and methocarbamol (Robaxin), can help relieve muscle spasms in the neck.
  • Anti-seizure medications. Some types of epilepsy medications, such as gabapentin (Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica), can dull the pain of damaged nerves.
  • Antidepressants. Certain antidepressant medications have been found to help ease neck pain from cervical spondylosis.
  • Prescription pain relievers. Your doctor might prescribe oxycodone (Percocet, Roxicet).

Therapy

A physical therapist can teach you exercises to help stretch and strengthen the muscles in your neck and shoulders. Some people with cervical spondylosis benefit from the use of traction, which can help provide more space within the spine if nerve roots are being pinched.

Acupuncture

Your doctor might recommend trying acupuncture to reduce your pain. Acupuncture is best provided by a licensed acupuncture practitioner.

Surgery

If conservative treatment fails or if your neurological signs and symptoms — such as weakness in your arms or legs — worsen, you might need surgery to create more room for your spinal cord and nerve roots.

The surgery might involve:

  • Removing a herniated disk or bone spurs
  • Removing part of a vertebra
  • Fusing a segment of the neck using bone graft and hardware
April 15, 2015