Cervical spondylosis, often referred to as "neck arthritis", is a common degenerative condition of the cervical spine and may be associated with mineral deposits in the cushions between the vertebrae. Clinically it manifests itself with symptoms such as neck and shoulder pain, suboccipital pain and headaches, radicular symptoms such as shooting pain down the arms.
In advanced stages it symptomatically manifests itself by:
- Weakness or numbness in the hands, fingers and the arms.
- Pain in the neck that spreads to the shoulders as well as the arms.
- Headaches that spread to the rear side of the head
- Losing one's balance.
- If there is pressure on the spinal cord, weakness or numbness in the legs.
- If there is compression on the spinal cord, a loss of bowel or bladder control.
Symptoms of cervical spondylosis may appear in those as young as 30 years, and spondylosis usually starts earlier in men than in women with 90% onset in men older than 50 and 90% in women older than 60. In some patients cervical spondylosis can lead to narrowing of the spinal canal which results in pressure which may affect the ability to walk. Historically the general treatments are wearing a cervical collar or neck brace in the day time in order to lessen the motion of the neck as well as to reduce irritation to the nerves. Cervical collar immobilization treatments have many doubters of it's efficacy. The taking of anti-inflammatory drugs that are nonsteroidal like ibuprofen in order to provide relief for the pain and a physical therapist may also prescribe exercises to strengthen the muscles of the neck as well as stretch the shoulders and neck. Water aerobics or walking may also help in relieving the condition. If it is a more severe case then hospitalization may be required consisting of bed rest or prescription drugs such as cyclobenzaprine or methocarbamol, especially if spasticity is an issue exacerbating the pain. Corticosterodial injections may be be required between the facet joints as well as use of localized anesthesia to reduce the pain and inflammation.
The New Treatments involve the use of at home interferential therapy ( IFT) to:
- decrease the pain throughout the painful areas
- increase the blood flow
- prevent muscle spasticity
- provide carryover pain relief to slow the progression of the disease
- increase range of motion so walking and rehab. exercises can occur more frequently and for longer time periods.
- decrease swelling if inflammation is present.
The protocol to achieve the above is to have available a home interferential unit for use, on an as needed basis, as well as a prevenitive once the diagnosis is established. Occasional use may prevent or retard future deterioration and symptomatic responses. One of the biggest benefits of the new Infrex Plus is it provides carryover pain relief or residual pain relief.