Don’t worry if you can’t answer this question right now. The chances may be that you don’t have any symptoms of cervical spondylitis. But there’s always the possibility that you might get them in the future.
We’ll let you in on what the most common symptoms are and before closing off with an explanation on five symptoms, we’ll also put in a wise word as to why it might be better for you to seek out medical testing instead of self-testing.
Do you have any symptoms of cervical spondylitis?
An easy way to begin answering this question is by first checking to see whether you have any neck or shoulder pain or even both. If you are pain-free in these areas of your body then, rest assured, you don’t have cervical spondylitis.
But even if you have detected some tenderness, does not necessarily mean that you have the condition. So, how do you know for sure whether you have the typical symptoms of cervical spondylitis?
Can you test yourself?
Strictly speaking, you may have demonstrated that you could. But is the small pain in your neck or shoulder directly related to cervical spondylitis? Could it not be a symptom of something else?
Nevertheless, while it is possible to self-test, only an accurate medical diagnosis will do. In order to truly know whether you have the disease or not, a range of tests can be carried out by your GP and or recommended specialist.
Go to the doctor already
So, the important answer to this short question should be; no. Alternately, you should always practice common sense and good judgment and allow your doctor to run the tests himself.
As he will tell you, identifying cervical spondylitis is not easy and can be quite complex.
What is cervical spondylitis?
You may not have the disease nor will you need to be going to the doctor any day soon but it is always helpful to know what the disease entails.
You can start by correlating cervical spondylitis with age. It is not uncommon and occurs in at least one out of ten ageing adults generally.
By dint of its relation to ageing, cervical spondylitis is also clinically described as a degenerative disease and affects mainly the cervical spine.
The link with ageing and arthritis
Now that we’ve established that cervical spondylitis is mainly an age-related disease, perhaps we could take an extensive look at what are likely to be the main symptoms of the disease but without discounting the earlier-mentioned back and shoulder pain.
We should also note that cervical spondylitis is also known as cervical osteoarthritis. There is no cure for this disease which gets worse as the body ages.
But through medical treatment, prescribed drugs mainly, the physical ageing process won’t be reversed but least the debilitating effects of osteoarthritis are not severe and can be managed.
What are the main symptoms?
In relation to ageing and arthritis, most symptoms are felt but there are signs which can be seen by others and at this stage, we are not going to discount any of them.
Right from the outset, we made mention of the fact that cervical spondylitis (also known as spondylosis) is not easy to detect.
Symptoms of the ageing process
Because ageing among most adults aged fifty-five or older generally occurs gradually, how the human body’s spine shifts over time is not going to be noticed straight away.
But when typical old-age does set in, the symptoms, particularly if they are painful, are noticed and felt. As a physical manifestation of ageing, bone spurs along the spinal disks of the neck can develop.
What is also happening here is that as the body ages, the spine’s disks shrink and dehydrate.
Common features of the ageing process
Back and neck pain are common features of the ageing process, and men and women in general usually only start experiencing pain from their middle thirties to middle forties.
But by the time men and women have reached their sixties or older, they dread this because the pain becomes more severe and regular.
The stiffness that older folks often feel also has a lot to do with the fact that the discs in their spine are beginning to break down, basically becoming more brittle and dry.
Headaches and long pain-free periods
Because cervical spondylitis is related to the neck area it would almost seem obvious that headaches are another symptom. They generally begin at the back of the head and move across the forehead.
The symptoms we have described here so far can be serious and cause the elderly person a considerable amount of pain, however, most people with cervical spondylitis won’t be experiencing chronic pain which may also only make an appearance after long periods of experiencing no symptoms.
There are, of course, more extreme symptoms which usually occur if the sufferer slips a disk, if you will, or the spinal chord’s bones which essentially protect nerves, begin to contract or narrow.
The experience of suffering from a slipped disk is also clinically known as cervical radiculopathy. There is yet another symptom that the cervical spondylitis sufferer must deal with; a shooting pain which runs down at least one arm.
Cervical myelopathy – the narrowing of the spinal canal and the compression of the spinal cord – on the other hand, carries symptoms such as; a lack of focus and concentration, loss of bladder control, loss of bowel control and trouble walking. There could also be sensations of weakness and/or heaviness in the arms and legs.
Finally, it is highly recommended that if you, as an elderly person for instance (or you may know someone in your family who fits this profile), encounters any of these symptoms, even if they appear intermittent and very slight, you schedule a visit with your general practitioner as soon as possible.
There is every chance that you may have contracted cervical myelopathy, and non-treatment will almost certainly lead to irreparable spinal tissue and chord damage.
Earlier, we debated whether you could test yourself before believing you need the doctor. Perhaps now would be the time to make use of that test.