Cervical Spondylosis Without Myelopathy

While many cases of cervical spondylosis (without myelopathy) go without notice because they cause no symptoms, some cases can lead to movement-worsening neck pain that spreads to the shoulders and the base of the skull; neck stiffness after waking up in the morning; and headaches that start at the back of the head and move over the top of the head to the forehead. In rare cases, cervical spondylosis also can lead to lack of coordination, problems walking, or problems controlling one’s bladder–this is what is known as myelopathy, which occurs when the spinal cord becomes damaged. Most experts recommend that people with cervical spondylosis (without myelopathy) try to maintain normal neck movements to prevent the neck from stiffening from lack of use. However, if the pain becomes bad, it is important to rest for a day or so before beginning gentle movements again such as slowly moving the neck in each direction every couple of hours. If symptoms do not improve within a week, physical therapy may be prescribed. Your physical therapist should be able to help relieve pain and provide instruction on neck exercises to perform. He or she also may provide education on proper posture and supportive devices, such as a proper pillow.