Spondylosis is a term used to describe degenerative changes within the joints of our body. Osteoarthritis can also be used to describe these structural changes. Many times as the body ages, the space between the bones in the neck can decrease and the bones themselves can develop structural changes sometimes called bone spurs or osteophytes. Those changes can be easily seen on X-ray images, but do not directly equate to neck pain or dysfunction. Almost 85% of people over the age of 60 will demonstrate structural changes on an X-ray film, yet many will not report symptoms.
Symptoms of cervical spondylosis may include pain and or stiffness with movement of the neck, headaches, and reports of grinding sounds in the neck with movement.
What to expect from physical therapy
Physical therapy for cervical spondylosis will include interventions to address the specific impairments exhibited by the patient. Commonly therapists will treat pain symptoms with modalities which include ultrasound, heat and cold treatments, kinesiotaping as well as other pain reducing modalities.
Manual therapy is indicated to restore neck mechanics, reduce pain, and help patients with neuromuscular re-education of the neck muscles. In additional, patients may be instructed in an individualized home exercise program to increase strength and flexibility in the neck and help patients manage symptoms on their own.