Despite its complicated name, spondylosis (sometimes referred to as cervical spondylosis) has a simple meaning, it is the wearing down of the disks of cartilage surrounding our spine. 

Our spinal disks are comprised of soft tissue, which can lose moisture and elasticity as we age. This can lead to osteoarthritis, bone spurs, and painful friction from vertebrae rubbing together.


Spondylosis occurs gradually, so you won’t feel a sudden spurt of pain and symptoms. You may feel tightness, soreness, or painful stiffness when moving your neck or arms. Tingling, numbness, or weakness through your limbs may also occur as the condition worsens.


To confirm spondylosis, your provider will conduct tests to evaluate your movement and reflexes. For a more detailed understanding, an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan may be recommended. Tests to evaluate the condition of your nerves may also be useful.


To ease pain and facilitate motion, your provider may prescribe medications ranging from over-the-counter medications and muscle relaxers to cortisone (a steroid) injections and anti-seizure medications. These may help reduce the swelling and decrease your pain.

Physical therapy and targeted exercises have also proven to be effective in easing pain and expediting recovery. Surgery to remove disks or lumbar fusion may also be employed.

© 2018 Intermountain Healthcare. All rights reserved. The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.