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What is a Cervical Spondylosis?

Cervical spondylosis is the degeneration of the bones and disks of the neck which occurs through normal aging wear and tear. Signs of osteoarthritis can develop which includes bone spurs along the bone edge as the cervical discs shrink and dehydrate.

Sometimes there is a narrowing of the spinal canal within the vertebrae. This space usually has the spinal cord and nerve root which passes through it.


Very common in individuals older than 60 years old and usually worsens with age, over 85% of people have cervical spondylosis over the age of 60.


Usually there are no symptoms but conservative management is effective at treating symptoms when they occur. If the spinal cord or nerve root is pinched some symptoms may include:

  • Tingling, numbness and weakness in the arms, hands, legs or feet
  • Difficulty walking and/or lack of coordination
  • Loss of bladder and bowel function


Physical therapy is essential in the conservative management of cervical spondylosis.

  • Manual therapy is helpful in stretching the stiff ligaments and increasing movement between the cervical discs.
  • Exercise prescription to strengthen and stretch muscles along the neck and shoulders.
  • Traction which can also increase the space and allow the nerve root to pass more freely and decrease nerve symptoms.

Written by Chelsea Herana

Chelsea completed a Bachelor of Health and Medical sciences at Adelaide University in 2020 and Masters of Physiotherapy at Flinders University in 2022. Chelsea has had a variety of clinical experience including private practice, acute inpatient care and developing exercise programs for individuals with neurological conditions.

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