Causes of Cervical Spondylosis – how Neck Arthritis starts

Causes of Cervical Spondylosis - how Neck Arthritis starts

The causes of Cervical Spondylosis tend to be repeated or recurring neck pain which doesn’t resolve itself, particularly when you are over 55 years of age. Cervical Spondylosis is more commonly known as Neck Osteoarthritis or Arthritis of the Neck.

In Cervical Spondylosis there is a loss of disc height between the intervertebral bodies. With age these discs dry out and become flatter which causes the joints of the neck to sit closer together, in medical terms we call that approximation.

As the joints begin to approximate with general movement or use of the neck the joints start to rub against each other and then wear.

What causes Cervical Spondylosis?

There are a number of things which can contribute to the causes of Cervical Spondylosis.

Age is one of them, so this is part of the normal ageing process and over the age of 40 we all experience a degree of wear and tear in the joints of our body. Most of us go into our twilight years not suffering from conditions like this because a little bit of wear and tear is normal and we tend not to feel that because there’s no nerve endings in the cartilage.

However, we are living longer and with improved diets and modern medicine we tend to experience pain as a result of age-related arthritis just purely because we’re around a lot longer than we would have been maybe 50 or 60 years ago.

One of the other causes of Cervical Spondylosis is inflammation. Inflammation causes pain, it’s a pain mediator. So in the situation where you’ve got bone on bone that causes pain and pain causes a shortening in the muscles.

In the back of the head you have a range of postural muscles called erector spinae and they run all the way down the vertebral column and when you experience pain particularly in the neck, they tighten and they become short.

This shortening of the muscle pulls down and brings the joints, which are already sitting close together, even more closely than they were before. This causes excessive amounts of rubbing and it just speeds up the wear and tear process.

There’s also a gender element to Cervical Spondylosis. So unfortunately, it tends to affect women more than men and one of the reasons for that is post menopause the absorption of calcium into the skeleton becomes compromised in women. They need oestrogen and progesterone in order to maintain normal bone density and both these hormones are diminished post menopause.

It’s also a condition that is affected by posture. So, we know that people who perhaps sit in front of the computer too much or have poor body posture tend to suffer with accelerated wear and tear into their joints.

There is also a congenital element to Cervical Spondylosis as well, so if there’s a history of degenerative bone disease in the family, particularly arthritic degeneration, then you have an increased prevalence or likelihood of inheriting this condition.

Some sports also have an impact on Cervical Spondylosis, particularly the traumatic ones. Things like american football, rugby or anything where there is heavy or repeated impact, this trauma into the joints is some kind of post-traumatic arthritis. In general terms you cannot trauma a joint and get away with it.

Normally if you experience some kind of joint trauma there will be secondary or side effects that start to become prevalent later on in life.

Treating Cervical Spondylosis effectively?

If you suspect that you have Cervical Spondylosis (Neck Arthritis) then get your symptoms assessed with our pain assessment tool.

Once you’ve identified the likely cause you’ll be able to download a treatment guide. It will tell you everything you need to know about Cervical Spondylosis and it will help you manage the pain effectively.

Start your Pain Assessment Get the Treatment Guide

Watch the ‘Cervical Spondylosis – causes and management’ video here

Other resources

Neck Arthritis – what is Cervical Spondylosis?
Cervical Spondylosis – causes and symptoms
Cervical Spondylosis – causes, symptoms and treatment