Spondylosis refers to the age-related wear and tear affecting the spinal disks in your neck. As the disks dehydrate and shrink, signs of osteoarthritis develop, including bony projections along the edges of bones (bone spurs). Spondylosis is very common and worsens with age. More than 85 percent of people older than age 60 are affected by spondylosis.

Most people experience no symptoms from these problems. When symptoms do occur, nonsurgical treatments often are effective.

  • Symptoms

    For most people, spondylosis can sometimes present no symptoms. However, when symptoms do occur, they typically include pain and stiffness in the neck. Sometimes, spondylosis results in a narrowing of the space needed by the spinal cord and the nerve roots that pass through the spine to the rest of your body. If the spinal cord or nerve roots become pinched, you might experience:

    • Tingling, numbness, and weakness in your arms, hands, legs or feet
    • Lack of coordination and difficulty walking
    • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Treatment

    Treatment for cervical and lumbar spondylosis depends on the severity of your signs and symptoms. The goal of treatment is to relieve pain, help you maintain your usual activities as much as possible, and prevent permanent injury to the spinal cord and nerves.


    If over-the-counter pain relievers aren’t enough, your doctor might prescribe:

    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. While some types of NSAIDs are available over the counter, you may need prescription-strength versions to relieve the pain and inflammation associated with cervical spondylosis.
    • Corticosteroids. A short course of oral prednisone might help ease the pain. If your pain is severe, steroid injections may be helpful.
    • Muscle relaxants. Certain drugs, such as cyclobenzaprine, can help relieve muscle spasms in the neck.
    • Anti-seizure medications. Some epilepsy medications, such as gabapentin (Neurontin, Horizant) and pregabalin (Lyrica), can dull the pain of damaged nerves.
    • Antidepressants. Certain antidepressant medications have been found to help ease neck pain from cervical spondylosis.
    • Epidurals.
    • Facet Joint Injections
    • Radiofrequency lesioning. These are electrical impulses which allow for the interruption of pain signals for an extended amount of time.


    A physical therapist can teach you exercises to help stretch and strengthen the muscles in your neck and shoulders. Some people with cervical spondylosis benefit from the use of traction, which can help provide more space within the spine if nerve roots are being pinched.

  • Surgery

    If conservative treatment fails or if your neurological signs and symptoms — such as weakness in your arms or legs — worsen, you might need surgery to create more room for your spinal cord and nerve roots.

    Surgery options might involve:

    • Removing a herniated disk or bone spurs
    • Removing part of a vertebra
    • Fusing a segment of the neck using bone graft and hardware

Facet Joint Injection