Also known as spinal osteoarthritis, spondylosis is a degenerative condition that affects the spine. Cervical spondylosis specifically affects the neck. Constant, sports-induced stress and bad posture can be the cause, but age-related wear and tear are the most common. The spinal discs lose shape, resulting in less space between the vertebrae. Most people experience no symptoms, but some may have pain or stiffness. Rarely, a bone growth may pinch a nerve or the spinal cord, leading to issues such as numbness or lack of coordination. There are many treatment options for cervical spondylosis and most people do not require surgery.
Physical therapy can help reduce pain, increase mobility, and strengthen the muscles of the spine. This stretches the muscles and reduces the load on the affected area. Physical therapy may sometimes include a hot or cold massage. The therapist places a heating pad or steamed towel on the neck to warm the muscles. This increases the blood flow of the area and relaxes the muscles. A gentle massage amplifies the effects. In cryotherapy, the therapist may place an ice pack on the area, or spray the site with a coolant. This can reduce muscle spasms, inflammation, and swelling.
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