Brief Outline of Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical spondylosis is a chronic degeneration of the vertebrae of the neck (cervical spine) and the intervertebral cushions or discs. Bone spurs, or osteophytes, are bony projections that form along joints and are often associated with arthritis. Such spurs themselves can rub against nearby nerves or occasionally on the spinal cord causing pain and limitations in joint motion. The degeneration results from wear on the bones of the cervical spine over time.

Anatomy and physiology

Cervical Spondylosis


Aging and repetitive stress can cause discs of the spine to become drier and less elastic. Such degeneration may cause discs to bulge or in some cases, rupture. When the surrounding ligaments bevome less flexible, the vertebrae develop bone spurs – new areas of bone growth along the margins of existing bones.

Cause of Cervical Spondylosis

Repetitive wear on cervical vertebrae. Excessive and improper weight lifting. Bulging or herniated cervical disc.

Signs and symptoms

Neck pain radiating to shoulders and arms. Loss of balance. Headaches radiating to the back of the head.

Complications if left cervical spondylosis unattended

Cervical spondylosis is a common cause of spinal cord dysfunction in older adults. If the condition isn’t treated, the injury may progress and become permanent. Bone spurs or herniated discs can impinge and put pressure on the roots of one or more nerves of the spinal cord in the neck, producing tingling, burning, weakness or numbness in the arms or hands. Displaced spurs can also float in the system, periodically interfering with joints.

Treatment for cervical spondylosis

Non-Surgical Methods:

  • NSAIDs.
  • Injection.
  • Physiotherapy.

Rare and severe cases may require surgery.

Rehabilitation and prevention

Less serious cases of cervical spondylosis respond to exercises with physical therapist, aimed at strengthening and stretching neck muscles. Low-impact aerobic exercises including walking or swimming may also help. While age-related spondylosis may be difficult to prevent, minimising high impact activity, engaging in upper body training and attention to posture may help avoid the injury.

Long-term prognosis

Mild cases of cervical spondylosis respond well after immobilisation of the injury and appropriate physical therapy. More serious cases may require injections of anti-inflammatory agents between the vertebral facet joints or in some cases, surgery to remove bone spurs, particularly if they have broken off from larger sections of bone to become loose bodies.

Call (+65) 64712674 (24 Hour) to make an appointment to treat your neck pain today.

What is a bone spur?

A bone spur also known as osteophyte is a bony growth formed on your normal bones. Bone spur can caused wear and tear or pain when it presses or rubs on other bones or soft tissues like nerves, tendons or ligaments in the body. Common places that bone spur will be likely to grow are the spine, shoulders, hands, hips, knees and feet.

What causes bone spurs?

A bone spur forms as the body is trying to heal itself by building extra bone. Bone spur typically forms in response to pressure, rubbing, or stress that continues for a long period of time.

Some bone spurs form as we age. During the aging process, the cartilage that protects the ends of the bones within joints will break down and wears away eventually, known as osteoarthritis. Also, the discs that situates in between the bones of the spine may also break down with age. As time goes, this process will lead to pain and swelling and in some people, bone spurs will form along the ends of the joint. Bone spurs cause by aging is very common in the joints of the spine and feet.

Bone spur in heels

Plantar Fasciitis

Bone spurs form in the feet in response to tight ligaments, to running or dancing that puts stress on the feet, and to pressure from being overweight or poor fitting shoes. For e.g., the long nerve tissue on the bottom of the bottom of the foot called plantar fascia can become can become stressed and caused inflammation,  known as plantar fasciitis. As the body trying to heal itself, a bone spur may form on the bottom of the heel (known as “heel spur”). Pressure at the back of the heel as a result of frequent wearing shoes that are too tight can also cause a bone spur at the back of the heel.

Bone spur in shoulder

Rotator Cuff Tear

Another common site for growth of bone spur is the shoulder. Shoulder joint is a flexible joint that is able to move in different directions. Over time, all the structures of the shoulders like ligaments, tendons and the bones will wear out and rub against one another. The muscles that enables you to lift and rotate your arm (known as rotator cuff), runs from your shoulder blade to your upper arm with tendons. As these tendons move about in a very narrow space in between the top of your shoulder and your upper arm, they tend to rub on the bones. Bone spurs can form in this narrow area that, in turn, will pinch the rotator cuff tendons, resulting in inflammation, stiffness, weakness, pain, and sometimes tearing of the tendon. This condition is also known as rotator cuff disorder occurs with age or sometimes repetitive use of the shoulder. Rotator cuff disorder occurs commonly in athletes, especially badminton players, and people working as painters as they need to often work overhead activities.

What are the symptoms if you have bone spur?

A lot of people have bone spurs without knowing it, because bone spurs cause no symptoms. However, if the bone spurs are pressing or rubbing against other bones or soft tissues, the soft tissues can break down over time, causing swelling and pain. Bone spurs in the foot can also cause corns and calluses when the tissues build up to provide padding over the bone spur.

Common condition cause by bone spur:

How are bone spurs diagnosed?

Bone spur is usually detected by an X-ray. X-ray can also be used to problems associated with bone spurs, such as arthritis.

How are bone spurs treated?

Bone spurs that cause you pain or damage to other tissues will need to seek medical attention. Treatment may be directed at the causes, the symptoms or the bone spurs.

Treatments directed at the bone spurs

  • Weight loss
  • Stretching
  • Physiotherapy
  • Surgically remove the bone spur

Treatments directed at the symptoms

 Call +65 64712674 to see our doctor to treat your bone spur today.