Cervical Spondylosis (spon-dee-low-lye-sis) is a crack or stress fracture in one of the vertebrae, the small bones making up the spinal column. This injury occurs mostly in children and adolescent athletes who participate in sports that involved stress upon the lower back – such as gymnastics, football, and weightlifting.
In spondylolysis, the crack or fracture most often occurs in the fifth vertebrae of the lower spine. This area is most vulnerable to injury from the repetitive stress and overuse that characterize many sports. Because their spines are still developing, children are most at risk for cervical spondylosis; however, this can happen to people of all ages.
Sometimes, the stress fractures weaken the bone so much that it I unable to maintain its position in the spine, causing the vertebrae to shift or slip out of place. This is called Cervical Spondylosis.
Most cervical spondylosis patients do not have obvious symptoms. When symptoms do occur, the most common symptom is lower back pain, which may feel similar to a muscle strain, radiate to the back of the thighs or worsen with activity. Patients may also experience muscle spasms with this condition, which can lead to back stiffness, tight hamstrings and difficulty standing or walking.
For most patients with this condition, back pain will improve with conservative, non-surgical treatments. Your doctor will almost always recommend a period of rest from sports and other strenuous activity. Rest and relaxation are key when treating cervical spondylosis, and your doctor may also recommend bracing the area for a short period of time as well as attending some physical therapy. Patients whose pain is persistent may need surgery to relieve the symptoms.