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Posted by CCF Neurosurgery MD on November 26, 1997 at 10:12:34:
In Reply to: cervical spondylosis + posted by Gloria on November 26, 1997 at 00:38:30:
: Dear Doctor,
I have received my X ray results which say:
There is narrowing of the C5 disc and there is osteophytic encroachment in the intervertebral foramina on both sides at the C5 level.
The appearances are those of moderate cervical spondylosis.
I have seen my Dr. and he told me that the osteophytic encroachment is the main problem, being that if my head were manipulated or badly jarred it could cause the "encroachment" to stop the flow of blood in the nearby artery.
He is sending me to see a neurologist about this problem.
Could you please explain, as he said that it could lead to me having a stroke.
Is this problem a real serious one or not.
Cervical spondylosis is quite common. It refers to degeneration of the joints
and bones seen with aging and often referred to as 'arthritis' of the cervical
As people age the disc between the vertebra lose water and thus some height
from normal disc height. Also, aging can cause the vertebrae to form osteophytes,
or small fingers of bone which form in response to wear and tear on the vertebrae.
Osteophytes can cause problems when they impinge on cervical nerve roots causing
arm pain, numbness and weakness.
The other issue you mentioned was that the spondylosis may encroach on the
transverse foramen and cause problems with the vertebral artery. The transverse
foramen lies on both sides of the vertebral body and transmits the vertebral
arteries which, in turn, supply blood to the brainstem and posterior
aspects of the brain. Cervical spondylosis, in general, does not involve
the transverse foramen and does not put one at undue risk for strokes from
the vertebral arteries.
Again, cervical spondylosis is quite common and is unlikely to put you at risk
for strokes. The indications for surgery would be pain, numbness and weakness
in the arm, as discussed above. Yours is only moderate, per your report, and
can likely be followed without surgery unless you have a problem with it.
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