CERVICAL SPONDYLOSIS ANATOMY: PATHOPHYSIOLOGY AND BIOMECHANICS


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Abstract

CERVICAL SPONDYLOSIS IS the most common progressive disorder in the aging cervical spine. It results from the process of degeneration of the intervertebral discs and facet joints of the cervical spine. Biomechanically, the disc and the facets are the connecting structures between the vertebrae for the transmission of external forces. They also facilitate cervical spine mobility. Symptoms related to myelopathy and radiculopathy are caused by the formation of osteophytes, which compromise the diameter of the spinal canal. This compromise may also be partially developmental. The developmental process, together with the degenerative process, may cause mechanical pressure on the spinal cord at one or multiple levels. This pressure may produce direct neurological damage or ischemic changes and, thus, lead to spinal cord disturbances. A thorough understanding of the biomechanics, the pathology, the clinical presentation, the radiological evaluation, as well as the surgical indications of cervical spondylosis, is essential for the management of patients with cervical spondylosis.

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