Degenerative Cervical Spine Disease

  • Andrei Fernandes Joaquim
  • Otávio Turolo da Silva
  • John Rhee
  • K. Daniel Riew


Although cervical spondylosis is ubiquitous with aging, symptomatic cervical radiculopathy or myelopathy is much less common and is better named as cervical degenerative disease. Many people have degenerative radiographic changes without significant clinical symptoms. When symptomatic, cervical axial pain is generally managed nonsurgically. Cervical radiculopathy generally has a benign course, with improvement in days to weeks in the majority of patients. Surgery is reserved for those patients with severe pain refractory to medication and nonsurgical measures or those with progressive, significant neurological deficits. Cervical myelopathy due to spondylotic changes is the most common cause of spinal cord dysfunction in older adults. It is generally treated surgically, especially in those with progressive worsening. Recognizing signs and symptoms of severity are important for early referral of these patients for specific care, since surgical treatment may be necessary in some patients to improve or at least maintain neurological function.


Cervical degenerative disease Radiculopathy Myelopathy 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrei Fernandes Joaquim
    • 1
  • Otávio Turolo da Silva
    • 1
  • John Rhee
    • 2
  • K. Daniel Riew
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Neurology, Neurosurgery DivisionUniversity of Campinas (UNICAMP)CampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and NeurosurgeryEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Orthopedic SurgeryDaniel and Jane Och Spine Hospital – New York Presbyterian HospitalNew YorkUSA

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