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Cervical spondylosis and sport


Osteoarthritis is defined as joint degeneration via the degradation of cartilage, which gradually wears out. This phenomenon increases with age and with the intensity of the stresses on various joints: joints subjected to high pressures and cuts such as knees or hips are the most often affected. Osteoarthritis is different from arthritis, whose origin is inflammatory. Intensive sports can be at the cause of an increasing occurrence of osteoarthritis. However, if you want to maintain healthy cartilage, you must engage in physical activities and sports. The ideal is to practice a sport that is both varied and soft-core so as not to traumatize your cartilage. Cervical spondylosis affects the joints between the vertebrae of the spine.


In case of cervical spondylosis, the classic signs of osteoarthritis are found with:
  • a progressive destruction of joint cartilage in the vertebrae close to the head and neck;
  • discomfort and pain in the neck;
  • neck stiffness with reduced mobility;
  • sometimes headaches.

The pain may be accompanied by the inflammation of the intervertebral discs, cervico-brachial neuralgia (pain that radiates from the neck into the arms and hands) and even a herniated disc.


Usually the attending physician or rheumatologist diagnoses cervical spondylosis. The diagnosis is based on a clinical examination of the neck. The practice of a sport that results in much wear on the spine, like weightlifting, can quickly point the therapist in the direction of cervical spondylosis, but they are radiological examinations that will determine with certainty the presence of osteoarthritis. Signs of cervical spondylosis are also found via X-ray and MRI (with which one can also detect a hernia).


There is no treatment to cure cervical spondylosis. Of course, if it is the result of intensive practice of a sport it is advisable to limit your activity. As for treatments, they will aim to relieve pain and reduce joint stiffness. The drugs used are analgesics (paracetamol in particular) and anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain. Physical therapists can help people suffering from cervical spondylosis. As a last resort, you can proceed to surgery.


Generally, you must make sure to reduce stress on the cartilage. If a sport such as weight lifting is performed, it is necessary to limit the workouts as much as possible. For the general population, avoid repeatedly carrying heavy loads.
In addition, it is recommended to use a suitable pillow to support the spine. Similarly, adjusting the position of your computer or television screen is important so as not to damage your articular cartilage.