Im 20. Just been told I have cervical spondylosis

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I was trying to find information of Cervical Spondylosis in younger people but i can find anything. Every site i have been to says about it developing with age in older people. Im worried that because i am so young is it going to get worse? and am i going to be able to live a normal life? i am already in so much pain everyday in i just cant understand how i happened. I've read that it is a degenerative condition which obviously means it will get worse, so whats going to happen?

If anyone has info please let me know.

Thanks, Laura

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42 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Laura,

    I've been diagnosed with it as well and I'm 30. It's really annoying to see a lack of information for younger people isn't it.

    I've been told that it can be stablised and surgery is a possibility in the worst cases. I'm sure that they would be more likely to operate on a younger person than someone older.

    So far I have been given painkillers and I'm just waiting for my appointments at the hospital. I've been told that yoga and pilates are good and also the Alexander Technique which deals with posture and movement. Another tip I've been given is to get a really supportive bra. I'm sure mine has been caused by a mixture of bad posture and being slightly top heavy!

    Has the Dr given you any good advice or are you waiting to see a specialist like me?

    Best of luck!

    M x

  • Posted


    I've been told that it can be stablised and surgery is a possibility in the worst cases. I'm sure that they would be more likely to operate on a younger person than someone older. [/quote:74a1ec1d77]

    I am 33 & been told the opposite. The local NHS (No Hope Sorry) has kept telling me that I won't be considered for surgery unless I am wheelchair bound or until I reach the age of 50!!!!!! I am virtually a recluse now due to not being able to do anything that I want to because of the chronic pain and lack of mobility, yet they will not certify me as Disabled either as I can still move about allbeit in constant pain! Been told that there is no chance of any pain relief as the ones they have prescribed have had no effect.

    Basically I have been abandoned by my own Countries so called Health Service even though I was paying in substantial amounts of contributions each month prior to the illness becoming worse.

    The DWP won't even allow me to work because of insurance purposes unless I am registered Disabled (the only way a companies insurance policy would cover me with this illness).

    The whole country is an absolute joke that has now cost me my marriage and my whole life.

    As you can tell I am absolutely fuming even thinking about it.

  • Posted

    I was diagnosed about 10 years ago (aged about 40) and told the options were 1) anti-inflamitories/pain-killers, 2) neck-brace or 3) surgery.

    My sister, who worked in the pathology labs told me that what I need was physiotheropy/austeopath (yes I know I cant spell). My symptoms were tingling/pain in right arm/hand. Neither option 1,2 or 3 appealed. I had physio (paid for a few sessions out of my own pocket) and it worked a treat! I once had another few sessions (this time on my comany health insurance) when it got bad again. Touch-wood when ever it occurs again I know how to manipulate my neck to INSTANTLY releive the pain. Since I was told this was a degenerative desease I thought it would get worse but it has been stable for the last 10 years. I showed the X-rays take at the time of diagnosis to the physio (who looked at them more out of interest I guess, than as a serious pointer to actually where to manipulate). I would thoroughly recommend you try a session or two to see if it works for you (it did for Me).

  • Posted

    [quote=\"Corinne\"]I was diagnosed about 10 years ago (aged about 40) and told the options were 1) anti-inflamitories/pain-killers, 2) neck-brace or 3) surgery.

    Your diagnosis and options were identical to mine. I haven't had physio, so I will try and get this done.


  • Posted

    I am 33 and just been told I have CS I have been given nothing for it this site has helped me because I have been getting bad dizzy spells which apparently could be from this I am worried because my job involves lifting all day long, could this make it worse??? I have constant pain in my forearm and neck and feel I am getting worse, feel so let down by my docter. I was also told it can be from trauma and about 2 years ago I had a bad fall and really hurt my coccyx ended up going to hospital however was told they could'nt do anything for me I was'nt even examined. I am going back to demand more answers.
  • Posted

    Hello Scuby,

    I am only 28 and found out in March I have CS and a couple of other things in my neck. I only found out after a gym injury and then being injured a year after by an Osteopath, which prompted MRI and then this diagnosis.

    I was literally told nothing at first either, everything I learnt was off the internet. It's good to google your condition and read as much as you can - within the space of a few weeks I knew the different logistics of the neck and where CS could lead etc etc.

    One word of warning - although the internet is a good source of information, it can also scare the life out of you. When I read accounts on here and other websites, I was sick and ill with worry as some who were sevre were in our age group. However you have to remember they are the worse cases and naturally they are going to come on these websites, so don't think all young people with CS are that bad.

    If I was you, I would keep on at your GP - there's no way I would leave it like that. I have pushed my GP, Rheumatologists and then the Neurosurgesons polietly but reguarly. If your GP is no good, get a new one, you are too young to be left with nothing.

    If you have not had an MRI, make sure you push for one to check if you have other stuff in your neck. You may then be referred to a neursurgeon, to discuss whether physiotherapy may ease symptoms, or a pain clinic to or they may suggest surgery (unlikely, unless your nerves are being damaged).

    I had the pain in my neck, shoulder and forearm originally but it's all gone now - I am just left with stiffness and soreness nearly every day. But I have been pro-active: I have purchased a \"memory foam\" pillow from Argos, it was about £30 and that helps reduce stifness when sleeping on it. I have purchased Chondroitin, Glucosamine and MSM (all half price at Holland & Barret) plus I am taking my OMEGA 3,6,9 tablet (from Holland & Barrett) also.

    There's no guarantee these supplements will work for your neck - maybe your knees and back but if you can afford them, get them, as they dont harm. Make sure you are sitting properly too as bad posture is a killer on the neck.

    With regards to your lifting, yes of course it will make it worse, especially if it is heavy. If you are in pain, naturally you may lift more awkwardly too and this may cause other symptoms in your back as a result. You may need to consider a job change if your employers will not allow you to stop lifting.

    Just make sure every day you are gently stretching and moving your head around - research it on the internet or at least wait until you see a physiotherapist to work it out for you.

    Good luck

  • Posted


    I'm now 36 and have had severe neck and back pain since i was 17..ish..

    This was confirmed as Cervical spondylosis way back in 1997.

    I've tried lots of treatments.. Medication, oseteopaths, physiotherepy, acupunture, massage hydrotherepy, pain management courses etc...

    I have had a bad flare up over the past 6 years or so and at times I am unable to do anything where even the slightest movement causes considerable pain.

    Even on a good day I have a stinker of a headache, my back and neck are always stiff and I find it difficult to walk or move without some degree of pain.

    There doesn't seem to be a lot that anyone can do about it and I know that its not something thats gonna go away so basically I just have to live with it to the best I can.

    I very rarely let it stop me doing anything, I still try and have a 'normal' life (even though I really don't know what that means now!).

    I think that the moment you give up and stop doing things is the day that it will beat you... So keep going and work through the pain... I know its not easy, but who said anything in life was?

    I have just recently decided to try for Disability Living Allowance, but I don't hold out much hope. Even though I can't do the things a normal 36yr old old (or even 60yr old) could do without taking a pile of pain killers and a handful of Diaz.. It is annoying that every step I take causes pain which makes the constant headeache feel worse, but as there's nothing I can do about it.. I just gotta live with it havent I...

    I hope that yours doesn't get worse as I've heard a lot of people have it without too much pain or problems, fingers crossed you will be one of the lucky ones who only has occasional flare ups and not the daily pain like I have.

    Take care and don't worry too much about it.. if its gonna happpen there's nothing you can do.. Just make sure it doesn't beat you and keep going..



  • Posted

    i cant beleive there are so many sufferers out there, i have suffered for 16 yrs and getting no better. i just dont understand why doctors dismiss us fellow sufferers so easily. i had to push so much to get a diagnosis and that was after years of agony , non-movement,dizziness, numbness, headaches, most of it is settled now,i dont do anything anymore i live the life of a recluse, more or less. i was led to beleive at one point i was losing it and seriously questioned myself, that is not a nice feeling to have. having good family and freinds really does help, understanding people are always a bonus . i have had so much treatment , physio, traction, deep heat, acupuncture, injections, spinal probe, manipulation, and finally such strong painkillers that they knock you out. not much of a life. how do you explain to new partners what is wrong, without them running a mile.
  • Posted

    how unlucky are you, iwas 31 when i first started to suffer and i was told that was young, they all disagree what causes it , i just turned over in bed and wallah i couldnt move above my elbow, it was so scary. then i was told it was because of trauma, which happened when i was 13 , they said it was like whiplash working its way up my spine. one physio asked had i just been in a bad accident? you might find you end up with pain all up and down your spine, like me now, but try to keep moving if you can , yoga is supposed to help. good luck
  • Posted

    I have had problems with CS since i was 30 am now 34. Was told it was a simple trapped nerve, then Thorasic Obstruction, then nothing. after 2 MRI and 4 consultants and two physio's later was informed i have CS complicated by 2/3 slipped discs (say 2/3 MRI unclear).

    Have had disc replacement/fusion in march at c5/6 may have to have 3 more lots done.

    I hate the headaches the most, followed by the agonising pain and the annoying numbness in whole arm and face, sick of buying new plates!!!!

    Have stomach problems so only allowed to takes dyhidrocodeine (can't spell) might as well take smarties.

    Had lots of phyio, my nerve damage is so bad they are unable to do anything for me.

    Any advice is welcome.

  • Posted

    hi,im 34 and just diagnosed also,even though i am 14 years older than you i do consider myself young to suffer from something of this degenerative nature.Im seeing a specialist on december 1st and will pass on any general information i can as iv got ALOT of questions i want answering because since diagnoses last week iv just been told-'its wear and tear heres a fortnights supply of diclofenic come bak and see your regular doc in 2 weeks(that'll be this friday and shes very open and will hopefully help to fill in gaps).my syptoms have been far different from most iv read on here,my sponylosis is right under my skull and iv had a terrible headache for 8 weeks,i dont have any symptoms of the lower C sufferers-well not yet anyway.i will forward anything i think may help :roll:
  • Posted

    I was diagnosed with CS nearly 21 years ago and things have changed a lot over the years. Get more regular bouts of pain and yes the headaches are very familiar! I can't lift anything of any weight, stretching makes me dizzy and about 7 years ago the numbness and pain in the arms hit me making one side so painful I couldn't do much at all. Doc prescribed gabapentin, an epileptic drug that is also used for neuropathic pain and although need to take lanspoarazole to protect my stomach, it has made the world of difference. When you get a bad spell though, nothing makes the pain go away, but it's not a constant daily thing. The nights spent sleeping on a hot water bottle are innumerable. Yes I do worry like everyone else what the future brings but I've got this far. So for all the young ones with this, it isn't the end of the world. I've still had a family, still working 20+ years on from first diagnosis.
  • Posted

    Hi all,

    Jimbo/ or Jumbo1979 is absolutely right. Loved the message by the way. All your advices should be followed. Just for the record, only read reliable internet sources: NHS websites, Patient., universities sites, BBC is a good one too. I too have CS spondylosis, insisted on MRI before anyone touched me and now physio management for the rest of my life. No big deal, just discipline and determination. Still manage to ride my motorbike and go to the gym 3-4 times a week. Everything is manageable, you just get on with it and do your homework!

    [b:68ff518fa9]Surgery is the very last option[/b:68ff518fa9] when neuro symptoms persists for a long time. If you can, [u:68ff518fa9]manage your pain every day with good posture (sitting, standing etc...) and exercises + painkillers when needed.[/u:68ff518fa9] Have seen many unsuccessful cases after various surgeries- no guarantee of quick fix! !!!!!!!!!

    [b:68ff518fa9]D-core orthopedic pillow[/b:68ff518fa9] is a great help, may take few weeks to learn to sleep on it.

    Physios will give you the best advice like, deep neck flexors exercises (neck stabilising exercises), stretches for tight muscles and keeping spine bellow ( thoracic) supple.[/u][b:68ff518fa9]

    Good luck to all![/b:68ff518fa9][b:68ff518fa9][/b:68ff518fa9]

  • Posted

    Hello physio student,

    Thank you for your post. Out of interest, what are you doing in the gym 3-4 times a week? Are you doing low impact cardio and/or lights weights?

    For anyone else reading this, and I am sure physio student will vouch for it, do NOT underestimate the importance and benefit of exercise, even when you have this horrible condition.

    I used to be into weight training and had not weight trained properly for last 3 years, due to the neck problems. Originally I did not know what was wrong, but once diagnosed, I was still over cautious and would not exercise as I was worried initially about making things worse, despite some Consultants and physiotherapists advising me I could exercise (I used to love the gym, it was my life).

    I had tried to go back to the gym about 4 times in the last 3 years, but despite going light originally it would set my neck/upper back/shoulder(s) off a bit in one form or another. HOWEVER, I have learnt over all this time that even if I do not exercise, I get those same pains.

    Therefore, I now go to the gym anyway - I get the pains regardless but I am actually aware now that exercising sensibly in the gym, with full stretching and neck exercises too, certainly BENEFITS me. The pain episodes are less and I actually have a pretty full range of those 3 years of being over cautious were for nothing. Let's hope I can get back the hot body I used to have wink

    I appreciate some people here are in severe pain, worse than I have, but despite that you need to learn how to stretch and exercise your neck - these simple things every day will help; dont expect miracles, but it will reduce your pain a bit, even if at first it takes weeks to see the benefits.

    Phew typing all this was a workout in itself! My advise now, is see a physiotherapist if you have not yet, to ask how to do proper stretches and exercises (some involve simply moving your head forward, left, right etc, but you need to be shown).

    • Posted

      Hi Jimbo1979

      Hope you are doing well. Sorry for the long email. I am 31 yrs. I had an injury while racking the weights after squatting 2.5 months back. My right right hand slipped a little but somehow I managed to rack it. Initially i had dull pain in right shoulder and then I thought it was nothing as doctor said it might be tendonitis. Few days later as I had a radiating pain from neck to right shoulder blade I went to doctor again. Then I was diagnosed of CS. The X ray shows my neck curvature as straight. Though no doctor has said for MRI.

      I am undergoing physiotherapy and sometimes take pain killer. Also considering to take accupressure and yoga treatment.

      Now regarding gym, I am unable to do any chest exercise as I feel pain immediately in my right shoulder but all other body parts i am able to do with moderate weights. Though now I dont go gym regularly as I am scared that it may aggrevate the condition.

      Now recently the doctor has asked me to completely stop working out, riding motorcycle and to avoid any sudden movement or it will prolong the issue.

      This is where I am feeling completely depressed as I am unable to work out all.

      Do you think it is possible ever to back to gym and to perform well as before. I am afraid I will loose my gains. I have never considered to take steriods. But If I take moderate dose of steriods can i keep my physique or will it complicate matter.

      Please do you have any advise as you said you go to gym, so may be you can give some input. I am completely frustrated with this issue.


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