How does the incidence of cervical spondylosis vary by age?

Updated: Apr 23, 2020
  • Author: Hassan Ahmad Hassan Al-Shatoury, MD, PhD, MHPE; Chief Editor: Dean H Hommer, MD  more...
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Symptoms of cervical spondylosis may appear in persons as young as 30 years but are found most commonly in individuals aged 40-60 years. Radiologic spondylotic changes increase with patient age; 70% of asymptomatic persons older than 70 years have some form of degenerative change in the cervical spine.

A retrospective study by Wang et al of 1276 cases of cervical spondylosis found an aging-related increase in the incidence of the condition—including bulge or herniation at C3-C4, C4-C5, C5-C6, and C6-C7—in patients up to age 50 years and a decrease in the condition’s incidence with aging in patients older than 50 years, with the decrease particularly seen after age 60 years. Additionally, an aging-related increase in the incidence of hyperosteogenesis and spinal stenosis was found prior to age 60 years, with a decrease in incidence seen after age 60 years. [11]

Cervical spondylosis usually starts earlier in men than in women. When cervical spondylosis develops in a young individual, it is almost always secondary to a predisposing abnormality in one of the joints between the cervical vertebrae, probably as a result of previous mild trauma.

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