Epidemiology

Cervical spondylosis incidence varies with age. Population-based magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies show nearly 100% of adults aged >40 years have severe degeneration of at least 1 cervical level (commonly C5/6).[1][2][3][4][5][6] However, only a subset of patients present with axial neck pain, and patients are usually asymptomatic even though cervical radiographs and MRI may show severe, spontaneous degenerative disease.[4][7][8]com.bmj.content.model.Caption@102425a6[Figure caption and citation for the preceding image starts]: Severe, multi-level degenerative disc disease changes but without significant spinal cord compression (i.e., neither deformation nor intrinsic T2 changes) on cervical MRI (sagittal T2)Dennis A. Turner, MA, MD [Citation ends].

The estimated incidence of degenerative cervical myelopathy is at least 41 per million people in North America.[9] In one study, 59% of individuals aged >40 years had signs of cervical cord compression on MRI.[8] However, only 1% to 2% of patients with cervical spondylosis proceed to surgical intervention, as non-operative treatments suffice in most patients.[10][11][12][13][14]

The incidence of cervical spine radiculopathy ranged from 0.832 to 1.79 per 1000 in one systematic review.[15]

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