C5 to C6 spondylosis overview

C5 to C6 spondylosis describes spinal degeneration that develops in the space between the fifth and sixth vertebrae in the cervical (upper) spine in the neck. The term spondylosis is a general term used to describe normal, age-related spine degeneration and the presence of related conditions and symptoms. However, it needs to be understood that it is not a condition itself.

C5 to C6 spondylosis refers to the general deterioration of the spinal anatomy, where conditions like a herniated disc, spinal stenosis or osteoarthritis more precisely describe the origin of the neck pain. This is an important distinction because treatment for these conditions varies widely, so simply describing the source of pain as spondylosis isn’t helpful when managing discomfort.

C5 to C6 spinal deterioration

As we age, the spine naturally begins to degenerate. The spinal discs that act as cushions for the vertebrae dry out and can tear, while the joints that connect vertebrae become arthritic and bone spurs develop in the spinal column. This process is normal and largely unavoidable. In the neck, a physician may describe this degeneration as C5 to C6 spondylosis, meaning parts of the fifth and sixth levels of the cervical spine are deteriorating.

This can be helpful when tracing the source of local or traveling pain but should not be considered a diagnosis of the problem, because the presence of spinal degeneration does not necessarily lead to pain. Instead, treatment of the patient’s discomfort is depending on finding the source of discomfort. Some of the most common sources of neck pain include:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • The presence of bone spurs
  • Spinal osteoarthritis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis (slipping of vertebrae)
  • Injury or muscle strain

C5 to C6 spondylosis treatment

Once the source of your neck pain is determined, your doctor will attempt to manage your pain and address the condition through nonsurgical means, if possible. Heat therapy, pain medication, gentle stretching and exercise are all usually effective treatments for nerve compression caused by C5 to C6 spondylosis.

In the event that your pain persists through several weeks of conservative treatment, however, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how one of our minimally invasive procedures may be able to provide you with the pain relief you require. Our minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization procedures are often the clinically appropriate surgical first choice over traditional open neck or back surgery and provide many advantages such as fewer risks and faster recovery times.^

Since 2005, Laser Spine Institute has had the privilege of helping more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck or back pain. Our surgeons use a small incision and muscle-sparing techniques in order to alleviate symptoms while resulting in less bleeding and a lower risk of complication compared to traditional open neck surgery.^ To find out if you are a candidate for our outpatient procedures, reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for a no-cost MRI review.*