There are many people suffering from spondylitis today. However, many people do not know about the signs and symptoms of spondylitis. So it is always better to consult a doctor in the early stages when the pain is mild. This article would give a brief idea about five major symptoms and signs of spondylitis problem.

  • Intermittent shoulder and/or neck pain- This is a very common symptom and every one might be aware of this symptom. Another medical name of this syndrome is cervicalgia. In this kind of cervical spondylitis, it is very important that the patient must visit a doctor to discuss about the pain. The pain can be in shoulder, hand or arm. Some patients might complain for the pain on the bilateral shoulders.
  • Headaches: This problem occurs due to the nerve compression because they move away from the spinal canal. Mostly, these headaches are experienced at the base of skull. Even today it is very difficult for the researchers to find out the precise reason behind this headache.
  • Lhermitte’s symptom: Kind of sensation where patients experiencing cervical spondylitis describe this pain like a bolt of current passing from the neck and reaching to legs when is asked to move their neck is termed as Lhermitte’s symptom.

However, Lhermitte’s symptom can also be observed in patients with multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or spinal cord tumors which cause compression on the thoracic or cervical nerves.

It is due to the compression of spinal cord this pain occurs. The compression can either be at the level of neck or nerve roots, or upper back as they do not follow the spinal column. The spinal cord compression can be due to many reasons. It can either be due to narrowing of spinal canal, ossification or hardening of the ligaments responsible for stabilizing the spine or dislocation of the large central disc.

The narrowing in spinal canal is due to the bone degeneration of the spinal cord at the upper thoracic level or cervical region. The central disc dislocation is also termed as nucleus pulposus.

In some cases, the spondylitis pain could be non-specific. No neurological signs would be there to confound diagnosis. In such cases patients are advised for imaging studies to determine the possible causes for the shoulder and neck pain.

Apart from this, there are also many non-specific symptoms of spondylitis. The spinal cord compression is not just limited to shoulder, neck and upper limbs but also some patients might complain urgency, urinary retention or incontinence. Some might have problem in swallowing, also termed as dysphagia. Airway dysfunction is also sometimes a sign of spondylitis.

Spondylitis is generally observed in elderly people. This problem mostly occurs after the age of 35-40 years. However, one must know that this problem of spondylitis cannot only be resolved by home care. One has to visit a neurologist to get better care, treatment and medication to overcome this problem. In addition, proper rest is also a good solution to lessen this problem.