Q. My MRI shows multilevel cervical spondylosis. What should I do?

Answered by
Dr. Atul Prakash
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan
This is a premium question & answer published on Apr 29, 2021

Hello doctor,

I have an impression in the MRI, which suggests multilevel cervical spondylotic changes. There is a 2 mm disk protrusion on the left C6-C7, along with 1.5 mm bulging in the central and right paracentral disk at the C4-C5 level. Can you help me with what I have to do?



Welcome to

To be more precise, I need to know about your symptoms, such as the location of pain in the neck and arms, nature of pain, any weakness in the arms and hands, stiffness, duration of symptoms, and response to treatment taken so far. However, with the report you have sent (attachment removed to protect patient's identity), there are maximal changes at C5-C6. Other levels above and below show signs of disk degeneration and mild prolapse. With foraminal stenosis at C5-C6, there is an increased chance of exiting nerve root irritation.

If you do not have any brainstem stroke symptoms, I would suggest:

  1. Anti-inflammatory tablets.
  2. Tablet Pregabalin.
  3. Tablet Duloxetine.
  4. Antispasmodic tablets if there is a neck spasm.
  5. Do traction and neck physiotherapy exercises with TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) and IFT (interferential therapy), neck strengthening exercises, and ROM (range of motion) exercises.

For further advice regarding surgery, please provide me with the above-asked details. Consult with your specialist doctor and plan for surgery, if advised.

Thank you doctor,

I have pain mostly in the neck and shoulder, with no stiffness or numbness in the hands. It is mostly in the right shoulder and at times in the left one. I am under chiropractic treatment and medical massages, but it does help for two days only, after which there is recurrence. I have recently started with TENS. I would like to know what is meant by IFT?



Welcome back to

I could not open the attachment due to some technical error.

Since you do not have any symptoms in the arm, the nerve root irritation is either not there or is not severe. Good that you are responding to TENS. IFT is interferential therapy and is another modality to control pain. Try cervical traction too. Are you taking the medications prescribed?

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