Having arthritis can limit a person’s ability to engage in normal, everyday activities. It is often amazing just how much you use certain parts of the body, and many people don’t realize just how much they need a certain movement, muscle, or joint to function properly until they can no longer use it.
This happens to arthritis sufferers on a regular basis. Arthritis of the neck can be particularly difficult for patients because aside from the pain associated with arthritis, patients often experience a host of other symptoms as well, including muscle spasms, pinched nerves, and radiating pain as a result.
What Are Some Risk Factors For Neck Arthritis?
Biology and injury play a major role in arthritis of the neck. Rheumatoid arthritis in the neck is an autoimmune disorder, which may be genetic. Neck injuries also weigh in when it comes to developing arthritis of the neck later on in life.
What Are The Symptoms For Neck Arthritis?
Symptoms can vary greatly depending on the type of arthritis in the neck and the severity of arthritis. Because cervical vertebrae of the spine are typically involved in neck arthritis, it can lead to pain and stiffness which radiates down the back, arms, and shoulders.
If there is a lot of inflammation involved, there may be a risk of pinched nerves in the neck as well. This can lead to numbness and tingling of the fingers. People who suffer from neck arthritis may also experience muscle spasms in addition to the pain associated with arthritis. Many patients will also experience headaches as a result of the neck stiffness.
These headaches often involve the back of the head and skull, much like tension headaches. People suffering from arthritis of the neck may have a difficult time turning their heads from side to side or moving their heads up and down.
In severe cases where there is compression of the spinal cord as a result of inflammation or the development of bone spurs, people with neck arthritis may develop incontinence of the bowels or bladder.
How Is Arthritis In The Neck Treated?
There are a variety of treatments which are useful in treating neck arthritis.
- Precription or over the counter anti inflammatory medications are helpful in reducing pain, swelling, and stiffness.
- Exercise, strengthening, and flexibility training will help patients with range of motion. This is also useful in helping to prevent neck arthritis from worsening over time. Muscle relaxers may also be prescribed if there are muscle spasms accompanying the arthritis stiffness and pain.
- Many patients will also opt for cortisone injections in their neck. This will help reduce the swelling and inflammation diretly in the affected joints of the neck and are effective at giving patients relief for several weeks to several months at a time.
- When pain is extremely severe, rest, heat, and ice can often help improve symptoms until activity can be resumed.
- A combination of chondroitin and glucosamine, as well as the arthritis diet can also help to prevent the progression of arthritis in the neck and the symptoms associated with the disease.
Neck arthritis is typically more common in men than in women, and generally begins to occur after the age of 40. This type of arthritis is more common in people who have sustained trauma to the neck at some point in their lives. With proper precautions and the right treatment, however, people with arthritis of the neck can significantly slow down the progresion of the disease.