Osteoarthritis In The Neck

Osteoarthritis in the neck is often referred to as cervical osteoarthritis or even as degenerative joint disease, cervical spondylosis or in ordinary language as neck arthritis. This condition involves degeneration of the facet joints in the cervical spine which often results to osteoarthritis of the neck.

Symptoms of Neck Osteoarthritis

Neck osteoarthritis symptoms includes headaches, especially those that are felt at the back of the head; pain that tends to get worst at the end of the day, pain that feels better with rest, stiffness and pain that is often worst when you wake up and often improves when moving around; and pain that often spreads to the shoulder or between the shoulder blades.

The most common marker of neck or cervical osteoarthritis is cervical bone spurs or osteophytes. These bone spurs may impinge a nerve and brings symptoms of pain that often spreads to the arms. If it impinges on the spinal cord it can result to dysfunction of the spinal cord or what is known as cervical myelopathy. In some cases, cervical Spondylolisthesis may develop too as a result to arthritis in the facet joints of the cervical spine although this condition is much more common to develop in the lumbar spine or lower back.

Treatment of Neck Osteoarthritis

Treatment for neck osteoarthritis are usually non-invasive and may include any one or a combination of the following – always rest whenever pain is severe; NSAIDs like ibuprofen, COX-2 inhibitors or naproxen to lessen pain and inflammation; Cortisone injections to reduce the inflammation as well as the pain through injecting steroids directly to the affected area; taking of muscle relaxant to lessen pain brought by muscle spasm in the neck and its surrounding muscles; and the use of hot and cold therapy to lessen localized pain.

A more advance form of treatment like chiropractic manipulation or traction to aid in managing severe or chronic symptoms or provide relief for severe pain from neck osteoarthritis; physical therapy especially neck exercise which helps in strengthening the neck, prevent neck stiffness and help maintain flexibility and motion; and activity modification so as to reduce any pain and discomfort especially changes in your position in sleeping. The use of especially designed neck pillows provides important support of the neck during sleep (International Journal of Rehabilitation Research 2008).

Cervical or neck osteoarthritis may tend to be severe or chronic but the symptoms is seldom progressive thus seldom requires any surgery but for those whose symptoms are really severe and affects their everyday activity then surgery may be an option.