Yes Your Neck Pain Could Be Arthritis
No matter where it occurs in the body, arthritis can be a real pain. One type, which goes by the name cervical spondylosis, can leave you with a stiff neck or major aches.
Often a side effect of aging, arthritis in the neck occurs when the discs, joints, and bones of the neck naturally deteriorate.
While you cant stop the aging process, you can take steps to delay its effect on the neck.
And if you do develop arthritis in the neck, you can often find relief from at-home treatment plan that includes medication, icing or heating, and/or physical therapy.
Heres what to know about arthritis in the neck, including the risk factors, treatments, and how to prevent it.
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Using Heat And Ice Packs
Applying a heat pack to your neck can help to ease pain. You can use a microwavable wheat bag, a hot-water bottle or a reusable heat pad which you can buy from chemists and sports shops. An ice pack, or even a bag of frozen peas, can also be helpful.
Make sure you wrap heat or ice packs in a towel and dont put them directly onto your neck to avoid burning or irritating your skin. You might want to consider applying a heat pack to your neck before and after exercise to help soothe the muscles.
How In Motion Oc Can Help With Neck Arthritis
In Motion O.C. understands just how frustrating it can be to live with symptoms of neck arthritis and we dont want you to have to deal with the symptoms any longer.
Weve helped dozens of people overcome their symptoms of neck arthritis and wed love to help you, too.
As the number one physical therapist in the country on Yelp! and Google, we are committed to providing the best possible care to each and every person that walks through our doors.
*This information about physical therapy for neck arthritis was reviewed by Dr Natalie Thomas, PT, DPT. If you have any questions, please dont hesitate to contact us here.
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How Does Arthritis Feel
Arthritis usually causes stiffness pain and fatigue. The severity varies from person to person and even from day to day. In some people only a few joints are affected and the impact may be small. In other people the entire body system may be affected.
The joints of the body are the site of much of the action in arthritis. Many types of arthritis show signs of joint inflammation: swelling, stiffness, tenderness, redness or warmth. These joint symptoms may be accompanied by weight loss, fever or weakness.
When these symptoms last for more than two weeks, inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis may be the cause. Joint inflammation may also be caused by infection which can lead to septic arthritis. Degenerative joint disease is the most common type of arthritis joint inflammation is not a prominent feature of this condition. While normal joints can support a vast amount of use, mechanical abnormalities of a joint make it susceptible to degeneration.
It is healthy for you to keep active and move your joints. If you do not move a joint regularly, the muscles around it weaken and/or become tight. The joint can stiffen or even freeze. When you do try to move the joint and muscles hurt because they have been still for so long.
Arthritis can make it hard to do the movements you rely on every day for work or taking care of your family.
Physical Therapy For Neck Arthritis Treatment Information Exercises And More
Cervical spondylosis can be a real pain in the neck literally.
Have you been experiencing neck pain, headaches, and muscle spasms in your neck and back?
Maybe youve been looking for information on how to get relief from the discomfort that comes with neck arthritis.
Youre not alone.
Neck arthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis among adults and many of them are looking for relief, just like you.
Look no further, well review everything you need to know about neck arthritis, from symptoms and treatment options to exercises that can help.
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Spondyloarthritis In The Neck
Other types of neck arthritis include psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, which are both considered a type of arthritis called spondyloarthritis. Its an umbrella term for inflammatory diseases that involve both the joints and entheses, the places where ligaments and tendons attach to the bones.
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis often accompanied by psoriasis, an inflammatory skin disease. For some people who have psoriatic arthritis, the condition involves the spine, which impacts the neck. Pain happens when inflammation strikes the joints between the vertebrae. This pain can occur on just one side of the body, the neck, and the lower and upper back. Read more about psoriatic arthritis symptoms.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis that strikes the bones in your spine and pelvis as well as peripheral joints. Early signs and symptoms might include pain and stiffness in your lower back and hips, especially in the morning and after inactivity. Fatigue and neck pain are common. AS symptoms might worsen, improve, or stop at irregular intervals.
Hot And Cold Treatment
Applying hot and cold compresses to the painful neck and shoulders can relieve the pain effectively, as well as provides neck cramp relief. You should start this right after you feel the pain.
- Apply an ice-cold towel on the shoulders and neck for 10 minutes. Repeat this 4 to 5 times a day.
- Then apply a hot pack to the neck and shoulders. You can purchase a hot pack gel and just microwave it before use. Repeat this 4 to 5 times a day as well.
This is one of the best treatments for stiff necks, it also helps reduce swelling and relieve pain almost instantly.
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How To Release Emotions To Heal From Arthritis
Where you experience arthritis in your body can be a clue to what hidden emotion or trauma youre suppressing. One of my all-time favorite books for deciphering the emotional roots of physical pain is Heal Your Body by Louise Hay. You can use it to look up the location of your pain and gain an understanding of what emotion or trauma you may be suppressing.
Heres how you can get to the root of your arthritis so you can heal:
Locate your pain. Use Louise Hays Heal Your Body to look up any body part where you are experiencing pain. For example, Louise says that pain in your neck is related to your inability to see the other side of an issue. Pain in your knee a very common occurrence in our culture means that you are being inflexible or stubborn. Pain in your hand represents holding on to something thats not working for you or feeling unable to handle something.
Acknowledge the emotions of arthritis. If your pain is caused by arthritis, you always add anger, resentment, criticism or fear into the mix. So, for example, the pain in your hand could be from holding on to something. Because the pain is caused by arthritis, you may feel angry or resentful about whatever it is that you are holding on to.
What You Need To Know About Neck Arthritis
When neck arthritis strikes, it can cause painful joint inflammation and stiffness. There are various types of neck arthritis, such as the following:
- Cervical osteoarthritis involves the breakdown of the cartilage within the necks joints, which may occur due to wear-and-tear over time or may be accelerated by an injury.
- Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that causes enthesitis, which is inflammation where the ligaments and tendons attach to bone. While ankylosing spondylitis typically starts in the hips and lower back, it can eventually work its way up to the neck in severe cases.
The focus of this blog is cervical osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of neck arthritis that is discussed on this site.
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When Arthritis Causes Neck Pain
Arthritis, specifically spondylosis and rheumatoid arthritis, can cause neck pain. Both prescription and DIY treatments can help you manage your condition.
Two types of arthritis commonly lead to neck pain: cervical spondylosis and rheumatoid arthritis. With both types, it’s joint damage that causes pain and discomfort in your neck.
Best Foods For Arthritis
There are foods that will help you ease the pain and inflammation of arthritis. Here are some of the best foods you can add to your diet to treat arthritis symptoms:
Fatty FishFatty fish like trout, mackerel, and salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory properties. They reduce inflammation, joint pain, and stiffness.
GarlicThe anti-inflammatory effect of garlic will help in treating the symptoms of arthritis. It also boosts your bodys immune system.
GingerGinger has components that prevent the production of substances that cause inflammation in the body.
Olive OilDue to its anti-inflammatory properties, olive oil will reduce arthritis symptoms. You can use it in your cooking or take it in capsules.
WalnutsThey have markers that help in reducing inflammation in arthritis. They have a very high omega-3 fatty acids content.
BerriesThey contain a compound known as quercetin that blocks inflammatory processes that are accompanied by arthritis.
SpinachSpinach contains antioxidants that fight inflammation. The consumption of other fruits and vegetables also leads to lower risks of inflammation.
Before seeking home remedies, make sure you get a go-ahead from your doctor especially if you are to take them in combination with medication.
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What Is Neck Arthritis
More than 85% of people over the age of 60 experience neck arthritis also referred to as cervical spondylosis.
Cervical spondylosis affects the spinal disks in your neck.
Over time, the cartilage in your neck joints begins to break down.
Just as in other forms of arthritis throughout the rest of the body, neck arthritis is the age-related wear-and-tear of bones, joints, and discs in your neck.
Working With Neck Pain
Overall, getting back to work sooner rather than later is helpful for most people. In the past, people were advised to rest up in bed, but we now realise that it does more harm than good. Its much better to keep moving, even if you need to take some painkillers to allow you to do so.
Most people are able to return to work within 23 days, although this varies from person to person and depends on the type of job you do.
You dont need to wait until your neck problem has gone. In many cases, the longer youre off work the more likely you are to develop longer-term problems and the less likely you are to return to work.
Its important to keep in contact with your employer and discuss what can be done to help you return to work. If your work involves physically demanding tasks, you might find it useful to work shorter hours or move to more desk-based duties for a couple of weeks.
If you have an occupational health adviser at your workplace, they can help advise what work you are fit to do and arrange any simple adjustments to help you to cope. If you are having difficulties travelling to or from work or need an item of equipment, the Governments Access to Work Scheme might be able to help.
If you are unable to get back to work after two weeks of absence because of your neck pain, you should talk to your doctor and employer about getting physiotherapy or other treatments that can get you moving again.
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Vegetables And Fruits Containing Phytochemicals:
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower all contain a compound called sulforaphane. While sulforaphane is not an antioxidant, studies indicate it may help prevent or slow down osteoarthritis.
Alliums like onions, garlic, shallots, and leeks contain another powerful antioxidant called quercetin. Researchers studying the anti-inflammatory properties of quercetin in rats have suggested it has potential as an osteoarthritis treatment.
Citrus fruits contain high levels of beta cryptoxanthin, which gives them their orange and red colors. This has been shown to maintain joint health and prevent osteoarthritis in mice. Citrus fruits are also a great source of vitamins A and C, which are important for bone and cartilage health.
How Neck Arthritis Is Diagnosed
Your doctor will start by taking a history and doing a physical exam. Theyll check the range of motion in your neck and test your strength, sensation, and reflexes to find out if there is pressure on your nerves or spinal cord. Theyll ask when your symptoms started, when the pain happens, and what makes the pain better and worse.
Your doctor may order an X-ray to assess alignment and look for arthritic changes, says Dr. Shah. If there is a concern of compression of spinal nerves or the spinal cord, you may need an MRI to look at the neutral structure and discs, says Dr. Shah.
A CT scan may be ordered to look at the bone more closely, especially to see if any bony outgrowths are causing compression. However, X-rays and MRIs are the tests that are usually ordered, says Dr. Shah. A CT scan with a myelogram may be used if an MRI cant be done.
An electromyography, or EMG, may be ordered to assess for nerve compression, says Dr. Shah. An EMG tests the electrical conduction of the nerves in the arms. This test would be helpful if you have multiple nerves being compressed or compression of nerves at the neck and in the arm, he says.
Your doctor may order blood tests to see if you have any antibodies or systemic inflammation that would reveal inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis In The Neck
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease where the bodys immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the joints. It often starts in the smaller joints of your hands and feet and can spread to other parts of the body like the neck as the disease progresses. This typically doesnt happen until years after the onset of arthritis symptoms.
Neck pain is the primary symptom of rheumatoid arthritis in the neck, with the severity varying from person to person. You may feel a dull or throbbing ache in the back of your neck around the base of the skull. Joint swelling and stiffness can make it hard to move from side to side.
The difference between rheumatoid arthritis neck pain and a neck injury is that stiffness and pain from an injury can gradually improve over days or weeks. Rheumatoid arthritis in the neck may not get better it can worsen if left untreated. Even if symptoms improve, inflammation, swelling, and stiffness can return with rheumatoid arthritis in the neck.
Risk Factors For Cervical Spondylosis
Risk factors for cervical spondylosis include:
- Age as people age, they are at a higher risk for developing arthritis in the neck.
- Genetics there is evidence that osteoarthritis is hereditary therefore, some people may be predisposed to the condition.
- Occupation careers that involve repetitive neck motions can add extra stress on your neck.
- Neck injuries if you have had a previous neck injury, you may be at a higher risk to develop arthritis in the neck.
- Genetic factors there is evidence that arthritis in the neck is hereditary.
- Smoking smoking can increase pain in the neck.
- Weight overweight people put more weight on the joints and tend to develop neck osteoarthritis sooner.
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What Really Causes Arthritis
While the many forms of arthritis have very different causes, risk factors and effects on the body, they all share a common symptompersistent joint pain.
Pain of any kind has emotional roots. In fact, studies show that emotional factors are crucial to the development of R.A. The emotions associated with arthritis are usually unexpressed anger, resentment, aggression, criticism , lack of support, and fear. Experts suggest that one reason women are afflicted with R.A. four times more frequently than men is that women are taught from early childhood not to express anger.
It is also not uncommon for people with R.A. to have experienced some sort of emotional trauma, usually before age 5. Traumas that occur when you are young can hinder the development of your immune system and leave you susceptible to infections, such as Epstein-Barr virus, which Medical Medium Anthony William says is an underlying cause of R.A. symptoms.
Stress Poor Sleep And Physical Ailments Over Time Can Lead To A Pain In The Neck
Everyday life isn’t kind to the neck. You may be all too familiar with that crick you get when you cradle the phone between your shoulder and ear, or the strain you feel after working at your computer.
Neck pain rarely starts overnight. It usually evolves over time. And it may be spurred by arthritis or degenerative disc disease, and accentuated by poor posture, declining muscle strength, stress, and even a lack of sleep, said Dr. Zacharia Isaac, medical director of the Comprehensive Spine Care Center at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital and director of interventional physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School.
The following six tips can help you find neck pain relief:
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