What Are The Treatments For Cervical Spondylosis
In most cases, cervical spondylosis treatments are conservative. They include:
- Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or other non-narcotic products to relieve pain from inflammation
- Chiropractic manipulation that can help to control episodes of more severe pain
- Wearing a cervical collar to limit movement and provide support
- Other forms of physical therapy, including the application of heat and cold therapy, traction, or exercise
- Injecting drugs into the joints of the spine or the area surrounding the spine, known as epidural steroid injection or cervical facet joint injection
How Do You Treat Arthritis In The Neck
The first step in treatment is to identify which type of arthritis you have. But generally speaking, in any case of arthritis you want to limit the amount of inflammation you experience since it is this inflammation that can lead to further damage of the joints.
To do so, doctors usually prescribe a few different types of drugs. The most common are basic NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. This class of drugs includes things like aspirin and ibuprofen, and they work by stopping your body from releasing enzymes that cause inflammation. As an added benefit, they also help dampen pain receptors in the brain, which helps reduce the amount of pain you feel.
If NSAIDs arent enough to limit inflammation, you can also take something called corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are a hormone that your body naturally releases to fight inflammation and promote healing. But sometimes when you suffer from arthritis, the body doesnt make enough. So your doctor can prescribe synthetic corticosteroids to help. Typically these are in pill form, but they also make topical creams you can rub directly on the affected joints.
For osteoarthritis, your options are a bit more limited. You can use any of the drugs designed to control inflammation, as they are quite effective in many cases. You can also try non-pharmaceutical treatments like icing the area or applying heat. And getting adequate rest is always a great way to reduce arthritis pain.
What Is The Role Of Diet In Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment
Patients can also control their own gut microbiome by altering their diets. Because there is not enough hard data and because different individuals react differently to a given food, the American College of Rheumatology doesnt promote any diet, Dr. Chi said, other than a heart healthy diet, due to the damage rheumatoid arthritis can wreak on the bodys cardiovascular system. In general, Omega 3 fatty acids that are found in fatty fish like salmon are thought to have anti-inflammatory effects, and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence for turmeric, vegan diets, and eliminating fast food, processed food, dairy or gluten.
Dr. Chi stated that while she doesnt recommend any diet, she doesnt deter her patients from experimenting with diets and supplements as long as patients get the nutrients they need. I dont discourage patients from trying different kinds of diets. And people ask me about supplements all the time. As long as its from a reputable source and not potentially tainted with something, its fine to try, she said. However, it should be noted that supplements are not regulated by the FDA or any other governing body, so safety cannot be guaranteed.
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Ra Medicines And Manipulating The Gut Microbiome
One reason that a medicine may work for one patient and not another may have to do with what bacteria make up each individuals gut microbiome, according to researchers at New York Universitys Microbiome Center for Rheumatology and Autoimmunity. For example, certain bacteria help patients with RA to convert dietary fibers into short-chain fatty acids that team with regulatory T-cells to suppress the inflammatory response. However, other bacteria hinder drug absorption. For example, a recent study found that certain bacteria metabolize methotrexate so quickly that the body cant absorb the drug for itself. Figuring out the commonalities of the gut microbiomes of drug non-responders as well as analyzing the intestinal dysbiosis of patients experiencing flares helps researchers figure out how they can manipulate the microbiome as a treatment.
Vs Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis In The Neck
Osteoarthritis in the neck is a type of arthritis that happens due to wear and tear of the joints, vertebrae, and discs in the neck.
Most people have no symptoms of osteoarthritis in the neck. If people do have symptoms, they can include:
- mild to severe pain and stiffness in the neck
- pain that is worse after activity
- pain that gets worse when looking up or down, or holding the neck in a set position for a long time
- pain may improve when lying down or resting
- numbness, tingling, or weakness in hands, arms, or legs
- muscle spasms in the neck or shoulders
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What Causes Arthritis In The Neck
Arthritis in the neck, or cervical spondylosis, is actually a pretty normal part of aging. As we get older, the bones and cartilage that make up our spine go through some serious wear and tear over the years. Makes sense, right? After all, we put them through a lot of use!
Essentially what happens, is that the discs between our vertebrae that act as cushions can begin to dry out and shrink a bit, typically after the age of 40. This can gradually lead to more bone-on-bone contact between the vertebrae, which does not feel too pleasant. This is when arthritis happens. Cervical spondylosis can also occur as a result of herniated discs, bone spurs, or stiff ligaments, which can all be associated with signs of aging as well.
Massage For Neck Arthritis
Massage feels good, and it may help to relax tight muscles and improve localized circulation to structures in your neck. Some research into specific types of massage has shown promise for reducing neck pain.
Cupping involves placing suction-type cups over your muscles. Some small studies have shown that cupping reduces symptoms in patients with chronic neck pain.
The American College of Rheumatology has published guidelines for the treatment of osteoarthritis and has stated that the research currently does not support the use of massage as an effective treatment for knee, hip, or hand arthritis.
While the guidelines are not specific to cervical spondylosis, it may be helpful to keep in mind there is little evidence that massage provides lasting relief for arthritis. Still, it may be one option to try when seeking out natural remedies for your neck pain.
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New Research On Neck Pain
Arthritis cannot currently be cured, but researchers are working from many different angles to learn how this disease develops in order to find a cure.
Some of the new research on arthritis includes:
- Focus on cells. Scientists are studying T-cells, a major player in immunity. They want to find out how inflammation starts so they can stop it.
- Gene study. To find the genes responsible for rheumatoid arthritis, the National Institutes of Health and the Arthritis Foundation are supporting the North American Rheumatoid Arthritis Consortium. At 10 research centers around the United States, scientists are gathering information and genetic samples from 1,000 families in which at least two siblings have the disease.
- Other studies. Researchers are also looking at hormones, bacteria, and viruses in the hope of learning more about RA.
- Clinical trials. As for research into cervical spondylosis, a recent look on the NIH clinical trials Web site turned up eight trials involving this disorder.
Cervical Spondylosis Diagnosis And Treatment
To diagnose cervical spondylosis, your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and perform a physical exam. You may also need to undergo imaging studies, such as X-rays or an MRI , so that your doctor can view the vertebrae, disks, and ligaments of the neck and look for any abnormalities, such as bone spurs, that may be contributing to your symptoms.
Treatment options for cervical spondylosis include:
- Limiting neck movement, which may mean wearing a cervical collar
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or other pain medication to help relieve your pain and swelling
- Physical therapy
- Exercises to improve poor posture
- Chiropractic manipulation
- Neck exercise to strengthen and stretch the cervical spine
- Neck steroid injections in some cases
- In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure on the spinal cord from bone spurs or a herniated disk
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How Chiropractic Can Help With Neck Arthritis
Have you tried treating your neck pain at home, to no avail? Is this an ongoing issue that youre not sure how to tackle yourself? Or, perhaps youre looking to be more proactive about some of your health concerns. If any of these describe your current situation, its time to seek professional help.
Chiropractic care can provide the relief you are seeking. Gentle, chiropractic adjustments of the spine help to alleviate pressure in your joints, decrease inflammation, and allow your entire body to function optimally. Additionally, your practitioner can recommend appropriate at-home exercises specific to your injury history to perform outside of the office. This can pay huge dividends toward your healing timeline.
When You Should Consider Surgery
For most people with arthritis of the neck, time and nonsurgical measures will relieve the discomfort. But if you have a herniated disk that causes spinal nerve compression with symptoms like pain, weakness and numbness that dont go away, it may be time to consider surgery.
One way to surgically correct a pinched nerve is with a diskectomy. The surgeon removes part of the damaged disk to relieve pressure on the nerve. Then the vertebrae may be fused or welded together to stabilize the spine. Another surgical option is a posterior foraminotomy, which widens the opening of the spine where the nerve passes through, and removes any bone spurs that are pressing on the nerve.
Compression of the spinal cord can be treated several ways surgically. They all create more space for the nerves. Anterior decompression and fusion surgery is similar to the treatment of a pinched nerve. Cord compression can also be addressed by removing a part of the vertebra called the lamina or a procedure called a laminoplasty.
The vast majority of people with a pinched nerve will improve following surgery. People with spinal cord compression also improve, but the extent of improvement depends on the severity of neurological dysfunction before the surgery, says Dr. Mroz.
This article originally appeared in Cleveland Clinic Arthritis Advisor.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Arthritis In The Neck
Symptoms include compressed spinal nerve roots, radiculopathy, pain, weakness, numbness, and/or electrical sensations in an extremity. Neckarthritis can become debilitating, especially if there is compression of the spinal cord, which can lead to loss of strength, coordination, and balance, says Dr. Shah.
Neck Pain Prevention Is Key
You can prevent some neck pain with these steps:
Learn stretching exercises. Consult a physical therapist if necessary. You should stretch every day especially before and after you exercise. If after exercising, your neck hurts, apply ice immediately.
Keep your back and neck supported. This is a must, especially sitting at your computer. If your computer is at eye level, it will keep you from having to look up and down and constantly change your neck position. Use a headset when talking on the telephone to avoid straining your neck.
Sleep with support. Use a firm mattress. If your neck is sore in the morning, you might want to buy a pillow that supports your neck as well.
Protect yourself from trauma by always using a seat belt when riding in a car.
Managing neck pain requires a consistent approach and carefully following the treatment plan outlined by your healthcare provider. Youâre the one in charge of making sure you take the time to exercise, strengthen, and soothe muscles. At times youâll feel challenged, but if you stay determined, youâll have the best possible outcome.
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Preventing And Living With Neck Pain
While avoiding neck pain isnt always possible, you can keep your neck muscles strain- and stress-free by creating healthy habits. Instead of in front of a computer all day, for example, take stretch breaks throughout the day.
If your neck pain feels worse at the end of each day, consider your posture. Are you sitting up straight? Sitting in your chair with your feet flat on the floor?
If your neck pain feels worse in the morning, check your sleep position and pillow. Use a pillow that supports your neck and keeps it straight. Avoid sleeping on your stomach with your neck twisted, if possible.
What if you go to sleep feeling fine and wake up with neck pain? Daily life can take its toll on your neck. If you wake up with neck pain, the best thing to do is give your body time to heal on its own. To get through the day without letting the pain interfere with your normal activities, you have a few options.
- Gently stretch your neck: the Spine Universe Exercise Center offers a video with 3 neck stretches and exercises to help relieve a stiff neck.
- Take over-the-counter pain medications, such as Tylenol or Advil.
- Alternate between heat and ice treatments on your neck: 20 minutes of heat followed by 20 minutes of ice should help relieve the pain and expedite the healing process.
- Rest: take a few days off from any strenuous activities that aggravate your symptoms, such as sports and heavy lifting.
Already dealing with neck pain?
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Lifestyle And Diet Changes
One of the major causes of neck arthritis is leading a sedentary lifestyle. The surge of technology and gadgets has made things worse for this generation. This study claims that prolonged computer use can adversely affect the neck leading to serious issues as one gets aged.
Making lifestyle changes and leading an active life with exercises such as swimming, aerobics etc. can help to prevent neck arthritis.
*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.
Also adopting a plant-based diet, consumption of probiotic foods such as Kimchi, yogurt & cottage cheese, and including dietary fiber such as broccoli, brown rice, sprouts etc. can reduce inflammation and flares to a significant extent.
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Arthritis Neck Pain Exercises
This sheet includes some exercises to help your neck pain. Its important to carry on exercising, even when the pain goes, as this can reduce the chances of it coming back. Neck pain can also be helped by sleeping on a firm mattress, with your head at the same height as your body, and by sitting upright, with your shoulders and neck back.
Tips For Easier Reading
When does your neck hurt the most? If its after reading, try propping your book on a pillow or use a lightweight e-reader that you can hold at eye level to avoid bending your neck down for long periods. Try doing more work at the computer instead of on your phoneall that hunching over can lead to a case of text neck. And ask your rheumatologist for a referral to an occupational therapist who can help make adjustments to your workstation or suggest other neck-saving tools.
Whats New In Arthritis Research
Progress is so fast in some areas of arthritis research today that the media often report new findings before the medical journal with the information reaches your doctors office. As a result, you need to know how to evaluate reports on new arthritis research.
Arthritis researchers are looking at four broad areas of research. These include causes, treatments, education and prevention.
Researchers are learning more about certain conditions. For example in osteoarthritis, researchers are looking for signs of early destruction of cartilage and ways to rebuild it. For rheumatoid arthritis and other types that involve inflammation, researchers are trying to understand the steps that lead to inflammation and how it can be slowed or stopped. An initial study suggests that fibromyalgia affects more older people than originally thought and often may be overlooked in this group. Your doctor can tell you about other new research findings. If you would like to take part in arthritis research, ask your doctor for a referral to a study in your area.
Many people help make arthritis research possible. The federal government through its National Institutes of Health is the largest supporter of arthritis research. Drug companies do the most research on new medications.
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When Is Surgery Needed For Cervical Spondylosis
Cervical spondylosis tends to be a chronic condition. But in most cases, it is not progressive. Surgery is required only in rare cases. The goal of surgery is to remove the source of pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. The surgery may also include adding stabilization in the form of implants or through fusion of the vertebrae. But surgery is considered only when there is a severe loss of function. For instance, it might be considered if you had a progressive loss of feeling and function in your arms, legs, feet, or fingers. Any type of spinal cord compression could result in permanent functional disability.
The surgeon can approach the cervical spine from the front or the back . Approaching from the front might be used to remove the discs and spurs that are causing pressure. The disc may be replaced with an implant. A more extensive surgery calls for the removal of both discs and parts of the vertebra. These parts are replaced with a bone graft or implant.
Approaching from the back would be used to perform either a laminectomy or a laminoplasty. In a laminectomy, the rear parts of the vertebrae in the neck — the lamina and spinous processes — are removed. In a laminoplasty, the vertebra is left in place, but is cut free along one side. Both procedures relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.
As with any surgery, there is risk of infection or complications with anesthesia. Surgery is usually followed by a rehabilitation program.
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