Other Benefits Of Neck Massage
A reduction in neck pain from arthritis, and an increase in range of motion, are not the only benefits of massage. According to Massage Envy, regular massage also improves your posture and flexibility, lowers blood pressure and heart rate, and promotes relaxation and stress relief.
Now that you know a few ways to help reduce your neck pain, we hope you put them to good use. Ultimately, we hope you are better able to nod your head and become a Champion of Yes to conquering arthritis!
Tips To Ease Joint Pain
Arthritis joint pain and symptoms can make simple activities difficult. This head-to-toe guide can help.
Arthritis pain in even one joint can take a toll on your entire body. For example, a painful neck can prevent you from turning your head properly, placing stress on your shoulders. A painful knee may cause you to walk in a way that affects your hips, back and feet. And holding a joint still to protect it can make moving it more difficult and in some cases almost impossible over time.
If joint pain is caused by an inflammatory disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or juvenile idiopathic arthritis, systemic treatment is needed to stop inflammation that can lead to joint damage or destruction. For flares of pain, persistent pain or pain due to other causes, there are many things you can do on your own or ask your doctor or physical therapist about to get relief.
Solutions vary and may include splints, therapeutic exercises or more informal daily modifications at home and beyond. Here are a few suggestions to help ease joint pain head-to-toe:
Neck pain can make it difficult to look up or turn your head sideways. If you avoid twisting your neck by moving your shoulders or entire body, the surrounding muscles may hurt as much as the joints themselves.
The mandible joint can be a frequent source of discomfort, making it painful to bite into a thick sandwich or an apple. Jaw pain is common on the side of the face or just in front of the ear.
Range Of Motion Exercises For Neck And Shoulder Arthritis
Shrug both shoulders and roll them forward. Relax your shoulders and repeat forward circles 10 times. Switch directions and roll shoulders backward 10 times.
Turn your head to the right as far as possible. Return to center and repeat on the left side. Return to center and tilt your head back as far as possible so your chin points toward the ceiling. Return to center and tilt your head down, bringing your chin toward your chest. Repeat the circuit 10 times.
- Extend your arms directly in front of you, then lift them overhead as high as possible and bring them back down.
- Extend your arms 45 degrees in front of you, lift them overhead and bring them back down.
- Extend your arms out to your sides, then lift them overhead and bring them back down.
Hold each upward reach for 3-5 seconds. Repeat the circuit 10 times.
Shoulder blade squeezes
With your arms at your sides and your elbows bent at 90 degrees, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Relax and repeat 10 times.
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Treatment Options For Cervical Osteoarthritis
Cervical osteoarthritis can usually be successfully managed without surgery. Common treatments include:
- Rest or activity modification. Going easy on the neck during a painful flare-up may ease pain. Also, you may need to modify some activities, such as using a different swim stroke if you enjoy swimming.
- Physical therapy. A physiatrist, physical therapist, or other medical professional can customize a neck exercise program for you. A stronger and more flexible neck has improved function, which may reduce pain.
- Over-the-counter medications. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may help relieve inflammation from osteoarthritis. A few examples include ibuprofen and naproxen . Remember to carefully read the instructions before using any medication to reduce the risk for serious complications.
Can You Prevent Neck Pain
You can avoid neck pain caused by stress or muscle strain with some new habits. Avoid spending a lot of time in positions that stress your neck. This can include sitting at a computer for a long time.
If your neck pain is worse at the end of the day, think about how you sit during the day. Sit straight in your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Take short breaks several times an hour.
If your neck pain is worse in the morning, check your pillow and the position you sleep in. Use a pillow that keeps your neck straight. Avoid sleeping on your stomach with your neck twisted or bent.
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Can Arthritis Be Cured
Arthritis has no cure because the degeneration of joints is an inevitable process. Treatment is mostly geared towards slowing down the progression of the disease, minimizing joint damage, relieving pain, easing inflammation, and ensuring you retain the ability to function physically.
A combination of treatment options is used to achieve the goals above. They include physical therapy, medication, surgery, and lifestyle changes.
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.
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Causes Of Sternum Pain
- Bruising or tenderness of a chest wall muscle
A strained or pulled muscle in the chest wall can cause chest bone pain. This injury is caused by overuse or repetitive movement, an increase in activity level, or a sudden improper movement. Pulled muscles can also happen during an illness that causes coughing or vomiting.
Rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medications can relieve muscle strain. But in more severe cases, you may need physical therapy or surgery.
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.
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What Is Neck Pain
Neck pain is pain that is felt in the upper part of the spine. It is sign that the joints, muscles or other parts of the neck are injured, strained or not working properly. Neck pain is very common, with about one in 10 people having it at any given time, but it is not usually a sign of arthritis or any other serious medical problem.
Neck pain is common and is rarely due to serious disease. Staying active will help you get better faster and prevent more problems.
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Stress Poor Sleep And Physical Ailments Over Time Can Lead To A Pain In The Neck
Everyday life isnt 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 Womens 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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Spinal Arthritis Causes And Risk Factors
The causes of arthritis in the back or neck vary depending on the type of arthritis you have. Besides normal wear and tear and autoimmune triggers, in many cases the exact cause remains unknown. Genetic components have been identified in connection with some forms of spinal arthritis, meaning that it may be hereditary.
Other spinal arthritis risk factors include:
Presence of certain conditions such as diabetes, gout, psoriasis, tuberculosis, irritable bowel syndrome and Lyme disease
Heat And Cold Therapy
You may have heard that thermotherapy, the use of heat in therapy, is an effective way of treating pain in the neck due to arthritis. This method has merit. How does it work? By increasing circulation through the joints, bones, and muscles within your neck. Without ample blood flow, areas in your neck will be deprived of oxygen, and this leads to dead or dying muscle tissue, weakening your neck and forcing you to rely on your bones for keeping your head up. Ultimately, this leads to more pain.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, you can also use cold therapy to constrict the blood vessels in your neck and decrease inflammation. Doctors recommend using hot and cold therapy in intervals of 30 minutes each.
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Surgery For Neck Arthritis
Surgery is usually a last resort for neck arthritis, says Dr. Milani. Your doctor may recommend it if you have severe pain that isnt relieved with nonsurgical treatment or if you have signs of neurologic injury. Surgery may be needed if the arthritis causes instability, or more importantly, impingement of nerves and/or the spinal cord, says Dr. Shah.
Fall Asleep Faster And Sleep Longer
When you have a restful nights sleep, your back will feel less sore during the day.7 A night of restorative sleep can have healing benefits and make you feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and less stressed.
Try these natural sleep aids, one at a time, to see which one works best for you:
- Vitamins C and B6. The natural steroids in your body control your metabolism and promote good sleep.8,9 Supplements of vitamins C10 and B611 are known to help the body produce and regulate natural steroid hormones.
- Melatonin. Your natural sleep hormone, melatonin can be taken as a supplement to improve your sleep cycle.
- L-theanine. An amino acid found in tea leaves, L-theanine may help some people feel relaxed and get better sleep.
- Valerian. Supplements made from the root of the valerian plant may help you sleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Another option is cherry juice or cherry extractscherries contain certain enzymes that help promote better sleep.4
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Neck Arthritis Physical Therapy Will Pt Help
Youve come here looking for help with your neck arthritis, and by now you probably want to know if physical therapy can help.
The answer is yes, physical therapy can help with neck arthritis.
When you first visit a physical therapist, youll complete an evaluation or consultation.
During this evaluation, your therapist will see how well you can move your neck, ask what symptoms you have, and assess joint function in your neck and back.
After the initial assessment, your physical therapist will work with you to create a plan to alleviate neck arthritis symptoms.
Symptoms Of Cervical Osteoarthritis
Neck pain from cervical osteoarthritis typically starts gradually and progresses over time. The neck may feel particularly stiff and achy in the morning and then feel better as the day goes on.
Some common symptoms of cervical osteoarthritis can include one or more of the following:
- Neck pain that typically feels dull but can also be sharp or burning
- Referred pain up to the head or down into the upper back
- Stiff neck or reduced range of motion
- Neck tenderness when touched
On occasion, bone spurs may impinge on a nerve root in your neck. This impingement can cause radicular pain into the arm, which can feel electric shock-like. If nerve root inflammation results in neurological deficits, such as numbness or weakness in the arm or hand, it is called cervical radiculopathy.
Read more about Cervical Osteoarthritis Symptoms
How Is Arthritis In The Neck Diagnosed
Following a review of your medical history, your doctor will conduct a physical exam wherein he or she will evaluate the following:
- touch sensation
If necessary, your doctor may order one or more diagnostic imaging tests. These can include X-rays, a CT scan, an MRI, or myelography.
An X-rays will reveal the alignment of the bones in your neck and can document degenerative changes in your cervical spine.
Because it shows 3D images, a CT scan offers a more-detailed look at your spinal canal than an X-ray, which may reveal bone spurs.
An MRI provides a detailed look at the soft tissues in the neck, so your doctor can determine whether damage to these tissues might be causing your symptoms.
Myelography is a type of imaging test that uses an X-ray or CT scan and contrast dye to get a picture of the spinal cord and nerve roots in the spinal canal.
Your doctor also may perform a nerve function test.
Nerve function tests, such as a nerve conduction study and/or electromyography , can be conducted to determine if the nerve signals are being transmitted to the individuals muscles, Dr. Singh says.
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Prescription Medications For Spinal Osteoarthritis
- Prescription strength NSAIDs are stronger doses of a chosen non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that helps block certain pain-producing chemicals in your body.
- Muscle relaxants have a sedating effect and are prescribed to ease muscle tension.
- Opioids may be prescribed to manage severe pain.
- Lidocaine in an adhesive patch form may be prescribed for placement on the skin over the painful area.
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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.
What Can I Do To Relieve Neck Pain At Home
Your doctor or physical therapist can recommend steps you can take at home to relieve neck pain. These may include:
- Using heat or ice packs.
- Doing gentle stretches or exercises.
- Taking over-the-counter medicines to relieve pain and inflammation such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
Long-term strategies to reduce neck pain include:
- Quit smoking. Smoking damages bone structure and slows healing.
- Lose weight if you have obesity.
- Reduce your stress level. Walk, meditate, get a massage, try a yoga class, exercise.
- Do exercises that strengthen your neck and shoulder muscles.
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How Is It Treated
The type of treatment you need will depend on whether your neck pain is caused by activities, an injury, or another medical condition. Most neck pain caused by activities can be treated at home.
For neck pain that occurs suddenly:
- Use a heating pad on a low or medium setting for 15 to 20 minutes every 2 or 3 hours. Try a warm shower in place of one session with the heating pad. You can also buy single-use heat wraps that last up to 8 hours. Or you can try an ice pack for 10 to 15 minutes every 2 to 3 hours. There is not strong evidence that either heat or ice will help. But you can try them to see if they help.
- Avoid more injury to your neck by changing activities and habits, such as how you sit or sleep.
- Try exercises or manual therapy to help you move your head and neck more easily. See a physiotherapist, chiropractor, or osteopathic doctor for this type of care.
Ask your doctor if you can take acetaminophen . Ibuprofen or another anti-inflammatory medicine can also help relieve pain.
To treat chronic neck pain, your doctor may prescribe medicine to relax your neck muscles. Or you may get medicines to relieve pain and help you sleep. You might also try massage or yoga to relieve neck stress.
Surgery is rarely done to treat neck pain. But it may be done if your pain is caused by a medical problem, such as pressure on the spinal nerve roots, a tumour, or narrowing of the spinal canal.