What Are The Signs Of Neck Arthritis
Pain is the most obvious symptom of a disk problem in the neck, yet the degree of damage has little to do with how much it hurts.
You can have 100 people with the same amount of degenerative changes in their cervical spine, and only a small percentage have neck pain, says Dr. Mroz. Among those who do experience neck pain, the discomfort is usually short-lived, improving on its own within six to 12 weeks.
Sometimes, cervical arthritis narrows the space where nerve roots exit the spine, pinching the nerve. You can feel this as a radiating pain down your arm, or as numbness and weakness in your arm and hand. If a collapsed disk or a bone spur pushes into the spinal cord and causes compression, it can produce more serious symptoms
What Causes Neck Arthritis
The human head weighs roughly as much as a ten-pound bowling ball. Its no surprise that the stress of supporting our heads can cause wear-and-tear on the discs and joints in our necks.
These changes occur in almost everyone, even if a person has no symptoms at all. In fact, nearly half of all middle-aged and older people have worn discs and joints that do not cause any painful symptoms.
Below are some of the most common risk factors.
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Exercises To Help Neck Pain
The goal of exercises for neck pain is to relieve tense muscles and improve your range of motion. A stiff and sore neck can make it hard to turn your head or engage in physical activity. These exercises focus on deliberate stretches and motions to reduce pain and tension without injury.
One of the simplest motions you can do to relieve neck pain is nodding. The goal for this stretch is to keep your shoulders straight. This helps you actually stretch your neck muscles instead of compensating with other muscles.
Step 1: Sit or stand with an upright posture, and your shoulders relaxed. Look straight ahead.
Step 2: Slowly look down, lowering your chin towards your chest. Stop when you feel a gentle stretch in your neck and hold the position for up to thirty seconds.
Step 3: Slowly return your head to a neutral position.
Repeat this three to five times a day, or whenever you feel neck tension.
Side to Side Tilts
This exercise helps stretch the muscles on the sides of your neck, relieving muscle tension, and helping reduce pain.
Step 1: Sit or stand with good posture and look straight ahead.
Step 2: Gently lean your head to the left, aiming your left ear at your shoulder. Hold this position for up to thirty seconds, then return your head to neutral.
Step 3: Repeat on your right side.
Side to Side Rotations
If your neck is stiff and its difficult to look to the side, this is a useful exercise to regain your range of motion.
Step 3: Return to a neutral position.
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Symptoms Of Neck Arthritis
What are the most common Symptoms of Neck Arthritis? Since the neck and shoulder are connected they are sometimes tied together in a neck ache. Here are the most common symptoms of Neck Arthritis:
- Headache or Fever
- Feeling Tired or Lethargic
If you are experiencing any of the above cervical arthritis symptoms along with neck pain, then you will want to treat it immediately by using exercises for neck pain, neck arthritis remedies and a natural neck arthritis treatment which are all shown below.
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Neck Arthritis Treatment In Hartford County Ct & Springfield Ma
The orthopedic specialists at Advanced Orthopedics New England can help you find relief from neck pain due to arthritis. We are highly experienced in treating patients with this condition and improving their lives through medical and therapeutic interventions. We take the time to carefully assess your symptoms in order to design a treatment plan that is most effective.
Advanced Orthopedics New England has five convenient locations in Enfield, Bloomfield, Rocky Hill, Vernon, Connecticut, and Springfield, Massachusetts. To schedule an appointment with one of our physicians, call our office today at 728-6740 or use our convenient appointment request form.
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Exercise For Arthritis In The Neck
If youre experiencing neck pain due to arthritis, your doctor may recommend physical therapy. Physical therapy for neck arthritis entails doing specific exercises to help strengthen and stretch weak or strained muscles. Physical therapy can improve range of motion. Sessions and programs vary in length and frequency and are tailored to your condition.
The foundation of what were trying to do in physical therapy for the neck is often to help improve posture and the way people move, says Dr. Milani. Exercises in physical therapy tend to be focused on strengthening muscles of the back and neck, which puts less strain on structures of the cervical spine.
Youll do exercises during physical therapy and get instructions on ones to do at home.
Regular Physical Activity at Home
You may feel like you dont want to move when your neck hurts. But being inactive may increase stiffness, which can cause you to lose even more mobility. Aches and pains tend to respond better to continued movement than rest, says Dr. Milani. Exercise is often the foundation of treatment.
Exercises that involve stretching, strengthening, and improving range of motion can help reduce pain and keep your neck limber. You want to move gently and smoothly when doing neck exercises, not jerk your neck or make sudden movements. You may feel discomfort at first. Stop if any exercise increases your neck pain.
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.
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Symptoms Of Arthritis In The Neck
Arthritis in the neck is common, and their symptoms vary. For some people, arthritis in the neck shows no signs. If there are symptoms, it is usually pain and stiffness in the neck that comes from mild to severe. It becomes worse by looking up and down for a long time or doing activities where the neck is held in the same position for a long period, such as driving or reading.
Some of the symptoms of neck arthritis are:
- Grating or popping noise or feeling when you turn your neck
- Muscle contractions in the neck and shoulders
- Trouble walking
- Weakness in the hands or legs
- Loss of balance
Some other symptoms common in people with arthritis in the neck are radiculopathy and myelopathy. The radiculopathy is developed in the spinal nerve root, which is the nerve that branches off the main spinal cord. The force put on the spinal nerve root produces symptoms like pain, weakness, dullness, or electrical sensations down to the extremity. Myelopathy, on the other hand, is a condition that affects the spinal cord. Its symptoms involve compressed spinal nerve roots, radiculopathy, weakness, numbness, and pain.
Neck Pain Can Stop Us From Enjoying Everyday Life But There Are Ways To Start Feeling Good Again
Neck pain can be the result of many different issues occurring underneath the surface within our bodies.
Whether youve had an accident, are experiencing heavy levels of stress or have an autoimmune condition, the human body is complex and having the right support to get us back on track can help to make neck pain a little easier to deal with.
In this article, we will explore everything there is to know about neck pain, why it occurs and some natural, effective ways for treating neck pain that can help you continue on with your daily life.
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Disk Degeneration And Bone Spurs
As the disks in the spine age, they lose height and begin to bulge. They also lose water content, begin to dry out and weaken. This problem causes settling, or collapse, of the disk spaces and loss of disk space height. Eventually, the cushioning qualities of the disks begins to decrease.
As the facet joints experience increased pressure, they also begin to degenerate and develop arthritis, similar to what may occur in the hip or knee joint. The smooth, slippery articular cartilage that covers and protects the joints wears away.
If the cartilage wears away completely, it can result in bone rubbing on bone. To make up for the lost cartilage, your body may respond by growing new bone in your facet joints to help support the vertebrae. Over time, this bone overgrowth called bone spurs may narrow the space for the nerves and spinal cord to pass through . Bone spurs may also lead to decreased range of motion in the spine.
Side view of a healthy cervical vertebra and disk. A disk that has degenerated and collapsed.
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.
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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.
Spinal Arthritis May Contribute To Other Issues In The Spine
Spinal arthritis may cause bone spurs overgrowths on the edges of the bones. In the spine, bone spurs particularly affect facet joints, making them grow larger. This condition is called facet joint hypertrophy. Although bone spurs on their own are not harmful, they may narrow the passages for the spinal cord and the nerves exiting the spine. This may lead to two painful conditions:
Spinal stenosis compression of the spinal cord inside the spinal canal
Radiculopathy pinching of the peripheral nerves as they exit the spine
Ankylosing spondylitis may also cause additional problems such as:
Stress fractures in places where new bone has formed
A spinal deformity called kyphosis
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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.
Cbd Oil For Arthritis
Cannabidiol is one of the 120 substances extracted from the cannabis plant. It comes from the marijuana plant, but it contains only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol , the compound that produces a high/euphoric state of mind.
It implies that this oil has no/negligible psychoactive effects on you if you use it. Cannabidiol oil is known to relieve pain and reduce inflammation, and it shows promise as a treatment for arthritis.
Why Does It Work?
No conclusive studies are indicating that there are proven benefits of using CBD oil for vertigo, however, the studies were conducted to test the efficacy of marijuana for arthritis, and it was concluded that it was able to reduce the severity and in some subjects was able to prevent the pain from arising.
However, this not exclusively conducted on CBD oil and hence there has been an ambiguity on its working.
How to Use?
Ideally, it is recommended that you inhale this essential oil directly, you could instantly take sniffs from the bottle during the day. You could also add 3-4 drops of the oil in your humidifier and place it in your bedroom while you are sleeping. Additionally, you could also add this into your massage oil or take CBD oil pills for getting rid of arthritis.
How Much to Use?
Although it isnt specified or a set rigid dosage for the use of CBD oil, however, it is strongly recommended that you consult with your doctor/physician before starting this regimen.
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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
When To See A Physician
Using home remedies for mild cases of pain or discomfort from neck arthritis is fine, but there are some occasions when checking in with your healthcare provider is important. Symptoms that may require you to visit your healthcare provider for your cervical spondylosis may include:
- Pain or tenderness in multiple joints
- Redness and swelling in your joints that does not resolve within a few days
- Pain or swelling that limits your normal functional activity
- Pain that is accompanied by fever, malaise, or sudden and unexplained weight loss
Since cervical spondylosis is a wear and tear condition, you may notice that you have some good days and some bad days. Most often, your home remedies should be able to help you maintain mobility and function when your pain increases.
Keeping the pain at bay may be done with exercise and with gentle stretches. If your neck pain from spondylosis lasts for more than a few weeks, check in with your healthcare provider.
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Imaging Electromyogram And Nerve Conduction Tests
You may not need X-rays or other imaging tests. But tests may help if your neck pain doesnt get better, especially when:
- You have signs of nerve damage.
- Another serious problem is suspected.
- The cause of your condition cannot be clearly identified.
- Non-surgical treatment has not improved your condition and you are considering surgery.
- Your doctor is asked to provide documentation of your condition, such as when a lawsuit or an insurance issue is involved.
Besides X-rays, tests may include:
- MRI, which can help identify problems such as a herniated disc or a pinched nerve.
- CT scan, which looks at the bone and spinal canal.
- Myelogram, which looks at the spinal canal and nerve roots.
- Electromyogram and nerve conduction studies or nerve blocks, which can help find a nerve problem that is causing pain, numbness, or weakness in the arm or hand.
Regenerative Orthopedic Medicine Treatment For Neck Arthritis
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Regenexx Physicians represent a very selective, highly-skilled, interventional orthobiologics network that is 100% focused on orthopedic conditions. All Regenexx physicians are musculoskeletal experts with extensive training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions, as well as complex, image-guided injections of your body’s own healing agents to treat orthopedic issues. Regenexx patient outcomes are tracked in a registry and with that information, we provide transparent outcome data for those who may be considering this treatment option.
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