Coping With Low Mood And Sleep Problems
Living with pain can affect your mood and sleep, and its normal to feel low from time to time. If this is something that affects you, try going along to a pain clinic, where you can learn how to manage your pain. Theyll usually take place at outpatient clinics, and you can be referred to them by whoever is treating you.
Pain can be affected by different things, including feeling low or stressed. There are a number of talking therapies and techniques you can learn, which can help you manage your pain, support your emotional wellbeing, and deal with any low feelings you might have. Mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy can help with osteoarthritis.
Learning to relax your muscles can also help, particularly if you have neck pain and are feeling stressed, as this can cause your muscles to become more tense.
A pillow thats too firm or thick can make neck pain worse. Try to sleep with your head level to the rest of your body. Its important to have a mattress that gives your head and spine proper support.
Try having a hot bath, reading a book, or listening to the radio or a relaxation CD to wind down before bed. If pain is waking you during the night, try taking paracetamol or another painkiller before bed. Talk to your doctor or a sleep expert for more advice.
What Is Osteoarthritis Of The Spine
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, and the spine is one of the most commonly affected parts of the body. Osteoarthritis of the spine affects the back and neck.
Osteoarthritis of the neck is sometimes called cervical spondylosis. Spondylosis means arthritis in the spine, and cervical is the medical term for the neck.
The joints in your body go through a normal cycle of damage and repair during your lifetime. But sometimes the process your body goes through to repair joints can change their shape or structure. When these changes happen in one or more of your joints, its called osteoarthritis.
A joint is where two or more bones meet. You have a number of facet joints that sit on either side of your spine and guide the movement of the bones in your back and neck.
There are 33 vertebrae in your spine these start at the top of your neck and run all the way down your back, to your tailbone.
The spine is sometimes called the vertebral column or spinal column. Its purpose is to protect your spinal cord, carry the weight of your body and help you move around. The spine is split into five sections cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacrum and coccyx.
Strong ligaments surround your spine and support the vertebrae, to help keep them in place.
How To Avoid Neck Strain During Sex And Sleep
The natural pain-killing powers of an endorphin rush during sex can actually help your RA. But while youre temporarily feeling less pain, you might push your body past its boundaries. To prevent hyperextending your neck during sex, try to resist the tendency to throw your head forward or back during orgasm. You’ll also want to invest in a good pillow. The right type of pillowask your physical or occupational therapist for a recommendationcan also prevent morning neck stiffness after a good nights rest.
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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.
How Meds Can Help
Aggressively treating active RA inflammation is the best thing you can do to protect your neck and other joints. Treatment can help prevent cervical vertebra involvement in the future, says Dr. Bhatt, which is why your doctor writes a prescription for a DMARD medication when you get an RA diagnosis. These medications suppress RA inflammation, protecting your body from damage. Medications called biologics have made it possible for many more people to achieve remission or low-disease activity. Even if you already have experienced some damage to joints, including the one in your neck, continuing treatment may prevent problems in the future.
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Six Ways Arthritis Can Affect Your Eyes
The same inflammation that affects your joints can also affect your eyes. Heres how to protect your vision.
While most people think of arthritis as inflammation of the joints, research shows that inflammation can cause damage other parts of the body including the eyes.
The eye is like a microcosm of the entire body within a small little ball, says Sunir J. Garg, MD, retina physician and surgeon at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. Any inflammatory condition that affects collagen the main component of connective tissue such as rheumatoid arthritis , can affect the sclera and the cornea , which are basically entirely collagen, says Dr. Garg.
Here are six eye conditions with connections to different forms of arthritis, and what you can do to protect your vision:
What it is: Inflammation of the sclera, or white part of the eye. conditions like RA can cause the eye wall , or the cornea, to become thin, says Dr. Garg. Minor trauma could cause that part of the eyeball to split open, he says.What you may notice: Redness that doesnt go away with the use of over-the-counter eye drops , severe pain , light sensitivity and perhaps reduced vision
Retinal Vascular Occlusion
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.
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How Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect The Cervical Spine
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, systemic, autoimmune disease in which the immune system, which is designed to attack foreign bodies like bacteria and viruses, mistakenly attacks other healthy areas of the body, including the spines facet joints and even organ systems. Untreated, attacked joints can become deformed and lose their mobility.
When it comes to spine pain, a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis is limited to the cervical spine. People can have problems, such as facet joint arthritis, further down the spine, but this is likely not due to RA. It is possible to have both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis at the same time.
If you have RA, you are part of a group of 1.3 million other Americans who have the disease.1 The disease causes morning joint stiffness that can last one to two hours or the whole day. It generally improves with movement of the joints. Other signs and symptoms include loss of energy, low fevers, loss of appetite, and lumps in the elbows and hands, called rheumatoid nodules. About 75% of RA patients are women, but cervical spine involvement is more common in male patients and those with a positive rheumatoid factor.
When rheumatoid arthritis loosens ligaments, erodes bone or causes thickened tissue around the atlantoaxial joint, it can compress the spinal cord and brain stem, which can lead to paralysis or even death if the neck is moved in certain positions. Fortunately, there are many treatments to avoid these outcomes.
How Is Cervical Spondylosis Diagnosed
The doctor will generally begin by asking you about symptoms and taking a medical history. This will be followed by a physical exam of the body, with a focus on the neck, back, and shoulders. The doctor is also likely to test reflexes and the strength of hands and arms, check for loss of sensation, and watch you walk.
Other tests that might be done include imaging exams such as X-rays, computed tomography , and magnetic resonance imaging . MRI scans use large magnets, radio waves, and a computer to produce the best images of the body. You might also be referred to a neurologist.
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Arthritis In The Neck
Arthritis in the Neck is a degenerative joint disease that affects the neck at the top of the cervical spine and spinal column. The muscles, discs and spinal nerves affect your ability turn your head as well as lower and raise your head. When you have neck arthritis you may have limited range of motion, and you may not be able to move your neck around to see to the side of you without turning your whole body.
It is a condition that affects people during their midlife years and beyond . More men are affected with arthritis in the neck than women and they also seem to develop it at an earlier age as well. With the use of electronic devices for long periods of time, now younger women and men are experiencing neck pain and symptoms of degenerative neck arthritis. Im sure youve seen the posture that matches the Facebook symbol
What Causes Neck Pain?
What Causes Neck Pain in arthritis? Poor posture, injury, not using an ergonomic chair or pillow. It can be from Osteoarthritis in the neck or Rheumatoid arthritis in the neck Neck arthritis pain has a burning type of pain that frequently radiates into your facial area as well as your shoulder area. It can be aggravated by a neck injury or strain that will cause swelling and sometimes you will hear a popping sound when you move your head.
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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When Cervical Osteoarthritis Is Serious
If cervical osteoarthritis becomes advanced and bone spurs become big enough, narrowing can start to occur in the spinal canal and/or the intervertebral foramen .
When these spaces start to narrow, the spinal cord or a cervical nerve root can become compressed. Some serious symptoms that could result include difficulty gripping objects or even problems with walking or coordination. If the spinal cord or a nerve root is compressed for long enough without seeking medical attention, permanent damage can occur.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Of The Spine
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the immune system turns on itself. It attacks synovium the lining of the joints. Although rheumatoid arthritis is more common in other joints, it can also affect the spine, specifically the cervical region . Rheumatoid arthritis of the spine is not caused by wear and tear, so its considered an inflammatory arthritis. It may cause back pain even when these joints are not in use. It tends to affect women more than men.
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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
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.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Spinal Arthritis
Symptoms of spinal arthritis may differ from person to person. In general, they may include:
Back and neck pain, especially in the lower back
Stiffness and loss of flexibility in the spine, such as being unable to straighten your back or turn your neck
Swelling and tenderness over the affected vertebrae
Feeling of grinding when moving the spine
Pain, swelling and stiffness in other areas of the body
Whole-body weakness and fatigue
Pain and numbness in your arms or legs if the nerves are affected
Although back pain is a common symptom, not all people have it, even those with advanced spinal arthritis. On the other hand, some may experience pain even before arthritis can be seen on an X-ray.
In certain types of spondyloarthritis, eye inflammation may occur, causing pain, watery eyes and blurred vision.
How Ra Affects The Neck
Chronic inflammation in the neck causes the destruction of the synovial joints, which are the joints that allow movement. When arthritis damages this joint in the neck, the cervical spine can become unstable.
Vertebrae are small bones that form the backbone. There are seven, and rheumatoid arthritis typically affects the first and second, called the atlas and axis, respectively.
The atlas supports the weight of your head and the axis helps your neck move in different directions.
An unstable vertebra can shift or dislocate over time and eventually press on the spinal cord and nerve roots. When this happens, you may have numbness and tingling around the neck that radiates up the back of the head. This is in addition to joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.
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When Should I Start Exercising
As long as your doctor says itâs OK, you should start as soon as possible to ease stiffness and pain. Resting for too long, usually anything more than a couple of days, will make it harder to get moving again.
Donât exercise if you have severe neck pain or weakness in your hands or arms. If you get it while you exercise, stop right away and call your doctor.
Heat And Electro Therapy
Anything warm or hot when applied on pain areas is proven to reduce inflammation and swelling. Same is applicable to neck arthritis. Infra-red lamp application, hot wax application, or keeping hot bags on the affected area can help to reduce pain and swelling.
Electrotherapy has also proven to be reducing the struggle for neck arthritis patients.
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Cervical Ra Diagnosis Is Complicated
Doctors may test to see if you have rheumatoid arthritis of the cervical spine by first performing a physical exam. Flexion, extension, and right and left lateral neck movements may be limited and painful if the atlantoaxial joint is involved.
When initially diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis, doctors may take blood as well, looking for C-reactive protein, rheumatoid factor, anti-citrullinated protein antibodies, antinuclear antibodies, and an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate. However, all this blood work could come back negative and a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis might still be made. Key questions and a careful exam remain crucial. Its a field where we still rely on a good history and physical to help make the diagnosis, Dr. Chi said. Up to 20% of patients can have RA and be seronegative.
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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