Treatment For Neck Arthritis
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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.
What Is Cervical Spondylosis
What is Cervical Spondylosis? It is the medical term for arthritis in your neck. It is called cervical spondylosis because it affects the cervical part of the spine that is the neck area and spondylosis because it is a degeneration of the cartilage and discs in your cervical spine It usually refers to osteoarthritis in the neck because of excess spinal and neck compression that has led to damaged tissues.
What Causes Arthritis in the Neck? Poor posture is causing pain and arthritis in the neck and cervical areas of the spine. This causes narrowing of the spinal canals and thickening in the ligaments and bony structures of the neck. This leads to nerve compression due to inflammation and breakdown of the structure, and can lead to severe pain, swelling and even numbness in the area. The faster you start treating your cervical arthritis degeneration, inflammation and disc pressure, the better your chances of healing from this condition.
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Give Yourself Some Time
If you have neck pain, modify your activities for a few weeks to avoid putting additional strain on your neck. To relieve more severe pain, you can take an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug or get a prescription from your doctor. The drug gabapentin may help with nerve-related neck pain.
If you dont improve on these medications, your doctor might suggest an epidural steroid injection to decrease inflammation around and inside the nerve.
Once the pain subsides, Dr. Mroz recommends seeing a physical therapist or doing range-of-motion exercises to improve mobility in your neck and prevent stiffness. If youre still having pain after six weeks, see a doctor.
Why Does Heat Help Arthritis Pain
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Heat therapy is often associated with relieving all kinds of pain, aches, knots, tightness etc. But some people get confused when it comes to using heat with arthritis treatment. From my research, its a well proven practice to undertake. So why does heat help with arthritis pain?.
The short answer is becasue heat encourages blood flow which encourages a faster recovery process to the affected area. So when you have tight stiff muscles or pain in the joints, the nutrients and oxygen the increased blood flow provide can help relieve arthritic pain.
Below, you can find a more in-depth answer to this question as well as a few tips and tricks for managing your arthritis pain without having to reach for the medicine cabinet. This is done by using special heat therapy tools and practices to relieve pain and encourage healing at a quicker rate.
One of the most common ways to use heat to relieve arthritis pain is by using specific heating pads that target the areas arthritis is commonly associated with. By having a heat pad like this, you can pinpoint the pain areas and get far better relief than to use a pad thats not suitable.
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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.
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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Does Heat Therapy Help Arthritis Pain And How
The short answer to this question is yes as briefly mentioned above. Heat does significantly reduce arthritis pain if it is implemented in the correct way. The key here is that heat therapy must be administered in the right way for it to have the most possible benefit for relieving arthritis pain. If you are concerned about using heat for the first time, always consult your Doctor for advice and perhaps a few recommended products.
The reason that heat is effective in treating arthritis pain is that it helps to relieve sore muscles and joints while also increasing the amount of blood flow to those areas to help with healing some of the inflammation that may be there.
When you apply a heat source to your body, regardless of what it is, the blood can flow much easier. The vessels open up and calm down after receiving the heat which therefore increases the amount of flow the blood has. With the extra flow comes extra oxygen through red blood cells and the important nutrients the body needs to heal itself. Which is why its important to also have a a healthy diet to create red blood cells. Especially considering these red cells typically die off after about 16 weeks.
So, how can you take advantage of arthritis pain relief through heat? Below are just a few tips to get you started on your path to less pain from arthritis thanks to heat therapy.
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.
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Epsom Salt Soaks For Arthritis Pain
To get the most arthritis pain relieving benefits possible from a warm bath soak, add a little bit of Epsom salt to your bathwater. The theory behind this is that the Epsom salt contains magnesium which is broken down by the bathwater and can soak into your skin allowing your circulation to further improve and ultimately further relieve your arthritis pain.
While this has never been scientifically proven, many people claim that an Epsom salt bath is one of the best things available to relieve arthritis pain. Best of all, Epsom salts are generally very inexpensive and can be found at most pharmacies.
If youre wanting to try out an Epsom salt bath yourself, all you need to do is pick up a container of Epsom salts at your local pharmacy or online. I prefer the . Then follow the instructions on the back of the container to learn the amount of salt to add to your bathwater.
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.
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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
Neck Pain: Related Conditions
Neck pain is common among those who are 50 or older. âBut I have children who come into my office with neck pain,â says Robin Lustig, DC, CCSP, of New Jersey Total Health in Lodi, N.J.
Other common causes of neck pain include:
Pinched nerve. This occurs when too much pressure is placed on a nerve by surrounding tissue. The pain from a pinched nerve in your neck can radiate into your shoulders, arms, or back. When you have a pinched nerve, you may also feel numbness or tingling in the area.
Injury or trauma such as a car accident or a fall. Injury or trauma to the neck can have long-lasting effects and cause arthritis years later, Dr. Lustig says.
A stiff neck. This is when itâs painful or difficult to move your neck from side to side. âA stiff neck can be caused by sleeping on your stomach in a funny position for a long time or from a muscle that went into spasm,â Lustig says.
Cervical myelopathy. This condition occurs when the spinal cord channel in the back of your neck narrows, putting pressure on the spinal cord, which can result in neck pain and numbness or weakness in your hands, arms, legs, and feet.
Shoulder arthritis. âPeople often develop shoulder arthritis where there is wear and tear or overuse,â Lustig says. The pain from shoulder arthritis can radiate into the neck.
Poor posture. If you sit hunched over your computer all day or hold the phone with your neck while youâre working at your computer, your neck can hurt at the end of the day.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Arthritis In The Neck
Surprisingly, many people do not experience any symptoms of arthritis. Those who do, however, may experience the following symptoms:
- fatigue and/or trouble sleeping
These arthritis symptoms could last for several months or become chronic over time.
With rheumatoid arthritis, you may also experience stiffness in the hands and wrists, particularly in the morning after waking up, Dr. Shah notes.
Ankylosing spondylitis may affect the back and hips, again with symptoms worse after waking up, he says.
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.
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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.