What Do You need to Know about Neck Arthritis?
If you are one of the millions who suffer from neck arthritis, you know just how debilitating this condition can be. Neck arthritis is a type of osteoarthritis that affects the joints in your neck and can cause pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion. Some habits, like cracking your neck, can increase your risk of developing neck arthritis. You put a lot of stress on the joints of your neck each time you make that popping sound.
Read more: Can Cracking My Neck Cause Arthritis?
Neck arthritis is a prevalent condition, especially for those over 50. The pain it causes can be a nuisance, but there are some steps you can take to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Symptoms of Neck Arthritis
Neck arthritis can cause pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. It may also lead to difficulty sleeping or concentrating. Other common symptoms include:
- Headaches that start near the base of the neck and spread up into the forehead or behind the eyes
- Tenderness, swelling, and inflammation in the neck
- Grinding or crunching sounds when you move your neck
- Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms and hands
Causes of Neck Arthritis
There are many causes of osteoarthritis in the neck. These include:
1) Injury or trauma to the neck:
Neck injuries such as whiplash can cause damage to the joints and discs that can lead to arthritis.
As people age, their bones and cartilage become less flexible and may wear down more quickly. This increases the risk of developing osteoarthritis in the neck.
Some people may be genetically predisposed to developing arthritis in the neck.
Repetitive motions or activities such as lifting, typing, or playing an instrument can cause wear and tear on the joints in the neck over time and increase the risk of osteoarthritis.
People who are overweight or obese put extra pressure on the joints in their neck, increasing the risk of arthritis.
Treatment Methods of Neck or Cervical Arthritis
Many treatment options are available to those suffering from neck arthritis, which can provide significant pain relief and improved range of motion. The most common treatment methods include:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs):
These drugs reduce inflammation in the joints, helping to lessen the pain associated with neck arthritis. NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen can be taken as oral medications or applied topically
Exercises designed to increase the strength of muscles around the joints, improve flexibility, and reduce pain can all be beneficial in treating neck arthritis. A physical therapist may also recommend specific postures or movements to avoid aggravating the condition further.
Heat and cold therapy:
Alternating applications of heat and cold can reduce inflammation, improve circulation to the joints, and provide pain relief. To achieve these benefits, heating pads or hot baths may be used with cold compresses.
Injecting corticosteroids directly into the affected joint can reduce inflammation and relieve pain and stiffness.
If other treatments fail to provide relief, surgery may be an option for those with severe cases of neck arthritis. Some surgical options include fusion, disc replacement, and laminectomy.