Neck arthritis is also known as cervical osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease of the neck or cervical spondylosis.
Cervical Spondylosis is a degenerative condition of the cervical spine that affects people over forty years old. Based on studies, men are actually more prone to neck arthritis than women. Over time, the degeneration of the neck spine eventually leads to changes in the vertebrae that cause nerve inflammation or compression. Symptoms of neck arthritis depend on the location of the nerve compression. These symptoms are the following:
• Patients may experience shoulder and neck pain, pain in the back of the head or a stiff neck. Turning of head will be painful and difficult.
• Pain can be felt in certain parts of the arm. Also, there is numbness and weakness of the arm. Two or only one of the arms may be attacked and mobility of the hands may be reduced.
• Others may experience numbness and weakening of the legs. A lot of people who are experiencing this may also have reduced sensation in the legs. Walking and balancing can be very difficult and can cause unsteadiness in older people.
• Some people suffering from neck arthritis will experience pain in the abdomen and the chest.
• Urinary problems can also occur. Some who are experiencing neck arthritis will have to urinate frequently while some will have to urinate urgently. Some will experience difficulty in urinating.
• Neck arthritis symptoms may worsen like severe pain when turning, extending or bending the neck. For some, coughing or straining the neck brings shooting pain in the arms or can worsen the weakening of the legs.
In diagnosing neck arthritis, the doctor would need to perform physical examinations. Also, the doctor would need to gather more information about the patient’s condition as well as his or her medical history. An X-ray image, CT scan and MRI can also help in evaluating the patient’s condition.
There are several options available for treating neck arthritis and these treatments depend on the patient’s condition and severity of the disease. The main objective for treating neck arthritis is to immobilize the neck by using a cervical collar. If a cervical collar does not work, a neck brace may be required. If neither option is effective, surgery will be the last option. Surgery is normally done if severe pain of the neck spine is felt even after previous treatment or if compression of the spinal cord is present. However, there are a lot of factors that should be considered before undergoing surgery.
Neck arthritis can be managed and treated but in order to do these properly, consulting a specialist is necessary.