Arthritis in the neck

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Arthritis is a degenerative disease of the joint that develops over time. Osteoarthritis causes breaking down of the cartilages which are the padding located in between two bones in the joint. Arthritic changes in the neck will cause an increased pressure placed on the spinal nerves and spreads to the fingertips and cause severe pain.

Arthritis that affects any part of the body causes pain, stiffness, swelling and overall reduced quality of life especially if it affects the spinal column area since the spine in the “core” which is responsible for holding the body erect. Arthritis of the neck or cervical spine affects the ability to work, drive and move anywhere.

Symptoms

  • Pain felt in the neck
  • When the arthritis becomes severe, the bone spurs that develops starts to encroach on the nerves on the cervical spinal column
  • Muscle spasm in the arms, neck and areas of the shoulders caused by irritation and “pinching” of these nerves. When added pinch is applied, the nerve becomes more irritated and inflamed.
    Arthritis in the neck
    There is limited mobility of the affected area caused by reduced movement of the joints
  • There is limited mobility of the affected area caused by reduced movement of the joints
  • The joints become stiff and moving the head from side to side becomes difficult.
  • The popping and cracking sensation occurs once the coarse surfaces of the joints located in the cervical spine brush across one another and can be very uncomfortable.

Treatment

  • Apply a warm compress on the neck in order to help minimize pain caused by arthritis of the neck. Wrap an electric heating pad and place around the neck for at least 20 minutes several times every day. Wait for 1 hour interval and apply again a warm compress in order to help the skin return to normal body temperature. If a heating pad is not available, use a microwaveable hot pack and add 2 pounds of dry white rice into a long tube sock and secure a knot at the end and microwave it for at least 30 seconds or more until the sock is hot. Place a cloth or towel between the skin and the sock in order to help prevent burning of the skin.
  • Apply an ice pack to the neck immediately after a painful activity in order to help minimize inflammation. Another option is to use a frozen bag of peas on the neck for at least 15 minutes. There is a sensation of cold, burning, aching and numbness on the affected area. Leave the ice on the skin until it becomes numb and there is maximum relief from pain.
  • Start performing range of motion exercises in order to help improve the flexibility and lessen arthritic pain felt in the neck. Seek the help of a physical therapist of some exercises.
  • Modify the regular daily activities in order to lessen the discomfort in the neck caused by arthritis. Maintain the neck in the neutral position such as in a straight position as much as possible. The position of the computer screen should be at the level of the eye and directly in front of the person.
  • Perform activities that minimize stress such as meditation or journaling since these helps lessen tightness of the muscle which can cause severe arthritis pains.

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