Neck osteoarthritis involves long-lasting decline of the vertebrae in the cervical section of the spine as well as the discs amidst.
The condition generally affects both men and women over 40 years of age and worsens with age.
What are the causes?
The changes brought about by the deterioration of the cervical spine can crush one or several nerve roots. The compression of the nerves not only trigger neck pain, but also numbness, weakness and tingling in the arm.
A previous neck injury can lead to neck osteoarthritis later in life, aging is the main risk factor. A high percentage in both men and women develop the condition by reaching 60 years old.
What are the indications?
The main signs linked with neck osteoarthritis is chronic neck pain and rigidity. Other symptoms associated with the condition include:
- Neck pain that is aggravated by activities performed in an upright position
- Numbness and weakness in the hands, arms and fingers
- Neck discomfort that radiates to the arm or shoulder
- Weakness in the legs, loss of balance and difficulty walking
- Grinding sound in the neck during movement
The condition can also disrupt sleep, capability to work and perform daily activities.
Management of neck osteoarthritis
In case the symptoms of neck osteoarthritis are only mild, conservative measures are suggested. The objective of treatment is to alleviate the pain and prevent nerve compression. Adequate rest and immobilization of the neck with a cervical collar is also beneficial.
Drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroid shots are also used in treating the condition. In severe cases, muscle relaxants are prescribed as well as narcotic analgesics.
Physical therapy which involves cervical traction, stretching and strengthening regimen and hot or cold therapy might be utilized. In addition, massage can also lessen the pain.