Cervical osteoarthritis or neck arthritis is a condition where the joints, bones and discs in the cervical spine wear away. It is also called as cervical spondylosis or degenerative joint disease. Since the generation is a normal effect of aging, this disease is often seen in the middle aged and the elderly.
Abnormal growth or spurs called osteophytes can form in the neck bones due to the deterioration of cartilage and discs. The spinal column interior becomes narrow, as do the exit openings of spinal nerves, both condiitons a direct effect of spur formation. In some cases, one vertebra column in the cervical spine may slip over the other in a forward direction.
The degeneration process cannot be reversed but neck arthritis can be effectively managed through exercises and physiotherapy. Identifying the symptoms and doing so at the onset of the disease is important. This ensures that daily activities are not much affected.
Six Neck Arthritis Symptoms
Shoulder or Arm Pain
Cervical spondylosis is characterized by shooting pain in one or both arms. This pain radiates through the shoulder or between shoulder blades. The pain can be mild or severe and can worsen with simple movements like looking up and looking down for long periods of time. The pain can set in with other activities like reading or driving. It also occurs when a person is slouching continuously or lifting objects. Lying down or taking rest seems to provide necessary relief.
A person with neck arthritis may suffer from a stiff neck . The stiffness tends to be severe in the morning and night time. It seems to wear off as the day progresses but sets in with full force by evening or later.
Activities like driving may be affected as the person is unable to fully turn their heads or bend their necks. A popping or grinding noise is often heard with any neck movement.
Some patients experience occasional muscle spasms and abnormal reflexes. The muscle spasms are usually felt in the shoulders and the neck. Some may experience a tingling sensation in the arms, legs, hands or feet. The muscle spasms and abnormal reflexes may result in poor coordinating and balancing abilities. Depending on the severity of the arthritis, some people may develop difficulty in walking.
Headaches are another common symptoms in this form of arthritis. The headaches may originate from the neck region. These headaches seem to centered at the back of the head. They may be infrequent or occur on prolonged or repetitive movement of the neck.
Weakness is a symptom that is felt by a lot of individuals suffering from mild or severe neck arthritis. Rest and lying down on one’s back seem to alleviate not just the pain but both fatigue and the lack of strength in the muscles. The individual feels more energetic after a period of rest.
Other, less common symptoms include loss of control over bowel and bladder functions, dizziness, ringing in the ears, trouble swallowing any type of food or trouble falling asleep. In rare cases, they may develop chest pains around the heart area.