Neck arthritis is a very common condition and many people all over the world are suffering from this condition. Though the experience may be painful, the assuring part is that neck arthritis generally does not cripple anybody. Moreover, there are enough treatments available for tackling the condition at any stage.
Arthritis of the neck is nothing but the degeneration of the joints of the neck region of the human vertebral column. It generally affects elderly people and is seen in almost 4/5th of the population aged above 60. Cervical spondylosis is a condition that is similar to neck arthritis.
Now, let us move to the various available treatments of arthritis of the neck. In almost all the cases of this condition non-surgical treatment is done to alleviate the problems. However, in some very rare cases, surgical intervention may become necessary.
Ways to Treat Neck Arthritis
Physical Therapy and Localized Therapy
This is the first preference of almost all the doctors and it is also the most suitable one to treat the early and initial conditions of arthritis of the neck. The exercises generally include stretching and strengthening exercises. The requirement of the condition will determine the frequency of doing the exercises and the period for which they should be carried on. Commonly effects are generally seen within 6 to 8 weeks.
Sometimes hot and cold compress, massages and other modes of localized therapies may be used for relieving the initial symptoms before getting on with the physical exercises.
These are aids prescribed for restricting the painful movements of the neck as well as allowing the neck muscle some rest. These collars are not for continuous use as that may ultimately make the neck muscles weak.
Medicines are given more to relieve the patient from pain and inflammation rather than reversing the conditions. Acetaminophen may prove enough for very mild conditions. However, in general cases, non-steroidal drugs for countering inflammation are used along with acetaminophen.
When the patient reports of muscular spasm, the physician can also prescribe muscle relaxants. The medications are often prescribed along with physical exercises for keeping the condition under control.
In some cases, steroidal injections may be needed to overcome the initial pain. In such cases the injection is given in the spine. The procedures are called blocks and are named according to the place in the spine where they are injected.
Epidural blocks are injected in the space besides the covering of the spinal cord called epidural space; facet joint blocks are injected in facet joints located at the back of the spine and finally medial branch block where the pain-causing nerve is damaged .permanently.
The last procedure is done in cases of patients suffering from chronic pain. But all these procedures are done only after thorough and complete evaluation by the physician.
This treatment is reserved for the rarest cases when all the non-surgical treatments fail to relieve the pain. But only sever pain does not qualify for surgical treatment. generally those people suffering from nerve related problems arising from arthritis of the neck are treated surgically to remove conditions like weakness, falling, numbness, etc. which may interfere with their daily life.