For individuals who suffer from spinal arthritis in the neck, there are a number of treatment options at their disposal. While there are more than 100 different types of arthritis, the most common form of spinal arthritis in the cervical region of the spine (neck) is known as osteoarthritis or “wear and tear” arthritis. As the colloquial name indicates, this condition is frequently caused by nothing more than regular wear and tear on the anatomical components of the spine that comes with years of normal use. The good news is that the prognosis for patients with spinal arthritis in their neck is largely good, thanks to the wide selection of treatments available.
The Goal of Treatment
When an individual is diagnosed with spinal arthritis in the neck, it means that the vertebral joints – also known as the facet joints – have become inflamed. In a healthy spine, these joints are coated with cartilage and encapsulated with lubricating fluid, to allow the joints to articulate comfortably against one another. Over the years, as a result of movement and strain from supporting the weight of the skull, the cartilage can gradually wear away, resulting in painful bone-on-bone contact, the inflammation of soft tissue in the surrounding area, and the formation of bone spurs (osteophytes) within the joint. Treatment for this condition is intended to remove strain from the neck and to maintain or even improve range of motion. Additionally, many doctors offer a variety of pain relief treatments to manage discomfort in the short-term.
Usually, when a patient has been diagnosed with spinal arthritis in the neck, their doctor will begin treatment with a variety of noninvasive, conservative techniques – many of which can be completed from home. Some of the most frequently recommended nonsurgical treatments include:
- Prescription or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs or pain medication
- The application of heat or ice
- Limited rest
- Stretching exercises
- Low-impact exercises
In the event that several weeks or months of conservative treatment prove ineffective or insufficient, arthritis surgery may be recommended. Rather than consenting to a highly invasive and permanent open spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how one of our state-of-the-art endoscopic procedures may be able to provide you with the pain relief you require.