The cervical spine is located between the base of the skull and the shoulders. There are seven cervical vertebra denoted C1 (nearest the skull) to C7 (nearest the collar bone).Cervical spine arthritis is an inflammation of one or more of the joints of the vertebra. This disease often occurs naturally as part of the aging process.Factors influencing the rate of cervical spinal arthritis development include: hereditary factors, autoimmune diseases, and overuse or injury to a cervical vertebra.
Cervical spine arthritis usually presents itself as a form of osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease characterized by the breakdown and eventual loss of cartilage. When cartilage breaks down in the spine, the vertebral body’s facet joints rub together on roughened surfaces and without lubrication resulting in pain and inflammation. Protective discs in between the vertebrae also deteriorate. In an effort to heal itself, the body grows extra bone around the vertebrae, called bone spurs. Bone spurs may protrude into surrounding nerves causing increased discomfort.
Symptoms of cervical spine arthritis can range from mild to severe. They may become chronic and disabling. These symptoms include:
- Pain or tenderness with head motion
- Limited range of motion
- A crunching feeling or sound of bone rubbing on bone
Following correct diagnosis, medical experts agree that initial treatment should be non-surgical. Therapy may include warm compresses, cold compresses, analgesic and anti-inflammatory medications, exercises, massage, etc. Occasionally, these conservative treatments are not successful in controlling symptoms. This is particularly true when bone spurring is extensive.
When cervical spinal arthritis or cervical rheumatoid arthritis sufferers undergo conservative treatment without success, surgical treatment may be suggested. Minimally invasive procedures offer treatment that avoids many of the undesirable aspects of open spinal surgery. Please contact Laser Spine Institute for an overview of our innovative outpatient procedures used to treat symptoms of arthritis of the spine. Contact us today to receive a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan. Ask us how Laser Spine Institute (LSI) may help you reclaim your life.