Neck arthritis symptoms vary from person to person. The most common complaints are neck pain and joint stiffness within the cervical spine. Someone who suffers from neck arthritis, also known as cervical osteoarthritis, might have trouble turning their head from side to side. Still others may feel pain radiating through the shoulders and down the arms.
Most people experience a degree of cervical osteoarthritis by age 50. As we age, the cartilage that cushions the vertebrae in the neck can begin to degenerate, forcing the bones of the vertebrae together and potentially restricting the space in which nerve roots exit the spinal canal. Bones try to heal themselves through deposition of new additional bone. This leads to narrowing of the central spinal canal and exiting foramen for spinal nerves and is called spinal stenosis. A herniated disc or bulging disc can also develop as the spine ages. Bone spurs often develop. Degradation causes localized irritation and may lead to pinched nerve roots.
In addition to neck pain and joint stiffness, patients who suffer from neck arthritis symptoms might also experience:
- Numbness or a tingling sensation in the shoulders and arms
- Loss of sensation in the arms
- Weakness in the arms
- Headaches that seem to originate in the back of the skull
- Loss of balance
Most patients can manage less-severe symptoms of cervical spine arthritis through conservative, or non-surgical, neck arthritis treatments. Over-the-counter or prescription pain medicine may also be used in combination with physical therapy or other conservative treatments like chiropractic therapy or an exercise regimen to strengthen the neck muscles. Sometimes, non-surgical treatments do not alleviate chronic neck pain. Your doctor may suggest spinal decompression surgery. This procedure is designed to relieve symptoms of neck arthritis by removing pressure on impinged nerves.
The award-winning surgeons at Laser Spine Institute (LSI) have developed a variety of minimally invasive, outpatient procedures to treat neck arthritis symptoms and help you regain your life. Contact LSI for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan, and to learn how a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure can help you regain wellness.