Treatment options for spinal arthritis in the neck

For people with 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 (upper) region of the spine is known as osteoarthritis, or degenerative arthritis. This condition is typically caused by the natural aging process, along with lifestyle factors like weight, smoking and posture. The good news is that patients with spinal arthritis in their neck are often able to find relief and maintain an active lifestyle, thanks to the wide selection of treatments available.

The goal of treatment

When a person 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 covered 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.

Conservative options

Usually, when a patient has been diagnosed with spinal arthritis in the neck, their doctor will begin treatment with a variety 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
  • Massage
  • Physical therapy
  • Facet joint injections

Surgery for spinal arthritis in the neck

In the event that several weeks or months of conservative treatment are unable to provide needed relief, arthritis surgery may be recommended. Rather than consenting to a highly invasive traditional open spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how one of our state-of-the-art, minimally invasive procedures may be able to provide you with the pain relief you require.

Ask a member of our caring and dedicated team for your free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.