Cervical spinal arthritis overview

Cervical spinal arthritis, which is arthritis that affects the facet joints of the neck, is a common form of spinal arthritis that can cause inflammation and pain. Frequently, the cervical region of the spine experiences osteoarthritis, which can also be referred to as degenerative spinal arthritis. Arthritis can affect virtually any joint in the body, including the facet joints located in the spine. In the cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (middle back) and lumbar spine (lower back), each facet joint allows the neck and back to move forward, backward and side-to-side.

Like other joints, facet joints are covered in cartilage to provide protection and cushioning. With age, however, the cartilage on a healthy facet joint begins to degrade and become brittle. As cartilage wears away, the joints encounter painful friction each time they move. This series of events is known as osteoarthritis. To learn the leading factors of your condition, how to receive a proper diagnosis and the treatments available for lasting pain relief, read the following article.

What triggers cervical spinal arthritis?

While scientists have not determined its exact cause, cervical spinal arthritis can be triggered by several situations, the most common of which is aging. As we age, both our joint cartilage and our spinal discs begin to degenerate, and we feel this degeneration in the parts of our bodies that move the most — our joints. In addition to aging, other causes of spinal arthritis can include obesity, overuse of the joint, hereditary factors and a weakened immune system.

Diagnosing cervical spinal arthritis

Cervical spinal arthritis can be a debilitating condition. To receive the proper diagnosis and treatment for your pain, try to describe your symptoms of spinal arthritis honestly and accurately to your doctor. Before your visit, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where do I feel my pain? Is it in my neck and upper back (cervical region), or do I feel it in my lower back (lumbar region)? Does the pain seem to radiate from my neck to my shoulders or from my tailbone through my legs?
  • What is the nature of my pain? Do I experience numbness, tingling, throbbing or burning? Do I ever have complete loss of feeling?
  • Are any movements limited? Do I experience pain when I move my head from side to side or front to back? Do I feel pain when I shrug my shoulders or when I lift something heavy? Do I have trouble getting out of bed?
  • What treatments have proven effective? Do pain medications help? Is rest the only thing that relieves my pain? Does localized massage help to relieve symptoms?

Types of cervical spinal arthritis treatments

If you have been diagnosed with cervical spinal arthritis, and you want to consider surgery as a treatment option, be sure to get all the facts straight before you make a decision. You may not have to experience a long, difficult recovery from a highly invasive open neck and back surgery. For instance, Laser Spine Institute has helped more than 75,000 people find relief from neck and back pain through our minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures. Contact us today to learn what sets us apart as the leader of minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures.

Our procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and treat cases of cervical spinal arthritis and other degenerative spine conditions. Through the use of a small incision that is muscle sparing, our highly skilled surgeons are able to reduce the buildup of arthritis and inflammation in the facet joints and deaden any surrounding nerves to prevent the inflamed joint from impacting any other nerve root. If you are interested in learning more about our outpatient procedures, reach out to our team today. We can provide you with a free MRI review* to determine if you are a candidate for our procedures.