Understanding the symptoms and causes of neck arthritis
Neck arthritis is also known as cervical spine arthritis or cervical osteoarthritis. Arthritis of the neck is typically caused by the breakdown of cartilage within the facet joints of the seven cervical vertebrae. The most common type of arthritis found anywhere in the body is osteoarthritis. With aging, the facet joint surfaces in the neck and throughout the body roughen and thin. The gradual breakdown of joint surfaces is usually a result of the normal wear and tear that comes with age.
Breakdown can be accelerated by upper spinal injuries, or jobs involving repetitive motion. Some genetic markers have also been linked with premature cartilage breakdown. Generally speaking, cartilage breakdown in joints indicates that osteoarthritis is present.
Women are almost twice as likely as men to develop degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis) in the neck. However, risk factors are the same — regardless of gender — and include age, genetics and body weight. Neck arthritis symptoms are also the same in men and women. They include tenderness in the neck, radiating pain, stiffness and loss of mobility.
Several spinal conditions are known to be associated with neck arthritis, including:
Treatment options for individuals with neck arthritis
If you have been diagnosed with any of these conditions related to neck arthritis, your physician may choose to pursue a course of conservative treatment, including exercise, physical therapy, over-the-counter or prescription pain medicine and other treatment methods. However, the specific regimen of techniques that are recommended will depend entirely on your specific condition and circumstances. If the chronic pain and stiffness of cervical spine arthritis has not been relieved by conservative treatments and symptoms continue to hinder your ability to function in daily life, your physician could suggest surgery as a treatment option.
The surgeons at Laser Spine Institute can address your neck arthritis symptom with a variety of minimally invasive outpatient decompression and stabilization procedures that are designed to help you find relief from neck pain. Our procedures are a clinically appropriate alternative over traditional open neck surgery,^ which is a highly invasive procedure with a long and difficult recovery.
Contact us today to learn more about the treatment options we provide for individuals living with arthritis in their neck. We can provide you with a free MRI review* to help determine whether you’re a candidate for our minimally invasive procedures.