Arthritis is an inflammatory condition, which is characterized by the involvement of joints and bones. The condition is very painful and occasionally has acute exacerbation. Arthritis is very common in the weight bearing joints of the knees and the back. However, occasionally arthritis symptoms may be experienced in the neck.
Neck arthritis is characterized by inflammation and degeneration of the facets and joints of the cervical spine.
Neck Arthritis Causes
Neck arthritis, very similar to other types of degenerative bone diseases, is associated with some common causes. These include,
- Osteoarthritis i.e. inflammation and irritation of the bones and the joints caused primarily due to wear and tear. This wear and tear may be attributed to trauma, injury, excessive use of the cervical spine, etc.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is another form of arthritis, which is an autoimmune disorder. While this condition can affect almost any one, this condition is more frequently observed in individuals who have a high protein diet or live in very cold temperatures.
Symptoms Of Arthritis In Neck
Some of the common symptoms associated with neck arthritis include the following,
- Sharp and stinging pain which radiates from the neck to the shoulder or down to the arms.
- Neck arthritis is often associated with stiffness, which is aggravated in the morning and improves with movement. However as the day advances the pain tends to get worse.
- Frequent episodes of headache, often affecting the nape of the neck may also be experienced.
- The specific symptoms may vary depending upon the nerve which is being compressed, especially if it is a cranial nerve.
A radiological image of the cervical spine may often indicate the presence of a bone spur or reduced inter-vertebral space between two cervical spines.
Remedies For Arthritis Pain In Neck
While in most cases, rest and over the counter analgesics can provide relief to the symptoms of neck arthritis, these are just temporary solutions. Here are some simple exercises and natural treatments that can be beneficial,
- Rest and hot and cold compress is considered to be very beneficial in providing pain relief. Hot compression improves blood circulation at the site while cold compression reduces inflammatory response and provides relief.
- Activity modifications to reduce the positions that cause pain include changing sleeping position or changing your work chair to improve your position while working.
- Simple neck exercises like twisting the head sideways or looking up and down are considered to be helpful. These exercises not only strengthen the spinal muscles but also improve blood circulation and thereby provide sustained pain relief.
- Enhance the intake of minerals like calcium and magnesium through regular diet or through supplements. Calcium improves bone health while magnesium improves the absorption of calcium by the intestines.
- Homeopathic medicines like Ruta, Rhus Tox and Arnica are considered very useful in the management of neck arthritis. These medicines should be taken frequently in low doses to provide sustained pain relief.