The joints, discs, and bones in the neck can undergo degenerative changes related to age-related wear and tear. If the discs shrink, the vertebrae lose cushioning, and the bones begin to rub together and develop bone spurs, which are lumps that form off a bone. The space where the nerve roots exit the canal can narrow, and they can become pinched, causing more serious symptoms. This painful condition is called cervical spondylosis or neck arthritis.
The symptoms of arthritis of the neck include pain, stiffness, and difficulty moving the head. In the earliest stages, symptoms of arthritis in the neck are mild, but they can worsen without treatment. The focus of treatments for arthritis in the neck is to relieve symptoms and avoid putting additional strain on the neck.
How is Neck Arthritis Treated?
The best way to treat neck arthritis will vary depending on the individual’s symptoms and the severity of their condition. However, some common treatments for neck arthritis include:
- Pain medication – to control pain and inflammation; may help relieve symptoms of neck arthritis. Prescription medication, which is stronger, may be recommended by a doctor when over-the-counter medications fail to work.
- Neck brace – to help prevent excessive movement of the neck, which can exacerbate symptoms, and to also provide additional support to the neck as it heals.
- Physical therapy – exercises that strengthen the neck muscles help reduce the strain placed on the spinal joints in the neck. In addition, physical therapy exercises can help improve neck range of motion. Exercises for neck arthritis are gentle and do not unnecessarily strain the internal structures of the neck.
- Heat and ice therapy – Alternating between heat and cold compresses help the neck muscles relax and reduce swelling and pain. Heat improves blood flow, which enhances healing.
- Steroid injections – epidural injections that contain anesthetic and powerful steroids that control inflammation can provide long-term relief from symptoms of neck arthritis.
If neck arthritis has advanced to a point that nerves have become pinched and cause symptoms such as numbness or weakness, the doctor may recommend surgery. The doctor may perform surgery to remove part of the herniated disc or perform a discectomy or fuse the vertebrae together to keep the spine stabilized.
Neck Arthritis Treatment in Hartford County, CT & Springfield, MA
The orthopedic specialists at Advanced Orthopedics New England can help you find relief from neck pain due to arthritis. We are highly experienced in treating patients with this condition and improving their lives through medical and therapeutic interventions. We take the time to carefully assess your symptoms in order to design a treatment plan that is most effective.
Advanced Orthopedics New England has five convenient locations in Enfield, Bloomfield, Rocky Hill, Vernon, Connecticut, and Springfield, Massachusetts. To schedule an appointment with one of our physicians, call our office today at (860) 728-6740 or use our convenient appointment request form.