Arthritis of the neck (and related neck and back pain) may be categorized as one of two types of arthritis: Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune inflammatory disease that affects the joints in fingers, thumbs, shoulders, neck, back, wrist, elbows, knees, ankles, and feet. With RA, the body’s enzymes destroy the linings of the joints by attacking its own healthy tissues.
Osteoarthritis (often known as OA) affects 27 million Americans and is the most common chronic condition of the joints and usually referred to as “wear and tear” of joints. This condition can affect any joint in the body, but most commonly occurs in the hips, knees, lower back, neck, fingers, and toes. It is a disease of the entire joint, involving the cartilage, joint lining, bone and ligaments and is caused by the cartilage in the joint being worn down over time.
Osteoarthritis can affect anyone but usually, occurs in individuals over the age of 65. However, this condition can occur sooner if you develop other risk factors:
- Old age
- Previous joint injury
- Weak muscles
Symptoms of Neck Arthritis
With Rheumatoid Arthritis, because the enzymes are destroying the lining of the joints, it can cause pain, swelling, malformation, stiffness on one or both sides of the neck, and reduced movement and function. It is also possible to have systemic symptoms that include:
- Weight loss
- Eye Inflammation
- Subcutaneous systems (bumps under skin)
- Pleurisy (lung inflammation)
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis vary based on which joint in the body is affected and how severely it is affected. The most common symptoms that occur with OA are pain and stiffness. This usually happens in the morning or after resting and tend to build over time rather than abruptly. Along with pain and stiffness, additional symptoms include:
- Clicking or cracking sound when a joint bends
- Pain that is worse after activity or towards the end of the day
- Mild swelling around the joint
- Decreased function of the joint
Treatment for Neck Arthritis
While there is no cure for RA/OA, there are ways to reduce the pain, improve function, and make the individual more comfortable. Gulf Coast Pain Institute offers many forms of treatment for both conditions. The physical treatments we provide for RA/OA are physical therapy, massage therapy, and chiropractic manipulation. Another option is drug therapy which include topical, oral, and injections. For severe cases, surgical treatment is the best option.
Not seeking treatment for RA/OA may lead to an overall health decrease. The pain that occurs can lead to reduced mobility that is not directly related to the joint disease. This sedentary lifestyle can cause Diabetes and Heart Disease to arise because of the weight gain.