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Can anything treat arthritis in the neck?

There are many reasons why people may experience neck pain from time to time. Whether that means overextending your neck while looking at your phone for hours or sleeping in uncomfortable positions, it’s quite normal to feel a temporary ache in your neck. But what if you have arthritis pain in your neck that’s too much to bear?

Arthritis is the No. 1 cause of disability in the United States and can affect nearly any part of your body, including the neck.

Read on to learn about arthritis in the neck as well as the best treatment options to alleviate the pain.

What is arthritis in the neck?

Arthritis is joint inflammation and there are more than 100 types that a person can be diagnosed with. It affects more than 60 million adults in America as well as 300,000 children.

There are a few types of arthritis that can affect the neck, but the most common types are rheumatoid arthritis and cervical spondylosis. 

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease that affects the top two vertebrae in your neck. It means that your immune system is attacking the joint tissue.

Cervical spondylosis, or cervical osteoarthritis, is a condition that gradually breaks down your joints and damages the upper spine vertebrae.

Arthritis in the neck symptoms include:

  • Chronic neck pain.
  • Stiffness that can worsen in the upright position.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Weakness and numbness in arms, hands and fingers.
  • Headaches.

7 treatment options for arthritis in the neck

While there isn’t a cure for arthritis, there are treatment options that can help to alleviate the pain and allow you to continue to complete your day-to-day activities. 

If you’re experiencing arthritis in the neck, there are a few ways to help manage the pain and increase your neck’s range of motion. While some are methods that you can accomplish at home, others may require help from a professional, including your physician or a physical therapist.

Seven treatment options for arthritis in the neck:

  1. Neck brace — In some cases of arthritis in the neck, your doctor may recommend that you wear a soft cervical brace to prevent too much movement while you rest your neck muscles. A neck brace is usually only recommended for a short period of time to reduce the risk of weakened muscles.
  1. Medications — For a quick and effective treatment option for arthritis pain in the neck, there are a variety of medications that you can take to temporarily reduce your symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe a pain reliever like acetaminophen, as well as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like naproxen, aspirin or ibuprofen.
  1. Injections — For some cases of arthritis in the neck, you may benefit from a steroid-based injection. A doctor could recommend a shot of corticosteroid, an anti-inflammatory medicine that can be used to alleviate symptoms associated with arthritis and joint pain.
  1. Modalities — There are tried-and-true modalities such as ice and heat that can help reduce pain and inflammation that can stem from arthritis in the neck. You may even benefit from electrical stimulation. 
  1. Exercises — A physical therapist can walk you through safe and effective exercises that will help stretch and strengthen your neck muscles. While stretching exercises will improve the flexibility of your muscles to increase your mobility, strengthening exercises will reduce pressure on the neck joints and the risk of future injury.
  1. Manual therapy — One of the best ways to manage your pain is through manual therapy techniques by a physical therapist. There are a few possible techniques they could try, such as soft tissue mobilization. This involves the therapist using their hands in a massage-like motion to release tension that’s trapped in scar tissue.
  1. Dry needling — A popular treatment used by physical therapists for chronic neck pain is dry needling. This involves the use of small needles that are punctured into the pain point. The needle causes the muscles to contract and release the tension that’s causing the pain.

Back in Motion Physical Therapy can help alleviate symptoms of arthritis in the neck

Arthritis in any part of the body can affect your ability to handle your daily responsibilities, as you need your joints for any movement. Arthritis in the neck can prevent you from doing simple tasks like turning your head to talk to your coworker or looking up at your car’s rearview mirror. When you’re ready to reduce the pain and stiffness, then give us a call. 
Contact us today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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