Cervical Arthritis - Spondylosis Treatment
Conservative treatment is the likely therapeutic course taken at the onset of cervical arthritis symptoms. This may involve the use of NSAIDs, analgesics, natural anti-inflammatory supplements, and natural pain-relievers. Steroid injections are more difficult to administer to the cervical spine in contrast to the lumbar spine but may be used to relieve the pain and as selective nerve root blocks to ascertain the nerve root where the pain originates. The relief from the steroid injection may also enable other treatment methods to be utilised, such as physical therapy, and spinal manipulation.
The use of physical therapy, such as gentle stretching, and muscle strengthening and conditioning may also help ameliorate the pain and discomfort of the condition. Chiropractic treatment and osteopathic care may be options for some, but cautions would apply as any narrowing (stenosis) of the cervical spine can increase the risk of acute trauma from spinal manipulation. Acupressure and acupuncture may provide relief from symptoms in some sufferers through increased circulation leading to increased oxygen and nutrient delivery to the cervical spine and removal of toxins from the area.
Devices for Cervical Arthritis Treatment
Devices for the relief of neck pain generally focus on traction for the lumbar spine and fail to address cervical spinal issues. Some products may be helpful, such as inversion tables, but should be discussed with a physician first so as to obtain safety recommendations. If dizziness or severe pain is felt when using any of the available devices then the movement should be stopped immediately and medical advice sought.
Exercises for Cervical Arthritis Treatment
Water-based exercise can be helpful for cervical arthritis (spondylosis), as the body is supported making movement easier, and more comfortable, for the patient. High impact exercises, such as running, or contact sports should be avoided in order to minimize further risk of damage to the cervical spine. Use of a neck brace may be helpful to immobilize the neck but it is generally not a good idea to use a cervical collar long term as this may cause the muscles in the neck to atrophy which can exacerbate the condition and put further strain on the smaller muscles in the neck to support the head. This often leads to cervicogenic head and neck pain.
Cervical Arthritis Surgery
Surgery for the cervical spine can be very complex as there are so many structures, nerves, and blood vessels compacted into a relatively small and not easily accessible area. If the cervical arthritis is affecting numerous areas of the spine then surgery is, unfortunately, unlikely to be beneficial. If the problem is sufficiently isolated then a laminectomy may be performed. This is where bone spurs (osteophytes) and other obstructive material are removed from the area around the spine, and spinal decompression through gentle traction occurs. If the discs between the vertebrae have herniated or compressed then they may be removed, and a spinal fusion procedure performed or an artificial disc replacement conducted. Spinal fusion often works to stabilize the spine where hypermobility is causing problems.
Video on Cervical Arthritis
Last Updated: 9/10/2010