Neck Arthritis: What You Need to Know

Medically Reviewed by NJ Spine & Orthopedic on July 23, 2023
Arthritis is a common condition that can affect all joints, including the joints in the spine and neck. When you experience pain or symptoms from neck arthritis, the joints affected by arthritis are in the cervical portion of the spine. The arthritis of the spine is called cervical osteoarthritis or spondylosis.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says this condition is so common that 85% of people over 60 are affected, and nearly half of all people middle-aged and older have even worn discs that do not cause symptoms. If you are one of the people afflicted with this condition, a cervical spine osteoarthritis specialist from NJ Spine & Orthopedic can inform you about your condition, including how to slow the condition’s severity and how to manage and treat your symptoms.

What Causes Neck Arthritis?

Arthritis is the erosion of a joint’s bone and cartilage over time or because of overuse. Many factors can bring on neck arthritis. Age is generally the most common factor that contributes to this condition. Other factors may include:

  • Genetics
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Jobs that require repetitive neck motion and overhead work
  • Sports-related or traumatic injuries to the neck
  • Poor posture

Obesity can place undue pressure on joints causing degeneration at a faster rate, and smoking also can hasten the progress of cervical spondylosis and disc degeneration. If you suspect any of these factors may have led to your neck arthritis, a doctor can help you treat your pain.  

Can Exercise Help Neck Arthritis?

Exercise is encouraged by orthopedic cervical spine specialists. If you sit for long periods of time, it’s encouraged that you take breaks to stand, walk around, and stretch your neck, shoulders, and back to loosen up tension and prevent stiffness that can contribute to pain. Some stretches and exercises you can do in your home or at work include:

  • Neck stretches
  • Chin tucks
  • Shoulder blade squeezes
  • Shoulder shrugs
  • Hand-to-head resistance exercises

If there aren’t any other symptoms that could indicate a more severe problem, exercise can help manage pain, improve mobility, and strengthen neck and shoulder muscles. However, if you have excruciating neck pain, discomfort, or weakness in your hands or arms, stop exercising and see your orthopedic doctor. 

How to Manage Symptoms of Neck Arthritis

Pain management is the most essential part of managing symptoms of neck arthritis. Taking over-the-counter medications as directed may help reduce or eliminate pain as you go about your daily life. In addition to medication, applying heat and cold treatments to the area can help alleviate pain by reducing inflammation too. Physical therapy is also encouraged.

Be conscious of your posture when walking, standing, and sitting. A poor posture can worsen neck pain and stiffness by putting undue pressure on muscles. Ergonomic chairs and pillows can help support your neck. A neck brace can also help keep your neck stable. In addition, the brace will prevent excessive neck movements and give the affected area time to heal.

Of course, if you’ve done all these things and still don’t have relief after several weeks, you’ll want to see an orthopedic neck surgeon. They can perform minimally-invasive surgery that will reduce or eliminate the pain of neck arthritis.

Count on Our Neck Arthritis Specialists at NJ Spine & Orthopedic to Relieve Chronic and Long-Term Pain

Our neck arthritis specialists at NJ Spine & Orthopedic can treat arthritis causing pain and debilitation in any joint, including the joints in the spine. If arthritis is causing the quality of your life to diminish, you should see our orthopedic cervical spine specialists for treatments to reduce or eliminate your pain. 

The orthopedic neck specialists at NJ Spine and Orthopedic know the treatments or minimally invasive surgery techniques that will relieve your cervical spine symptoms which result from osteoarthritis. If pain in your neck is keeping you from enjoying life, call (866) 553-0612 or complete our contact form to meet with a neck specialist at NJ Spine & Orthopedic today.

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