Cervical osteoarthritis

  • Introduction
  • What about the neck?
  • Why is the neck pain so prevalent?
  • What symptoms you are experiencing and cervical osteoarthritis is diagnosed?
  • Would what factors are related to cervical arthrosis?
  • What are the complications of cervical osteoarthritis?
  • How is cervical osteoarthritis treated?


The "neck" are often the origin of different symptoms, such as pain in the neck, headache, muscle tension or irradiated pain to the shoulders and arms. You are also blamed to cervical problems, often without a well-established medical confirmation, symptoms such as feeling of instability, dizziness or vertigo. The cervical spine, as in the lumbar spine or other parts of the skeleton, as the hands, knees or hips is one of the locations where you can develop osteoarthritis.


The neck are seven vertebrae that form the so-called cervical spine, which is the part of the spinal column which gives the structure and mobility to our neck. Top it bounds with skull and bottom borders the first of twelve vertebrae that form the spine, although this last is part of what we call the chest. Not all the cervical vertebrae are the same: the two upper ones have a different structure and its own name. It is called the first atlas, referring to the giant of Mythology carrying the Earth on his back, since it is the vertebra responsible for subjecting the skull. The second vertebra is called the axis, and has a kind of pivot around which revolves atlas and the skull, being the main responsible that we will be able to turn your head left and right. The remaining five cervical vertebrae are similar to each other, and the joints between them make it possible that the neck is a flexible structure and that we can Flex and extend the head or tilting it sideways.


The cervical spine is one of the systems most complicated joints of the human body and is subject to movements, constantly, throughout the day. Cervical vertebrae are involved in practically all activities of everyday life, since the neck posture is essential for a correct head position, allowing us to look, work, etc. Neck pain is very common, therefore since it is estimated that up to 70% of the population has ever suffered neck pain. The most common causes of neck pain include trauma, such as shock and sudden movements. Poor posture, maintained in a prolonged way, may result in a muscle contraction that also results in neck pain. On the other hand, cervical osteoarthritis, which is the most common rheumatic disease, is responsible for on many occasions of neck pain. It is important to note that many times the cervical pains are only the expression of a muscular strain secondary to another problem that has nothing to do with the joints of the neck, as for example in the States of stress or emotional tension, anxiety and even depression.


The two main symptoms resulting in cervical osteoarthritis are pain in the neck, located on the back of it, that sometimes extends to the back of the head or both shoulders, and the limitation or difficulty to move the neck. Pain that originates the osteoarthritis is what is called "mechanical character"; i.e. that it relates to movements. In this way, the pain increases with activity and movements of the neck, handing over or at least partially decreasing its intensity when you hold the rest. Cervical osteoarthritis can also result in a slowly progressive decrease in the ability of neck movement, such as the turns of the head to the right or the left, or the movements of flexion or extension of the head. Diagnosis of cervical osteoarthritis is simple and is based on the clinical history that the doctor made the patient, with the interrogation about the symptoms you have, and the physical examination of the neck. This is complemented by the practice of an x-ray of the cervical spine, in which the doctor can see the existence of the typical signs of arthrosis, confirming the diagnosis.


Age is a risk factor that is associated with the onset of osteoarthritis in the neck. Much older have greater is the probability that we padezcamos arthritis in the neck. In addition, it seems that there are hereditary factors that make that in certain families, there are more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis. On the other hand, there are other factors which, although they are not responsible directly for the appearance of arthrosis, do have a clear relationship with it, worsening the evolution and the symptoms of osteoarthritis. This is so in certain types of work, in which are held fixed positions and harmful positions for the cervical spine.


Sometimes, the typical arthritis neck pain extends by one of the upper limbs and reaches the hand. This pain tends to be very intense and is accompanied by a sensation of burning, tingling or numbness. This type of pain has its origin in the irritation of one of the nerves coming from the spinal cord in the cervical spine, through a hole that left between two adjacent cervical vertebrae. When cervical osteoarthritis is very advanced, the vertebral deformation and bone chips that form can compress these nerves, causing this complication of osteoarthritis. It is exceptional that cervical arthrosis originate as frequent as dizziness, feeling of instability and the vertigo symptoms. Normally these symptoms originate from neurological problems, problems in alterations in the ear or on the organ of balance, which is situated in the proximity of the organ of hearing and vision. With much greater frequency are also States of anxiety, accompanied by bad relaxation and muscle tension, or the States of depression, those responsible for these symptoms of dizziness, although this psychological origin of symptoms is difficult to recognize and accept by patients. Therefore, the fact that dizziness problems attributed to "have the cervical evil" should not be accepted.


Firstly, are you must consult a doctor evaluate symptoms and confirm the diagnosis of osteoarthritis. Once cervical osteoarthritis has been diagnosed, the doctor will pose a treatment that will basically oriented to achieve relief of symptoms, and if possible to avoid the progression of osteoarthritis. In the phases of more intense neck stiffness and pain, rest is achieved to improve symptoms up to is one of the first measures to adopt, together with the local application of heat, which can be done with an electric blanket, bag of hot water, etc. Exceptionally, and never as a rule, you must resort to the placement of a cervical collar, which should usually be used for a short and specific time. The drugs are also used in painful periods as symptomatic treatment, starting with analgesics for the treatment of pain, or anti-inflammatory drugs. Occasionally used relaxing muscles, to relieve the muscle spasm that is so often associated with cervical arthrosis. Finally, the doctor will assess each patient convenience or not use drugs capable of long-term slow the progression of osteoarthritis. On occasions, physiotherapy and rehabilitation of the cervical spine techniques complete the therapeutic approach to the patient with cervical arthrosis. These techniques include cervical spine mobility exercises, electrotherapy (so-called "currents") and in certain indications sessions, cervical traction. In any case, always they have to comply with the standards of protection of the cervical spine that your doctor recommends you. Also, it must be the rehabilitation exercises which will indicate this.

Source of information and images: artrosis.livemed.es/index.html

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