Arthritis of the cervical spine treatment

Cervical spondylosis occurs in old age, in 85% of cases in people after sixty years. Usually, the four lower vertebrae of the cervical spine (from the 4th to the 7th) are usually affected. In the upper cervical vertebrae, inflammation very rarely occurs.

The cause of cervical spondylosis is aging of the intervertebral discs. As a result of the increased load on the facet joints of the vertebrae, bone growths appear. They compress the nerve roots and restrict neck movements.

After ten years of rheumatoid arthritis, the cervical spine is involved in the pathological process in 80% of cases. The synovial tissue in the joints between the occipital part and the first two cervical vertebrae is affected. Most often the first two vertebrae become inflamed.

Risk factors (for both forms of cervical arthritis):

  • hereditary predisposition;
  • a history of neck and back injuries;
  • physical activity (sitting half-bent position, poor posture, excessive cervical activity);
  • inflammation of the joints of various etiologies;
  • osteochondrosis;
  • osteoarthritis;
  • natural aging of the body (wear of the intervertebral discs, overgrowth of bone tissue);
  • hypothermia;
  • smoking (a connection was found between smoking and degenerative changes in the cervical vertebrae).

Symptoms of Neck Arthritis

Clinical signs of the disease:

  • stitching pains in the back of the neck, extending to the lower region of the head, shoulders, elbow joints or fingers;
  • muscle weakness in the cervical region;
  • headache concentrated in the occipital part;
  • vertebral crunch;
  • weakness, tingling, and cramps in arms and legs;
  • stiff neck;
  • swelling and redness of the skin in the affected area.

Cervical spondylosis rarely results in irreversible deformity or disability. Rheumatoid arthritis of the neck, in the absence of proper treatment, progresses. In both cases, early diagnosis is important. The degree of bone degeneration is determined by x-ray or MRI.

Treatment of arthritis of the cervical spine

Conservative treatment methods:

1) Physiotherapeutic procedures:

  • traction (dry extension of the cervical vertebrae, which allows to reduce the compression of the spinal nerves and facet joints);
  • acupuncture;
  • electrical stimulation;
  • vacuum therapy;
  • gentle methods of manual therapy;
  • magnetopuncture;
  • laser therapy;
  • pharmacopuncture;
  • massage (for muscle relaxation).

2) Therapeutic gymnastics (a set of exercises is selected by a specialist taking into account the degree of the disease and the condition of the body).

3) Wearing a cervical soft collar (allows you to keep the neck in the correct position, limits painful movements, allows the muscles to relax; but constant wear weakens the neck muscles).

  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (for example, Aspirin, Piroxicam, Ibuprofen and others);
  • muscle relaxants (relieve spasm that occurs in response to pain);
  • anticonvulsants (help cope with pain);
  • steroid injections (injections in the area of ​​a compressed nerve root, reduce swelling of the inflamed nerve, due to which the pain subsides; are prescribed for severe pain syndrome);
  • injections into the facet joint area (the same steroid preparations with a local anesthetic are administered);
  • blockade with radiofrequency ablation (a steroid with an anesthetic is injected into the nerve region, then the affected nerve process is destroyed by radiofrequency ablation).

Surgical treatment is indicated if conservative treatment for many months does not give results. Methods:

  • implantation of an artificial intervertebral disc (the damaged disc is removed, and an artificial one is implanted instead);
  • anterior or posterior cervical discectomy (it is prescribed in the presence of osteophytes or a slipped disc; a degenerative intervertebral disc is removed, and fusion is created between the vertebrae);
  • cervical laminectomy (only those elements of the vertebra that press on the nerve roots or spinal cord are removed);
  • cervical foraminotomy (the channel along which the nerve root goes from the spinal cord expands).

Methods of treating arthritis of the neck are selected depending on the condition of the patient.

Cervical arthritis: causes, diagnosis and therapy

The disease is very common, occurs everywhere, does not depend on the gender of the patient. A couple of decades ago, this pathology was inherent in the elderly. But in recent years there has been a tendency to rejuvenate the disease – cervical arthritis is often diagnosed in young people.

There are two diseases related to arthritis of the neck (cervical spine):

  1. Spondylosis of the neck.
  2. Rheumatoid arthritis.

The clinical symptoms will be similar, and the main differences lie in the causes of the disease.

Clinical Signs of Neck Arthritis

Symptoms Rheumatoid arthritis Spondilez
Pain mostly morning stitching, often with irradiation
Muscle weakness no Yes
Crunch no Yes
Mobility restrictions eat mainly in the morning Yes
Soft tissue swelling Yes no
Paresthesia Yes no
The reaction of regional lymph nodes increase in size no
Coloring the skin redness normal
Fluctuations in blood pressure increase no
External manifestations swan neck no

Causes of the disease

Rheumatoid arthritis is formed after a previous infection process (usually viral), as a result of the pathology of the immune system.

Also a huge role belongs to the hereditary factor (predisposition is passed from parents to children).

Spondylosis is formed as a result of degenerative processes of bone tissue, during the formation of hernias of the intervertebral discs, against the background of post-traumatic deformities, smoking, hypothermia and increased physical activity.


The diagnosis includes several measures:

  1. Examination of a doctor (neurologist, therapist, traumatologist, rheumatologist) to determine the pathology of the nervous, osteoarticular and immune systems. They also analyze the biochemical composition of blood (C-reactive protein and rheumatoid factor), determine specific immunoglobulins, sugar levels, liver enzymes and blood proteins.
  2. Radiography in direct and lateral projection, if necessary and in functional positions. The X-ray diffraction pattern allows us to assess the severity of the degenerative-dystrophic process of bone tissue, to identify staircase deformity.
  3. Performing magnetic resonance imaging gives an idea of ​​not only the condition of the bones, but also of the intervertebral discs, ligaments, muscles, and the degree of narrowing of the spinal canal. The study is contraindicated in individuals with metal implants, artificial pacemakers. Tomography allows you to solve the question of the need for surgical intervention.
  4. Ultrasound examination of the spine.


There are two types of therapy: conservative and surgical.

Conservative methods include fixing the affected area, massage, therapeutic exercises, the use of anti-inflammatory, hormonal, cytostatic and vascular agents. For fixation, use a Shants collar (hard or soft). Inspection is carried out once a quarter. If there are no signs of progression, radiographs are performed only once a year. The conservative method is suitable for patients who have signs of vertebral instability but no neurological symptoms.

The operation (laminectomy) is indicated for people with severe neurological manifestations and subluxations in the cervical spine. The purpose of surgery is to reduce pressure on the spinal cord. The operation is very traumatic, as a result, progression of stair deformity, the formation of scars and kyphosis can be observed. The method is not effective in the presence of compression on the front surface of the spinal canal. You can also drive the discs, but only with a slight displacement.

Spondylosis therapy

Complex treatment with the use of medications (anti-inflammatory non-steroidal drugs and hormones), intra-articular administration of therapeutic solutions and application of compresses with aminophylline, analginum and heparin.

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A good result is given by exposure to ultraviolet and magnet on the affected area, paraffin applications, therapeutic massage and gymnastics.

The course of the disease is long, chronic. The prognosis for proper treatment is favorable. Patients remain active and the quality of life does not suffer.

Prevention of cervical arthritis consists in adequate treatment of infectious and inflammatory processes, prevention of spinal injuries, refusal of addictions, dosing of physical activity and timely treatment of doctors for help.

Arthritis of the cervical spine treatment

Severe damage to the cervical spine is observed in 30% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The most common three types of lesions are:
(1) erosive damage to the atlanto-axial articulation and the transverse ligament of atlant, which lead to the development of instability of this segment;
(2) erosive damage to the atlanto-occipital joints, in which conditions are created for the displacement of the tooth-like process of the second cervical vertebra into the large occipital foramen;
(3) erosive lesions of the arcuate joints of the middle cervical spine, sometimes ending with the formation of a bone block, but more often leading to the formation of subluxations of the vertebrae.
In addition, with rheumatoid arthritis, vertebral osteoporosis is often observed, developing both as a result of the disease itself and glucocorticoid therapy, or as a result of a combination of both factors.

Despite the often observed subluxations in the atlanto-axial joint (sometimes reaching 1 cm or more), neurological complications are rare. Nevertheless, they occur, especially with a long history of the disease, their causes are mechanical compression of the spinal cord, local hyperplasia of granulation tissue or (very rarely) thrombosis of the vertebral arteries.

a) Symptoms and clinic of rheumatoid arthritis of the cervical spine. Damage to the cervical spine with rheumatoid arthritis is usually observed in women suffering from this disease, and usually with a long history of the disease. Patients complain of pain and restriction of movement in the cervical spine.

There may be signs of root compression, less commonly, weakness in the lower extremities and symptoms of damage to the motor neurons of the proximal spinal cord due to its compression. Symptoms of vertebro-basilar insufficiency may be observed – dizziness, tinnitus and visual disturbances. In many patients who do not present any neurological complaints, a thorough examination still reveals mild sensory disturbances and signs of pyramidal insufficiency (for example, pathologically increased reflexes).

The pronounced general stiffness of the patient and damage to the joints of the limbs can mask the existing signs of myelopathy. A Lhermitte symptom may occur – a sensation of an electric current running down the back while flexing the cervical spine. Sudden deaths due to acute fatal spinal cord compression are rare.

Rheumatoid arthritis.
(a) Movements in the cervical spine are significantly limited, attempts to turn the head lead to increased pain and muscle spasm.
(b) Subluxations in the atlanto-axial articulation are quite common: erosive damage to the joints of this articulation and the transverse ligament of the atlant creates conditions for the first cervical vertebra to “slip” anteriorly to 2 cm.
(c) Reposition of the first cervical vertebra and posterior fusion with fixation by a wire loop.
(d) This patient has subluxations not only in the atlanto-axial joint, but also in two segments of the mid-cervical spine.

Roentgenography. On radiographs, signs of erosive damage to the joints of the spine are determined, usually at once at several levels. Signs of atlanto-axial instability can be seen on radiographs in the lateral projection obtained in the position of flexion and extension: in the flexion position, the front arch of the atlas is shifted forward, increasing the gap between its posterior surface and the tooth of the second vertebra to 5 mm or more, in the extension position this subluxation eliminated.

Erosive lesions of the atlanto-occipital joint are more difficult to see, however, tomograms in the lateral projection still allow us to assess the relationship between the tooth-like process of the second cervical vertebra and the large occipital foramen. Normally, the tip of the tooth-like process is projected above the McGregor line (the line connecting the posterior edge of the hard palate to the lowest point of the occipital bone) by no more than 5 mm.

With an erosive lesion of the atlanto-occipital joints, the distance of the apex of the tooth process above this line can reach 10-12 mm. On radiographs in the lateral projection, you can also see the anterior subluxation of the vertebrae of the middle cervical spine.

CT and MRI. These methods have undeniable advantages in the visualization of such “complex” areas, such as the atlanto-axial and atlanto-occipital joints, as well as various soft tissue formations, especially the spinal cord.

b) Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis of the cervical spine. Even despite the sometimes frightening X-ray picture, serious neurological complications are quite rare. Pain can usually be reduced by wearing a collar.

Indications for surgical stabilization of the cervical spine are (1) severe pain syndrome that cannot be stopped by other means and (2) neurological symptoms indicating compression of the spinal cord or its roots.

Spinal fusion of the cervical spine (usually posterior) involves bone grafting followed by immobilization of the thoraco-cranial corset or halo apparatus or a combination of bone grafting with internal fixation by wire sutures or other fixatives. After surgery, immobilization of the cervical spine by the head holder continues for three months, however, in cases of severe instability or insufficient stability of fixation, a halo apparatus can be used.

In patients with severe and prolonged course of the disease and severe changes in the spine, the level of postoperative surgical complications, up to lethal outcomes, is quite high. This is an argument in favor of surgical treatment in the early stages of the disease, when there is no neurological deficit yet, but according to X-ray, CT, myelography and MRI, there are signs of pronounced atlanto-axial instability, dislocation of the dentoid in the large occipital foramen or subluxation of other cervical vertebrae with the threat of compression of the spinal cord or brain stem.

Arthritis of the cervical spine symptoms treatment, arthritis of the spine symptoms classification treatment methods

The initial symptom may be stitching pain, extending to the posterior cervical areas, shoulders, joints of the elbows. Some home remedies can be used. Injuries and bruises of the spinal column should be avoided, and if this happens, you do not need to self-medicate or think that the pain will pass by itself. Folk remedies are used only after consulting a doctor.

Perhaps the appearance of fever, dizziness. This is a systemic disease affecting small and large joints, as well as internal organs. Some signs of destruction of the joints and cartilage of the spine can be observed in almost all people. Pathology manifests itself in the area in which the inflammation of the epidermis is especially pronounced. This program is a physiotherapist.

Treatment of arthritis of the cervical spine with surgery is contraindicated if a recent surgical intervention on the heart has been performed. The orthopedic device will not allow you to make a sharp movement and cause sharp pain. Bad posture also plays a role in the development of the disease.

In this case, flattening of the vertebrae due to the destruction of the cartilage tissue is noted. Joint joints of the spine are destroyed, the formation of bone growths becomes a concomitant factor. Arthritis of the spine can manifest itself with various symptoms, depending on the location of the inflammation. Salt deposits injure the vertebrae, negatively affect the nutrition of cartilage.

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Specific symptoms depend on the exact location of the disease. This phenomenon is associated with the natural aging of the body, great physical exertion and trauma. The specificity of the symptoms is that with inflammation of the tissue, the vertebrae swell and compression of the spinal nerves occurs.

Therefore, consult your healthcare professional before using such supportive models. The therapeutic complex is prescribed by the doctor on the basis of a patient examination, while the funds are selected individually. A dangerous disease such as arthritis can develop due to the loss of articular cartilage, in particular, due to its depletion. Leave a Reply Cancel reply.

People need to monitor the position of their backs, maintain an even posture, do exercises in the mornings, exercise, correctly form a rest and work regimen. This is a new development in the pharmaceutical market. Physiotherapist can recommend and show special exercises, folk remedies so that pain during sleep does not worsen.

Elementary supporting structures, like a cane, will help to move normally, reduce pain. Against their background, inflammation often develops. It is also necessary to regularly perform simple exercises for the back, especially for people leading a sedentary lifestyle. Based on a preliminary examination, the doctor sends the patient to an X-ray examination, a forum where the spine is studied in different projections.

Paroxysmal or chronic pain syndrome develops. For example, put heating pads, cold compresses. When a person is found to have cervical arthritis, therapeutic measures should not be delayed so that complications do not develop. With arthritis of the lumbar spine, not only joint pain, but also disorders of the digestive system can be observed, which is due to compression of the corresponding nerve fibers during edema of the vertebra. Flies in front of the eyes, colored spots and dark spots may also appear, which is a symptom of an eye circulatory disturbance.

  1. Can a hygroma burst and what to do in such a situation?
  2. If you smoke, you have to get rid of this habit.
  3. Causes of occurrence More often, inflammation occurs in the lower cervical zone, and the upper sections are prone to disease with less probability.
  4. In this case, the patient may experience stiffness, pain and swelling that occur against the background of the inflammatory process.

Arthritis of the cervical spine symptoms and treatment

Unstable angina pectoris, recent myocardial infarction or stroke prohibit surgery. Frequent headache and drowsiness can be an alarming sign of spinal arthritis. Arthritis is not an independent disease, it always develops against the background of another pathological process or traumatic effect on the spine. Move more, give up bad food and habits, attend medical procedures, such as physiotherapy and massage.

Causes of appearance

Such symptoms are characteristic of any inflammatory process. Therefore, in order to relieve unpleasant symptoms and stabilize the patient’s condition, painkillers Ketorol and Ketanov are first prescribed. Before an x-ray, the doctor examines the sensitivity of the neck, pain in the elbow reflexes of the arms and legs.

Main features

Drugs are used only as directed by a doctor. The disease manifests itself as a result of wear and aging of the discs in the cervical spine. Most often, arthritis develops as a consequence of arthrosis of the spine. Simple back exercises will help strengthen your spine. When removing the removed parts in the cervical spine, displacement of the vertebrae, infringement of the roots of the spinal cord is possible.

Be sure to consult a doctor before treating diseases. Glucocorticosteroids are indicated for severe inflammation and swelling. Pathology can affect any part of the spinal column, ointments and creams for pain, but is most often diagnosed in the cervical or lumbar.

Helps maintain proper neck position by limiting pain. The treatment of spinal arthritis involves a whole range of procedures. Stiffness is noted, any movements cause pain. An inflammatory disease of the bones of the neck threatens the victim with paralysis and disability.

Symptoms of Arthritis of the Cervical Spine

Treatment of arthritis of the neck is carried out taking into account the patient’s condition. Having noticed the first symptoms and manifestations, spinal arthritis therapy should be started immediately, because only timely treatment will help to avoid the progression of the disease. As already mentioned, in order to fight arthritis, you will need to change your lifestyle. The form of cervical spondylosis often disappears without complications.

Such treatment helps to relax the muscles of the cervical spine. Treatment depends on the severity of symptoms and the underlying cause leading to the development of arthritis of the cervical spine. The growth of new bone tissue interferes with the nervous activity of the cervical spine.

It should be performed under the supervision of a doctor, do not exaggerate its capabilities, so as not to injure the neck even more. Cartilage fragments can enter the intervertebral space, causing an inflammatory process called arthritis of the cervical spine, the symptoms of which are manifested by severe pain. To prevent the appearance of cervical arthritis, a person needs to remember about preventive measures. Therefore, it is important that at the first sign a person goes to a doctor and undergoes a diagnosis. They are intended for oral administration, but in severe cases of inflammation, injections are used.

However, not all doctors trust these claims. Surgical treatment is prescribed if the conservative technique is ineffective. It prevents subluxation, but cannot prevent an increase in deformation. Diagnosis begins by examining the patient’s medical history and asking for symptoms.

Arthritis of the spine symptoms classification treatment methods

At the same time, such unpleasant symptoms as pain, swelling and stiffness of movements are manifested. Rheumatoid arthritis is systemic in nature, therefore, it is also manifested by the defeat of small and large joints of the skeleton. Thus, the nerve roots are compressed and neck movement is limited.

Shishkevich Vladimir
Shishkevich Vladimir
Orthopedic doctor, traumatologist
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I have been treating joints for many years. I can say with confidence that the joints are always treatable, even in the very ripe old age.

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Morozov Georgiy

Rheumatologist. For more than 20 years, he has been involved in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of joint diseases. Specialization: diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases and deformations of the musculoskeletal system.