What is it? Neck arthritis is a chronic and inflammatory disease of the discs and the bones in the neck. It often presents merely as a neck pain, but if left untreated, it begins to aggravate and degenerate over time.
Statistics: Neck arthritis may be present in a person that has attained the age of forty or more and continues to progress thereon and according to statistics, men may develop neck arthritis earlier than would women and the condition may also lead to myelopathy, affecting the spinal cord as well.
Important Facts: Arthritis in the neck is a wear-and-tear neck condition resulting from years of minor trauma to the cervical spine and its structures. The severity of the ‘wear’ varies between individuals, but is almost always worse in those who have worked in a physically demanding occupation for many years, such as construction.
Treatment: There are a multitude of treatment modalities ranging from rest to surgery depending on the severity of the symptoms and the underlying cause that is identified. A majority of cases cervical arthritis respond to exercises.
Dos/Don’ts: To reduce arthritis neck pain the first thing you can do is stop doing nothing and do something.
Use hydrotherapy, which is a combination of water, heat and air. It’s amazing what a good hot tub will do to relieve arthritis neck pain.
Get rid of stress of any kind — Stress creates tension and causes pain of all sorts including arthritis. Relaxation is a key factor. What’s relaxing to one person may not relax another. So, you will need to decide what works best for you.
Common Myths: Another common myth is that nightshade vegetables, which include potatoes, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes, can exacerbate arthritis symptoms. The belief is that a chemical in these vegetables can cause too much calcium to build up in the body, damaging the joints. But doctors say there’s not a lot of scientific evidence to back up that claim.
Unlike knuckle cracking, cracking neck is a habit which has serious side effects. Medical research conducted in the past few decades also indicate, that people who are on an unceasing spree of cracking neck, are at a greater risk of suffering a stroke, showcasing either transient ischemic attack (TIA) symptoms or those of a fatal one.
What is it? Arthritis is defined as the presence of swelling, the presence of effusion (The escape of fluid into another part), or the presence of 2 or more of the following signs: limited range of motion(ROM), tenderness, pain on motion, or joint warmth.
Degenerative changes are common in neck or cervical spine. In some degree they are found almost universally in persons over 50yrs of age.
Statistics: Osteoarthritis of the neck is one of the most common forms of neck pain for people over the age of 50.
While a past neck injury can lead to neck osteoarthritis years later, aging is the major risk factor or cause of neck osteoarthritis. Seventy percent of women and 85% of men have x-ray evidence of neck osteoarthritis by age 60.
Whether neck pain is acute or chronic, statistics show that approximately 80% of adults are affected by some kind of neck pain condition.
Important Facts: The primary degenerative changes are initiated by injury. In other cases the condition is simply a manifestation of normal wear and tear.
In the upper limb there may be a vague, ill-defined and ill localized referred pain spreading over the shoulder region or there may be more serious symptoms from interference with one or more of the cervical nerves.
Treatment Duration: Treatments for cervical osteoarthritis are usually nonsurgical and is usually treated conservatively.
While cervical osteoarthritis tends to be chronic, the symptoms are rarely progressive and rarely require surgery. For patients with severe symptoms that are impeding their ability to function, surgery may be an option and a cervical laminectomy and/or cervical spinal fusion may be considered.
Do’s/Don’ts: Balance activity with rest. Ensure that your neck is supported at work, in the car and during your leisure time with a good pillow or chair. Check the height of your desk and chair at work and at home, and make sure that a computer screen is at eye level.
Avoid slouching in your standing position. Do not bend your neck forward or keep it in the same position for hours at a time.
Common Myths: Structural problems causing pain is a convenient and easy diagnosis to make because pictures of spinal degeneration can be pointed to on an x-ray or MRI image and named as the cause for pain. However, research has proven that structural problems are NOT the cause of most neck pain. Fortunately, there is a lot of research now showing that structural problems are usually not the cause of most neck pain.
Whiplash – Neck
What is it? Whiplash is a neck injury that can occur during rear-end automobile collisions, when your head suddenly moves backward and then forward — similar to the motion of someone cracking a whip. These extreme motions push your neck muscles and ligaments beyond their normal range of motion.
Statistics: whiplash symptoms last more than 6 months in 75% of patients. Symptoms of whiplash commonly do not appear until weeks or months after the accident. Whiplash victims lose an average of 8 weeks of work. Whiplash is 5 times more common in women than in men. Whiplash occurs most commonly in those aged 30 to 50 years. Rear-end collisions typically cause more cervical spine damage than do frontal or side collisions.
Important Facts: 3 SOLID “INJURY-CRASH-FACTS”
#1. The “Threshold” for cervical spine soft tissue injury of a motor vehicle becomes a reality at 5 MPH.
#2. Most injuries occur at speeds below 12 MPH.
#3. Crashed vehicles can often withstand collision speeds of 10 MPH (some even more) without sustaining damage. (THUS: The concept of “No Property Damage – No Cash” has absolutely been invalidated)!
Treatment: Studies have proven that 45% of the victims remained symptomatic at 12 weeks and 25% remained symptomatic at 6 months. Even the most minor cases needed at least 8 weeks to recover. The time needed to stabilize in the more severe cases took 17 weeks. THUS: The written (and often declared) notion that “Whiplash Injuries Heal In 6 To 8 Weeks” is just not true !
Most people recover completely from a whiplash injury in the first six weeks. Others’ symptoms continue to improve over the course of a year. There is a 40% chance of experiencing some symptoms after three months, and an 18% chance after two years. No reliable way exists to predict the prognosis.
A worse outcome has been reported in people with a more rotated or inclined head position at the time of impact injury.
Dos/Don’ts: Try over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen. For at least 2 to 3 weeks, avoid activities that bring on or worsen your pain and stiffness. Don’t lift or carry anything heavy or participate in sports. Do not sit, especially at a desk, for long periods of time. If possible, stay active by taking short walks. Ice your neck to reduce pain and swelling as soon as you can after the injury. Do it for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days. Apply moist heat to your neck — but only after 2-3 days of icing it first. Use heat on your neck only after the initial swelling has gone down. You could use hot, wet towels or just take a hot bath.
Common Myths: Children who have been involved in motor vehicle accidents are often neglected as having had “Any various types of injury“, when in actuality, they suffer from the same symptoms as adults. As a matter of fact, they’re at a greater risk for damages – – especially when it comes to “WHIPLASH”!