Osteoarthritis of the neck: Symptoms and treatment without surgery

The 7 vertebrae of the cervical spine and the muscles and ligaments that surround and support the neck are located at the back of the neck. The first two vertebrae are slightly different from the other vertebrae because of the connection of the spine to the skull and the possibility of transverse rotation of the neck. The 5 lower vertebrae are perfectly cylindrical in shape, much like cans, with no bony protrusions.

The vertebrae are connected to each other by fast joints and are located between the two vertebrae of the disc. The discs consist of a hard fibrous outer layer and a gelatinous inner material. The discs act as shock absorbers and make the spine flexible.

Strong ligaments attached to adjacent vertebrae also provide greater strength and stamina. The various muscles attached to the spine allow the spine to bend and move in different directions. (Muscles and most ligaments are not displayed for sharp images.)

The spinal cord is made up of nerve tissue that carries messages to the brain and other organs of the body and is protected by the spine. The spinal nerves emerge from between the vertebrae of the neck to receive messages and reach the neck and arms. There is also a main artery called the vertebral artery along the vertebrae, which carries blood to the back of the brain. In the following, you will get acquainted with the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the neck and the treatment of osteoarthritis of the neck.

neck arthritis

Damage or erosion caused by aging of the vertebrae and cervical disc is called osteoarthritis of the neck. As we age, we all experience some degree of wear and tear on the vertebrae and discs of the neck and back. Erosive neck osteoarthritis usually occurs in the third decade of life. In the treatment of cervical disc without surgery after the onset of cervical disc pain, a short period of one or two days of rest is very useful. After this period of rest, it is important to start moving again to prevent muscle weakness and joint stiffness.

One of the main features of osteoarthritis of the cervical vertebrae is the formation of small bony appendages (osteophytes) on the sides of the vertebrae. In addition, the discs become thinner and thinner over the years. Osteoarthritis of the neck is a natural process caused by aging, which can be compared to the formation of “wrinkles” in the spine. Many people do not have any particular symptoms as a result of this natural process; For example, X-rays of the neck show features such as a bony appendage or disc herniation, while the person has not experienced the slightest sign of osteoarthritis of the neck.

However, nearby nerves, ligaments, and muscles are sometimes stimulated or stressed by erosive changes. So osteoarthritis of the neck often does not cause problems, but it can be the cause of neck pain, especially in the elderly.

The sound of the neck vertebrae is a kind of crackling sound or similar to clicking that is produced when the head is turned to the sides. This sound is similar to the sound made by rotating the fingers. Many people tend to wrap their necks around their necks to relieve muscle tension after waking up or working long hours at a desk. Although people feel comfortable after turning their necks and making this sound, repeating this is harmful to their health. This causes neck pain and osteoarthritis of the neck. Genetics, smoking and will also increase the risk of osteoarthritis of the neck.

Signs and symptoms

The severity of symptoms varies from mild to severe. Symptoms include the following:

Neck pain with shoulder and shoulder pain

This pain sometimes spreads to the shoulders and the base of the skull. Moving the neck also aggravates the pain.

The pain sometimes spreads down the arm to the hands or fingers, and as a result, the nerves that run from the cervical spine to the arm are stimulated.

The pain is usually reciprocal and the pain starts from time to time. The pain sometimes flares up after an abnormal movement of the neck or if muscles or ligaments become sprained.

However, pain attacks often occur for no apparent reason. Some patients suffer from persistent chronic pain.

Stiffness and tightness of the neck, especially after a good night’s sleep

Headache: These headaches often start from the back of the head, just above the neck, and extend to the top of the forehead.

Tingling in the arm or hand: This symptom is caused by stimulation of the spinal nerves at the exit of the bony area (vertebrae) and is another symptom of osteoarthritis of the neck. Patients with symptoms of osteoarthritis of the neck must inform the physician during a feeling of weakness or numbness in a part of the hand or arm; This is because such symptoms indicate excessive pressure on the nerve, which is called “neck radiculopathy.” Pain from cramps and neck spasms may last for days to weeks.

Raw hand, difficulty walking or bladder dysfunction also occur in rare cases where pressure from a worn disc or vertebra damages the spinal cord. In this case, the patient with osteoarthritis of the neck develops a complication called “cervical myelopathy”. Therefore, we emphasize once again the need to inform the doctor about the symptoms.


The doctor first thoroughly examines the patient and evaluates the following to determine the cause of osteoarthritis of the neck:

Neck range of motion

Reactions and muscle strength to know if the spinal nerves or spinal cord are under pressure

Patient gait to check for spinal cord compression affecting gait

Imaging experiments

Imaging tests provide complete and comprehensive information about osteoarthritis of the neck to help your doctor diagnose and treat it. Your doctor will usually use the following methods:

Neck X-ray: This image shows abnormalities such as bony appendages that indicate cervical spondylosis, and this imaging technique is used to differentiate and eliminate the possibility of more serious complications such as tumors, infections, or fractures, which include pain and They follow neck cramps.

CT scan: CT scans show more details, especially of the bony parts.

MRI: In these images, the areas where the nerves are pressed are identified.

Myelography: A contrast agent is injected into the spinal canal up to 30 cm. T or X-rays are obtained in more detail.

Nerve function tests

Your doctor will sometimes order tests called nerve function tests to determine how the nerves are transmitting messages correctly.

Electromyography or electromyography (EMG): In this test, the electrical activity of the nerves is measured as the message is transmitted to the muscles when the muscles contract and relax.

Nerve conduction test: Electrodes are attached to the skin on the desired nerves. A small shock is passed through the nerve to measure the strength and speed of the nerve signals.

Ways and methods of treatment

Osteoarthritis treatments focus on relieving or treating neck pain, reducing the risk of permanent injury, and making lifestyle more natural and dynamic. Non-surgical methods are usually very effective.


Severe cases of osteoarthritis require one to three days of rest, and no more, to treat neck pain. Prolonged rest is not only unhelpful, but also puts the patient at risk for deep vein thrombosis.

Medical bracelet or necklace

Temporary wearing of a brace or medical necklace (for a week) relieves the symptoms for a patient with osteoarthritis of the neck, but long-term use leads to weakening of the spinal muscles. In addition, not using it continuously during the prescribed period also aggravates the pain. Physiotherapy is a more useful method, because it strengthens the muscles.


Muscle relaxants: Muscle relaxants reduce muscle pain and cramps.

Narcotics or painkillers: Narcotics are sometimes prescribed for a short period of treatment to reduce the acute pain of osteoarthritis of the neck.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): These drugs (NSAIDs) relieve inflammation that triggers pain. Many of these medications can be obtained without a prescription from a pharmacy, and some of them are only allowed with a doctor’s prescription for osteoarthritis of the neck. Never take prescription and over-the-counter medications without your doctor’s permission, as they can have serious and dangerous side effects.


In physiotherapy, a combination of passive methods and exercises and corrective movements are used. Passive treatment modalities such as ice / heat, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation reduce pain and muscle cramps in a patient with osteoarthritis of the neck. The patient with osteoarthritis of the neck learns how to increase flexibility and range of motion with the help of special exercises and increases the strength of his muscles. Patients should not worry about resorting to this treatment, even patients with pain and movement problems benefit from isometric exercises.

Manual treatment and placement of vertebrae

The vertebrae put pressure on the spinal nerves when they move, and pain occurs and occurs in the term semi-dislocation. The chiropractor uses a special technique called manual therapy and vertebral reduction to treat a partial dislocation in osteoarthritis of the neck and returns the vertebrae to their original position in the spine. When the vertebrae are reduced, small air sacs come out of the joints, sometimes making a bursting sound in a patient with osteoarthritis of the neck that resembles the sound of a knee.


Acupuncture is a common treatment for relieving and treating neck pain for osteoarthritis of the neck. The specialist inserts very fine needles, thinly into the hair, at specific points on the body to treat osteoarthritis of the neck with acupuncture. Each needle can be rotated, electrically stimulated, or heated to make a suitable impression. Many believe that the effectiveness of acupuncture is that it stimulates the body of a patient with osteoarthritis to produce chemicals that reduce pain.


Massage is one of the methods to relax the muscles and gain peace of mind in a patient with osteoarthritis of the neck and is effective for relieving and treating neck pain. A skilled massager relieves muscle cramps. The muscles around the spine often become very sensitive, contracted, and painful due to osteoarthritis. Massage relieves muscle pain and inflammation. Treatment of osteoarthritis of the neck with exercise also helps reduce symptoms by strengthening the neck muscles.

laser therapy

Because high-power laser treatment stimulates all cell types, including muscle, ligaments, cartilage, nerves, etc., osteoarthritis of the neck is one of the complications for which cold laser treatment of osteoarthritis of the neck can be beneficial.

Spinal Injections: Spinal injections are given in a variety of ways, such as steroid injections into the epidural space and injections into the fast joint in a patient with osteoarthritis of the neck. In these operations, a combination of anesthetic and anti-steroid drugs is injected to relieve inflamed nerve tissue, resulting in pain relief in most cases.

Injection into the epidural space

Steroid injection into the epidural space is a safe, simple, non-surgical, and effective treatment in which a steroid-like cortisone drug is injected into the epidural space of a patient with osteoarthritis of the neck. The epidural space is part of the spine and the location of inflamed nerves. Reducing inflammation and thus reducing pain in osteoarthritis of the neck is the goal of this operation.

Although this type of injection is performed in a variety of ways, today the most common method performed by pain management specialists under the guidance of X-rays (fluoroscopy) is that the patient with osteoarthritis of the neck sleeps on the abdomen and the doctor performs the operation according to fluoroscopic images. . This injection is given under local anesthesia, and sometimes with a sedative intravenous injection. Complete anesthesia of patients is neither necessary nor one hundred percent safe. The procedure usually does not take more than 50 minutes, and the patient is discharged after 15 to 20 minutes of supervision and partial relief of the anesthetic effect.

Fast joint injection:

A combination of steroids and anesthesia is injected into a fast joint capsule of a patient with osteoarthritis of the neck. The fast joints are located at the back of the neck and play an important role in the stability and movement of the neck. This is similar to an injection into the epidural space.


Platelet-rich plasma therapy, often referred to as PRP or autologous plasma therapy (ACP), seeks to use the natural healing properties of blood to repair cartilage, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and even bones. Used damaged.

Although not a standard procedure, a growing number of people are undergoing PRP injections to treat a wide range of orthopedic problems and conditions, including osteoarthritis. It is mostly used to treat osteoarthritis of the knee, but it can also be used on other joints.

When treating osteoarthritis with platelet-rich plasma, your doctor will inject PRP directly into the affected joint. The purpose of treatment is:

Reduce pain

Improves joint performance
Slowing down, stopping, or even repairing cartilage damage may occur.
Although flexibility and range of motion exercises are important for managing the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the neck, neck strengthening also plays an important role.

Hydrotherapy or water exercise
Exercising in the water is another commonly recommended activity for people with osteoarthritis. In fact, for some, this type of exercise is the best choice.

Water has a buoyancy property that eliminates the effects of gravity and reduces pressure on the spine, allowing you to move more fully.

Increase range of motion

Increasing the range of motion of the neck is the most important way to reduce the pain, dryness and disability caused by your osteoarthritis problem. The good news is that you do not need to do strenuous exercise – often, very simple movement will bring good results.

However, according to some experts, you should ask your doctor or physiotherapist for an exercise program, because the problem of osteoarthritis is unique to each person.

Determining exactly what exercises you should do, how many times to do them, and how intense these exercises should be, is best done with the help of a specialist and a doctor who has evaluated and examined you.

And because such specialists also understand the course of osteoarthritis, they can effectively monitor your progress and answer any questions you may have.

Increase strength and endurance

Certainly, strengthening and strengthening your neck muscles (with exercise) is another important way to control common symptoms such as pain and dryness. Strong muscles hold your neck up and keep it level. If your neck muscles are not strong, you may put a lot of pressure on your neck, which generally worsens the symptoms.

Neck strengthening exercises may also help you better manage the disease process.

Doctors recommend that you target the muscles in the back of your skull when strengthening these muscles. Especially a contraction and contraction movement of the neck (usually done by pulling the chin back) is a very useful movement. They also recommend isometric exercise.


A handful of patients with osteoarthritis of the neck have to undergo surgery, and if surgery is necessary, rare cases are urgent or urgent. Non-surgical treatments are tried first, and the doctor sometimes uses a combination of the two treatments or prescribes more physiotherapy sessions to relieve the symptoms faster. Fortunately, in most cases, non-surgical treatments are effective and successful.

There are other methods for treating osteoarthritis of the neck, such as ozone and..

Frequently Asked Questions

How can we sleep better with osteoarthritis of the neck?

In addition to putting your body in a comfortable position, you can give yourself a chance to sleep more comfortably by placing your head in a proper position relative to your neck. This means that you should not turn your head around or twist your neck, as this can cause pressure on the neck, nerve entrapment, or symptoms such as shooting pain (nerve root pain). To avoid neck rotation during sleep, it is best to avoid sleeping on your stomach.

Another way to align your head with your spine when you sleep is to use the right type of pillow (a rolled towel – you do not need to spend a lot of money) to hold your neck. When buying your pillow, be sure to choose a comfortable pillow.

Finally, you can ask your doctor or physiotherapist about using a soft medical necklace designed for sleep. For some people, medical necklaces that are worn at night help to keep the neck, which may also help keep it straight.

Are Yoga Exercises Suitable for Osteoarthritis of the Neck?

Many people who are strongly encouraged to exercise by their doctors get tired of a general routine, especially when the nature of the movements is the same every day.

If your doctor or physiotherapist allows it, you can change things in your exercise routine by doing yoga exercises. Yoga helps to align your body, which in turn may help put pressure on your spine. This exercise is also known for improving flexibility as well as muscle strength. Flexibility and strength can actually help you manage symptoms such as pain and dryness.

What to do with dry neck in the morning and evening?

For some people with osteoarthritis of the neck, most problems occur in the morning and evening. How do you deal with morning sickness? And when you have a sore neck, what do you do to make you sleepy?

The first thing you can do: Increase range of motion is an important and key point for managing the symptoms of any type of osteoarthritis, including osteoarthritis of the neck. If you keep this in mind – in other words, mention it as your daily mention – this is a good start for a strategy, especially when dealing with morning dryness.

You can improve your range of motion by doing stretching exercises, yoga and very simple and gentle neck movements. It is best to have a home exercise program (from your doctor or physiotherapist) that suits your condition.

Not only does it increase the range of motion and flexibility of the neck, it also reduces dryness, but it also helps to improve the changes associated with your spine that lead to dryness. This, in turn, may help relieve neck pain; And in general, flexibility helps reduce the risk of injury.

Think about the position of your body. Rule number 1 is: Be comfortable. Also watch how you get out of bed comfortably and without injury.

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