With mild cervical arthritis (cervical spondylosis), you’re likely to respond well to over-the-counter or prescription medications. If the pain due to wear and tear of the joints, bones and discs in the cervical spine is more severe than occasional neck stiffness, cervical or neck surgery becomes an option. Here’s a closer look at your full range of options for treating cervical arthritis (CA).
If the pain from cervical arthritis is minor and sporadic, a little rest usually helps relieve the pain. The condition isn’t usually progressive, so if you only experience CA that’s aggravated by neck strain, rest should help.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and indomethacin are often recommended to help with pain due to inflammation affecting joints and bones supporting the neck. Prescription medications for cervical arthritis may include:
- Muscle relaxants
- Steroid injections
- Anti-seizure drugs (including some epilepsy drugs)
Physical Therapy and Chiropractic Care
For more severe pain from cervical arthritis, chiropractic adjustments may provide relief. You may want to consider scheduling an evaluation from a physical therapist for customized massage therapy to relax neck muscles. Other non-surgical neck procedures for CA also include:
- Traction (to provide relief from pinched nerves)
- Heat and cold applications (to relieve inflammation)
- Exercises (to improve neck muscle strength)
Epidural steroid injections can be directly inserted into areas of inflammation within the neck to provide instant relief for pain that doesn’t respond well to oral medications. The injections usually include a combination of corticosteroids and a local anesthetic.
Surgery for cervical arthritis recommended and only considered when pain becomes worse or fails to respond to other treatments. You may also be a candidate for surgery if pain from neck inflammation or pinched nerves radiates to other parts of the body such as the arms and legs. Surgical options for CA may include:
- Removal of bone spurs
- Removal of a portion of a vertebra
- Cervical disc replacement
- Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (often performed together)
For more information about treating CA or to get a second opinion about your condition and treatment options, call 310-828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation with Dr. Hyun Bae, Medical Director of The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. His background and experience in minimally invasive and non-fusion technologies can ensure you are provided with all of your treatment options.