Neck Joint Arthritis Pain Causes Neck Pain Headaches Sioux City
Degenerative and rheumatoid arthritis can cause severe neck pain and even headaches. The neck was designed with multiple joints to aid in flexion, extension, and rotational movements. Arthritis changes how these joints are shaped, support the head, and move. Arthritic changes to the joints can lead to increased pain, additional injuries, and limited mobility.
Arthritis makes it more likely to develop neck pain from normal activities compared to someone without degenerative changes. X-rays often show bone spurs growing from the front of the vertebral body and pointing across the spinal disc space. These are often associated with degenerative disc disease, or when the disc space begins to shrink. While this is happening in the front of the vertebrae, the back joints are also incurring damage. Degenerative joints are unable to support the head weight and movements further strain the joints leading to inflammation and pain.
Degenerative osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis also delay healing and recovery. It can take weeks to months longer for these joints to heal from injury. Trauma from falling or car accidents cause more damage to the joint ligaments and joints. The number of joints damaged and the amount of arthritis dictates the speed of recovery and healing.
What Causes My Neck Pain and Headaches?
Degenerative arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis reduce movements and the joints cannot support the head like normal joints. These damaged joints are easily injured with head down activities, such as working at a computer or reading, and with repetitive turning or straining. The excessive motion damages the ligaments and joint surfaces and creates inflammation, which produces constant neck stiffness, dull pain, and sharp stabbing pain. The sharp pain can be severe, often described as a stabbing sensation. Popping and clicking is also common with degeneration in the neck.
Arthritis leads to chronic neck pain and headaches. The neck joint pain triggers muscle spasms in the neck and at the base of the skull. These spasms alter how the neck joints move and can compress nerves. The combination of joint pain, muscle spasms, and nerve compression can contribute to or cause tension headaches or migraine headaches. These headaches are often relieved with ice, rest, heat, or anti-inflammatory medication. The headaches are more common with repetitive activities or poor posture.
Neck Pain Treatment For Arthritic Joints
Goals of treatment for arthritic joints are to limit pain, inflammation, and further joint destruction. Treatment works to maintain and improve neck range of motion and improve muscle strength around the destroyed joints. Stronger muscles protect the joints and slow the bone destruction. At home many people perform light cervical exercises and stretches to maintain their motion and reduce excessive strain on the neck joints. Common medications prescribed by their primary care physician can decrease inflammation and control pain.
In a chiropractic office, treatments are performed to maintain joint range of motion, enhance neck strength, and improve flexibility. Treatment modalities such as ice, heat, electric, and traction therapy can be used to decrease pain during the acute flare ups and exacerbations. Traction therapy is very beneficial because it increases joint motion and blood flow to the damaged joints. Cold laser therapy is used to decrease pain and inflammation to damaged joints while helping to increase blood flow for cellular repair. Massage therapy decreases muscle spasms and tenderness in the neck and upper back muscles, which can also contribute to the pain.
Chiropractic Safely Helps Arthritic Joints Move
Chiropractic manipulation can be safely performed on mild degenerative and severely damaged arthritic joints. Several chiropractic adjusting techniques are very gentle and do not strain the neck or spine. Thompson Drop Technique utilizes tables that drop to help adjust joints. The neck is not turned or twisted and it is a very comfortable treatment.
Activator Technique is the gentlest treatment available. It gently taps or nudges the joint to help restore joint range of motion. We can use this treatment on all patients with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and postsurgical fusions in the neck.
Treatment for degenerative changes in the neck will not reverse the bone damage; rather the goal of chiropractic and therapy treatments is to slow the progression and future damage. By improving strength, flexibility, and joint motion people have less pain and discomfort. They recover faster and maintain their quality of life. They are less restricted by their neck and headache pain.