by Alan Jordan
The neck is a part of the body that bears a lot of weight and over time it can begin to suffer from wear and tear. This degeneration of the neck is known as cervical spondylosis, which begins around the age of 40 and gets worse with age. Spondylosis affects the vertebrae, discs and joints of the neck and it affects both men and women equally.
The neck’s main function is to support the head and this makes its weight-bearing joints prone to suffering from degeneration as the years go by. The neck also plays an important part in the movement of the head and you can read more about this in our Broadgate Journal article here.
If you suffered a sports injury when you were younger, you may develop secondary spondylosis. This occurs when an injury damages tissues within the neck, which can later lead to early arthritic changes.
Symptoms of Neck Osteoarthritis
The most common neck osteoarthritis symptoms are pain and stiffness, but you may also experience the following:
- Grinding sounds within the neck when you move it
- Neck pain that worsens with activity when you are upright
- Neck pain that travels to the upper shoulder region and possibly your arms
These symptoms tend to be worse at the beginning and end of the day and you may also have difficulty finding a comfortable position to sleep in. Some patients have trouble carrying out everyday activities – especially those that involve working at a desk or repetitive arm movements, such as using your computer mouse.
Diagnosing Arthritis in the Neck
If your doctor suspects you have neck arthritis, he or she will take a look at your medical history and conduct a medical examination that assesses the global and segmental movement within your neck.
Your doctor will also examine your upper and lower limbs and their reflexes and conduct any necessary X-rays, CT scans and MRI scans in order to identify degeneration and physical changes.