Arthritis is a condition that is characterized by the inflammation of joints in the body. It manifests in more than a hundred different forms, each with its cause and treatment method. This condition is prevalent among adults who are above 65 years, and commonly occurs in more women than men. It is also more prevalent in overweight or obese people.
The most commonly occurring types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. In this article, we are going to focus on a lesser-known type – arthritis of the neck
Arthritis of the Neck
Most people only think of swollen and painful knees and fingers when they hear arthritis. However, the neck can also be affected with its joints becoming painful and stiff. The medical term for arthritis of the neck is cervical spondylosis. It occurs when the joints and discs of the neck wear out over time.
Cervical spondylosis is an age-related disease and according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, about 85% of the population who are over the age of 60 have it.
What are the Symptoms of Arthritis of the Neck?
The main symptoms of cervical spondylosis are pain and stiffness in the neck which can be mild or severe. These symptoms are usually made worse by holding the neck in one position for a long time, for example, when reading a book. The pain goes away when you lie down or rest.
Other symptoms of arthritis of the neck include:
- Losing balance
- Difficulties in walking
- Feeling a popping or grinding noise when you swivel your neck
- Muscle spasms occurring in the neck and shoulders
- Weakness and numbness of the hands, arms, and fingers because the space that the nerve roots and spinal cord pass through narrows
What Causes Arthritis of the Neck?
Everyone’s joints and disks suffer from wear and tear as they age. It’s the natural course of nature. Cervical spondylosis is, therefore, as a result of the spine degenerating due to age. In fact, half of the people in middle age and above have worn disks, only that they don’t experience pain as a result.
How Disk Degeneration Causes Arthritis
When age catches up with you, the disks of the spine get shorter and as a result, they start to bulge out. Moreover, they lose water, dry up, and get weaker. This causes the collapse of disk spaces and height.
When disk spaces collapse, they exert pressure on the joints and they also begin to degenerate. In the process, the articular cartilage also wears away. The cartilage is a flexible connective tissue in the joints that absorbs the shock and pressure of your movements to protect the joints.
When the cartilage is all gone, the bones start rubbing together and this causes inflammation in the joints – arthritis.
Formation of Bone Spurs
Since the space created by the absent cartilage cannot remain unfilled, the body causes the growth of new bones in the facet joints called bone spurs. This narrows the space that the spinal cord and nerves can pass through and causes numbness and weakness.
Can Arthritis Be Cured?
Arthritis has no cure because the degeneration of joints is an inevitable process. Treatment is mostly geared towards slowing down the progression of the disease, minimizing joint damage, relieving pain, easing inflammation, and ensuring you retain the ability to function physically.
A combination of treatment options is used to achieve the goals above. They include physical therapy, medication, surgery, and lifestyle changes.
What are the Best Natural Remedies for Arthritis of the Neck
You can take natural approaches to slow the progression of arthritis and treat its symptoms. The natural remedies that you should consider are as follows:
For fast relief from arthritis pain, H-Arthritis Formula is your best bet! It’s made from 100% natural ingredients so you won’t have to worry about adverse side effects. It is applied to the skin and is gentle on it as relieves discomfort and stiffness.
Cold Therapy for Neck Arthritis
This method is used to reduce joint pain, inflammation, and swelling in the neck. Wrap ice in a piece of cloth and press it where the joint pain is. You can also alternatively wrap frozen vegetables in a cloth. Remember to never place ice directly on your skin to prevent cold burns.
Exercising your neck will help in making your muscles and joints more flexible. It will also help you get rid of the stiffness and discomfort associated with arthritis.
Sleeping on a pillow or mattress that doesn’t support your neck properly will worsen the pain and stiffness. Different sleeping postures require different texture of mattresses and pillows. For those who sleep on their back, a firm pillow and mattress are recommended. For side sleepers, they should get a medium pillow and mattress. For stomach sleepers, a soft pillow and mattress will do. For even better support for your neck, go for a cylindrical pillow that the curve of your neck can rest on.
Use the Right Computer Posture
When you sit on your desk, make sure your back and neck are well supported. Your eyes should also be at the same level as the computer monitor so that you don’t have to strain your neck to look down or up. You should also sit with your body close to the desk and keyboard to avoid leaning forwards to work.
Use Your Cellphone Properly
Many smartphone users today suffer from strained necks due to constant hunching to use their phones. This habit has even more adverse effects on people with arthritis. It greatly strains the neck muscles and leads to even more pain. Use your phone by lifting it to your eye level to prevent strain.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids helps in reducing inflammation and strengthening the immune system. These foods include nuts, fish, and seeds.
Turmeric has a chemical known as curcumin that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It helps in reducing pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.
Adding it to your dishes will not only help in reducing arthritis symptoms but also add flavor to your food as well.
Foods to Avoid With Arthritis
There are foods that easily trigger inflammation and make arthritis worse. You should avoid or reduce the intake of these foods as much as you possibly can:
Processed and Processed Foods
Processed and fried foods such as fried meat, pastries, and canned vegetables increase inflammation and weaken the body’s immune system.
AGE stands for advanced glycation end product. It’s a toxin that’s found in foods that have been grilled, fried, pasteurized, or heated. Your body uses cytokines which are inflammatory messengers to break down AGEs. This may result in the development of arthritis and other types of inflammation.
Refined Carbs and Sugar
Foods with high amounts of sugar like soda, white-flour pastries, and candy increase AGEs in your body so it becomes more prone to inflammation.
Alcohol and Tobacco
Alcohol consumption could lead to the development of diseases like gout that cause problems to your joints. This raises the risk of developing arthritis. Smoking tobacco reduces the effectiveness of drugs taken for arthritis pain. It also makes it difficult to exercise so you will not be able to relieve the pain of arthritis.
Best Foods for Arthritis
There are foods that will help you ease the pain and inflammation of arthritis. Here are some of the best foods you can add to your diet to treat arthritis symptoms:
Fatty fish like trout, mackerel, and salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory properties. They reduce inflammation, joint pain, and stiffness.
The anti-inflammatory effect of garlic will help in treating the symptoms of arthritis. It also boosts your body’s immune system.
Ginger has components that prevent the production of substances that cause inflammation in the body.
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, olive oil will reduce arthritis symptoms. You can use it in your cooking or take it in capsules.
They have markers that help in reducing inflammation in arthritis. They have a very high omega-3 fatty acids content.
They contain a compound known as quercetin that blocks inflammatory processes that are accompanied by arthritis.
Spinach contains antioxidants that fight inflammation. The consumption of other fruits and vegetables also leads to lower risks of inflammation.
Before seeking home remedies, make sure you get a go-ahead from your doctor especially if you are to take them in combination with medication.