How to relieve and treat cervical osteoarthritis?

Cervicarthrosis: what is it?

L’osteoarthritis It is a disease very common, age-relatedthat affects the joints and is related to cartilage wear. When osteoarthritis is located at the level of the vertebrae of the cervical spine, that is, at the level of the neck and neck, we speak of cervical osteoarthritis. “Cervical osteoarthritis can affect the different segments of the spine, namely the intervertebral discs and the posterior joints”, describes the rheumatologist. this disease is degenerativetherefore, it occurs more frequently in the second half of life, from the age of 50.

Professor Rannou, rheumatologist and head of service: Cervicarthrosis requires more vigilance in its follow-up and management than lumbar (lower back) osteoarthritis, due to the presence of the spinal cord passing through the cervical vertebrae.

She is also more inflammatory than lumbar osteoarthritis and therefore more painful.

Osteophytes: parrot beaks

One of the manifestations of cervical spondylosis is the appearance ofosteophytesalso known as parrot beak.
“Osteophytes are bone constructions, which cause a visible or even palpable growthlike a hard hernia”, describes the professor.
Therefore, a parrot’s beak located on the neck is a sign of cervical arthrosis. If they are not painful themselves, osteophytes can be responsible for the pain due to compression or friction of surrounding tissues.

Pain, stiffness, cracks: what are the signs and symptoms of cervical osteoarthritis?

in on the In half of the cases, cervical osteoarthritis is asymptomatic. The rest of the time, it can cause a number of symptoms:
– Neck Pain,
– Limitation of neck movements, and in particular of rotations,
– Stiffness and sometimes creaking,
Headache,
– When osteoarthritis causes compression of a nerve: the pain can spread to the region of the clavicle, or even to the entire arm. So we talk about cervicobrachial neuralgiawhich is one of the possible complications of cervical spondylosis.
– If osteophytes compress the spinal cord, cervical osteoarthritis can cause sensations of dizzinesseven nausea.

“Osteoarthritis is also often associated with the presence of a herniated disc cervicalwitness of the osteoarthritic degeneration of the disc”, adds the rheumatologist.

Neck pain caused by osteoarthritis can be very disabling and seriously alter quality of life people who suffer from it.

What tests for diagnosis?

The diagnosis of cervical osteoarthritis is based primarily on theclinical examination of the patient : palpation of the cervical region, evaluation of the mobility of the neck, but also of the shoulders and arms. The doctor will also ask the patient about their pain, its intensity, its frequency, when they appear…
“To confirm the diagnosis, the two most useful imaging tests are bone scan and the scanner” indicates the professor. As second intention and in case of doubt, an MRI can possibly be proposed.

Cervical osteoarthritis, like osteoarthritis in general, has no cure. However, it is possible to relieve Y delay their development.

What is the best treatment for cervical spondylosis?

It is necessary to distinguish the different stages of osteoarthritis, which evolves through painful outbreaks or acute phases of osteoarthritis at the origin of attacks of neck pain, which alternate with chronic phases. “In the acute phase, osteoarthritis is relieved with pharmacological treatment based on corticosteroids and pain relieversand one cervical support immobilization for a few dayssays Professor Rannou, who also recommends avoiding potentially addictive drugs as much as possible.
Gentle massage can also be helpful in relieving pain.
If these treatments are not enough, corticosteroid injections can be offered
During the chronic phase, the treatment this time is mechanical, and therefore based on rehabilitation with physiotherapy sessions.

Professor Rannou: “As in the case of all musculoskeletal pain, it is recommended in patients with chronic pain not to remain sedentary practicing adequate physical exercises on a regular basis and to avoid the use of a cervical compression collar, which tends to weaken the muscles and aggravate The phenomenon”.

Physiotherapy treatment is the most indicated for the management of cervical osteoarthritis. “It focuses on several points: on the one hand muscle strengthening surrounding the column, on the other hand the recovery of the amplitudes -especially in rotation- and finally a proprioceptive workwhich is deficient in the presence of osteoarthritis”, lists the head of service.

the manipulations by an osteopath are, on the other hand, totally contraindicated in the presence of cervical osteoarthritis. “Since the spinal cord is already compressed, any manipulation must be avoided,” insists the specialist.

What about the surgery?

Surgical treatment is rarely indicated in cases of osteoarthritis of the cervical spine, due to the proximity of the spinal cord. “However, it can be used in certain rare cases: when the osteoarthritis is complicated and compresses the spinal cordor when she is hyperalgesic, namely very painful” summarizes Professor Rannou.
It is then a delicate intervention, and it must imperatively be performed by a specialist spine surgeon.

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