Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Cervical Osteoarthritis Overview

What is cervical osteoarthritis?
A person with cervical osteoarthritis has inflammation and damage to the cartilage that lines the joints in the neck. Osteoarthritis most commonly affects the joints that support the weight of the body, such as the spine (neck and lower back are most common), hips, knees, and ankles. The cause for osteoarthritis is unknown, but aging, obesity, joint injury, joint stress, heredity, and muscle weakness seem to play a role. Osteoarthritis usually starts in middle age, and it is the leading cause of disability in those over the age of 65. Severe cervical osteoarthritis can lead to disk disease in the cervical spine as well as cervical spondylosis.

What are the symptoms of cervical osteoarthritis?
Common symptoms of cervical osteoarthritis include neck pain, neck stiffness, and decreased range of motion in the neck. Cervical osteoarthritis with a herniated disk may cause neck pain that travels down the arm, arm numbness, and arm weakness.

How does the doctor treat cervical osteoarthritis?
Treatment for cervical osteoarthritis includes muscle relaxants, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain, corticosteroids, and physical therapy. Surgery may be an option.

Continue to Cervical Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Last Updated: Nov 12, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Cervical Osteoarthritis References
  1. Cohen MD. Raising expectations for arthritis treatment. Biologic response modifiers are making remission possible. Postgrad Med. 2004 Nov;116(5):41-2, 48-50. [15580919]
  2. Corr M. The tolls of arthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 2005 Aug;52(8):2233-6. [16052534]
  3. Leirisalo-Repo M. Early arthritis and infection. Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2005 Jul;17(4):433-9. [15956840]
  4. Oliver S, Hill J. Arthritis in the older person: part 1. Nurs Older People. 2005 Jun;17(4):25-9. [15968858]
  5. Quinn MA, Emery P. Are early arthritis clinics necessary? Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2005 Feb;19(1):1-17. [15588968]
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