Symptoms of Cervical arthritis

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Hello, Over many years  I have been diagnosed with osteo arthritis in neck, spine, and knees.  During the last few months the neck pain has got worse and I was referred for physio therapy which did help with the pain and stiffness.  Now it seemed to have spread to the shoulders as well although I realise that might be part of the spine problem.   I have also started having trouble with my hands especially the right one.  I get some aching and wrist pain and some tingling in the fingers sort of sizzling.  The ring finger but on right hand triggers in the morning but not during the day (I did have a steroid injection in the middle finger for triggering some years a go no pain just the trigger finger and the injection worked).   I also have a lot of head aches I assume caused by the neck although I have been a life long headache sufferer with some migraines.  I have recently had yearly blood tests  for thyroid etc.  My gp thought that maybe the thyroid medication needs adjusting or maybe Vitamin D (which I take) or B12 levels.  I have not had the results yet.  It does seem that once you get over 70 everything is put down to arthritis and you are left to get on with it.  What I would like to know is exactly what symptoms any of you with neck arthritis get.  This might help me to see where the pains are coming from before returning to the gp.  All this is not helped by digestive problems all diagnosed by tests as any pain in the stomach is often felt in the back as many will know.  Thank you for reading this. 

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  • Posted

    Hi Libralady,

    About 3 years ago I started getting bad headaches mainly on the outside of my head and right down my neck and shoulders. Had a MRI and the neurologist told me that I had severe OA right down my neck and my spine.  Told me at the time that all he could do for me was to suggest acupuncture or there was nothing else that would help long term.

    I also had had headaches for decades. The physio recommended a firm rubber ball and placing it on my upper spine and gently massaging against a wall. This I did and I did get some relief. The acupuncturist recommended a series of shiatsu stretches called makko-ho and I started doing this and have since found it has really relieved me of all pain. There are 3 types of stretches that I do. (1) sitting straight against the wall with the soles of my feet touching I lean forward quickly stretching for 20 repeats. (2) in the same position I put my legs out in front and try and touch my toes returning my head straight again to the wall and repeat 20 times and (3) spread my legs and try and touch the floor with my hands again quickly. All these stretches are repeated 3 times so you end up doing 60 stretches per exercise. When I first start I can barely lean forward and by the time I've finished I'm about 1/2 way to the floor. Check You tube for examples of makko-ho. I have now been without medication for 3 years and only resort to pills when the weather is cold. I am 70. If you can't do the cross leg exercise then the other two may be manageable.

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for replying.  I will definitely try the rubber ball as I do find that massage in the back helps.  You mention the stretches and  I think from what you say you have to be sitting on the floor.  Unfortunately I cannot get down on to the floor as my knees are bad, and I would not be able to get up again without a help.  I will have to carry on with the exercises I have been given.  I am going back to my gp as soon as I can get an appointment for the hand problems so will see what she says.  I find having so many things wrong very frustrating and it gets me down.  I have suffered from anxiety for a few years but got it under control a few months ago but I fear it will come back with all this to deal with, a husband with health problems and some family problems.  Anyway thank you for your suggestions and I really hope you continue to live pain free in the future.
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  • Posted


    I want to quickly mention that sometimes the muscles around the painful area of your arthritis will tense to compensate the pain, and all this tension will exacerbate the general pain you are feeling. Now you have pain all around your neck and shoulders "because of arthritis", when really, if you see a physical therapist who applies the right therapy to the area will help immensely with the muscle tension, relieving and reducing the pain to only the area of the arthritis.

    Don't stop moving!

    Best of luck.

    Terry Abrams,

    CardioFlex Therapy

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  • Posted

    Managing arthritis in the neck area is different for everyone. There is usually other joint / muscles & soft tissue issues usually aggravated by arthritis. learned to do gentle exercises and stretches & palates keeping the core strong and just walking daily is a good warm up as long as we keep moving. Trying to keep my weight down helps too. Water therapy is gentle and keeps my muscles, joints and core strong. Also use two tennis balls taped side by side and place the spine area between the tennis balls and roll it up and down a wall. Along with massage and hot packs or hot tub therapy, stretching, keep core strong and Tylenol are my solid management techniques.

    And learning to do most things differently and knowing my limits without causing injury. ie: (got a Roomba.... that pulling pushing a heavy vacuum can set me back) roomba does a real good job I was surprised . It's amazing the things you can think of to help prevent injury or aggravate a arthritic joints . By adding small adjustments or changing the way we do the usual tasks by looking at things differently for alternatives to accomplish the same tasks rather than risking injury.

    It's the small things and the small changes that take the risk from causing more injury while doing daily tasks. ie: (instead of getting a gallon of milk I get a half gallon) takes the risk from lifting heavy objects. I also use a reacher helps take the pressure off bending or reaching to high. Just little adjustments in my daily routine makes a big difference. In my area we can order groceries have them delivered. That's a huge help!

    What things could you do differently to protect your neck and other joints from daily routines that can cause pain or injury ?

    Has anyone used a soft neck brace to take the weight off the neck area when really painful? I do need it sometimes...I HAVE adjusted to using a neck support like a small neck cushion made with tiny seeds that can take the weight off and cradle the neck for sleep at night. I can only sleep on my back if I sleep in any other position.... stomach or side it really sets off my neck for a few days.

    Living with arthritis and many joint surgeries helped me to stay mobile and I learned from physical therapists how to manage this disease along with bit of common sense. Sorry this is too long , just anxious to share whats has helped me over the years. I try to stay as independent as possible as I learn better ways to manage this disease.

    Many healing blessing sent your way.

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  • Posted

    I cannot help you much with your question, per se. But let me offer these observations:

    Your headaches may be caused in part by stiff neck muscles. Consult YouTube ( search "neck stiffness treatment") for exercises you can do to combat the problem. You'll find several PTs and chiropractors offering a myriad of exercises. I find the exercises involving a towel to be very effective.

    Arthritis is often triggered heavily by diet. Absolutely steer completely away from eating peanuts (and all their derivatives) and other legumes as they trigger inflamation in the body. Also, work to reduce sugar and salt consumption in your foods.

    I hope you are successful in gaining relief.

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