Degeneration of joints in our spine can affect our neck, lower back, hips, knees, and many other parts. Arthritis in the cervical spinal joints can cause neck pain, stiff neck, decreased range of motion, inflammation of the joints and not being able to do certain activities. Degeneration in the neck joints can create changes in the bone, pressure on the cervical nerves and the overproduction of bone where it is not needed. What can people do at home to treat arthritis pain in the neck and not let it affect their activities of daily living? Recently the American Arthritis Society provided some effective pain relief tips on how to deal with arthritis neck pain at home:
Have proper posture at work and at home There is a right way to be bending forward to lift something- if done incorrectly it can put a lot of stress of the spine. Also, watch that you don’t assume a forward head posture which can put tremendous amount of pressure on the cervical nerves and make your neck arthritis symptoms worse.
Make sure your Computer workstation is set up ergonomically For many people their job consists of sitting at a compute or laptop all day- maybe making phone calls and sitting at a desk. This can put a tremendous amount of pressure on the cervical spine joints especially if done over a prolonged period of time. Look at your workstation carefully: The distance of your computer screen, the height of your desk chair, and height of your computer desk can make a big difference . Sitting at a computer with proper neck posture can make a big difference in how you feel at the end of the day. Using a lumbar cushion as to help support your lower back while sitting will ensure that your spine is properly aligned while sitting. Simply using a headrest or a keyboard support can help to alleviate neck pain and wrist pain.
Is your vision 20/20? It is a good idea to have your eyesight checked to make sure you are not straining to see far. When you have to strain your eyes in order to see clearly, the strain affects your eyes and your neck spine.
Avoid drafts Slightly opened windows at work or in your car may result in unnoticed, but substantial cooling of the neck and shoulder area. This can lead to muscle spasms in the neck and upper back area.
Do you have cold hands? Many people are accustomed to having cold hands and accept this as normal. However, if you are in the early or advanced stages of cervical arthritis, your neck pain may increase when your hands and arms are chilled. Therefore, if you are prone to pain in the neck area, you should use every opportunity to raise your skin temperature.
Moist Heat Helps to Increase Range of Motion Using heat on your neck spine and upper back can help to reduce pain and muscle spasms of people suffering from arthritis. Using a 6x20 hot pack will effectively target your neck and upper back and shoulders. A hot shower can be effective as well.
Wear Extra Layers of Clothes Wear thermal undergarments that will keep your body warm.
Muscle work and Modalities Massage therapy at home or by a massage therapist can provide tremendous pain relief and mobility to people with arthritis in the neck. You can use home massage units like the Jeannie Rub Massager. Massage aids in increasing blood supply and nutrition to muscles and improves circulation. The application of a heat pack followed by a massage relaxes the muscles immediately.
Chiropractic treatment Chiropractic manipulative treatment can be very effective in reducing neck pain, and increasing range of motion in the neck. Your chiropractor will look at your cervical x-rays to determine your level of arthritis and what technique to use in your case. Treatment may include chiropractic manipulative therapy, moist heat, gentle neck mobilization , neck exercises and gentle neck traction.
Choose the Right Neck Pillow for Pain Free Sleep If you have neck spine degeneration and arthritis, then you want to ensure that you are sleeping with your head and neck properly aligned while sleeping. It is not recommended to sleep with no pillow or on your stomach, as this can put a lot of pressure on your cervical spine. It is important to the get the right size of neck pillow so that your neck can adapt quickly. A cervical support neck pillow will ensure that your cervical curve in properly maintained while sleeping. Check out the cervical traction neck pillow or the linear gravity neck pillow for good cervical support neck pillows.
Handle your Stress Appropriately Stress can affect someone who has arthritis in the neck negatively and can make the symptoms worse. Stress can increase tension in the muscles and create muscle spasms. Breathing exercises and neck stretching exercises can make a big difference.
Physical activity is Important With cervical osteoarthritis, sports that put increased strain on the spine (e.g. tennis, golf and basketball) should be avoided. Recommended sports may include swimming (backstroke), relaxed walking, Nordic walking, cross-country skiing, bicycle riding and stationary bicycle riding. Doing neck stretches is also important everyday.
Arthritis in the cervical spine can prevent you from doing the things that you love to do. Not doing anything is not an option. Simply taking medication and hoping that your symptoms will not affect your activities of daily living is not a good idea.Long term use of certain medications can create side effects. Remember movement is life and changing your life style can do a lot of for you.
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