As we age, our bodies begin to show wear. Aches and pains, loss of mobility, easy bruising – they’re all signs of getting older. One area in particular that has a tendency to become bothersome is the spine. As the central pillar of our biomechanical structure, decades of stress eventually show. Often, it appears as pain.
As the area with the smallest vertebrae, the cervical spine is often the first area of concern for elderly patients. At Advanced Spine and Posture, many of our older Las Vegas, NV patients come in because they have a stiff neck, neck soreness, range of motion issues, or general neck pain. More often than people realize, however, these are all symptoms of a bigger underlying age-related condition. We’re talking about cervical osteoarthritis.
Signs of cervical osteoarthritis
Like other forms of arthritis, cervical osteoarthritis occurs when there’s a thinning or breakdown of cartilage tissue. Because age plays the biggest role in cartilage loss, it’s no surprise cervical osteoarthritis begins to show in people aged 55 or older.
The signs of this condition often begin as mild, sporadic pain. However, as with all arthritis conditions, they gradually become worse and more persistent as the condition progresses and becomes more inflamed. Here’s what to look out for:
- Stiffness: Waking up with a stiff neck isn’t all that uncommon, no matter your age. A sign of osteoarthritis in older individuals is when that pain persists through the day, making it hard to look up or down or side-to-side. If a hot shower and some basic neck stretches don’t resolve it, consult a chiropractor.
- Soreness: The feeling of tenderness or soreness you feel at the base of your neck is a sign of unnecessary stress. Neck soreness in elderly patients is a sign that their musculature may be over-supporting vertebrae affected by cervical osteoarthritis.
- Limited range of motion: Usually coupled with neck stiffness, the inability to turn your head more than 30 degrees to either side may indicate loss of range of motion. Osteoarthritis can inhibit motion in several ways, including restriction through pain. If you’re unable to turn your head or resist doing so because it hurts, seek chiropractic help.
- Dull, throbbing pain: If your neck feels like you’ve recently experienced whiplash, but don’t have any trauma to show for it, a degenerative condition may be at play. Cervical osteoarthritis can creep in slowly, emerging as a dull, throbbing pain that gets worse with time.
It’s important to understand that cervical osteoarthritis is its own designation. It’s often misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis and sometimes as degenerative disc disease. Proper qualification is essential in managing it appropriately.
Diagnosis can be hard
While it’s important to properly diagnose cervical osteoarthritis, this is much harder to do than it seems. Something like a rheumatoid factor test can qualify the presence of specific brands of arthritis, but osteoarthritis has no concrete testing method. Often, the best method for diagnosis is a combination of patient history, medical imaging, palpation, and conversation about symptoms.
Working with a qualified chiropractor to identify and manage cervical osteoarthritis is imperative. At Advanced Spine and Posture, we know the signs of this condition and, more importantly, how to qualify them. Let us introduce you to our Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach for diagnosing and managing osteoarthritis of the cervical spine.
Contact us today for more information about cervical osteoarthritis or to schedule a free consultation with our experienced team.
Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.