Cervical Arthritis Causes and Treatment Options 

 July 4, 2012

By  Dr. Tripp Stover, D.C.

Mechanicsville Virginia Chiropractor – At Stover Chiropractic, P.C. one of the most common reasons people seek our care is for neck pain.  Many folks understand an effect of subluxations in the low back is arthritis and associated low back pain.  Well just as the degeneration of joints in the lower spine from subluxations can result in lumbar arthritis, degeneration of the facet joints in the upper (cervical) spine can lead to cervical arthritis. This condition is also called cervical spondylosis, cervical osteoarthritis, or degenerative neck disease (DND). Whatever you call it, it’s…literally…a pain in the neck. Cervical arthritis is caused by wear and tear, from uncorrected subluxations, at the intersection of the cervical spinal discs and the facet joint that connects them to the rest of the spine. This wear and tear comes from abnormal biomechanics (incorrect motion), or by excessive pressure being placed on the discs and facet joint by poor posture or injury. Most cases of cervical osteoarthritis occur in individuals aged 55 or older, but can also affect younger people. I have seen it in children as young as 12.  Left untreated, the spinal discs and the facet joint can continue to deteriorate, becoming dry, brittle and cracked, and possibly cause the vertebrae to compress against, which can lead to pinched nerves.

The symptoms of cervical arthritis include pain and stiffness in the neck, and possible feelings of numbness, tingling, or weakness. The pain may be felt to radiate to the shoulder or between the shoulder blades, and may include headaches, especially in the back of the head. The stiffness may be worse in the early morning, and then improve as you move around; the pain tends to be worse towards the end of the day. As with many degenerative diseases, there is no absolute cure for cervical arthritis because the damage – caused over time – cannot be reversed. However, the correction of subluxations can prevent the progression of the arthritis.   Neither prescription nor over-the-counter medications can reverse the degeneration; medical doctors tend to treat the condition with anti-inflammatories and pain relievers, and in some cases direct injection of corticosteroids.   Pain relief may be found with these methods, however the cause has not been addressed.

Chiropractors are also trained to identify cervical arthritis and provide options for pain relief, but in their case the treatment is more holistic. Chiropractors are most concerned with proper function and motion of the spinal joints and the soft tissues that surround them, which is the result of a nervous system that isn’t compromised from subluxations. Their primary form of treatment is spinal adjustments, to improve mobility, reduce nerve irritation and restore a normal range of motion not only to the cervical joints, but also to the entire spine. After a thorough examination to determine the exact causes of your condition, your chiropractor may prescribe a series of adjustments to correct the imbalances, caused by misalignments (subluxations) in the spine and joints that may have caused the wear and tear in the first place, and which may be perpetuating it.

Many chiropractors also use a number of related therapies such as trigger point therapy, low level laser therapy, electrical stimulation (which alternately stimulates and relaxes muscles to help them loosen up), supplement/herb recommendations, and gentle stretching exercises to treat the muscles surrounding the neck joints, which may be contributing to its improper function. While chiropractic treatment may not be appropriate in every case, for many these treatments can decrease and even eliminate the pain of cervical arthritis.

Please let us know if you have any questions by leaving a comment or question, or call our office.  804-559-1100

Stover Chiropractic, P.C.

Real. Simple. Healthcare.





We are located at 9097 Atlee Station Road in Mechanicsville, Virginia, 23111.  This is a Hanover county address, but we are minutes from Glenn Allen, Innsbrook, Sandston, and Varina.  We also serve many people from King William and New Kent Counties.  Our close proximity to I295 means we are very easy to reach from most places in the Richmond Metro area.

Dr. Tripp Stover, D.C.

Dr. Stover grew up in Richmond. He has been married to his wife Andrea since 2000 and they make their home in Mechanicsville with their children, Avery and Garnett.

Dr. Tripp Stover, D.C.

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