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Treatment Options for Neck Arthritis?

Hi everyone,

I've just been diagnosed with Cervical Arthritis from an MRI (foraminal stenosis relayed to the unconvertebral overgrowth at c3-4, 4-5, 5 - 6 on the left hand side).

Symptoms being mostly weakness and tingling in the left arm and shoulder. Doctor says there's nothing that can be done apart from surgery in extreme cases. Hasn't suggested much in the way of being able to manage it.

Any thoughts on treatments (herbal, acupuncture, etc) that people have had success with to help deal with similar issues?

Many thanks




  • Have you discussed being referred to a Pain Management Dr for treatment? Has a spine surgeon viewed your films? Proper recommendations need to come from a Dr. Is your case not serious enough to warrant surgery? Personally I would want a spine surgeon viewing my films, then discuss recommendations for treatments. Surgery should be a last resort, but it was my surgeon that recommend I go back to the Pain Management Dr for other treatments first. This was prior to my 2 most recent surgeries but I tried PT, multiple Injections, and medication adjustments prior to. I also had my nerves checked (EMG) and repeat MRI's before my surgeries. Just ask what your Dr recommends you do next, possibly see if what I mentioned is an option and go from there.

    Are those issues causing any obvious nerve compression? If so, you may want to ask if waiting could cause more harm or permanent damage to the nerve. All my issues have been from my lumbar/sacrum so I'm sure others will chime in that have had neck issues.

    I wish you the best of luck!
    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
  • Thanks LC - I hope all is well with you after your surgeries.

    I've seen my GP who has recommended that I essentially live with it until it gets worse enough to warrant surgery. I've had mixed opinions and views from Chiropractors I've seen (one thinks I don't actually have bone spurs as they didn't appear on an x - ray and the other agrees with GP). My atlas is also out of line so I'm seeing an specialist to get that sorted as I also have some brain relates symptoms.

    My tingling and numbness is getting worse with every month, I'm also worried as I'm relatively young (30).

    Perhaps I should chase GP to get referred to a spine specialist or seek one privately. I live in Melbourne Australia and there's a board certified, spine-health.com Spine Doctor in the area although all his reviews have been pretty bad. Any recommendations on where to look would be appreciated.

    Thanks for your help and the ideas - really appreciated.

    Is it ever possible to reverse arthritis?
  • I have the same diagnosis at the same levels that you do...also on my left side. The neurosurgeon is ready to do surgery at any time but suggests I wait until I develop weakness. It sounds like you already have the weakness, while I am mainly dealing with the tingling, numbness, and lots of pain. She wants to intervene surgically at the point of strength loss because in my case, at least, the weakness may be permanent. I do go to a pain management doc, and have a pain program currently that allows me to function fairly well (still working, etc.) I would agree that seeking a spine specialist's advice, as well as a pain management doc, would give you more information about how your treatment should proceed. It would also help you to know if waiting is likely to cause permanent damage to the nerves that are currently being "squeezed" by the bony overgrowth.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,842
    A topical ointment has been working wonders for me with my Arthritis the past 7 or so years. It doesnt eliminate the pain, but it can minimize it even for a couple of hours.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • There are a lot of studies that show how our diet can contribute to arthritis. Some swear by arthritic diets, but I don't know first hand how successful they are. If it's Osteoarthritis you have, as far as I know it can't be reversed but it can be managed and possibly slowed. It can be treated through proper nutrition, exercise and medications. Ointments and creams like Ron mentioned is something else to try. Maintaining a healthy weight is important because it puts less strain on your joints. I have read that acupuncture may be a helpful treatment but it may not work for everyone, that's something I would like to try. Unfortunately it's one of those things that generally continues to progress. Anti inflammatories are a common medication used for arthritis. I've noticed a difference since I had to stop taking my Celebrex due to having a spinal and SI joint Fusion. It's an anti inflammatory and it seemed to help some. Your Dr. may have some suggestions as well.

    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
  • JuliagJJuliag Posts: 4
    edited 01/13/2015 - 12:03 AM
    @LC84, Hi, I'm just about to start researching for nutritional books dedicated to osteoarthritis and wondered if you would know of any that you would recommend? Thanks in advance for any info.

    @adey84, I have just been diagnosed with a large bone spur on my cervical spine, c4 as well as osteoarthritis in c5 through to c7, moderate stenosis.
    I vary day to day, sometimes I'm great, other times a lot of pain, numbness, dizziness and tingling in left arm. Trying to find a comfortable sleeping position is proving hard. I need to find the "perfect pillow" I think. :-)

    I have been advised to see a neurosurgeon for management by my local GP who thinks the earlier the intervention the better. She is a fantastic GP! I don't want to appear overly negative, but your GP should be very proactive in helping you manage your condition and pain. My GP also is looking at medication that specifically targets nerve type pain, because honestly the paracetamol, ibuprofen did nothing for me personally. So the options she suggested to explore were epileptic medication; anti depressant and something similar to lyrica (which I trialled years ago for a short bout of atypical neuralgia but it did not agree with me). I'm commencing on a low dose tomorrow so it will be interesting to see how it goes and hopefully no nasty side effects. I'm going to start a diary which briefly logs information on medication and pain, treatments etc, just to reference what has worked or not prior to seeing a Neurosurgeon.
    Somebody suggested seeing a Pain and Medication specialist on this thread, which I think is an excellent suggestion.

    I just started being really proactive in treatment now I have a specific diagnosis and can vouch for dilauro's suggestion of a topical gel/ointment specifically for pain, as even though it doesn't void the pain, it reduces it for a while, and I used that in conjunction with a heat pack. As far as natural supplements , a while ago I tried green lipped mussel with turmeric for general aches and pains, but after eight weeks I didn't notice any difference and gave them up. Since my diagnosis I have just started a sea buckthorn supplement. and any fish oil products make me feel queasy.
    I'm definitely going to look in altering my diet, not just for the 10 kgs I need to lose, but something that is going to hopefully help with osteoarthritis. It's funny, I've probably needed to lose that for a while, but nothing like pain as a motivation! :-)

    I think from what I've read, it is trial and error of what works for individuals but I am getting lots of helpful info from this forum and site. At the very least you don't feel quite alone with it all. I hope things go well for you and you get the help you need, don't be afraid to self advocate for yourself with your GP.
  • Sorry, a belated 'ps", but has anybody noticed a pain increase due to hormonal fluctuations?
  • I haven't read any books on arthritis diets, I mostly do online research. A lot of them say pretty much the same thing. Eat more of the healthier foods like fruits, veggies, and low fat proteins found in chicken and fish. Omega 3 Fatty acids have anti-inflammatory components. It's about balancing fruits, veggies whole grains, low fat proteins and low fat dairy products. There are arguments stating that simply cutting out the "bad stuff" can help with reducing inflammation. Processed, high fat and fried foods contain ingredients that can increase inflammation along with causing weight gain, which is hard on your joints. You can research the "Mediterranean diet", that's one I commonly see as helpful with arthritis.

    I can tell you that I have become Hypothyroid since my last surgery. My Dr's believe that the trauma from surgery and ongoing pain has caused a hormonal imbalance. My pain hasn't improved since taking medications to get my Thyroid up, but I may have other hormonal imbalances that are being looked into. So I can say that surgery and pain caused hormonal imbalances, but I can't say first hand whether the hormonal imbalances have anything to do with increased pain. My back always hurt more during my time of month if that's what you're asking?
    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
  • Thanks LC84, I will have a look at the Mediterrean diet. I've started cutting a lot of processed foods out of my diet to kick things off and am hoping that I can find a diet that is more specific to my condition.

    As far as pain, I've noticed during hormonal changes per month, my pain levels increase tenfold around my neck, shoulder etc. Not so much the usual lower aching back I would get. Mind you compared to this type of "unique pain" I would swap it for the lower hormonal back anytime.

    I've a referral to a neurosurgeon, but I just wanted to look at me holistically as well. I'm not obese, but I'm also carrying too much weight which can't be helping.
    Thanks for your reply, appreciated it.

  • About holistically and alternative medicine. I am currently doing the traditional route but have tried some alternatives including massage therapy, chiropractic , acupuncture, cupping, and herbal supplements. I have DDD, arthritis all over, herniated disks in low back not bad enough for surgery, a multi level fusion in my neck, permanent nerve damage in my neck from waiting too long to have the surgery, didn't have weakness in arm much at all, but left me with permanent nerve pain, rotator cuff tear, and possible RA.
    Okay what has worked has been acupuncture but I had to go at least 2 x a week and health insurance did not cover it.
    Hot stone massage, heat therapy of any kind really helps. I have used Therma Care wraps and stick ons for years and they give me very much relief and make it possible to function on many days that I couldn't otherwise, but I live in Florida so making it hotter is some times unbearable and I am also post menopausal experiencing some hot flashes again after 15 years of nothing, I have a hot tub which is also awesome for relaxing the muscles and reducing pain.
    What hasn't worked for me, Tumeric capsules and creams, chiropractic (not recommended if you have herniated disks), regular massage increased pain, and PT did nothing for me (12 weeks).
    What am I trying now
    Royal Oil of Oregano to see if it helps with inflammation, Tai Chi to see if it helps with flexibility.
    What I should try, cutting out sugar. My acupuncturist said it is a major food that causes inflammation. I am so addicted to it and I have been so miserable with my life since this pain started back in 2010 that sugar feeds my child in me. I know it would help me tremendously, but I am just not there yet. I am working on preparing to think about it, lol.
    That's it, hope it helps.
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