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Osteo Arthritis (OA) of the neck

Stuart Fossella - Thursday, November 22, 2012 | Comments (0)
Posted 7 years ago
X-Ray displaying the effects osteoarthritis has on the neck

OA (Osteo Arthritis) of the neck

Also known as Cervical Spondylitis or Cervical degeneration this condition in its most simple form can be thought of as wear and tear, or wear and repair of the small joints in the neck. Arthritic changes occur naturally with age but can be found in younger people who have suffered previous trauma.

All of the joints throughout the body are lined with super smooth cartilage that allows free and smooth movement. When this starts to degenerate and ‘wear’ the body attempts to replace the lost cartilage with haphazard bony growths. If these bony growths ‘catch’, neck movement can become restricted and painful.

Check out the following link for a 3D image of the neck joints to imagine how bony growths would affect movement Healthline

Natural aging also means that the discs or spacers between joints may lose height. The bony growths and loss of disc height may irritate nerves and cause symptoms of pain, pins and needles and weakness down the arm.

Clinical Signs

  • Stiffness at the end or beginning of the day.
  • Pain and stiffness at the neck.
  • A loss of neck movement.
  • Headaches may be apparent.
  • +/- Upper limb symptoms including weakness, pins and needles or numbness.


  • Joint mobilisation or manipulation.
  • Muscle stretches and strengthening of postural muscles.
  • Acupuncture.
  • Soft tissue massage and release.
  • Advice and education regarding Independent management of symptoms including pacing strategies.
  • Heat or cold treatment.


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