Osteoarthritis

Pathophysiology

Generally seen in those aged over 65 years as part of the normal aging process. However the signs of normal ageing do not predict the presence of symptoms. 

Symptoms

  • Stiffness on neck movements and restriction, particularly on turning or looking upwards
  • Pain, particularly at night and difficulty finding a comfortable position
  • Difficulty looking over shoulder when driving
  • Grinding, grating or clicking noises from the neck

Management

  • Activity modification
  • Ice or heat
  • Pain relief
  • Physiotherapy to include range of movement exercises and strengthening exercises

Investigations

  • X-ray can assess the level of Osteoarthritis but is unlikely to change the treatment options
  • Degenerative changes are commonly seen on X-rays and scans of people who are symptom-free, the presence of these changes does not mean they cause symptoms

Exercises to try:

Neck Extension

Neck Flexion and Extension

Begin in a neutral position

Gently tip your head backwards to look up to the ceiling

Slowly return to the starting position

Gently tip your head forwards bringing your chin towards your chest

Return to starting position and repeat

Neck Stretch

Armpit Stretch

Begin by turning your neck to look over one shoulder

Then gently rotate your head to look further to the floor until you feel a stretch

Hold for 30 seconds then relax and repeat

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