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Neck Arthritis --- Causes and Top 10
Natural Remedies

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Last updated March 19, 2017 (originally published April 25,
By Alison Turner, Featured Columnist

Neck arthritis, whose technical name is the almost
unpronounceable "cervical spondylosis",  will become painfully
familiar to millions of us in the coming years.  Even if you don't
develop  arthritis of the neck, chances are you will know
someone ---or live with someone --who will.  

Cervical spondylosis becomes increasingly common with age.
So much so, that the American Academy of Orthopedic
surgeons estimates that more than 85% of people over the age
of 60 are affected.  In the UK, 25% of women and 20% of men
suffer from neck pain, a 2007 study from Lister Hospital in
Hertfordshire found.  What is cervical spondylosis, and what
can we do about it? Are there any natural remedies that can
help neck arthritis?

What Is Cervical Spndylosis?

Cervical spondylosis occurs when the bones of the neck, also
called the cervical spine, degenerate.  This often occurs with
age, or with an unusual amount of chronic wear on the
cartilage and bones of the neck.   

This degeneration can result in growths or spurs in the bones
of the spine and compression on nerve roots, resulting in pain
in the neck, shoulder blade, or even in the arms and fingers.  

For many, the pain develops over time, but for others it can
occur suddenly.   The pain can be dull or a
sharp, shooting pain.

Ranging from mild to severe, the pain may worsen at night,
when you sneeze, cough, or laugh, and when you bend the
neck backwards.  Other symptoms could include headaches,
loss of balance, vertigo, and loss of control over the bladder.

Who gets neck arthritis?  Arthritis of the neck can begin from
everyday wear and tear, so that people who are active have a
higher risk.  The most significant risk factor, however, is age
(see above).  Other risk factors include being
regular heavy lifting and bending, past injury or surgery on the
spine, and

How can we treat cervical spondylosis?  There are medications
available, including NSAIDs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory
drugs such as Aspirin, ibuprofen, or Advil, and surgery can be
performed to relieve pressure on the affected nerves.  

However, if you want to avoid medication and invasive surgical
procedures, there are several strategies to manage pain and
symptoms.  The list below provides ten strategies for managing
cervical spondylosis, as tested by specialists in the field from
around the world.

Top 10 Natural Remedies for Neck Arthritis

1. (Tuina) Massage Away Your Cervical Spondylosis Blues.

It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t love a massage.  We use
them for stress, we use them to indulge ourselves, and, when
the pain from conditions like cervical spondylosis becomes
unbearable, we use massages to get rid of the pain in our

In 2012, a very large team of experts from various Canadian
institutions, including Dr. Lucie Brosseau with the School of
Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Ottawa,  searched
relevant literature from way back in 1948 until the date of their
study to determine how effective massage is for adults with
neck pain.  

From this gigantic pool of data, they found that "therapeutic
massage can decrease pain, tenderness, and improve range of
motion for sub-acute and chronic neck pain."  

This is great news, but when we sit down to sign up for a
massage we may find our options overwhelming: which
massage will really work for neck pain?  

Tuina massage is a Chinese technique that stimulates the body
with the goal of regulating functions and eliminating
pathogenic factors.  Practitioners attempt to adjust the number
of white cells in the body, as well as nutrients depending on the
kind of pain the patient experiences.   

In 2012, Q. Ding and other specialists at the Tuina Department
of Guang’anmen Hospital in Beijing  observed how tuina
massage affects the symptoms of cervical spondylosis using
data from 126 patients.  

Patients in the test group were treated with “innovative Tuina
manipulations,” and showed a response rate of 100%, versus
nearly 89% in the control group.”

A Tuina masseuse may not be waiting around every corner.  
However, with a little research and determination, you may find
that the technique is available to help you and your neck pain.

Yoga and Cervical Spondylosis: Stretch Away Your Neck Pain.

Sometimes it’s good to let someone else rub pain away (see
massage, above): other times, we have more luck stretching
our own bodies.  

Yoga has become increasingly popular in the United States, as
herds of people in spandex carry rolled up mats across cities
several times a week. Just as there are endless types of
massage to choose from, it may be hard to know which kind of
yoga could help with the pain resulting from cervical

Researchers from India suggest that mind sound resonance
technique (MSRT) may be just the ticket.  MSRT includes the
repetition of the syllables A, U, and OM, as well as a chant, the
idea being that the sounds encourage relaxation of the body
and mind.   And, apparently, these sounds during yoga can also
relax the pain away from your neck.

In 2010, researchers in Bengaluru India, including DR. Yogitha
Bali at the Ebnezar Orthopedic Centre at Parimala Hospital,  
observed how MSRT could help to alleviate neck pain.  Sixty
patients with neck pain took part in yoga treatment with MSRT
for nearly an hour, or “control” treatment, which was
physiotherapy and rest.  

After 10 days, the patients doing yoga showed a “significant
difference” in the pain and tenderness of neck movements, and
the “state anxiety” of these patients showed a “higher
reduction” than in the control group.  The team concludes that
MSRT yoga “adds significant complimentary benefits” to
conventional treatments for neck pain.

Perhaps it’s time to roll up a yoga mat and join the craze.


In general, a number of studies have found that arthritic joints
in general are improved by movement, within a safe range of
motion. The
Centers for Disease Control advise that physical  
movement "can reduce pain and improve function, mobility,
mood, and quality of life for most adults with many types of
arthritis". ]

Moxibustion: One Hot Treatment for Cervical Spondylosis.

The adventurous-sounding word moxibustion is a procedure a
bit more relaxing than it sounds.   Moxibustion refers to a small
bundle of herbs, "moxa," that is heated and applied to targeted
points on the body.   Chinese specialists of moxibustion have
recently tried out the method on the pain arising from cervical

In 2010, Xie Yan Feng with the Tangxia Hospital of Dongguan
in Guangdong, China, along with a team of specialists,  tested
moxibustion on 160 cases of cervical spondylosis, using a
control group of acupuncture.  Those receiving moxibustion
showed a 98% effectiveness rate, compared to 89.6% in
acupuncture, so that "the therapeutic effect of heat sensitive
moxibustion treatment for nerve root cervical spondylosis is
better than that of [acupuncture]."  

If the pain in your neck and shoulders from cervical
spondylosis doesn’t seem to go away, try hunting around for
someone who knows what they’re doing with packets of hot
herbs.  Moxibustion could be the technique that you never
knew existed, but that you don’t know how you lived without.

Neck Pain from Cervical Spondylosis: Freeze it Off

Life is full of contradictions, and methods of treating neck pain
from cervical spondylosis may be one of them.  While some
people have had success treating that pain with heat (see
above), others have felt similar relief with cold.  

In 2010, a group of researchers from various institutions in
New York, including Gregory Garra with the Department of
Emergency Medicine at Stony Brook University Medical Center,  
looked into how both heat and cold packs could help to relieve
pain from back and neck strains, when used as compliments to
analgesics.  60 relevant patients received 400 mg of ibuprofen,
and were “randomized to 30 minutes of heating pad or cold
pack applied to the strained area.”  

Heat helped. Results showed that pain was rated “better or
much better” in 51.6% of patients receiving heat, and 62.1%
of those receiving cold packs.  The ER docs conclude that “the
addition of a 30-minute topical application of a heating pad or
cold pack to ibuprofen therapy for the treatment of acute neck
or back strain results in a mild yet similar improvement in the
pain severity.”  

Whether it’s hot or cold, the important part about treatment is
that it works.  If you have tried heat treatment for your neck
pain without any success, try switching to cold, and vice-versa.  
Sometimes we have to be just as patient with our treatment
methods as we are with life’s other contradictions.  

Cervical Collar: A Brace Against Cervical Spondylosis and
Neck Pain

A cervical collar may be a form of treatment flashier than you
prefer.  However, when the pain from cervical spondylosis
becomes unbearable, odds are that you won’t care what
treatment looks like, as long as it works.

In 2009, experts in The Netherlands, including Barbara Kuijper
with the Department of Neurology at Maasstad Hospital in
Rotterdam,  evaluated the effectiveness of a neck collar on
cervical radiculopathy (another term for neck pain cause by an
injury near the root of a spinal nerve)  versus "wait and see
policy" in 205 patients with cervical radiculopathy symptoms in
the last month or less.  

After six weeks, patients treated with the cervical collar
"achieved additional pain reduction" when compared to those
who were waiting and seeing, as well as showing a "significant
change" in the neck disability index.  The team concludes that
"a semi-hard cervical collar and rest for three to six weeks"
reduced neck and arm pain "substantially" in patients suffering
from cervical radiculopathy.

If your neck pain is alleviated but you still worry about the
appearance of a cervical collar, perhaps you could treat the
device the way you would any other accessory: wear it with

Certain Exercises Can Treat Cervical Spondylosis

Continue reading    page 1    page 2

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Certain kinds of massage can
help neck arthritis.