Cervical Arthritis

peer review

This content has been reviewed and approved by Kathy Doubleday DPT, OCS.

A vertebral bone spur is a growth of bone projecting from the edge of the vertebra. This growth causes pain and inflammation if it rubs against the spinal nerves or other vertebrae and is common in individuals over 60 years of age. It narrows the space for nerves to exist, causing symptoms in the arms and legs. It occurs in the most stressed segments of the spine at the connection of the neck to the body and at the lowest levels of the low back.

This is a degenerative condition most often caused by normal aging processes. As cartilage is worn down by overuse, the movement and force on the vertebrae stimulates the body to thicken the bone. This new bone is the bone spur. It is most often coupled with an underlying condition such as osteoarthritis, trauma, degenerative disc disease, or obesity.

  • Back and Neck pain
  • Difficulty standing or sitting for long periods
  • Aching more in the mornings
  • Pain radiating down the arm(s) or leg(s)
  • Numbness or burning sensation
  • Weakness in arm(s) or leg(s)
  • Rest and cold pack therapy
  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen may help relieve pain and reduce inflammation
  • Prescribed stretching exercises may be beneficial
  • Flexion type spine exercises may be started to improve flexibility of the spine, mobilization of the surrounding areas to take the stress off the spine, hip stretching to allow better standing and strengthen trunk muscles to improve control and posture.

Printable Cervical Arthritis Exercises (pdf)

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