Cervical Spondylarthritis

Dimitris Papadopoulos MD Fellow Of Interventional Pain Practice (FIPP)

Updated 30 April, 2012

Just like in the low back, so in the neck, the spinal joints (zygoapophycial joints) over time, degenerate and eventually suffer from osteoarthritis. This condition is called by some as cervical spondylosis and others, as known in common, cervical syndrome.
Cervical spondylarthritis  is a chronic spine degenerative disease , causing morning stiffness and pain in the neck, which improves  in the course of the day, as the joints are mobilized and getting more hot and reappear in the evening before bedtime.
The pain may radiate to the shoulders and the upper back and causes a gradually increasing muscle contraction in the neck , which can by itself, trigger frequent headaches with cervicogenic origin.
In the case of very advanced cervical spondylarthritis with the presence of osteophytes, can coexist and narrowing of the intervertebral foramen and / or spinal canal, and ultimately symptoms of nerve root pressure and even the spinal cord. Then  the diagnosis of cervical spondylarthritis co-exists with that of spinal stenosis.

• Rest when the pain is strong
• Anti-inflammatory drugs upon approval by the treating physician to reduce the inflammation that occurs in degenerated joints.
• Pulling the spine and chiropractic treatment to decompress the joints.
• Physiotherapy and mobilization, reduction of muscle spasm and maintaining range of motion of the neck.
• An enidenced based minimally invasive, nonsurgical treatment for chronic pain caused by cervical spondylarthritis is the cervical facet joints denervation by applying radiofrequency in small nerve branches that innervate them. In this way, the painful signals from the joints of the neck to the brain are interrupted and the patient immediately get rid of the pain for approximately one to one and a half years, after which the pain may return. Then the technique can be applied again.
The technique is completely safe in the hands of qualified and accredited interventional pain physicians, applied under local anesthesia and  fluoroscopic guidance. The patient is hospitalized in brief hospitalization for a few hours and then returns home, ready to live a better quality of life.


• In case of spinal stenosis which causes severe pressure on some nerve root or spinal cord, it can cause cervical radiculitis or myelopathy, respectively, situations that need to be addressed with surgical decompression
If you suffer from neck stiffness and pain, which persist beyond three months, despite initial conservative treatment, visit a qualified physician for diagnosis and treatment of  this chronic disease that causes your symptoms, because chronic pain is clearly degrades the quality of life.