What are the indications of neck arthritis?

Fact Checked

Neck arthritis can trigger pain, swelling, stiffness and diminished quality of life. The condition can be bothersome once it involves regions of the spinal column since the spine serves as the core of the body and responsible for holding the body erect.

Always bear in mind that neck arthritis can be a bothersome condition and can affect the ability of the individual to work or engage in daily activities. If you suspect that an individual is starting to develop neck arthritis, there are indicative symptoms that you have to watch out for. You can enroll in a first aid course today so that you can learn the appropriate first aid measures to ease the symptoms.


Pain is always a distinctive symptom of arthritis. It is important to note that the spinal column is comprised of several segments called the vertebrae that are connected by small-sized joints known as the facet joints. When bending and straightening the neck, these joints move over each other. Just like with any other joint, these joints can become rough, sore and battered.

Neck arthritis
Pain is always a distinctive symptom of arthritis.

The surfaces of these joints are made out of the same smooth cartilage on the hips and knees and similarly subjected to daily wear and tear. Once the surfaces of these joints become arthritic, the raw bone is exposed, resulting to discomfort even with slight movement.

Reduced range of motion

Once the degeneration of neck arthritis progresses, the surfaces of the facet joints become increasingly coarse and loaded with spurs. This will start to cause a diminished ability to move the neck due to the reduced mobility of the joints.

Once the discs that separate the vertebrae from each other degenerate due to pressure and weight of the head and spine on the facet joints, they become more substantial which contributes to further degeneration and limited movement.

Muscle spasms

Once the neck arthritis progresses, the bone spurs that form naturally will start to intrude on the nerves that exit the cervical spinal column at various levels. Most of these nerves service the muscles in the shoulders, neck and upper arms. It is not uncommon for some individuals who have neck arthritis to complain about muscle spasms in the arms, neck and shoulder due to the irritation and pinching of these nerves. If the pinch is severe, the nerves are more irritated and swollen.

Cracking or crepitus

The popping or cracking tends to occur once the coarse surfaces of the joints in the cervical spine brush across each other just like the other joints when being moved. The bumpy interaction between the two abraded surfaces generates the cracking sound described by some individuals. In addition, the cracking and popping can be sore.


In case the joints could not move, they end up stiff. Movements such as turning the head from side to side can become difficult. Take note that this can have a rippled effect on other actions such as driving which requires reasonably flexibility of the neck so that the individual can look over the shoulder when backing up or changing lanes. Obviously, safety is definitely an issue.

Was this post helpful?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top

  • All stmarkjamestraining.ca content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.

The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only.
If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis contact a medical professional