Neck arthritis, also known as cervical spine arthritis or cervical osteoarthritis, is typically caused by the breakdown of articular surface cartilage within the facet joints of the seven cervical vertebrae. The most common type of arthritis found anywhere in the body is osteoarthritis. What exactly is osteoarthritis? With aging, the facet joint surfaces in the neck and throughout the body roughen and thin. The gradual breakdown of joint surfaces is usually a result of the normal wear and tear that comes with age. Breakdown can be accelerated by upper spinal injuries, or jobs involving repetitive motion. Some genetic markers have also been linked with premature cartilage breakdown. Generally speaking, cartilage breakdown in joints indicates that osteoarthritis is present.

Studies have revealed that women are almost twice as likely as men to develop degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis) in the neck. However, regardless of gender, risk factors are the same. Neck arthritis symptoms are also the same in men and women. They include tenderness in the neck, radiating pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility.

Several spinal conditions are known to be associated with neck arthritis, including:

  • Cervical spinal stenosis
  • Bone spurs
  • Herniated disc
  • Bulging disc
  • Pinched nerve

If you have arthritis of the neck, symptoms may last for several months or become chronic. Signs that you could be suffering from arthritis of the neck include:

  • Chronic pain and stiffness in the neck that may be worse with upright activity
  • The sound or feeling of popping in the neck when moving
  • Involuntary contractions of the muscles (spasms) that cause pain or a loss of movement or headaches that start from the neck
  • Numbness and weakness in the arms, hands and fingers
  • Weakness in the legs and difficulty walking
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue and disturbed sleep
  • Difficulties working

In addition to the patient’s medical history and a physical examination, an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may be taken to show the bony spurs that cause the pain.


Most of the time if symptoms are mild, the Burak Ozgur, MD may recommend rest, a neck brace, drugs and physical therapy. These, however, do not treat the underlying cause. Surgery may be needed if you have severe pain that does not get better with other treatments or if symptoms are getting worse. Surgery to remove bone spurs or disc material helps free the compressed nerve, providing pain relief.

Best Neurosurgeon for Neck Arthritis

Leading US neurosurgeon Burak Ozgur, MD is at the forefront of minimally invasive surgical treatment for neck arthritis. His achievements have earned him a double-board certification from the American Board of Neurological Surgery and the American Board of Spine Surgery. He has been recognized for his excellence, in-depth knowledge and expertise in this specialty by reputable healthcare rating resources, including the five consecutive Super Doctors for Neurological Surgery (2013-2016) in Southern California and the 2013 Most Compassionate Doctor, an patient-driven award that is bestowed only to 5 percent of the nation’s 870,000 active medical practitioners. He diagnoses and treats chronic back pain and other types of spine conditions such as scoliosis, chronic back pain, neck pain, degenerative disc disease and more using these highly-advanced and minimal access techniques.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery for Neck Arthritis

With minimally invasive spine surgery for neck arthritis, Dr. Ozgur can make a smaller incision, while at the same time accomplish identical results as open spine surgery. Compared to conventional or open surgery, minimally invasive surgical techniques require minimal surgical incisions, which is less damaging to the other vital soft tissue structures and decreasing the recovery time for patients. Affected area of the vertebrae or spine can be access with acute accuracy using surgical cameras and tools.

  • Smaller incisions
  • Smaller scar/less scar tissue
  • Reduced blood loss
  • Reduced post-operative pain
  • Minimal soft tissue damage
  • Reduced muscle retraction
  • Decreased postoperative narcotics
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Possibility of performing on outpatient basis
  • Faster recovery
  • Quick return to work and resumption of normal activities

We Can Help

Burak Ozgur, MD treats neck arthritis with minimally invasive, out-patient surgical procedures that are designed to help you find relief from pain. Learn more about our minimally invasive procedures or request an appointment for consultation by calling (949) 383-4190 or toll free 888-64-SPINE or Contact Us ➲.