Cervical Periarthritis

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The term, periarthritis, by definition means inflammation in the tissues around a joint. Every case of arthritis has an associated periarthritis. The term, cervical periarthritis, we have reserved for those cases in which no arthritis or other abnormal anatomical bone change can be demonstrated. It may be the cause of pain and stiffness in the neck and is usually recognized by the presence of soreness in the supporting ligaments and muscles of the neck.

Many patients with cervical periarthritis complain of numbness and aching in the arms and hands and may have soreness in the shoulder muscles. In the absence of x-ray evidence of disease in the bone, the finding of muscle tenderness and painful limited motion in the neck usually identifies the neck as the cause of trouble.

Cervical periarthritis may be associated with functional conditions of the spine, such as scoliosis and relaxed posture. It may be part of the generalized rheumatic involvement of periarticular structures commonly called chronic fibrositis. In some cases, exposure to cold and febrile diseases such as influenza may be important etiologic factors.

The conditions which are considered in the differential diagnosis of cervical periarthritis are osteoarthritis of the cervical spine which is shown on x-ray, and subdeltoid bursitis demonstrable on physical examination or x-ray. Less commonly, one has to differentiate rheumatoid arthritis in the cervical spine, ruptured intervertebral disc,1 hypertension, scalenus anticus syndrome,2 cervical rib,3 and rarely, neoplasm either in the cord or with metastasis in bone.


Treatment of cervical periarthritis is. . .



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