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Does cervical spine arthritis impair the blood flow to the brain?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 10344 Questions
I have arthritis in my cervical spine probably related to an old injury. (25 years ago) The pain is increasing and I have tingling down my left arm. I have had a headaches for about 5 days now. It feels like I'm not getting enough blood supply to the brain. Putting heat on my neck seems to help. Could arthritis impair the blood flow? What should my steps be to get better.
Posted Fri, 24 Jan 2014 in Back Pain
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 36 minutes later
Brief Answer: Due to cervical spondylosis. Detailed Answer: Hello, Thanks for posting your query. Stiff neck and pain in the neck with tingling and numbness in the arm till hand along with headaches is suggestive of a nerve root compression at the cervical vertebral level due to degenerative disc changes or cervical spondylosis. It happens primarily due to degenerative changes secondary to age in the cervical spine. Past neck injury may also contribute to the degeneration. X-ray of neck in lateral view or MRI will help in the diagnosis. Treatment includes 1. Use of cervical collar helps in immobilization and brings relief. 2. Medical drugs like pain killers - acetaminophen/ibuprofen and muscle relaxants might be helpful. 3. Methylcobalamin supplements are also recommended for nerve compression symptoms. 4. Cervical isometric exercises are beneficial to maintain the strength of the neck muscles. Neck and upper back stretching exercises, as well as light aerobic activities, also are recommended under the guidance of a physical therapist. 5. Hot fomentation helps in relieving acute symptoms. 6. You can avoid using a pillow. As you try these measures, I also encourage you to consult an orthopedician for both evaluation and to avail stronger prescription medications (if over the counter medications are not helpful). I hope this answers your query. In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out. Wishing you good health. Regards. Dr. Praveen Tayal. For future query, you can directly approach me through my profile URL
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Follow-up: Does cervical spine arthritis impair the blood flow to the brain? 21 minutes later
Thank you for your insight. I am wondering if my brain fog could be a result of actually decreased blood flow secondary to impingement and if so how can I increase the circulation to feel better
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Needs evaluation to find cause. Detailed Answer: Hello. Thanks for writing again. The brain fog that you have could be due to a decreased blood flow but it is not caused by spondylosis. It can be related to atherosclerotic changes in the blood vessels fluid and electrolyte imbalance like hyponatraemia etc. It can be related to a middle ear disease also. A proper examination will help in diagnosis. Only very late stages of the spondylosis can affect the blood supply. Avoiding abnormal neck positions and doing regular isometric exercises of neck will be helpful. Hope my answer is helpful. If you do not have any clarifications, you can close the discussion and rate the answer. Wish you good health. Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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