Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease can affect almost all the joints of the body. Although it commonly involves the spine of the neck, symptoms are less common. Damage to the neck by rheumatoid arthritis leads to pain and sometimes to nerve and spinal cord compression. The latter conditions may result in altered sensation and weakness in the arms and possibly loss of coordination of the arms and legs.
Management of such problems is a delicate one because of associated systemic disease and the powerful medications required in rheumatoid arthritis. On some occasions surgery is advisable if neck pain is very severe or instability of the neck seriously threatens the spinal cord.