When rheumatoid arthritis affects the neck joints, particularly those located at the top of the spine, complications can occur.
Bones and joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis may dislocate and press on the spinal cord or on the nerve roots.
Pressure can cause numbness, pain, tingling, weakness, loss of bowel or bladder control, and unusual head and neck sensations.
Pressure may also obstruct blood flow through the blood vessels in the spinal cord.
Neck pain along with weakness, numbness, or tingling of hands, feet, legs, or arms is the most common symptom of possible pressure on the spinal cord or on the nerve roots. Although compression of the spinal cord is fairly rare, it can lead to paralysis if it is not treated.
Author: Healthwise Staff Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Rheumatology
Medical Review:Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Rheumatology