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Stiff and painful neck
Last review: 08/12/10  Anonymous
Question : I AM 43 years old and lately, I have been suffering from a stiff neck. It starts suddenly and there is pain with movement. Sometimes, it may be accompanied with fever and even affects the shoulder blade. The stiff neck comes and goes. What should I do?

Answer : FROM your description, you may be suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. However, it is best to visit the doctor to get a proper diagnosis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition that can affect the entire body. It is an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system attacks the joints, including the synovial membranes surrounding the lubricating fluid in the joints. Other parts of the body involved are the hands and feet, wrists, ankles, knees and spine.

This disease is characterised by early morning joint stiffness and pain and inflammation in symmetrically located joints. The fingers and toes are usually the first to be affected, though it is not uncommon for pain to spread to the joints throughout the body.

Common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include fatigue, low-grade fever, weakness, joint stiffness, vague joint pain and appearance of painful, swollen joints.

Omega-3 oil has been shown to suppress the production of inflammatory compounds secreted by white blood cells, thus showing improvement in the number of tender joints on physical examination and amount of morning stiffness in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Boswellia is highly regarded as an effective therapy for a number of inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and cervical spondilitis.

Reduce meat intake. This will help to decrease the availability of arachidonic acid which is found in animal sources. Arachidonic acid is involved in the formation of important mediators of inflammation i.e. prostaglandins, thromboxanes and leukotrienes.

Increase the intake of green leafy vegetables, which will help to lower the risk of getting arthritis. Increased fibre intake may help in repairing tissues. Vegetables also supply vitamins and minerals, which help to reduce the risk of inflammation.

Exercise regularly. Reduce or quit smoking. This is due to the allergen factor in tobacco. Besides, cigarette smoke can cause free radical damage. The obese should lose weight to lessen the pressure on weight-bearing joints. Reduce alcohol consumption. Reduce stress and get sufficient rest at night.

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