Arthritis of the neck (and related neck and back pain) may be categorized as one of two types of arthritis: Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune inflammatory disease that affects the joints in fingers, thumbs, shoulders, neck, back, wrists, elbows, knees, ankles, and feet. With RA, the body’s enzymes destroy the linings of the joints by attacking its own healthy tissues.

Osteoarthritis (often known as OA) affects 27 million Americans and is the most common chronic condition of the joints and is usually referred to as “wear and tear” of the joints. This condition can affect any joint in the body, but most commonly occurs in the hips, knees, lower back, neck, fingers, and toes. It is a disease of the entire joint, involving the cartilage, joint lining, bone and ligaments and is caused by the cartilage in the joint being worn down over time.