The USC Spine Center is a hospital-based spine center cervical rheumatoid arthritis is dedicated to the management of all types of spinal arthritis. RA can and often does affect almost every joint in the body, especially as people get older.
Although RA affects the joints of the hands and legs which can severely decrease function and mobility, people with significant disease in the spine are at risk for neurologic damage such as paraplegia, in addition to problems with pain, mobility, and function. Rheumatoid disease of the spine is most common in three regions and causes distinct clinical problems. The second condition, and the most common, is atlanto-axial instability. The precise cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown. It is a disease that affects the body’s immune system, and is considered to be an autoimmune disorder. The initial stage of rheumatoid disease produces pain, swelling, warmth, and stiffness in the affected joints. The third stage of disease involves enzymatic destruction of the bone and cartilage of the joints, which usually results in significant joint pain, malalignment, stiffness, and instability.