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Short Article Open Access

Prevalence of Cervical Spine Instability among Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients in South Iraq


Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease of unknown aetiology that primarily targets synovial tissues, cartilage and bone. RA is also the most common form of immune-mediated arthritis. Involvement of the cervical spine often follows the peripheral joints.The cervical spine is composed of two distinct parts, the upper cervical spine (CI and C2, with the atlantoaxial, atlantoodontoid, and atlantooccipital joints) and the lower cervical spine (C3 to C7, with the uncovertebral and facet joints at each level). Rotation of the neck occurs mainly in the upper cervical spine and flexionextension in the lower cervical spine. Because they are extremely mobile, the various components of the cervical spine, particularly the occipitocervical junction, are subjected to considerable stress. The joints are stabilized by a large number of ligaments, including the transverse ligament, the alar ligaments, and the accessory atlantoaxial ligaments. The cervical spine can severely affect RA, but findings on the proportion of its involvement vary between different studies conducted on different populations (e.g., 30%, 30%-50% and 19%-88%). RA is the most frequently observed chronic inflammatory disease, affecting approximately 1% of the white population, with females affected 3 times more often than males.


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