Severe spinal arthritis is a condition so debilitating, that normal quality of life is dramatically reduced. Because spinal arthritis leads to the breakdown of the spinal facet joints, the simplest daily activities may prove impossible.
There are two main types of arthritic joint disorders that could manifest as severe spinal arthritis: osteoarthritis and spinal rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative spinal arthritis or “wear-and-tear” spinal arthritis, is a condition in which the cartilage articular surfaces of the spinal facet joint disintegrate. Symptoms include tenderness, throbbing pain and stiffness. As the condition progresses, bone spurs or osteophytes may be created. These boney projections may impinge upon nerves, giving radiating symptoms known as a radiculopathy. When the condition becomes severe, symptoms escalate resulting in decreased flexibility, diminished range of motion, and spontaneous joint lockage.
Spinal rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own defense system targets the lining of joints (synovium). The synovium under attack produces less synovial fluid, a lubricant which keeps joints moving smoothly. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include pain, stiffness (especially morning stiffness), swelling, warm reddened joints, fever, and fatigue. With time joints often deform. Severe spinal rheumatoid arthritis may lead to deformity of the spine, making the activities of daily life difficult or impossible. As with osteoarthritis of the spine, bone spurring is common with spinal RA.
With severe spinal arthritis, conventional treatments like physical therapy, rest, and anti-inflammatory medications are often insufficient to control debilitating symptoms, because bone spurs or spinal stenosis may have restricted spinal nerves. Surgical removal of these impingements may be the only treatment addressing the cause of the symptoms. If conservative treatments have not provided you with relief and you would like to explore alternatives, Laser Spine Institute (LSI) may be able to help you. Unlike traditional open spinal surgery with its long convalescent period, LSI offers minimally invasive, laser-assisted surgeries on an outpatient basis. This means that you may experience less surgery-induced pain, and may return home quickly after surgery. Contact us today for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan. We want to help you recover from illness.