Millions suffer from the pain of spinal arthritis. Endless variations of symptom character and intensity exist. Therefore many treatments for this malady have evolved. Spinal arthritis symptom management should be tailored to meet the nature and intensity of symptoms experienced by the individual. What benefits one may completely fail in another.
Before deciding upon the course of treatment, it is important to fully understand the forms and causes of spinal arthritis. Spinal arthritis affects the facet joints of the spine. These are the places where the bones of the spine, the vertebra, meet. A series of facet joints begins in the neck, extends through the middle back, and ends in the lower back. Spinal arthritis is categorized by either the degeneration of cartilage around the facet joints (osteoarthritis of the spine), or the severe inflammation of the joints themselves (spinal rheumatoid arthritis). With either form of the condition, the result is painful stiffness, and possibly, constriction of nerves in the spinal column. In addition, as the facet joints become less functional and stable, the body may produce extra bone tissue called bone spurs, or osteophytes. These bits of bone can press upon nerve roots or the spinal cord as well. Spinal stenosis – a narrowing of the spinal canal and other nerve passageways – also may arise as the joints and vertebrae are damaged by arthritis.
Spinal arthritis pain relief treatments may include mild chiropractic therapy focusing on the joints of the spine. Tension is released and circulation is increased. Strength-building exercises may help support the spine, relieving pressure on arthritic joints by reducing the weight they are required to bear. Low-impact exercises like walking, gentle stretching, or swimming help build endurance. Steroid injections may temporarily help pain that results from joint inflammation.
If these conventional forms of pain relief do not prove effective, your physician may suggest that you consider a major open-back surgery. These surgeries may include the following:
- Laminectomy – removal of the lamina of one or more vertebrae, This involves excision of supporting bone from the spinal column
- Spinal fusion – using screws and bone grafts to reinforce areas where bone was taken away. This immobilizes sections of the spine, thereby reducing friction and pain from joint movement
These surgeries involve general anesthesia, an in-patient hospital stay lasting several days, and a long recuperative period. . There are, however, surgical alternatives to traditional surgeries. The experts at Laser Spine Institute (LSI) can inform you about minimally invasive, endoscopic surgical procedures that may help correct the causes of spine related symptoms without the trauma of open back surgery. Our outpatient procedures have helped tens of thousands of people find relief from spinal conditions. Contact us today for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan.