Arthritis is a broad term referring to non-traumatic joint damage. There are over 100 different types of arthritis affecting millions of people. The most common types of arthritis are adult onset rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Spinal arthritis refers to damage of the articular surfaces within the facet joints of the spine.
Osteoarthritis of the spine
Osteoarthritis of the spine, often referred to simply as spinal arthritis, occurs when the articular surface cartilage within facet joints deteriorates. Facet joints are sliding joints that allow adjacent vertebra to glide along with body flexion or extension. When articular cartilage of the facet joints roughen with deterioration, each movement of the joint becomes stiff and painful. Degenerative arthritis of the spine may present any of the following symptoms:
- Stiffness or swelling of the joints
- Reduced range of motion
- Reduced flexibility
- Weakness, numbness, or tingling
- A grating feeling as bone rubs against bone
Spinal arthritis treatment options
After establishing an accurate osteoarthritis of the spine diagnosis, a conservative treatment plan should be tailored to meet the patient’s specific needs. Rest, and low-impact activities, like walking or swimming, coupled with pain and anti-inflammatory medications are commonly prescribed. A low percentage of patients, however, do not benefit from conservative treatments. In these cases, spine surgery may be necessary.
The surgeons at Laser Spine Institute (LSI) may offer help. LSI is at the forefront of minimally invasive, endoscopic technology. We use these techniques to treat spinal arthritis and other conditions on an outpatient basis. Contact us today to learn more and for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan.