During the natural again aging process, many patients develop arthritis to some degree. Facet joints are lined with cartilage. Arthritis of the spine occurs when this cartilage becomes weak and brittle. Arthritis of the spine is also referred to spondylosis and spinal osteoarthritis interchangeably. Arthritis of the spine is most common in the lower back and neck (lumbar and cervical areas of the spine), but can manifest itself in any area of the spine over time. Patients suffering from arthritis of the spine may suffer from stiffness, limited range of motion and potential degeneration to other parts of the body. Though arthritis Arthritis of the spine can present symptoms, but this is not always the case with all patients. Though there is no set cure for arthritis of the spine, often the symptoms from this condition can be managed through conservative treatments.
Risk factors for arthritis of the spine
Intervertebral discs are made of approximately 90 percent water. During the aging process, these discs begin to lose that water and become shorter. The vertebrae surrounding these discs also begin to lose density, as we age. That is where the cartilage comes in. In a healthy spine, the cartilage mobilizes the spine, however with arthritis of the spine, this cartilage loses its density. This often results in a limited range of motion, stiffness and pain.
Though there is no set algorithm to determine who will develop arthritis of the spine, below are a few predictors common in patients with this condition:
- Most patients suffering from arthritis of the spine are 50 years of age or older.
- Often, former athletes or physical laborers are more likely to have placed a greater level of stress on their neck or back over the years, leaving them susceptible to osteoarthritis.
- Patients who have been through traumatic spinal injuries are more at risk of developing this condition.
- Obesity places more pressure and stress on every area of the body, therefore making overweight patients more likely to develop spondylosis.
- If you have a family history of spondylosis or osteoarthritis you may be at greater risk.
- Some chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, place patients at greater risk.
Minimally invasive treatment for arthritis of the spine
Though there is no cure for arthritis of the spine, the symptoms causing your pain may be linked to nerve impingement or compression. If you are suffering from chronic pain and have exhausted all conservative options, contact Laser Spine Institute to see if you are a candidate for one of our effective minimally invasive procedures.