Arthritis of the spine, or spondylosis, is a type of osteoarthritis that is characterized by the pain, stiffness, and inflammation of the facet joints connecting the vertebrae of the spine. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, yet osteoarthritis accounts for the majority of cases. The condition generally affects the knees, hips, hands, and spine.
There are several causes of arthritis in the spine, but the condition is typically caused by age and normal wear-and-tear of the cartilage in the facet joints (zygapophysial joints or Z-joints). As we age, our joint cartilage begins to dehydrate and wear away due to prolonged use. This can lead to bone rubbing on bone and eventual joint pain and inflammation. Prolonged friction also can cause osteophytes, or bone spurs, to develop. These bony growths themselves can cause symptoms of pain, weakness, cramping, tingling, and numbness if they impinge upon the spinal cord or a nerve root.
Other causes of osteoarthritis can include the following:
Your doctor may initially recommend a series of conservative, or non-surgical, treatments for symptoms of spinal arthritis. These may include bed rest, pain medications, exercises, and physical therapy. Often, conservative treatments are sufficient in treating back and neck pain from spondylosis, but in some cases the pain may be too great. If you are suffering from arthritis in the spine and conservative treatments have done nothing to alleviate your symptoms, contact the orthopedic experts at Laser Spine Institute. Our specialists use advanced endoscopic techniques to perform a variety of minimally invasive procedures. Our procedures are safe and effective alternatives to open back or neck surgery.
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