Spinal arthritis treatment methods

Spinal arthritis treatment focuses on relieving a patient’s symptoms of pain, numbness, tingling and limited range of motion. Spinal arthritis, also called osteoarthritis of the spine, occurs when the cartilaginous lining of the spinal joints deteriorates — which is typically caused by the natural aging process. This can cause a number of symptoms, from local aches and stiffness to a pinched nerve that leads to shooting pains and impaired functioning in the extremities.

While many people are able to find some degree of relief through conservative treatments, some patients may want to consider surgery if several weeks or months of initial methods prove ineffective. The following information can give you a better understanding of the options available and when to know if surgery is right for you.

Conservative treatments

Upon diagnosing arthritis of the spine, your doctor should help you develop a treatment plan to relieve symptoms and help improve your range of motion. Spinal arthritis treatment typically includes the following conservative methods:

  • The use of medication. Over-the-counter pain medicine or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can reduce pain and inflammation. Doctors may prescribe some patients prescription pain relievers or muscle relaxants.
  • Physical therapy. Strengthening the muscles in the neck and back can help to provide the spine with added support, thereby reducing some of the pressure that is being placed on a spinal nerve. It can also help with impaired movements caused by stiff joints.
  • Hot and cold therapy. Ice can be used to numb the affected area while heat may help to increase circulation and promote healing. Doctors may recommend using one or the other, or alternating between the two.

It is important to note that the above treatment methods should only be attempted under a doctor’s care to ensure that it does not worsen symptoms and is compatible with other conditions or treatment.

Surgical Treatment

Physicians and spine specialists reserve surgical spinal arthritis treatment for those who find little to no relief from conservative techniques. Before consenting to a traditional open neck or back procedure, patients may want to consider minimally invasive spine surgery performed at Laser Spine Institute. Our outpatient procedures offer less risk of complication and no lengthy recovery when compared to traditional open spine surgery.^

Contact us today so we can help you get a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.