Arthritis of the spine treatment: what to expect

Arthritis of the spine treatment differs from patient to patient due to factors like age, individual health, lifestyle choices and severity of symptoms. Some people respond better to certain approaches than others, and usually a personalized combination of therapies is recommended to achieve the best possible outcome in the treatment of spinal arthritis. Although you should work with your doctor to develop a personalized plan, expect it to consist of some combination of the following approaches.

Exercise

Arthritis can cause stiffness and mobility problems, but getting in regular exercise is an important part of spinal arthritis treatment. Your doctor will likely suggest you work on strengthening your supporting muscles as well as completing aerobic activities that could help you lose excess weight and are beneficial for your overall health. Also you may be encouraged to stretch regularly to improve flexibility and help decrease discomfort.

Medication

To help you address your symptoms, your doctor may suggest you take over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to bring down inflammation, which also helps relieve pain. For more severe cases, you may be prescribed medications to address debilitating symptoms. By relieving arthritis symptoms, the medications can make it easier for you to complete an exercise plan and other arthritis of the spine treatments that can help you manage your pain and maintain your mobility over the long term.

Heat/cold therapy

For short-term relief from pain, your doctor may suggest you apply a cold or warm compress to the affected area of your neck or back, and possibly alternate between hot and cold compresses, depending on your particular needs. Usually, these compresses are applied for 20 minutes at a time, removed for 20 minutes and then reapplied in order to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

When to consider surgery

A high number of patients with spinal arthritis are able to find lasting relief by following their doctor’s recommendation for treatment and by making lifestyle changes like losing weight or improving posture, if needed. However if you have fully exhausted conservative treatments over weeks and months without finding the relief you need for a good quality of life, you may be referred to a specialist to consider your surgical options.

If you are considering surgery to treat arthritis of the spine, contact Laser Spine Institute. We are the leaders in minimally invasive spine surgery and have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief since 2005. By using muscle-sparing techniques our surgeons can access the spine with a less than 1-inch incision, resulting in a shorter recovery time compared to traditional open spine surgery.

To learn more and find out if you’re a potential candidate for one of our procedures, reach out to our dedicated team for a no-cost MRI review today.*