Causes and treatment for arthritis of the spine

Arthritis of the spine, also known as osteoarthritis, describes an inflammation of the facet joints in the spine. The facet joints act as hinges in between the vertebrae, allowing the spine to bend, stretch and twist. Over time, the facet joints rub against each other without any protection, which causes painful symptoms such as the narrowing of the spinal canal, pinched nerves and pain in the spinal discs. Read on to learn about the causes and treatment options for arthritis of the spine.

Arthritis of the spine causes

Arthritis of the spine is most commonly caused by the wearing of the discs as we get older. This process puts extra strain on the facet joints, accelerating the breakdown of the joints’ cartilage. Alternative causes of this condition may include anything that can lead to the accelerated degeneration of the spinal components, including obesity, genetics, trauma, smoking and repetitive movement.

Additionally, another main type of arthritis in the spine is a condition known as rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease of the body’s connective tissue. When rheumatoid arthritis occurs, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the connective tissue, creating inflammation.

Arthritis of the spine treatment

Conservative treatments are often sufficient in treating a patient’s arthritis of the spine. When receiving treatment for this condition, a patient may try one or more of the following methods:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen
  • Spinal bracing
  • Spinal traction
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic visits

If several weeks or months of nonsurgical therapies have proven ineffective in treating a patient’s arthritis of the spine, his or her doctor may recommend surgery. Before agreeing to traditional open spine surgery, it is important to explore all the options, including the minimally invasive procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute. To learn about the outpatient procedures we offer, contact Laser Spine Institute today.

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain. Our procedures are performed using a less than 1-inch incision and muscle-sparing techniques in order to alleviate symptoms while resulting in less bleeding and a lower risk of complication compared to traditional open spine surgery.^ Therefore, our procedures allow our patients to be up and walking within a few hours after surgery.^

We are happy to provide you with a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a candidate for our procedures and help get you back to the activities you love.