Guide to arthritis of the spine

Arthritis is a broad term used to describe the degeneration and inflammation of the spinal column, sometimes causing bone spurs. Because there are more than 100 types of arthritis that can affect the body, it’s important to clarify with your doctor which type of arthritis you have been diagnosed with. Many times, arthritis of the spine is used to describe osteoarthritis, which specifically refers to arthritis of the bones.

The spine is made up of many small bones called vertebrae, which stack on top of each other. Vertebrae give the spine its shape and stability. As arthritis develops in the joints of the spine, a set of painful symptoms can develop. Understanding the symptoms described in the following article can help you identify the condition faster, so you and your doctor can work together to find a treatment plan that can provide you with lasting relief.

Arthritis of the spine symptoms

Arthritis of the spine symptoms often includes stiffness and limited mobility. These are the two most common symptoms because the condition causes swelling and inflammation at the joints where the vertebrae meet and hinge. When these facet joints swell, the vertebral joints are no longer able to pivot like they normally would, resulting in a reduced range of motion and some pain with movement.

Other arthritis of the spine symptoms can include:

  • Pinched nerves
  • Pain in the discs
  • Muscle weakness
  • A burning sensation
  • Numbness or tingling

Any of these symptoms can develop if the inflamed facet joint presses against a nearby nerve root. If this happens, the symptoms can travel the length of the nerve root, stretching from the spine into the nearest arm or leg. If you notice the gradual development of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor to determine the cause of your pain.

Arthritis of the spine diagnosis

If your doctor gives you an arthritis of the spine diagnosis, there are a few things you should know. Arthritis of the spine cannot be cured. However, that does not mean that an arthritis of the spine diagnosis is a sentence for chronic pain for the rest of your life. On the contrary, while the condition itself cannot be cured, there are many treatments that have proved effective in reducing the symptoms of arthritis of the spine, allowing you to get back to the activities you love.

Your doctor will likely begin your treatment with nonsurgical therapies aimed at reducing the pressure on the arthritic joint and hindering the pain receptors in your spine. These conservative treatments can include:

  • Pain medication
  • Traction therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Stretching and yoga
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injections

If all conservative treatments have been exhausted after several months and you are still suffering from chronic pain, your physician may recommend seeing if you are a candidate for spine surgery.

Arthritis of the spine treatment

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer patients a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck or back surgery.^ To help treat arthritis of the spine, we offer a minimally invasive facet thermal ablation procedure. Performed most often in conjunction with a decompression as the primary procedure to treat arthritis, this procedure is done on an outpatient basis and is used to relieve painful nerves in the facet joint.

The procedures performed at our state-of-the-art facilities use minimally invasive techniques, such as a less than 1-inch incision and the sparing of surrounding muscles. Thereby, allowing our patients to benefit from a shorter recovery time and lower risk of complication compared to patients who choose traditional open spine surgery.^ As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, Laser Spine has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain.

Take the next step toward pain relief and contact Laser Spine Institute today. We can provide a no-cost MRI review* to find out if our procedures would be effective in treating your arthritis of the spine symptoms.