Symptoms and treatment for spinal arthritis

Millions of Americans experience arthritis of the spine symptoms each year and there are many treatment options outlined in the following article that can relieve this form of neck and back degeneration. Spinal arthritis involves wear on the disc, in which the disc narrows and sharp projections known as bone spurs come out from the side of the bone.

Osteoarthritis, which involves the degeneration of joint cartilage and the underlying bone, is the most common form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs in the facet joints, which are located in the rear of the spine and connect the vertebrae together. These joints are crucial for movements of the spine such as bending and twisting. The years of wear they endure can often lead to a breakdown of the cartilage that serves as a cushion between the joints.

Arthritis of the spine symptoms

Once the cartilage in the facet joints of the spine has worn down to the point that there is bone-on-bone contact, symptoms of arthritis of the spine will often begin to appear due to inflammation and the formation of bone spurs on the joints. The most common symptoms are neck and back pain and joints that become swollen or stiff.

If spinal osteoarthritis is affecting a patient’s neck (cervical spine) and bone spurs pinch nearby nerve roots, symptoms can include pain, muscle weakness and numbness in the shoulders, arms, hands and fingers. If the source of the spinal osteoarthritis is the lower back (lumbar spine) and bone spurs form, then a patient may experience numbness or weakness in the legs, lower back pain and stiffness or shooting pains in the lower back, hips and buttocks.

Arthritis of the spine treatment

If a patient has begun experiencing symptoms, there are several nonsurgical treatment options for arthritis of the spine that can help provide relief, including:

  • Strengthening exercises. If you build the muscles that help support the spine, the stress put on the area of the arthritis of the spine can be reduced.
  • Medications. Over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medications may help reduce the discomfort a patient is experiencing.
  • Hot/cold therapy. Heat packs can relax muscles and increase blood flow, while ice packs can help reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Lifestyle changes. If you eat an anti-inflammatory diet and eliminate the use of alcohol or tobacco products, this can also help reduce symptoms.

In addition, alternative arthritis of the spine treatment options such as chiropractic care, massage therapy and acupuncture may also help provide relief. If conservative treatments aren’t producing the desired level of relief, patients may consider seeing if they are a candidate for spine surgery, such as the minimally invasive procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute.

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer a variety of minimally invasive techniques to help alleviate the discomfort associated with arthritis of the spine. Our team of dedicated surgeons performs procedures using a less than 1-inch incision, which is muscle-sparing, that leads to less bleeding as well as no lengthy recovery.^

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. Contact us today and request a no-cost MRI review* to learn if our outpatient procedures would be effective in relieving your arthritis of the spine.