High-impact sports are often causes of arthritis of the spine

While participating in a sport can be beneficial to your health, certain sports can place you at a higher risk for arthritis of the spine earlier in your life. It should be noted that most people show some degree of osteoarthritis in their spine and other joints by the time they reach their 60s, due primarily to the typical wear on the cartilage between joints. However, the repetitive trauma involved in some sports can accelerate the progression of the condition. Read on to learn about the high-impact sports that can be the leading factor of arthritis of the spine as well as other risk factors that you should be aware of.

Sports that may lead to arthritis of the spine

For purposes of this article, a high-impact sport means any activity that causes a tremendous amount of pressure on the components of the spine, particularly during impacts with other players, the ground, or while twisting the spine. Examples of such sports include:

  • Football, where being tackled is a normal occurrence
  • Weightlifting, where a great strain is placed on the back, especially if an improper lifting form is used
  • Gymnastics, where the repeated backbends and dismount landings can place excessive stress on the lower back
  • Ice hockey, where colliding with other players or the boards at great speeds can send a painful or damaging shock through the spine

Other risk factors for arthritis of the spine

Participation in these sports is only one risk factor of many. Your activity of choice doesn’t automatically ensure that you will have early-onset arthritis of the spine. The risk is greater, however, if you have other factors that could compound the development of the condition. For example, some people have naturally thinner cartilage due to their genetic makeup. Athletes who have sustained previous joint injuries or undergone joint surgery also stand an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Treating arthritis of the spine

If you have been diagnosed with arthritis of the spine and are still suffering from this condition after several weeks or months of conservative treatments such as pain medication, physical therapy and chiropractic care, then your doctor may recommend surgical intervention to relieve your symptoms. If you’re ready to explore your available options, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about the minimally invasive spine surgeries we perform that have helped more than 75,000 patients find lasting relief.

Our procedures offer a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery as well as no lengthy recovery and a lower risk of complication.^ To treat arthritis of the spine, our highly skilled surgeons are able to use a small muscle-sparing incision to remove part or all of the diseased disc or vertebra and potentially stabilize the spine depending on the severity of your condition. Ask our team for a free MRI review* today to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.