Degenerative spinal arthritis overview

Degenerative spinal arthritis, also referred to as osteoarthritis, is an arthritic joint disorder in which the facet joints of the spine begin to degrade. In a healthy facet joint, cartilage and a layer of synovial fluid help to keep bone-on-bone friction to a minimum so that joints can move smoothly without causing pain.

In the case of degenerative spinal arthritis, however, the cartilage degrades, turns brittle and can no longer support the joint movement. In fact, a common symptom is the feeling of grinding, which is the sensation of bone moving against bone. To learn more about the symptoms and treatment options for this degenerative condition, as well as how degenerative spinal arthritis differs from degenerative disc disease, read the following article.

Symptoms of degenerative spinal arthritis

Clinically known as osteoarthritis of the spine, degenerative spinal arthritis comes with other symptoms, such as:

  • Pain
  • Limited range of motion
  • Throbbing sensation
  • Tenderness
  • Diminished flexibility
  • Stiffness
  • Locking of the joints
  • Radiating pain

Degenerative spinal arthritis vs. degenerative disc disease

Often, degenerative spinal arthritis is confused with degenerative disc disease, but these are two separate conditions. Degenerative disc disease means that the cartilaginous discs between each vertebral body begin to weaken and break down, leading to conditions like herniated disc, bulging disc, muscle spasms and the growth of bone spurs. Degenerative spinal arthritis focuses specifically on the facet joints.

Both spinal arthritis and degenerative disc disease can contribute to spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of spaces in the spinal column that is designed to allow free passage of nerve roots and the spinal cord. Constriction of these passageways puts painful pressure on nerve tissue. Arthritis also can cause bone spurs or osteophytes. Spinal bone spurs are your body’s way of trying to reinforce the spine with extra pieces of bone growth on the vertebrae; however, this growth could further contribute to compression on the spinal nerves and result in even more pain.

Degenerative spinal arthritis treatment

If your doctor has diagnosed you with degenerative spinal arthritis and several weeks or months of a conservative treatment regimen consisting of rest, physical therapy and pain medication has not adequately treated your symptoms, you could require surgery to relieve your pain. Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures that are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^

At Laser Spine Institute, our outpatient procedures are performed using small incisions and avoid unnecessary muscle tearing in order to relieve the degeneration of your facet joints, allowing you to get back to an active lifestyle. Since 2005, our procedures have provided more than 75,000 patients with lasting relief from their symptoms. Contact our dedicated today to receive more information about our minimally invasive procedures that can help you find relief from your degenerative spinal arthritis.

Through a free review of your MRI,* we are able to determine if you are a potential candidate for our degenerative spinal arthritis procedures and guide you to your next step to find pain relief.