The term “arthritis” is used to describe a collection of conditions that occur when there is inflammation in joints and the connective tissue surrounding them. This inflammation can cause pain, stiffness and swelling in the affected joints or even the spine.
Arthritis of the spine, also known as osteoarthritis, is one of the most common spine conditions experienced by people over the age of 50. As the spine wears down over time, the joints become susceptible to deteriorating, which could lead to the development of spinal arthritis. While age is one of the most common risk factors for developing arthritis of the spine, other factors can be avoided with simple lifestyle changes to promote an improvement in overall spine health.
Risk factors for arthritis of the spine
The exact cause of arthritis is unknown. Research has shown that heredity may play a role in the onset of this disease. However, while your genes may determine whether you are at risk for arthritis, there are still some arthritis prevention steps you can take to help lessen the chance of developing this potentially debilitating condition. These arthritis prevention steps include:
- Maintaining a proper weight
- Eating right
- Getting adequate rest
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by not smoking or abusing alcohol
Arthritis prevention tips such as these may not help you be able to completely avoid the pain and stiffness associated with this disease, but they will help your chance of avoiding the condition and improving the health of your spine. If arthritis symptoms occur, there are several treatment options available to help reduce your pain.
Arthritis treatment options
The first step to find treatment for spinal arthritis is to schedule an appointment with your physician to confirm your diagnosis.
Most physicians will recommend a series of conservative nonsurgical treatments to help alleviate the pain of arthritis in the spine. These treatments could include physical therapy, acupuncture, relaxation therapy and other nonsurgical treatments. Much like with arthritis prevention, exercising and leading a healthy lifestyle could also help manage the effects of arthritis.
Not all conservative treatment is successful, however. In some cases, surgery may be recommended if several months of conservative treatment have not provided lasting pain relief. If this is your situation, we encourage you to research the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute. We offer a minimally invasive facet thermal ablation, which reduces the inflammation and swelling in the joints of the spine and deadens the nerves immediately around the arthritic joints to help prevent future pain. Because of our minimally invasive approach to the spine, our procedures offer patients a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck or back surgery.