Guide to spinal arthritis

Arthritis is most basically defined as a joint disorder that can occur in any part of the body, including the spine. This condition affects millions of people and it is a leading cause of disability. A multitude of different types of arthritis have been recognized, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis — the most common form of spinal arthritis that is characterized by a loss of cartilage on the skeletal surfaces of facet joints as we age. This condition is often accompanied by overgrowth of bone on the joint edges, known as a bone spur or osteophyte. Read on to learn about the risk factors of developing spinal arthritis and the treatments that Laser Spine Institute offers to relieve this condition.

Risk factors for developing spinal arthritis

Anyone can get spinal arthritis; however, there are certain factors that put people at a higher risk of developing it:

  • People over the age of 50
  • Women get it more commonly than men
  • Overused joints from athletic activities or incorrect lifting and bending
  • Obesity that places excess pressure on spinal joints
  • Traumatic injury to the spine
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Improper diet
  • Tobacco use
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • A weakened immune system

Spinal arthritis symptoms include neck and back pain, numbness, loss of motion, swollen joints and bone-on-bone contact. These symptoms are similar to symptoms of other back problems, so it can be difficult to accurately detect spinal arthritis. A doctor uses a blood test, MRI, X-ray or CT scan to properly diagnose the condition.

Treating spinal arthritis

Spinal arthritis treatment options are widespread and vary depending on the severity of the condition. In general, a doctor begins with a conservative treatment plan such as low-impact exercise, intermittent periods of rest or hot and cold therapy. In more severe cases, spinal arthritis treatment may include pain medication, physical therapy, chiropractic care or epidural injections. Surgery is only required after the patient has exhausted other treatment options for several weeks or months without success.

If you have been diagnosed with spinal arthritis and conservative treatments have failed to relieve your symptoms, Laser Spine Institute understands your frustration and is here to help. We offer minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures that treat conditions such as spinal arthritis while reducing muscle and tissue damage. Our minimally invasive spine techniques offer safer and effective alternatives to traditional back surgery with fewer complications and shorter recovery times.^

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck or back pain. Depending on the severity of your spinal arthritis, our board-certified surgeons+ are able to remove either part or all of the diseased disc or vertebra and potentially stabilize the spine through the use of a small incision that is muscle sparing. Contact us today to learn more about the procedures offered at our state-of-the-art surgery centers.

Through a free MRI review* of your spine, we can evaluate your condition to see if you are a candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.