Arthritis of the spine treatment options — nonsurgical and surgical treatments for spinal osteoarthritis

If you have been suffering from the pain and stiffness of spinal arthritis, we encourage you to research the many treatment options available to you. These treatments range from nonsurgical to surgical and focus on relieving your symptoms by reducing the pressure of the arthritic joint on the pinched nerve that is causing your pain.

Before deciding which treatment is best for you, you should consult a physician or spine care specialist. The doctor can help diagnose your condition by performing a series of physical tests and questions, as well as a possible MRI test or CT scan to view the components of your spine. Once the doctor determines that you have spinal arthritis, you can collaborate to find the treatment regimen that will help reduce your symptoms effectively.

Conservative treatment for arthritis of the spine

After your physician has assessed your symptoms and reviewed your test results, he or she may recommend one or several of the following treatments:

  • Heat/cold therapy — The application of heat packs has long been used to relax muscles and increase circulation, while ice packs can reduce pain and inflammation. Your physician may suggest alternating between the two treatments.
  • Medications — There are a wide variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications that may afford you some relief. Your physician may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroid injections to control swelling.
  • Periods of rest — Intermittent rest may help alleviate some of your symptoms, but patients are often advised to continue with moderate activity to prevent muscles in the affected areas from weakening.
  • Low-impact aerobic exercises — Your physician may discuss a possible exercise regimen with you in order to improve your cardiovascular health and increase the strength of your core muscles.

In addition to these options, you may also seek out alternative treatments, such as massage therapy and chiropractic manipulation. In many cases, these methods can provide substantial relief from most spinal arthritis symptoms over the course of a few weeks or months.

Next steps for pain relief

If you don’t find the relief you seek through these conservative measures, your physician may recommend neck or back surgery. If so, it’s important for you to consider your available options. Open neck or open back surgery is one surgical approach used as treatment for arthritis of the spine, but there are also minimally invasive procedures available at Laser Spine Institute that can prove effective.

For many patients suffering from arthritis of the spine, our minimally invasive facet thermal ablation procedure can help reduce the pain and symptoms of spinal arthritis in the facet joints, which is the most common location for this condition. During the procedure, our surgeons will reduce the arthritic buildup and inflammation in the facet joints with a laser, and then deaden the surrounding nerves to prevent the inflamed facet joint from impacting a nerve root and causing pain.

Our minimally invasive procedures offer patients a shorter recovery time^ and less risk of complication compared to traditional open spine surgery. For more information about the benefits of our procedures, or to have a spine care expert review your MRI or CT scan, contact Laser Spine Institute today.