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. Therapies can 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 your doctor. He or she can help diagnose your condition by performing a series of physical tests and questions. You may also have diagnostic imagery, such as an MRI or CT scan, taken to view the parts of your spine. Once the doctor determines you have spinal arthritis, you can work together to design a treatment plan that will help reduce your symptoms effectively.

Conservative treatment for arthritis of the spine

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

  • Hot/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 doctor 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 doctor may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroid injections to control swelling.
  • Periods of rest. Intermittent rest may help relieve 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 doctor may discuss a possible exercise program 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.

Considering surgical options for pain relief

If you don’t find the relief you seek through these or other conservative measures, your doctor may recommend neck or back surgery. If so, it’s important for you to consider your available options. Traditional open neck or open back surgery is one approach to treatment for arthritis of the spine, but there are also minimally invasive surgical options, including the outpatient procedures performed 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. This procedure is typically performed in conjunction with one of our minimally invasive decompression surgeries.

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, contact Laser Spine Institute today.

We’ll be glad to provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.