Causes of spinal arthritis

Spinal arthritis causes can include a variety of different factors. However, before exploring the causes, let’s first break down spinal arthritis. Fully educating yourself about your diagnosis of spinal arthritis is the first step to relieving the pain of this debilitating disorder. Keep in mind that spinal arthritis symptoms do not have to be a permanent fixture in your life and there are methods available to help you recapture your quality of life from this chronic spine condition.

Spinal arthritis mainly affects the joints of the spine, which are called facet joints. In the cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (middle back) and lumbar spine (lower back), there are about two-dozen stacked vertebrae, and the movement of these vertebrae is supported by connecting facet joints located between them. Soft spinal discs between each vertebral body also pad this movement. To learn about the causes and variety of treatments available for spinal arthritis, read the following article.

Spinal arthritis contributing factors

In osteoarthritis, the cartilage between facet joints begins to degrade, and the cartilage in spinal discs may degrade as well. Without padding, each movement the joint makes can be extremely painful. While specific spinal arthritis causes have not been proven by medical science, most doctors believe it is caused by a combination of the following factors:

  • Aging. As we age, our joints become more brittle and cartilage breaks down.
  • Obesity. Increased weight on the joints leads to overexertion, causing joints to wear out more quickly than they should.
  • Overuse of the joint. Repeated or heavy use of a joint due to sports or other physical activity can have a profound impact.
  • Genetic predisposition. Hereditary factors can determine how likely your joints are to degrade.
  • A weakened immune system. Illness, disease or genetics can cause your immune system’s efficiency to plummet, thereby reducing your body’s ability to regenerate and function normally.

Another main type of spinal arthritis is spinal rheumatoid arthritis, which is the inflammation of the facet joints. Doctors still aren’t sure what causes rheumatoid arthritis in the spine or elsewhere in the body, but they do understand several factors that contribute to this disease:

  • Autoimmune dysfunction. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, which means the body’s cells attack the body’s own healthy tissue. In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks the synovial membrane on joints, a lining of tissue that, when healthy, provides joints with constant lubrication.
  • Aging. It is most common in individuals over the age of 50.
  • Gender predisposition. It is most common in women.
  • Location. If rheumatoid arthritis appears in the spine, it will occur most frequently in the cervical (neck) region of the spine.

Spinal arthritis treatments

If your doctor has completed a full physical, proceeded with medical imaging and has diagnosed you with spinal arthritis, it will be important for you to first try a conservative treatment schedule to help relieve your pain. For instance, low-impact exercises, chiropractic care, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications may prove effective.

If not, Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive decompression, and in severe cases, stabilization procedures, that could help you find relief from neck and back pain without the highly invasive nature and lengthy recovery period associated with traditional open spine surgery.^ Contact us today for more information on spinal arthritis causes and treatments.

Since 2005, Laser Spine Institute has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from their chronic neck and back conditions. To find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our spinal arthritis treatments, reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for a free MRI review.* We are here to help guide you through your journey to wellness.