Arthritis of the spine can often be treated conservatively at home

When necessary, the goal of arthritis of the spine treatment is usually to address mild to moderate neck or back pain. Specifically, this type of discomfort can result from spinal degeneration that causes the protective cartilage in the spinal facet joints to break down and wear away. Over time, progressive cartilage loss can lead to bone-on-bone contact, sometimes creating friction that causes irritation and inflammation in the spine.

Some people choose to explore surgery if their spinal arthritis pain begins to interfere with their daily activities. However, many spine surgeons prefer to reserve surgery as a last resort. Instead, they encourage their patients to begin with nonsurgical treatment — at least for a few weeks or months — before considering any type of surgical procedure. Many patients do well with this approach.

Where to begin

The quickest path to relief is usually found with the guidance of a medical professional. You can work with your own physician, who is familiar with your diagnosis and its impact on your life. Together, you can develop an appropriate treatment plan that meets your specific needs. Some home remedies for arthritis of the spine that are often effective include:

  • A short period of rest (two to three days at most)
  • Activity modifications, such as practicing good posture and taking regular breaks from sitting
  • Applications of ice packs and heat wraps as necessary
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and topical analgesics used as instructed
  • A low-impact exercise routine

Complementary treatments may provide further benefits

If you’re interested, you may want to ask your physician about possibly using some complementary therapies, such as therapeutic massage and chiropractic manipulation, which some people find to be helpful. Additionally, some studies show that certain nutritional supplements, including glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, can reduce pain and inflammation caused by spinal arthritis.

Surgery for spinal arthritis

If your pain worsens despite your commitment to several weeks or months of conservative therapy, you might begin to think about surgery. And you should know that you may have an alternative to a highly invasive open neck or back procedure — minimally invasive surgery.

At Laser Spine Institute, our surgeons perform minimally invasive outpatient arthritis of the spine surgery that is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^ If you would like to find out if you’re a candidate, call for your initial consultation today.