What is the cause of arthritis of the spine?

Arthritis of the spine, also called osteoarthritis, is the most common type of arthritis and can be very painful. Osteoarthritis affects weight-bearing joints such as the joints in the neck and spine. In the places where a bone come in contact with another bone, the surface area of contact is covered with cartilage and a lubricating fluid. The cartilage and lubricating fluid allow the joints to move easily and with little friction.

Over time, with everyday wear and tear, the joint can begin to degenerate and the cartilage can become rough and worn out. The lubricating fluid can also start to thin. The joints can become raw and inflamed causing stiffness and pain. The area can also grow new bone called bone spurs, adding to the problems and pain.

Arthritis of the spine typically involves degeneration of the facet joints, also called vertebral joints. The facet joints connect each of the vertebrae together at the rear of the spine. Facet joints allow the spine to bend, twist and stretch. Arthritis of the spine can cause mild to severe pain. The pain can radiate along the affected nerve path to the buttocks and thighs. Arthritis of the spine typically worsens over time as friction and pain increase. Arthritis of the spine can lead to back pain, stiffness, decreased range of motion and decreased flexibility. Symptoms of arthritis of the spine include:

  • Inflammation and swelling
  • Limited mobility
  • Back pain that comes and goes
  • Stiffness in your spine
  • A crunching feeling or the sound of bone rubbing on bone
  • Difficulty bending or walking
  • Abnormal curvature of the spine
  • Pinching sensation
  • Tingling and numbness

How can you treat the symptoms of arthritis of the spine?

There is no way to reverse or stop arthritis of the spine but there are things you can do to improve your quality of life and alleviate painful symptoms. Conservative treatment options include exercising, quitting smoking, weight reduction, rest, physical therapy, pain medication, steroid injections, heat and ice therapy, healthy diet and reduced alcohol intake. If conservative treatment options fail to control your symptoms, minimally invasive spine surgery may be a good option to resolve symptoms caused by arthritis of the spine.

Contact Laser Spine Institute today to find out more about how our minimally invasive spine surgery can help you find relief from your neck and back pain.