What should I do if I think I have spinal arthritis?

Spinal arthritis is usually accompanied by symptoms including aches, stiffness and shooting pain, as well as tingling and numbness in your extremities. However there are other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, which is why it is so important to see your doctor for proper diagnosis if you think you have spinal arthritis.

Arthritis is an irreversible, age-related condition, but there are effective treatments that can help you lead an active lifestyle if you are diagnosed. While you are scheduling a visit, it can help to learn about how doctors diagnose and treat this condition. This can help reduce some of your anxiety by having a better understanding of what to expect from your appointment.

Diagnosing and treating spinal arthritis

Upon seeing your doctor regarding symptoms of spinal arthritis, they will typically take the following steps to find the source of any pain and discomfort:

  • Review you and your family’s medical history
  • Inquire about the location, severity and frequency of your symptoms
  • Perform a full physical examination
  • Order medical imaging tests like an MRI or CT scan

If the diagnosis does confirm a case of spinal arthritis, the first step in treatment is usually a course of conservative treatment options. This type of treatment is often effective and many patients with spinal arthritis do not require surgical treatment. Commonly recommended options to improve symptoms and restore mobility include:

  • Hot/cold compresses
  • Prescription or over-the-counter pain medication
  • Periods of rest
  • Physical therapy
  • Low-impact exercise
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Massage

Minimally invasive spine surgery

If weeks or months of conservative treatments have not provided you with lasting pain relief, your doctor may suggest you consider surgery. Keep in mind that a highly invasive open spine surgery is not your only option in these cases. Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery that is a safer and effective alternative, offering our patients a shorter recovery time compared to traditional procedures.^

Contact us today for a no-cost review of your MRI* to find out if you could be a candidate for one of our procedures.