What are the symptoms of arthritis of the spine?

What are the symptoms of spinal arthritis? Understanding the cause may help accurately predict symptoms and also help you to describe your symptoms to your physician, allowing him or her to arrive at the correct diagnosis.

The anatomy and symptoms of spinal arthritis

Most arthritis of the spine is spinal osteoarthritis, a degenerative condition that affects the facet joints. Facet joints are joints located on each side of the vertebral canal, two per vertebra. Facet joints are sliding joints which allow flexion and extension, but bar most rotation of the spinal column. The articular surfaces of these joint are covered with a slippery cartilage, which allows effortless motion. Arthritis causes the cartilage to roughen and wear away. Roughened, inflamed articular surfaces make movement uncomfortable. Aging, genetics, obesity and gender can all play a role in the development of spinal arthritis, and may lead to the following symptoms:

  • Joint stiffness or spontaneous joint lockage
  • Joint inflammation
  • Localized pain or throbbing when the joint remains stationary
  • Radiating pain that begins in the back and moves through the extremities when joint enlargement or bone spurs develop
  • A grinding feeling of bone rubbing against bone, also called “crepitus”
  • Numbness or tingling if joint nerves become compressed

Treatment options

While there is no cure or treatment that can stop the progression of spinal arthritis, most patients are able to manage their discomfort non-surgically with the help of a conservative treatment regimen. Your physician may suggest therapies such as hot/cold compresses, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, intermittent rest and behavior modification, among others. If weeks or months of these treatments fail to offer you lasting pain relief, contact Laser Spine Institute. We have a variety of minimally invasive surgical procedures that offer an alternative to the risks and lengthy recuperation^ of an open spine surgery. Our innovative minimally invasive surgical techniques have helped tens of thousands of spinal arthritis patients find relief from neck and back pain without undergoing open spinal surgery. Request a review of your existing MRI or CT scan today.