When to consider arthritis of the spine treatment

You might consider arthritis of the spine treatment if you’ve been diagnosed with spinal osteoarthritis and you are having trouble managing your pain. This degenerative condition, which affects just about everyone at some point to some degree, can cause the protective cartilage that lines the spinal joints to gradually break down and wear away. Left unprotected, the bones in a degenerated joint can begin to grind against each other. The resulting friction can lead to neck or back pain, stiffness and inflammation.

If you need help in dealing with symptoms like these, your best resource is your physician, who can provide individualized advice and guidance on the treatments that are best suited for your needs. If you feel intimidated about the prospect of surgery, you shouldn’t worry — many people who are diagnosed with spinal arthritis are able to effectively manage their discomfort without it. In fact, you likely have several nonsurgical options, many of which involve nothing more than some simple changes to your daily routine.

Nonsurgical treatments

After talking with your physician, you might decide to try one or more conservative arthritis of the spine treatment approaches, such as:

  • Resting briefly when your symptoms flare
  • Avoiding body positions and movements that make you feel worse
  • Applying an ice pack or heating pad periodically for comfort
  • Taking medications, such as over-the-counter pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as needed to get you through painful episodes
  • Performing gentle stretches and low-impact exercises as recommended by your physician

Some people do well with complementary treatments, such as massage therapy and chiropractic manipulation, while others report good results from alternative therapies like acupuncture and biofeedback. It should be noted that the effectiveness of these approaches are subject to debate within the mainstream medical community. Additionally, certain nutritional supplements, including glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, can be helpful for treating the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis. If you are inclined to try any of these options, be sure to discuss it with your physician first.

It’s important to keep in mind that no single treatment is appropriate — or effective — for everyone who is diagnosed with spinal osteoarthritis. Usually, the right combination is found through a process of trial and error guided by a physician.

Surgical treatments

Some patients ultimately find that they are unable to manage their symptoms effectively with nonsurgical arthritis of the spine treatment. If you are in this situation, you may have an alternative to a highly invasive open spine procedure. For instance, the surgeons at Laser Spine Institute perform minimally invasive spine surgery, which is often the clinically appropriate first choice and has many advantages versus open neck or back surgery.^

If you’d like to find out if you’re a candidate for a minimally invasive outpatient procedure at Laser Spine Institute, contact us to request more information.