Chronic pain from osteoarthritis

Chronic pain in the neck or back from osteoarthritis affects many adults over the age of 50.

Commonly known as degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis is caused by the gradual deterioration of the cartilage on the facet joints in the spine, which allow the vertebrae to interlock and hinge. Over the years, natural wear and tear causes the cartilage on these joints to wear down. After the cartilage wears down, the joints can inflame and possibly cause nerve compression or limited mobility in that section of the spine.

While osteoarthritis has no known cure, there are several treatment methods available to help reduce the chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis.

Treatments for osteoarthritis

Your physician may recommend a series of conservative, nonsurgical treatments initially to help reduce your osteoarthritis pain. These treatments can include:

  • Exercise — While you certainly don’t want to overdo your workout, a little low-impact exercising can strengthen the muscles around the spine and reduce arthritic pain. It is a good idea to work with your physician or a licensed specialist before beginning any workout regimen to ensure your health and safety.
  • Diet — Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis because excess body fat puts additional strain on the spine and the pinched nerve that is causing your pain.
  • Medication — Prescription or over-the-counter pain medication, anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants are all useful in managing chronic pain from osteoarthritis.
  • Hot/cold therapy — The use of heat or ice packs can be extremely effective in reducing pain because ice reduces swelling while heat improves circulation and promotes healing.
  • Massage — Deep tissue massage can relax the muscles supporting the spine.

Laser Spine Institute

If conservative treatments have not helped to reduce the pain of osteoarthritis, you may be a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute. Our procedures offer patients a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.

For patients with osteoarthritis, we may recommend a minimally invasive facet thermal ablation, during which the inflammation in the facet joints is reduced and the surrounding nerve roots are numbed to help prevent future pain. In some severe cases, we may recommend a minimally invasive stabilization surgery to help bring stability back to your spine.

To find out if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute today.