Chronic arthritis pain — causes and treatment options

Chronic arthritis pain in the spine can be a frustrating side effect of the natural aging process. As we age, our spinal anatomy naturally begins to break down. Over the years, the wear and tear we put on our spine combined with age-related changes can lead to inflammation and pain in the spinal joints. While for some people this may only result in minor aches and stiffness, for others it can lead to more severe pain. Pain that lasts for three months or longer is classified by doctors as chronic and it can have a severe impact on your quality of life.

By learning more about the causes and treatment options available, you can work more closely with your doctor to find the lasting relief you deserve.

Causes of arthritis

The vertebrae in the spine are separated and cushioned by spinal disc and linked joints, called facet joints. These joints are protected by a layer of cartilage that helps them glide over one another, providing mobility to the neck and back. As the cartilage slowly breaks down, bone spurs develop as a result of bone-on-bone contact, soft tissue becomes inflamed and nerves can become compressed — all of which lead to chronic arthritis pain.

Treatments

The goal of arthritis treatment is to manage pain, improve mobility and promote the long-term health of the spine. This can be accomplished with methods from a few broad treatment categories:

  • Noninvasive. The most common treatments for patients experiencing arthritis pain are conservative in nature. Pain medication, hot/cold therapy, low-impact exercises, gentle stretching and periods of rest are all possible options. Lifestyle changes such as starting a weight management program or a smoking cessation program may be recommended.
  • Pain management. Common pain management techniques can include corticosteroid injections, TENS treatment and pain patches.
  • Surgical. Spine surgery is generally viewed as a last resort when all other treatments have been unable to provide lasting relief. Surgical options can include both traditional open spine surgery and minimally invasive procedures that use muscle-sparing techniques.

Laser Spine Institute

If you are experiencing chronic arthritis pain in the neck or back and conservative treatments have not provided you with the pain relief you desire, contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn about our minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery. Unlike traditional open back surgery, our minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures offer our patients a streamlined experience, allowing them to avoid hospital-related costs and return to their lives and the activities they enjoy as quickly as possible.^

Reach out to us today and ask for a free MRI or CT scan review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.