How to treat arthritis of the spine

Arthritis has been present since the olden days, so it is not surprising that a huge number of arthritis remedies exist. Most arthritis treatments aim to provide symptom relief and treatments for arthritis of the spine are typically nonsurgical. Surgery is usually suggested to remove a factor contributing to underlying arthritis or to address an anatomical change resulting from arthritis. To learn more about this condition and the specific treatments available for relief, read the following article.

Arthritis of the spine overview

Arthritis of the spine is the most common type of spinal arthritis, affecting the facet joints of the spine. Facet joints are sliding joints found in the posterior portion of each vertebra. These joints allow the sliding of a vertebra over its adjacent one when flexing or extending the back. As we age, the articular cartilage of the facet joints degenerate and becomes rough and worn out. This can result in inflammation, the formation of bone spurs, stiffness and pain, making the sliding action of a vertebra extremely painful.

Factors that can speed up this degrading of facet articular cartilage include:

  • Obesity
  • Overuse of the joint
  • A genetic predisposition
  • A lowered immune system

Conservative treatment for arthritis of the spine

There is no cure for most types of arthritis. Treatment for arthritis of the spine focuses on minimizing pain. To help reduce stress on the affected joints, weight management may be recommended. Rest, anti-inflammatory medications or gentle chiropractic therapy may also help to reduce symptoms. Many patients find steroid injections to be helpful, which are slow-release doses of cortisone to reduce inflammation and decrease pain. Gentle, low-impact exercises may also improve strength, flexibility, endurance and endorphin levels.

Surgery for arthritis of the spine

If you have tried the above conservative treatment for arthritis of the spine for several weeks or months, and are still having serious symptoms, your doctor may discuss the option of surgery. Traditional spinal fusion surgery is directed at preventing movement of arthritic joints and easing the pain. The downside of traditional fusion surgery is that it highly invasive, requiring overnight hospitalization and a lengthy recovery as well as a large incision that is 6 to 8 inches in length.

Minimally invasive alternatives for arthritis of the spine

At Laser Spine Institute, our surgeons specialize in minimally invasive procedures that are safer and effective alternatives to traditional fusion surgery and allow 88 percent of our patients to return to their daily activities within three months of having surgery.^ Our procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and use a small incision that allows our surgeons to separate and move muscles, rather than cut them.

At Laser Spine Institute, our board-certified surgeons+ have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain, setting us apart as the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery. To learn more about your options for a minimally invasive treatment for arthritis of the spine, contact a member of our dedicated team today.

We will review your MRI and CT scan for free* to assess your situation and determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our minimally invasive arthritis of the spine procedures.