There are many different types of treatment for arthritis of the spine, although every individual tends to require a slightly different approach. For instance, some people may find adequate pain relief from over-the-counter medications alone, while others require a combination of prescription medications, physical therapy sessions and chiropractic care. In some cases, surgery may even be necessary for managing persistent, long-term symptoms.
When first starting treatment, patients are often advised to use nonsurgical therapies. The most common options for conservative arthritis of the spine treatment include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Anti-seizure medications
- Prescription analgesics (e.g., Vicodin)
- Physical therapy
- Stretching, strengthening and range-of-motion exercises
- Aerobic activity
- Spinal bracing
- Epidural steroid injections
- Lifestyle modifications (e.g., maintaining a healthy weight, keeping proper posture and avoiding tobacco products)
Some patients also choose to explore complementary and alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, yoga and therapeutic massage.
Often, a combination of these options can provide significant relief from spinal arthritis symptoms, although they cannot treat the underlying cause. In the event that a physician determines that it’s necessary to treat the arthritic joints, surgery may become necessary.
Surgery for arthritis of the spine
One surgical option for spinal arthritis treatment is decompression, which is the removal of arthritic joint tissue, bone or disc material that is compressing a nerve root or the spinal cord. This can be done as a traditional, open back procedure, or it can be performed using minimally invasive techniques.
Decompression surgery for arthritis of the spine is sometimes followed by a spinal fusion. During this procedure, a bone graft is used to support the bones of the spine and allow two or more vertebrae to grow together.
At USA Spine Care, we perform several minimally invasive surgeries to treat spinal arthritis. These procedures, which include outpatient foraminotomies, laminotomies, discectomies, minimally invasive stabilization procedures and facet thermal ablation, offer a number of advantages over traditional operations and are often the clinically appropriate first choice for surgical treatment.^ To find out if you are a candidate for our outpatient procedures, contact us today.