Arthritis of the spine, or spinal osteoarthritis, is an age-related condition that can have a debilitating effect on your quality of life. The pain and stiffness caused by this condition can make it difficult to perform normal activities like walking your dog or spending time with the people you love. Arthritis of the spine can also result also result in painful radiating symptoms if a bone spur or inflamed joint puts pressure on the spinal cord or a nerve root.
Since spinal arthritis is not reversible, treatment usually focuses on symptom relief. Basic conservative options can include over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, at-home physical therapy exercises, hot/cold compression therapy and therapeutic massage. Additionally, some patients choose to explore alternative methods that are outside the medical mainstream, such as acupuncture.
Benefits of acupuncture for spinal arthritis symptoms
Acupuncture is a practice that originated in traditional Chinese medicine and involves the insertion of small needles into specific points in the body. The original belief behind acupuncture was that it could provide health benefits by improving the flow of energy, or “qi.” Although it has grown in popularity, acupuncture still hasn’t been fully accepted by the medical mainstream; but there is some evidence as to its effectiveness. Studies support that acupuncture may work to relieve symptoms for conditions like spinal arthritis in the following ways:
- Stimulating blood flow and nutrients to an affected area
- Releasing endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain reliever
- Psychological benefits regarding expectation and belief, also known as the placebo effect
If you are exploring acupuncture, be sure to find a reputable, licensed practitioner and keep your primary care doctor informed of this decision to ensure it is compatible with your current state of health.
When does spine surgery become an option?
A large number of patients dealing with arthritis of the spine are able to find relief by exploring conservative and alternative treatment options, but surgery can become an option in certain situations where displaced spinal anatomy is causing nerve compression. As you explore your treatment options, contact USA Spine Care to learn more about the benefits of our minimally invasive spine surgery. We offer a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery^ with our streamlined outpatient procedures.
To learn more and find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures, ask for your free MRI review today.*