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Causes of arthritis of the spine

Spinal arthritis can be caused by many factors, but the most common is the natural degeneration of the spine due to age.

The spine is meant to support and stabilize the majority of the body’s weight. Over time, the joints and discs in the spine begin to wear down due to factors like loss of water content, carrying extra body weight and poor posture. When the protective cartilage that allows for smooth motion between the joints wears away, the increased friction causes inflammation and a host of other symptoms that are associated with osteoarthritis of the spine, which is the most common form of this condition.

The other main cause of spinal arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This is an internal condition that can manifest in the spine and other areas of the body. Patients with spinal arthritis caused by RA may need to consult their physician about special treatments to help reduce the pain and symptoms in the spine.

Spinal arthritis caused by rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease of connective tissue. It affects synovial lining, the thin membrane that covers inside of the joint and cartilage. RA causes white blood cells to turn against this membrane. This causes inflammation and destruction of the joint surfaces. This misdirected immune response can lead to whole-body fatigue and fevers.

The exact cause of RA is unknown. Some researchers believe viral or bacterial infections could trigger its
onset. Some genetic markers are known to be associated with RA. RA usually appears in middle-aged individuals and is more common in women than men.

Risk factors for spinal arthritis

While spinal arthritis is a common development later in life, there are several factors that can increase a patient’s risk of developing the condition, such as:

  • Age — osteoarthritis cases usually appear around age 45
  • Gender — women are twice as likely to develop osteoarthritis
  • Injury — osteoarthritis can result from injuries sustained from accidents and sports- or work-related injuries
  • Heredity — it is possible to inherit joint deformity and defective cartilage
  • Obesity — excessive weight causes stress to the joints

Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis cause pain, tenderness, swelling and stiffness of the joints. These symptoms can cause you to experience chronic pain and ultimately a decline in your quality of life.

Many patients with spinal arthritis can find lasting relief through conservative methods of treatment, such as rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and physical therapy, which aims to strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine to help support the body weight and relieve pressure on the vertebrae in the spine. Work with your doctor to design a treatment plan that is right for you.

Next steps to find relief from spinal arthritis

If conservative treatment has been fully explored without bringing the relief you require, contact USA Spine Care. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck or back procedures, offering our patients a streamlined experience. To date, our procedures have helped thousands of people find relief from neck and back pain. We encourage you to read their real patient stories to learn more about how you can find relief from spinal arthritis with our minimally invasive spine surgery. You can also visit our page on treatment for arthritis of the spine to read more about our streamlined patient experience.

If you’d like to find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures, ask for your free MRI review* from a member of our caring team.

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