Arthritis of the spine, or spinal osteoarthritis, is inflammation of the spinal facet joints caused by natural breakdown of the cartilage due to the aging process. Because of the stress the spine endures on a daily basis from supporting the upper body and normal movements, the spine is a very common location for osteoarthritis to develop. While for some patients it may only result in minor aches, pains and stiffness, for others it can cause debilitating symptoms that affect nearly every part of life from working to getting a good night’s sleep.
If you are seeking treatment for arthritis of the spine, you may be wondering what type of doctor to seek out for care. The following guide can help you learn about some of the different specialists who treat this condition and the specific therapies they provide.
Types of doctors who treat arthritis of the spine
The first doctor many people seek out is their primary care physician; and this is generally recommended to be the first medical professional you consult for diagnosis and treatment of spinal arthritis. However, you may be referred to one of the following types of doctors if a more precise diagnosis or involved treatment is required:
- Rheumatologist — specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of joint disorders like osteoarthritis
- Physiatrist — specializes in physical and rehabilitative medicine to improve mobility and function
- Neurologist — specializes in disorders affecting the nervous system, which can be affected by joint inflammation and bone spurs
- Spine surgeon — provides surgical treatment in cases where nerve decompression and/or spine stabilization is required
Finding relief from spinal arthritis
Treatment for spinal arthritis almost always begins conservatively, with methods like rest, hot/cold compression, physical therapy, therapeutic massage, restorative yoga and anti-inflammatory medication being effective in a large number of cases. By improving spinal flexibility, reducing inflammation and managing pain on an as-needed basis, patients are often able to enjoy a good quality of life with arthritis of the spine.
Spine surgery can become an option in certain circumstances where weeks and months have gone by without bringing the relief necessary to comfortably engage in normal activities. USA Spine Care is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery that can treat conditions like arthritis of the spine on an outpatient basis. Since 2005 our board-certified surgeons+ have helped thousands of patients find relief at our state-of-the-art centers across the United States. Contact us today to learn more.
We can help you receive a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.