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How should you sleep if you have arthritis of the spine?

Osteoarthritis can affect the bones of any weight-bearing joint in the body. Arthritis of the spine — or spinal osteoarthritis — is a condition that often affects individuals ages 50 and older due to the deterioration that occurs in the spine during the body’s natural aging process. The facet joints of the spine, which connect the vertebrae, are subjected to daily wear and tear as they allow the body to bend and twist while also helping to support its weight. After many years of pressure, the cartilage that lines theses joints can wear away, leaving the bones in the joint to grind against one another. When this occurs, inflammation can develop and the joint can become stiff. Another potential byproduct is the development of a bone spur — a smooth calcium growth on the bone. Bone spurs can cause the appearance of additional symptoms, such as muscle weakness, numbness, tingling and radiating pain, if they come in contact with the spinal cord or a nearby nerve root.

Getting a good night’s sleep with spinal osteoarthritis

Arthritis of the spine can occur in any part of the spine, though it is more common in the cervical spine (neck area) and lumbar spine (lower back area) because of the daily movement these areas are subjected to. The symptoms of this condition can make many daily activities painful and difficult, including sleeping. If you are suffering from painful spinal osteoarthritis symptoms and struggling to get the rest you need, here are some tips that may help:

  • Buy a good mattress. Proper support is important as you try to keep your spine in a natural position while you sleep.
  • Use the right pillow. If your spinal arthritis is in your neck, use a standard pillow that allows for natural alignment.
  • Take a pain reliever before bed. Though temporary, the relief provided by over-the-counter medications can allow you to fall asleep faster.
  • Use a heating pad before bed. Targeted heat can help reduce inflammation and provide relief before bed.
  • Sleep on your side. If you are experiencing symptoms in your lower back, sleeping on your side in the fetal position can open up the facet joints and relieve pressure.

Surgical treatments

For many individuals suffering from painful arthritis of the spine symptoms, following their doctor’s suggested conservative treatment plan for several weeks or months provides the amount of symptom relief they are looking for. For others with more severe symptoms, surgery might be the best option. USA Spine Care is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and treats arthritis of the spine and other degenerative spinal conditions through outpatient surgery that requires no lengthy recovery.^ If you would like to find out if you are a candidate for our surgery, we can provide a free MRI review* to begin the evaluation process.Contact USA Spine Care today if you would like to learn more.

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