Severe spinal arthritis is a condition that is so debilitating, normal quality of life is dramatically reduced. Spinal arthritis leads to the breakdown of the spinal facet joints, which are responsible for supporting the entire body and allowing a wide range of bending and twisting motions, so the simplest daily activities could prove impossible once those joints are damaged.
There are two main types of arthritic joint disorders that could manifest as severe spinal arthritis: spinal osteoarthritis and spinal rheumatoid arthritis. Spinal osteoarthritis, also called degenerative spinal arthritis or “wear-and-tear” spinal arthritis, is a condition in which the cartilage of skeletal surfaces of the spinal facet joints disintegrates. Symptoms of this condition include tenderness, throbbing pain and stiffness. As the condition progresses, bone spurs or osteophytes may develop. These bony projections might impinge upon nerves, producing radiating, painful symptoms known as a radiculopathy. When the condition becomes severe, symptoms escalate, resulting in decreased flexibility, diminished range of motion and spontaneous joint lockage.
Spinal rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own defense system targets the lining of the joints (synovium). The synovium under attack produces less synovial fluid, a thick lubricant that keeps joints moving smoothly. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include pain, stiffness (especially in the morning or after prolonged inactivity), swelling, warm reddened joints, fever and fatigue. With time, joints often deform. Severe spinal rheumatoid arthritis may lead to deformity of the spine, making the activities of daily life difficult or virtually impossible. As with osteoarthritis of the spine, bone spurring is common with spinal RA.
With severe spinal arthritis, conventional treatments like physical therapy, rest and anti-inflammatory medications are often insufficient to control debilitating symptoms because the condition has progressed to the point where bone spurs or spinal stenosis have developed as a result of the arthritis, and these conditions can compress spinal nerves. Surgical removal of these impingements may be the only treatment that addresses the cause of the symptoms.
If conservative treatments have not provided you with pain relief from your spinal arthritis and you would like to explore alternatives, USA Spine Care may be able to help. Unlike traditional open-spinal surgery with its large incisions and long recovery period, USA Spine Care offers minimally invasive decompression and stabilization surgeries on an outpatient basis, which means that you could experience less surgery-induced pain and return home soon after surgery. Our procedures treat cases of spinal arthritis and are often the clinically appropriate first choice compared to traditional open spine surgery. Contact us today for a review of your MRI report or CT scan to determine if you are a candidate for one of our procedures.