Arthritis of the spine can produce a variety of symptoms. Warning signs typically vary based on the type of arthritis that an individual has. For instance, osteoarthritis of the spine can cause significantly different symptoms than rheumatoid arthritis, since both conditions affect different parts of the body and develop in unique ways.
The most common type of arthritis of the spine is osteoarthritis, which is the specific condition referred to throughout the rest of this article. Osteoarthritis develops when the shock-absorbing discs that separate the vertebrae in the spine gradually break down over time. As these discs degenerate, the bones that were once separated by the discs can start to rub against each other. This can lead to a number of uncomfortable symptoms.
The most common osteoarthritis symptoms
While osteoarthritis can cause a variety of warning signs, the five most common symptoms are:
- Joint pain that gets worse after activity
- A “crunching” feeling caused by bone rubbing against bone
- A reduced range of motion in the neck or back
- Swelling and stiffness in the joints
- Difficulty bending
Treatment for osteoarthritis symptoms
Although the symptoms of osteoarthritis can be disruptive, there are several ways to help manage them. Many people who have arthritis of the spine take over-the-counter medications to reduce pain and inflammation. Prescription medications can also be used if over-the-counter options don’t produce the desired results.
Physical therapy and exercise can also be beneficial .With regular stretching and strengthening exercises, it’s possible to restore flexibility to the neck and back. An added bonus: exercise can help people shed extra weight. Losing unnecessary pounds can be highly beneficial for people with arthritis of the spine.
Surgery is also an option for some people, although it is not necessary for every individual with osteoarthritis. Open spine decompressions can be effective in certain circumstances, although many individuals are candidates for minimally invasive alternatives. At USA Spine Care, we perform minimally invasive outpatient surgery, which offers a number of advantages over traditional open spine procedures. As compared to open neck or back surgeries, the procedures that USA Spine Care uses to address arthritis of the spine have lower infection rates and less surgical blood loss.
If you want to learn more about becoming a candidate for minimally invasive, outpatient surgery at USA Spine Care, contact us today to receive an MRI review at no cost.*