If you are struggling with pain from spinal arthritis, you are not alone. Millions of people experience the pain of spinal arthritis and are seeking immediate relief. Endless variations of symptoms exist and often include some combination of stiffness, inflammation, painful movement and a loss in the range of motion. Therefore, many treatments for this condition have evolved over the years to provide relief.
Spinal arthritis symptom management should be tailored to meet the nature and intensity of your specific symptoms. The treatments that benefit you could completely fail another person, and vice versa. For this reason, self-diagnosis and treatment are never advised. To learn more about the types and causes of spinal arthritis as well as the treatment options available for spinal arthritis pain relief, read the following article.
Understanding spinal arthritis
Before deciding upon the course of treatment, it is important to fully understand the types and causes of spinal arthritis. The distinction is important because different types of arthritis will require different types of treatment. For example, spinal arthritis affects the facet joints of the spine. These are the places where the bones of the spine, or vertebrae, meet and connect. A series of facet joints begins in the neck, extends through the middle back and ends in the lower back.
There are many different types of arthritis, but the most common forms of spinal arthritis are characterized by either the degeneration of cartilage around the facet joints, also known as osteoarthritis of the spine, or the severe inflammation and malformation of the joints themselves (spinal rheumatoid arthritis).
With either form of the condition, the result is painful stiffness and, possibly, constriction of nerves in the spinal column. In addition, as the facet joints become less functional and stable, the body may produce extra bone tissue called bone spurs or osteophytes. These bits of excess bone can press upon nerve roots or the spinal cord. Spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal and other nerve passageways, also may arise as the joints and vertebrae are damaged by arthritis.
Conservative spinal arthritis treatments
Spinal arthritis pain relief treatments can include mild chiropractic therapy focusing on the joints of the spine. With this treatment, tension is released and circulation is increased. Strength-building exercises may help support the spine, relieving pressure on arthritic joints by reducing the weight they are required to bear. Low-impact exerciseslike walking, biking or swimming help build endurance. Steroid injections may temporarily help pain that results from joint inflammation.
The goal of these nonsurgical treatments isn’t to cure arthritis, but rather to help manage symptoms, improve or maintain range of motion and strengthen the neck and back. Yet, in order to determine what course of nonsurgical therapy has the best chance of working, it is extremely important to enlist the expertise of a doctor as not all techniques work the same for every patient. Variables, such as the location, cause and severity of spinal arthritis, should dictate the personalized treatment regimen your doctor recommends for you.
Surgical options for spinal arthritis
If these conservative forms of spinal arthritis pain relief do not prove effective, your doctor may suggest that you consider a major open back surgery. These may include the following surgeries:
- Spinal fusion — uses screws and bone grafts to reinforce areas where the bone was taken away, immobilizing sections of the spine, thereby reducing friction and pain from joint movement
- Laminectomy — removes the lamina of one or more vertebrae and supporting bone from the spinal column
These surgeries involve an inpatient hospital stay lasting several days and a long recovery period. There are, however, less invasive alternatives to traditional surgeries. At USA Spine Care, we offer minimally invasive spine surgery that can help you find relief from your spinal arthritis pain without the high risk of complication and lengthy recovery associated with open back surgery.^
For example, our minimally invasive stabilization surgery utilizes small incisions and muscle-sparing techniques, allowing for a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine fusions.^ Prior to consenting to open spine surgery, contact us to learn if our procedures would be effective in relieving your spinal arthritis symptoms.
At USA Spine Care, we have had the privilege of helping more than 75,000 patients find lasting relief from their chronic neck or back pain. To learn if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient surgery, reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for a free MRI review.* We are here to help guide you on your journey to wellness.
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