Spinal arthritis is a degenerative spine condition caused by the natural aging process and the wear of the spine over the years. As the spine becomes compressed under weight gain and repetitive motion, the vertebrae and disc of the spine wear down, causing the joints and discs of the spine to slowly deteriorate. This can lead to other spine conditions that cause pain and discomfort. If you have been diagnosed with arthritis of the spine, you should collaborate with your physician about treatment options to help reduce your pain and increase your mobility.
Initial treatment is often aimed at taking pressure off these joints while increasing the spine’s flexibility and strength. Furthermore, since arthritis can lead to the creation of bone spurs and other swollen tissues pressing upon nerve roots and the spinal cord, treatment could also include medications and injections to reduce swelling. To learn about the conservative and surgical treatments available for spinal arthritis, read the following article.
Conservative treatment for spinal arthritis
Mild forms of spinal arthritis can be treated through conservative methods. Most conservative treatments can be combined to increase pain relief. You should always consult your physician when beginning or changing a treatment plan for your spine condition.
Whether you have osteoarthritis of the spine (degeneration of facet joints) or spinal rheumatoid arthritis (inflammation of facet joints), conservative treatment for spinal arthritis can include the following:
- Physical therapy. This treatment describes mild body movements that focus on the joints of the spine, which can help relieve tension and increase circulation in the affected area. Strength-building therapy can also help other parts of the spine take some of the burden off of the arthritic joints. Physical therapy might include lessons on proper body mechanics and lifting techniques.
- Spinal arthritis exercises. These exercises help to maintain mobility and flexibility. Low-impact activities like swimming, walking, biking and gentle stretching as well as range-of-motion exercises can help your body stay agile.
- Medication. Over-the-counter or prescription pain medications and anti-inflammatory medications can help to reduce pain so that exercise and physical therapy are more bearable.
- Steroid injections. An injection of the anti-inflammatory hormone, cortisone, can temporarily relieve pain that results from joint swelling and can also help your physician to pinpoint the exact location of the affected joint.
- Rest. If your spinal arthritis worsens after rigorous use of the joint, intermittent periods of rest may be all that is needed to reduce inflammation and pain. However, be sure to avoid prolonged periods of rest, as it could weaken muscles and lead to more pain.
Surgical treatment for arthritis of the spine
If you have tried these conservative treatment options and still find your joint pain to be debilitating, your physician may recommend surgery as a treatment for spinal arthritis. At USA Spine Care, we offer minimally invasive surgery to help treat arthritis of the spine. Since 2005, we have helped more than 75,000 patients find lasting relief from their chronic neck or back pain, setting us apart as the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery. Contact usfor more information and let us help you find relief from neck and back pain.
Our minimally invasive decompression surgery uses a less than 1-inch incision to remove a portion of the diseased disc or vertebra in the spine to decompress the impacted nerve root and relieve pain. If your condition is more severe, our board-certified surgeons+ will use a minimally invasive stabilization surgery to remove the entire diseased disc or vertebra in order to decompress the impacted nerve root in the spinal canal. Once the entire disc or vertebra is removed, we will insert an implant into the empty space to stabilize the spine.
Before deciding on surgery, let the experts at USA Spine Care introduce you to our many minimally invasive procedures. Our outpatient surgeries have helped more than 75,000 patients find lasting relief from their chronic neck or back pain, with much shorter recovery periods and lower risks than traditional open neck or back surgeries.^ To find out if you are a potential candidate for our arthritis of the spine procedures, reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for a free MRI review.* We can help guide you on your journey to wellness.
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