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Three common causes of arthritis in the lumbar spine

Arthritis of the spine can develop in the lower back when the cartilage that lines the facet joints in the lumbar (lower) spine wears down. When a facet joint loses its cartilage lining, the bones in the joint rub against each other, causing pain, stiffness and inflammation. This can make even the simplest of movements excruciatingly painful.

What causes arthritis of the spine?

For many people, arthritis of the spine develops in the lower back as an unavoidable part of the aging process. The spine endures large amounts of stress on a daily basis to support the body and facilitate movement. Over time, this stress causes parts of the spine, including the facet joints, to wear down. Some other causes of arthritis of the spine in the lower back include:

  1. Injury. Traumatic injury to the spine, such as from a car or sports accident, can injure the facet joints and cause arthritis to develop.
  2. Obesity. The spines of obese individuals are under additional stress to support the excess weight, which means the facet joints can degenerate sooner and at a faster rate.
  3. Heredity. Joint deformity and defective cartilage can be inherited, and both of these can lead to arthritis of the spine.

What should I do if I have arthritis of the spine in my lower back?

People whose lower back pain is caused by arthritis of the spine have a wide range of treatments available to them, so it is important to consult with a physician to determine which treatment will most effectively combat your symptoms. For many, treatment will consist of a combination of conservative methods such as pain medication, corticosteroid injections and heat/ice therapy. Still, others may need to undergo surgery to find meaningful relief from their pain. The board-certified surgeons+ at USA Spine Care perform minimally invasive outpatient surgeries as a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back procedures.^ We can provide you with a free review* of your MRI to determine if you are a candidate. To get started, contact USA Spine Care today.

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