Arthritis of the spine affects millions of Americans and is particularly prevalent among those over the age of 50. This is because the daily wear and tear the spine endures eventually causes elements of it to break down. In the case of spinal arthritis, the constant movement of the spine causes the cartilage lining the spine’s facet joints to wear away, resulting in bone-on-bone friction. When this occurs, inflammation, joint stiffness and bone spurs can result. If a bone spur causes compression of the spinal cord or a nearby nerve root, additional symptoms can develop, including pain, numbness and muscle weakness, that radiate along the nerve pathway to other areas of the body.
Treating spinal arthritis
If you’ve been diagnosed with spinal arthritis and you are enduring painful symptoms, your physician will most likely provide you with a variety of conservative treatment options, including light stretches and exercises. The goal of conservative arthritis of the spine treatment is to reduce the strain on the affected area of the spine. To do this, the muscles surrounding the spine need to be strengthened so they can reduce the spine’s workload. Core exercises are an excellent option, but, as always, be sure to clear them with your physician first.
Some possible choices include:
- Pelvic tilt. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your arms at your side. Tighten your abdominal muscles and tilt your pelvis upward, but don’t raise your buttocks off the floor. Repeat 10 times.
- Glute bridge. Start in the same position as the pelvic tilt, but this time slowly raise your buttocks from the floor until you create a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Repeat 10 times.
- Planking. Start with your hands and knees on the floor and slowly raise one leg and extend it straight behind you while raising the opposite arm and extending it forward. Hold for five seconds, repeat five times on each side.
Core exercises are just one part of a conservative arthritis of the spine treatment regimen. Other options may include facet joint injections, pain and anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy and targeted lifestyle modifications.
When conservative treatments fail
While conservative therapies are often able to produce adequate spinal arthritis symptom relief, more severe cases might not respond to these methods. In such cases, surgery becomes a consideration. USA Spine Care offers minimally invasive surgery that requires no lengthy recovery^ as an arthritis of the spine treatment option, and we can provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a candidate.
Contact USA Spine Care today to learn more.