Degenerative arthritis of the spine, also known as spinal osteoarthritis, is inflammation of the joints in the spinal column. It is called degenerative because it is caused by the natural breakdown of the protective cartilage that allows the joints to move smoothly against each other. Since this condition is mainly related to the natural aging process, it does not have a cure. Often, however, degenerative arthritis in the spine causes little or no symptoms, allowing for a good quality of life with minimal treatment.
If spinal arthritis does become painful and disruptive to your normal activities, it is still possible to find relief by working with your doctor to develop a comprehensive treatment plan. The following can help you be a more informed and engaged patient, giving yourself the best chance to get back to a healthy and active lifestyle if degenerative arthritis in the spine is affecting you.
Arthritis of the spine treatments
While spinal arthritis is not reversible, it is still important to focus on your overall health if you have been diagnosed with this condition. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet, practicing good posture, getting regular exercise, avoiding tobacco products and maintaining a healthy weight can all have a positive effect on the spine, potentially slowing down the natural degenerative process.
For aches and stiffness, or if radiating pain occurs as a result of nerve compression, doctors will generally recommend the following arthritis of the spine treatments:
- Medication, especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Alternating use of hot and cold compresses
- Gentle stretches and physical therapy
- Therapeutic massage
- Anti-inflammatory facet joint injections
Some patients also attempt alternative therapies, such as acupuncture or chiropractic care, but it is important to keep your primary doctor informed of any new treatments you’re attempting to ensure a cohesive plan of care.
Surgery for degenerative arthritis in the spine
In certain cases, spine surgery can become a viable arthritis of the spine treatment, especially if an inflamed joint or a bone spur has resulted in spinal narrowing and nerve compression. At USA Spine Care, our board-certified surgeons+ can treat degenerative arthritis of the spine on an outpatient basis through the use of muscle-sparing techniques. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our facilities, procedures and our caring medical team.
We’re happy to provide a free MRI review* that can help you find out if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.