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What does arthritis of the spine mean?

If you have recently been diagnosed with arthritis of the spine or believe you may be suffering from this condition, it’s important to first understand exactly what this term means. Arthritis of the spine generally refers to osteoarthritis of the spine, which occurs when the cartilage that lines the spine’s facet joints wears away due to age and years of wear and tear. Approximately 90 percent of individuals 55 years and older are diagnosed with some form of arthritis, illustrating just how prevalent this condition is.

The most common kind of arthritis is osteoarthritis. This condition typically affects the weight-bearing bones and joints, which is why the spine is so susceptible to developing this condition. The spinal joints are constantly exposed to pressure from our daily movements, putting them at risk of thickening and hardening. When this happens, osteoarthritis of the spine can develop.

When a person has been diagnosed with arthritis of the spine, it generally means that the cartilage in the facet joints of the spine has begun to break down. This can lead to a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Pain that radiates along the affected nerves
  • Stiffness
  • Decreased back motion and flexibility
  • Difficulty sitting, walking or standing
  • The development of bone spurs
  • Pinched nerves
  • Joint inflammation
  • Bone-on-bone contact
  • Numbness
  • Tingling

If you believe you are suffering from arthritis of the spine, the first step to recovery is an appointment with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis. He or she will likely recommend that you begin a series of conservative treatment methods to ease your pain. If after several weeks or months of conservative treatment you have still not found relief, it may be time to contact USA Spine Care.

USA Spine Care offers a number of minimally invasive spine surgeries to treat arthritis of the spine. Our outpatient procedures are often clinically appropriate and provide many advantages versus open neck or back surgery, including shorter recovery times.^ We can also provide you with a free MRI review* to help determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive surgeries.

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