Spinal arthritis is a term that can refer to a number of different forms of arthritis affecting the spinal column. There are also a range of different terms that refer to the same basic condition. The most common form of arthritis of the spine is osteoarthritis, an age-related condition which is caused by deterioration of the joint cartilage and fluid that allows for smooth motion. Osteoarthritis goes by several names including degenerative joint disease, facet disease, facet syndrome and spondylosis.
Other types of spinal arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritis and reactive arthritis. These other types can be caused by factors like genetics, infection and autoimmune disorders. If you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis of the spine or are suffering from symptoms that you think may be related to spinal arthritis, see your doctor for more information about your condition, or for a diagnosis. The following information about the symptoms and treatment for the different types of arthritis can help you become more engaged as a patient and give you a better chance of leading a healthy, active lifestyle.
What are the symptoms of spinal arthritis?
The symptoms of spinal arthritis can vary depending on the specific type of arthritis. For osteoarthritis, common symptoms include:
- Aches and pain
- Crepitus, which is a grating or popping sensation between the joints
- Shooting pain, tingling and numbness in the upper or lower extremities resulting from a pinched nerve
Other types of spinal arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis, can cause joint deformity, fatigue, and dry mouth in addition to local pain, stiffness and tenderness.
Treating arthritis of the spine
Osteoarthritis is an irreversible condition that typically progresses with age. Once cartilage on joints is lost, the body does not repair it or grow it back, so treatments for spinal osteoarthritis are aimed at easing the symptoms and improving range of motion. Commonly prescribed treatments for spinal osteoarthritis are anti-inflammatory drugs, exercise and stretching. Physicians also may recommend cortisone injections directly into the arthritic spinal joints, which can reduce pain and swelling for periods of time.
In certain situations surgery may be recommended if a full course of conservative treatment does not bring the relief needed to resume normal activities. USA Spine Care performs minimally invasive spine surgery that offers patients relief from spinal arthritis with an outpatient procedure involving a less than 1-inch incision.
For more information reach out to our dedicated team of Patient Empowerment Consultants today for no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.