Osteoarthritis is a common form of arthritis that involves the natural breakdown of joint cartilage that can lead to inflammation of joints throughout the body and the development of bone spurs. Due to the stress placed on the spine from supporting weight and basic movements, arthritis of the spine occurs in a very large number of people.
Although this condition can happen to anyone and there is no way to completely avoid it, some people do have a higher risk of developing arthritis of the spine than others. Whether you have been diagnosed with spinal arthritis or are trying to potentially prevent it, having a better understanding of who is most at risk for this condition can help you make necessary lifestyle changes to best promote your spinal health.
Arthritis of the spine risk factors
Here are some of the specific factors that can make a person more at risk for the development of arthritis of the spine:
- Older age. Osteoarthritis is mainly caused by the natural aging process. Over time our bodies dry out, which can cause joint cartilage to become dry, brittle and more prone to wearing down.
- Being overweight or obese. Carrying extra body weight increases stress on the joints, which over time can accelerate their natural breakdown.
- Genetics and birth defects. People with a family history of arthritis of the spine are more at risk for developing it, as well as people born with bone or joint deformities.
- Poor posture. Improper posture can put uneven stress on the joints, making certain ones wear out at a faster rate.
- Sex. Although the causes aren’t fully understood, women are more likely than men to develop spinal arthritis.
- Lifestyle factors. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, being overly sedentary, poor nutrition and playing high-impact sports can all have a negative impact on joint health.
Arthritis of the spine treatment
For patients diagnosed with arthritis of the spine, doctors will typically first recommend a course of conservative treatments such as anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, massage, heat therapy and cold therapy. It is also important to address any controllable risk factors that may be worsening the condition, including quitting smoking, improving posture and managing weight.
In very many cases, it is possible to maintain a comfortable level of activity by living a healthy lifestyle and following a conservative treatment plan, but patients may start to explore surgical options if weeks or months go by without finding relief. If so, contact USA Spine Care to learn more about our minimally invasive spine surgery. Our procedures offer patients no lengthy recovery and less risk of complication compared to traditional open neck or back procedures.^
If you’d like to find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures, ask for your free MRI review* from a member of our dedicated team.