Sunday, April 14, 2024

Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Cause Lower Back Pain

Rheumatoid Arthritis Back Pain: Symptoms And Treatments

Is Your Back Pain / Backache from Arthritis? 3 Quick Tests

There are many potential causes for back pain, including injuries, strain, or even physical exercise. But when aches last for weeks or months, it may be time to rule out temporary injury and start looking for an underlying condition.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis a chronic autoimmune disease best known for causing inflammation and damage in the hands, wrists, and knees you may think your condition is also having a negative effect on your spinal health. In some cases, this may be true, but for the most part, spinal changes in people with RA are not due to inflammatory arthritis.

Heres what to know, including other potential causes of your back pain, and ways to find relief.

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Common Causes Of Tailbone Pain

Tailbone pain can have many origins. External trauma, such as a fall that causes fracture, dislocation, or bruising, is a common explanation for coccyx pain. Internal trauma can be caused by intense childbirth or sitting on a hard or narrow surface, like a bicycle seat, for a long time. Less commonly, tailbone pain can be caused by infection, abscess, and tumors, which are harder to pinpoint and diagnose, and can have very different treatment plans than tailbone pain from trauma to the body.

Different demographics of people face differing risks for lower back pain in the tailbone region. Those who are female, obese or underweight, pregnant, or older are considered the most likely to develop coccyxdynia.

How Will It Affect Me

If you have osteoarthritis of the knee, you will probably feel your knee is painful and stiff at times. It may only affect one knee, especially if youve injured it in the past, or you could have it in both. The pain may feel worse at the end of the day, or when you move your knee, and it may improve when you rest. You might have some stiffness in the morning, but this wont usually last more than half an hour.

The pain can be felt all around your knee, or just in a certain place such as the front and sides. It might feel worse after moving your knee in a particular way, such as going up or down stairs.

Sometimes, people have pain that wakes them up in the night. Youll probably find that the pain varies and that you have good and bad days.

You might find you cant move your knee as easily or as far as normal, or it might creak or crunch as you move it.

Sometimes your knee might look swollen. This can be caused by two things:

  • Hard swelling: when the bone at the edge of the joint grows outwards, forming bony spurs, called osteophytes .
  • Soft swelling: when your joint becomes inflamed and produces extra fluid, sometimes called an effusion or water on the knee.

Sometimes osteoarthritis of the knee can cause the muscles in the thighs to weaken, so your leg may look thinner. This weakness can make the joint feel unstable and could cause the knee to give way when you put weight on it.

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What Is Arthritis Of The Spine

When people say arthritis of the spine they are mainly talking about osteoarthritis. This is the most common sort and occurs in almost everyone as we get older. There are characteristic changes to the discs, vertebrae and spinal joints. The first sign on an X-ray or MRI scan is a loss of fluid from the jelly in the centre of the discs, especially of the lower lumbar spine. The discs then lose height and in the advanced stages can almost disappear. This is why we get shorter as we get older. The spine responds to these changes by growing bony spurs to buttress the ageing discs which give the spine a bumpy shape on X-ray and other imaging. The discs in the lower back carry the most load so this is probably why they have these changes first.

The spinal joints are prone to osteoarthritis too. First the non-stick surface of the cartilage covering the bones gets roughened and pitted as it wears a bit. The joint may make more noise as it moves so you may hear more clicks and crunching sounds. Sometimes it sounds like grit in the joint although this is rarely painful. In the advanced stages extra bone growth occurs here too and this can be seen as bony spurs on imaging. The range of movement of the joint decreases and this leads to loss of flexibility as we get older.

What Can I Do


Learn about back pain and play an active role in your treatment. Not all information you read or hear about is trustworthy so always talk to your healthcare team about treatments you are thinking about trying. Reliable sources of further information are also listed in the section below. Self-management courses aim to help you develop skills to be actively involved in your healthcare. Contact your local Arthritis Office for details of these courses.

Stay active and healthy. Your back is designed for movement. Continuing with your normal activities or returning to them as soon as you can will help you recover from a bout of back pain. Some pain with activity is normal but does not mean it is causing harm. You may need to rest or reduce some activities when the pain is excessive. But resting for more than a day or two usually does not help and may do more harm than good. See a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist for advice about exercises to keep your back moving. If you are carrying extra kilos, losing weight with the help of a dietitian may be of benefit, as may be strategies to reduce stress and anxiety.

Learn ways to manage pain. There are many things you can try, including

Acknowledge your feelings and seek support. It is natural to feel worried, frustrated, sad and sometimes angry when you have pain. Be aware of these feelings and get help if they start affecting your daily life.

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A Weightlifter With Tight Calves

An important position to be able to get in for most weightlifting athletes is a squat. This is a complex position requiring mobility from head to toe. Having a lack of mobility in your calf or ankle musculature is a surefire way to end up with a squat that either favors one side of the body, or puts another joint at jeopardy and can easily lead to back pain and sciatica. Your calf musculature plays a big role in how well your ankles bend to allow you to put your weight appropriately in your feet. If the ankles do not bend far enough forward, one of two things usually happens.

Compensation #1: Your weight stays too far back in your heels. Now a lot of your weight should be in your heels with a good squat, but more is not better in this case. When you are unable to get a good amount of weight to your forefoot due to tight calves, this can expose you to compensating to get weight forward elsewhere. It can lead to you rounding your back or pushing your shoulders too far out in front of you to provide the counterbalance. This can expose you to low back pain, shoulder pain, or neck pain. If youre curious about solutions for those issues, just click the links. Rounding your back can be dangerous because it may expose you to herniated or bulging discs.

If youre ready to work with an expert so that you can get rid of this pesky issue, give us a call at 480-482-0651 or stop by our contact us page to fill out a contact form and let us know how we can help!

Symptoms Of Ra In The Back

The C1 and C2 vertebrae in your neck connect both to your skull and the rest of your spine.

When RA affects this region, it can cause a person to have difficulty keeping stability and to experience stiffness and pain throughout their back.

RA pain can be different for each person. It can be dull or sharp, or it may just feel like tightness.

Some people with RA may experience pain radiating up the back of their head. This may feel like a dull pain. Alternatively, it may feel like a shooting or stabbing pain, which is a phenomenon called Lhermittes sign that can occur with different conditions, including RA.

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Spinal Arthritis May Contribute To Other Issues In The Spine

Spinal arthritis may cause bone spurs overgrowths on the edges of the bones. In the spine, bone spurs particularly affect facet joints, making them grow larger. This condition is called facet joint hypertrophy. Although bone spurs on their own are not harmful, they may narrow the passages for the spinal cord and the nerves exiting the spine. This may lead to two painful conditions:

  • Spinal stenosis compression of the spinal cord inside the spinal canal

  • Radiculopathy pinching of the peripheral nerves as they exit the spine

Ankylosing spondylitis may also cause additional problems such as:

  • Stress fractures in places where new bone has formed

  • Collapsed vertebrae

  • A spinal deformity called kyphosis

Should I See A Health Professional

How to Get Rid of Lower Back Rheumatoid Arthritis FAST!

Most people with low back pain do not need to see a doctor or other health professional as the pain will get better within a week or two. In most cases tests such as x-rays, scans and blood tests are not helpful in finding out the cause of back pain. They are best avoided as they may lead to further unnecessary or harmful medical interventions.

Talk to your doctor if your pain does not settle down after a few weeks, or starts getting worse, or you become very worried by it. A physiotherapist can also be helpful in providing reassurance and helpful information.

You should see your doctor immediately if:

  • you have new symptoms such as losing weight, sweats and chills, problems controlling your bladder or bowel, tingling or numbness in your legs or saddle region
  • you have osteoporosis or a history of cancer
  • you are prone to infection, or you are an intravenous drug user.

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About Tristate Arthritis And Rheumatology

Tristate Arthritis and Rheumatology is first and largest Rheumatology practice in the Northern Kentucky area. Founded by Dr. Arthur Kunath in 1986, our rheumatology practice now consists of six doctors who are board certified in both Internal Medicine and Rheumatology and a Physician Assistant. Patients see one doctor , thereby assuring continuity of care and an individualized doctor-patient atmosphere giving the physician the ability to establish personalized and detailed relationships. Our doctors have received numerous awards, including being listed as Top Doctors in Cincinnati Magazine, receiving the Patients Choice Award, the Most Compassionate Doctor Award, and the American College of Rheumatologys My Doc Rocks award.

Diagnosis Of Rheumatoid Arthritis Of The Spine

RA is a clinical diagnosis based on the medical history of joint pain, distribution of joint involvement, and characteristic laboratory abnormalities. Blood test abnormalities include an increase in rheumatoid factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated protein antibodies. In the setting of hand and foot arthritis, the finding of neck pain associated with radiographic characteristic abnormalities including subluxations, cervical spine joint erosions without bone thickening, and disc space narrowing without bone spurs is most appropriately attributed to RA.

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Rolandmorris Disability Questionnaire And Definition Of Dysfunctional Lbp Definition

The RolandMorris Disability Questionnaire was used to determine dysfunctional LBP. This self-reported outcome measure was translated and validated in Japanese in 2003 . Stratford et al. indicated that a threshold of> 4/24 RDQ points provided a reasonably accurate classification LBP of patients as functional or dysfunctional. Hence, we defined dysfunctional LBP as5 RDQ points.

Tips For Managing Tailbone Pain

Hip Arthritis Severe Pain Dizziness Causing ~ Dcss Arthritis Studiodoc

People with RA may choose to manage tailbone pain just as they would manage the symptoms of an RA flare. This treatment plan may include pain management with over-the-counter pain relievers such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , corticosteroids, regular use of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, and heat and cold therapy.

Ways to reduce tailbone pain and other RA symptoms include:

Additional lifestyle recommendations for tailbone pain include leaning forward while sitting down and sitting on a doughnut or wedge-shaped cushion to help ease tailbone discomfort.

Some myRAteam members shared their experiences with different forms of tailbone pain management:

  • I am on Plaquenil and methotrexate injectable. These meds are to put my rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and Sjögrens in remission, and they do help my pain.
  • Steroids helped me. I had a high dose to start and weaned off them shortly after. I found that I didnt have many side effects.
  • When Im in a lot of pain, I will run a hot bath.
  • Aleve, heating pads, and hot baths are the only things that seem to dim the pain.

If your pain doesnt improve over time, medical interventions may include physical therapy targeting the pelvic floor muscles, medications such as antiepileptics and antidepressants, and in extremely rare cases surgical removal of the coccyx bone.

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Is Back Pain A Symptom Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic, inflammatory disease that affects roughly 1 percent of the global population, according to a 2015 study. As an autoimmune disease, the symptoms of RA occur when the body’s immune system begins targeting the joints and causing inflammation. These attacks damage the joint tissue and can lead to chronic pain, deformity, and limited mobility.

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The cervical spine is the very top of the spine, in the neck. Its joints, C1 and C2, are surrounded by synovial fluid. Because RA attacks the synovium, these joints are at risk of inflammation, damage, and pain from RA. Its not unusual for RA to cause inflammation in the spinal joints C1 and C2 around 80 percent of people with rheumatoid arthritis show signs of cervical spine inflammation.

However, 64.5 percent of people with RA report having chronic lower back pain, according to other study findings. For people with pain in the thoracic and lumbar spine , the cause isnt inflammatory disease activity from RA but it may be related to your RA in other ways. Arthritis in the feet, hips, or knees from rheumatoid arthritis can cause undue strain on the back and accelerate the development of structural arthritis in the spine. In addition, medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, such as steroids, can affect spinal health and lead to backaches.

Other Body Parts Ra Can Affect

  • Bones. The chemicals that cause inflammation can also take a bite out of your bones. It often affects your hips and spine. Sometimes, itâs a byproduct of years of treating RA with steroids.
  • Liver and kidneys. Itâs rare for RA to affect these organs. But the drugs that treat it can. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be bad for both. Cyclosporine may cause kidney disease. Methotrexate can damage your liver.
  • Immune system. The medications you take can slow it down. This makes you more likely to get infections.
  • Mucous membranes. You might be more likely to get a condition called Sjogrenâs syndrome that dries out moist places in your body like your eyes, your mouth, and inside your nose.
  • Muscles. When inflammation stops you from moving your joints, the attached muscles can get weak. Or you could get a condition called myositis that weakens them. The medications you take for RA can also be to blame.
  • Nerves. RA causes symptoms that range from numbness and tingling to paralysis. It can result from joint damage that RA causes, the disease process itself, or medications that treat it.
  • Blood vessels. RA can cause inflammation of your blood vessels. It can show up as spots on the skin or can cause ulcers in more severe cases.

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Tendon And Muscle Injuries

Tendon injuries often occur in runners due to overload. The tendons most likely to be affected include the hamstring on the inside or outside . Rarely, a small tendon called the popliteus wrapping around the outside of the knee joint can become swollen and painful.

In addition, hamstring muscle tears can occur close to the outside of the knee. Usually, these tears occur about 5cm above the knee joint. It is important to define the exact location of the tear, as location determines the time to return to sport.

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Talk With Others Who Understand

Treating Back Pain Caused by Arthritis

On myRAteam, the social network for people with rheumatoid arthritis and their loved ones, more than 190,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with RA. Here, finding home remedies to alleviate pain is a commonly discussed topic.

Are you looking for ways to find relief from tailbone pain? Is chronic low back pain affecting your quality of life? Share your experience in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.

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Exercise And Home Remedies

If RA in the hip limits mobility, working with a physical therapist or an occupational therapist can help improve joint flexibility and walking. Youll learn specific exercises to strengthen your hip joint. A few strategies include:

  • Low impact exercises: This may help to reduce inflammation and ease hip pain. Try gentle workouts, including cycling, swimming, or water aerobics.
  • Heat and cold therapy: Use heat to reduce stiffness in the joints and cold to alleviate pain.
  • Meditation, deep breathing exercises, and relaxation: These can all help lessen stress. Chronic stress stimulates your body to produce more mediators of inflammation throughout your body.

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