Arthritis Of The Spine Treatment Advanced Short
Although there is no cure for arthritis of the spine, treatments can improve joint function and keep joint pain and inflammation to a minimum. Your symptoms, age and general health will help determine your treatment. Your spine specialist may recommend a combination of the following arthritic spine treatments:
- Medications: Over-the-counter pain medications may be a viable option if your arthritis is mild to moderate. Prescription pain medications may be prescribed for the short-term if your arthritis pain is severe.
- Hot and cold compresses: Applying hot or cold compresses to your back may improve your arthritis back pain and inflammation.
- Physical therapy: Low-impact physical therapy exercises can relieve stiffness and improve your range of motion.
- Steroid injections: An injection of corticosteroid medication into your facet joint may temporarily relieve moderate to severe pain.
If conservative treatments do not provide you with relief from your arthritic spine, a surgical procedure may be recommended. We may suggest , a minimally invasive spine surgery using a tool called an arthroscope. Containing a camera lens and light, an arthroscope makes it easier for our spine surgeons to see inside your joint and make the most efficient surgical repair.
A minimally invasive spinal fusion, which involves joining two or more vertebrae into one single structure, can also be beneficial. It can correct the spinal weakness or instability that severe arthritis in the spine may cause.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis
There are numerous types of arthritis with varying causes. Rheumatoid arthritis is mostly said to be an autoimmune disease.
This means the body attacks itself, though in good faith and with pure intentions Specifically, the immune system, due to dysfunction, attacks the joints and even sometimes organs.
In any case, those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis are plagued with itis, or inflammation.
They also have cartilage loss and thickening of the synovial liquid, which normally lubricates the joints. The resulting friction causes pain and discomfort.
Overview Of Medications Used To Treat Spinal Arthritis A Common Cause Of Back Pain Also Called Osteoarthritis Or Spondylosis
The type of arthritis that more commonly affects the spine is osteoarthritis, also called spondylosis. Other types of arthritis that are inflammatory in nature include rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Here, youll learn about medications for osteoarthritis that affects your neck , mid back , and/or low back .It is not uncommon for arthritic neck or back pain to be accompanied by other symptoms, such as tingling sensations, numbness, or muscle spasms. Photo Source: 123RF.com.
Don’t Miss: What Kind Of Doctor For Arthritis In Hands
Use Heat And Cold Therapy
A hot or cold compress which works better for pain relief? The answer is they both have their place.
Applying heat to the area of the back that hurts provides soothing pain relief for a lot of people. You can choose dry heat applied directly to the sore spots.
Or you can try moist heat, like a warm, moist towel or even a warm bath. The Healthy Back Institute offers a state-of-the-art heating pad thats been shown to melt away pain and restore mobility in just 10 minutes.
On the other hand, using ice packs or a cold compress can help numb arthritis pain.You can alternate between the two, but feel free to use whatever method provides you with the most pain relief.
What Is Spinal Arthritis
Spinal arthritis occurs when the cartilage, joints and discs in your neck and lower back break down.
It can affect any part of your spinal column and typically occurs in the facet joints, or vertebral joints.
Your facet joints are located in the rear part of your spine.
They connect your vertebrae together and make it possible for you to do things like bend, twist and stretch.
These joints are particularly prone to arthritis because of the pressure theyre under every day.
When the cartilage breaks down in your facet joints , daily activities can become more difficult.
If you have cervical arthritis, sometimes called neck arthritis, you will likely have pain in your neck and upper part of the spine.
Spinal osteoarthritis sufferers usually have neck pain as well as lower back pain. Low back pain can also be caused by lumbar arthritis.
You May Like: Does Hot Tub Help Rheumatoid Arthritis
Heat And Cold Therapy
Scientists have proven that applying heat or cold continuously or in frequent intervals can considerably reduce even chronic back pain and offer great relief.
Heat can be either moist or dry. Heating lamps, pads, and wearable heat packs are some of the dry heat sources. A warm bath and warm clothes that are soaked in warm water can be the moist sources.
Cold compressor filled with ice, cold therapy are also beneficial. However, it should be noted that ice should never be applied directly to the skin as it can cause sudden sensation in the nerves and joints around the area.
Also, keeping ice for too long can result in joint stiffness and may even increase the pain. A period of 20-25 minutes is considered as ideal and it can be done 2-3 times a day for best results.
Spinal Discssmall But Essential
The spine is made up of a group of bones called vertebrae that are stacked on top of each other with shock-absorbing discs between each bone. The discs are made of a fibrous outer layer and jelly-like inner layer. The jelly-like inner layer of the disc, called the nucleus, has no direct blood supply and needs alternating compressing and decompressing forces to receive nutrients from the body and stay healthy.
Don’t Miss: How Long Do You Live With Rheumatoid Arthritis
What Are The Most Common Spinal Arthritis Treatment Options
One common treatment option that your doctor may recommend is bracing or a cervical collar to restrict your movement.
If theres no improvement after a period of time, your doctor may recommend spine surgery.
He or she will probably also prescribe a painkiller, like acetaminophen , nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen , or prescription opioids such as codeine and morphine.
Other Forms Of Arthritis
If you have another form of arthritis, your doctor may recommend some of these same medications. NSAIDs are often recommended to help people with various forms of arthritis cope with pain caused by their condition.
DMARDs are also used to treat other types of arthritis, like PsA and ankylosing spondylitis. Doctors often prescribe corticosteroids for people with various forms of arthritis because they can decrease inflammation.
However, more specific treatments are required for some types of arthritis. For example, someone with gout might need to take a drug that lowers the bodys levels of uric acid. A buildup of uric acid crystals is what causes joint pain and swelling.
Another example is someone with PsA who may need anti-inflammatory medications, such as a DMARD or a biologic drug. They may also need topical creams or light therapy to address the skin disease that can occur with PsA.
You May Like: How To Tell What Kind Of Arthritis I Have
Know The Causes And Causes Of The Causes
As with any illness, finding a genuine cure requires looking within to pinpoint the actual cause.
As mentioned above, autoimmunity is one suspected cause. However, some medical experts fail to delve even further the common treatments for this disease are meant to suppress symptoms and the immune system and go no further than that.
One of the reasons so many people chronically suffer from and continue to be diagnosed with this disease is continuous treatment versus healing.
To actually cure this disease, more doctors should do what some are already doing: discover the culprits that trigger an autoimmune response.
How Does Ra Cause Back Pain
RA is an autoimmune condition that causes swelling and pain in joints throughout the body. It can affect the facet joints in the spine.
The paired facet joints run all along the spine. They connect with the bony bumps that a person can feel when they run their hands down their back. Facet joints support movement and flexibility in the spine.
RA-related inflammation in the facet joints can cause back pain. In some cases, extended inflammation can destroy the facet joints. As a result, the vertebrae become less stable.
Instability in the spine can cause a vertebra to slip out of place, which usually means that the upper vertebra slides over the lower one. Doctors call this spondylolisthesis.
If slipped vertebrae put pressure on the sciatic nerve in the lower back, it can cause sciatica.
Sciatica can cause:
- loss of bowel or bladder function
- loss of coordination
- pain that radiates to the arms and legs
However, unstable or severely damaged vertebrae can also press on other vital parts of the body. If left untreated, cervical spine RA can have severe consequences, including:
As RA progresses, it is more likely that people will experience symptoms in their spine.
One study suggests that around 64.5 percent of people with RA may experience lower back pain. The researchers found that people with RA and lower back pain reported a lower quality of life, and that some were at increased risk for depression.
Read Also: Is Red Meat Bad For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Surgery For Back Arthritis
Surgery is a last resort when it comes to arthritis in the back. Know that 95 percent of people with back pain will not need surgery, and 75 percent will fully recover within three months, says Dr. Tiso.
Doctors recommend that you try medications, physical therapy, and weight loss before considering surgery, says Dr. Kilian. The best surgical outcomes often occur in patients who are actively involved in physical therapy and have a healthy body weight, he says.
The type of surgery depends on the type of arthritis and region of the back that is affected. Depending on the procedure performed, surgery aims to decompress any pinched nerves and free up the nerve roots from bone spurs and other tissues that may be pressing on them.
Arthritis Is A Hopeless Disease You’re Doomed
Fact: There is much a person with arthritis can do. Good quality of life is still possible.
The limitations that arthritis imposes on an individual can cause people closest to them to become overprotective. Sometimes, people do too much to try and help the person with arthritis. The disease can interfere with physical ability, but certainly, the one with arthritis should not be viewed as totally dependent or invalid. A certain amount of help and dependence is likely. It must be remembered, though, that it is best to maintain as much independence as possible for both physical and emotional reasons.
You May Like: What Are The Different Kinds Of Arthritis
How Is Osteoarthritis Of The Spine Treated
In most cases, treatment of spinal osteoarthritis is geared toward relieving the symptoms of pain and increasing a person’s ability to function. The goal is to have a healthy lifestyle.
Initial treatment may include losing weight if needed and then, for everyone, maintaining a healthy weight. It may also include exercise. Besides helping with weight management, exercise can also help:
- increase flexibility
- improve blood flow
- make it easier to do daily tasks
Some of the exercises associated with osteoarthritis treatment include swimming, walking, and water aerobics. Exercise may be broken down into the following categories:
- Strengthening exercises. These exercises seek to make muscles that support the joints stronger. They work through resistance with the use of weights or rubber bands.
- Aerobic exercises. These are exercises that make the heart and circulatory system stronger.
- Range-of-motion exercises. These exercises increase the bodyâs flexibility.
Including rest periods in the overall treatment plan is necessary. But bed rest, splints, bracing, or traction for long periods of time is not recommended.
There are non-drug treatments available for osteoarthritis, including:
When Back Pain May Mean Arthritis
Many forms of arthritis and related conditions can cause back pain, stiffness and swelling.
About 80% of back pain is acute and usually lasts one to seven days. Otherwise, its considered chronic and may be caused by arthritis. The lower back is the most common site of arthritis back pain. Several types of arthritis are part of a group of conditions called spondylarthropathies . Spondylarthropathies can affect adults and children.
If you are experiencing pain, swelling and stiffness in the back, you may have one of the following types of arthritis or related conditions.
Axial spondyloarthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that primarily affects hip joints and the joint that connects the bone at the bottom of the spine to the pelvis .
There are two types of axSpA: Radiographic axSpA includes damage to the sacroiliac joints and spine that can be seen on X-rays, and nonradiographic axSpA does not include damage you can see on X-rays but it may show up on magnetic resonance images .
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that affects joints and usually the skin . For about 20 percent of people with PsA, the disease involves the spine . In some cases, bony overgrowth can cause two or more vertebrae to grow together , causing stiffness.
Getting a Proper Diagnosis
You May Like: How To Know If You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis
Make Sure Your Doctor Knows About All Medications Vitamins And Supplements
Talk to your doctor about which pain medications are best for you. Be sure to let your doctor know what other medications you are taking, even for other health problems. Besides other drugs you take, tell your doctor about any vitamins, supplements or herbal products you use. This can help you to avoid drug interactions. Here are other tips for safely using medication.
Sciatica From Arthritis Diagnosis
The most common reasons for sciatica to be associated with osteoarthritis include bone spur growth and facet joint changes. Bone spurs are usually implicated in causing foraminal stenosis, when they grow near the foramen openings in between the vertebrae. In these instances, the osteophytes are suspected to cause a pinched nerve condition as the nerve roots exit the spinal column.
Bone spurs can also cause central stenotic change, possibly constricting the spinal cord. Additionally, when virtually any type of vertebral spurs interact with one another, debris will also be produced, which might help to narrow the central canal, as well.
Facet joint syndrome is the other major source of suspected arthritis pain. However, facet joint pain is also rare and is diagnosed far more often than it occurs. Even when facet syndrome exists, the pain is generally mechanical and not neurological, making sciatica an unlikely possibility at best.
Don’t Miss: How To Deal With Arthritis
Spinal Arthritis Symptoms Causes And Treatment
Spinal arthritis, or osteoarthritis of the spine, is a degenerative condition that affects many older adults. It is the most common form of arthritis. When this specific type of osteoarthritis is present, it is typically the result of inflammation of the facet joints located in the spine or sacroiliac joints at the base of the spine.
Although we are going to focus on osteoarthritis of the spine today, it is important to note that other types of arthritis can affect the spine, including:
- Rheumatoid arthritis of the spine
With more than 27 million Americans living with OA, it is clearly a condition that many are familiar with. Osteoarthritis of the spine can range from mild discomfort to severe pain, impacting your overall quality of life. Unfortunately, in many cases, nothing can be done to prevent spinal arthritis. Regular wear and tear and degeneration are common causes, along with a few others, which we will discuss below.
This diagram shows a healthy spine versus an osteoarthritis spine.
What Causes Spinal Arthritis
In a word: imbalances.
These imbalances can occur in your stress levels, hormone levels and nutritional levels.
But most of the time when we talk about imbalances, were talking about muscle imbalances.
These muscle imbalances can negatively affect your posture, which can lead to neck and back pain.
The causes may vary from person to person, but common factors include degeneration in the bones, along with calcium build-up.
Learn how calcium is affecting your body in my our book, The Calcium Lie II, which you can download for free right here.
Sometimes, injuries or past spine surgery can lead to the onset of spinal arthritis.
Nerves become pinched or compacted, causing severe pain or numbness in the affected areas.
Many people who suffer from spinal arthritis of the spine will also be affected by herniated discs and bone spurs.
These bone spurs can put pressure on the nerves of your spinal column, which may cause weakness and pain in your arms and legs.
Read Also: How Do You Permanently Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
How Is Spinal Arthritis Diagnosed
Your doctor may use some or all of the following diagnostic methods to confirm spinal arthritis:
Medical history and physical exam
Blood tests for genetic markers and/or RA antibodies
X-rays of the spine to locate the arthritic joint
MRI, CT scan, myelography, bone scan and/or ultrasound to zero in on the damage, detect nerve and spinal cord involvement or rule out other causes
Joint aspiration: testing of the synovial fluid inside a joint
To pinpoint the painful joint, your doctor may numb it with an injection and check whether the pain goes away.
Degenerative Disk Disease: Janâs Story
At 78, Jan Greer wanted to stay active and athletic. Herniated disks, stenosis and other degenerative back problems were causing him unbearable pain. When the pain became too much to bear, he turned to Johns Hopkins.
Reactive Or Enteropathic Arthritis
Both reactive and enteropathic arthritis are tied to lumbar arthritis symptoms.
Reactive arthritis is triggered by an infection in your body. It typically results after a bacterial infection, such as chlamydia or salmonella.
Enteropathic arthritis is typically tied to inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohns disease.
Recommended Reading: Does Exercise Help Arthritis In Back