Spinal Arthritis May Contribute To Other Issues In The Spine
Spinal arthritis may cause bone spurs â 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 stenosisâ compression of the spinal cord inside the spinal canal
Radiculopathyâ 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
A spinal deformity called kyphosis
Arthritis In Back Symptoms
Arthritis in back, also known as lumbar facet joint arthritis or lumbar spine arthritis is a known condition that can cause stiffness and pain to the joints found in the back and cause the surrounding tissues to become inflamed. Normally, the joints in the lumbar area or the back are are cushioned with a gel-filled disc and is protected with an outer covering known as cartilage. However, an arthritis condition can cause the cartilage to wear and tear and the discs to erode, thus resulting to irritation, friction, and pain and decreased flexibility in the back. Continue reading
Prescription Medication And Surgery
If OTC medications arent easing your symptoms, your doctor may recommend corticosteroids or muscle relaxants. Corticosteroids are used to control inflammation, and muscle relaxants are used to minimize muscle spasms.
Your doctor will only recommend surgery as a last resort. Its typically only needed in cases where the bones have fused together or where the pain is so extreme that it prevents any range of motion.
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What To Know About Arthritis In Back
Arthritis in back is a common condition of the spine or the lumbar are that may result to various symptoms. Arthritis condition in the back is often seen in elders, but this may affect individuals from different age groups. However, individuals who are at high risk to this condition include the following:
- Older patients
- Obese individuals
- Those who experienced spine injuries
Arthritis in back is a common condition that affects the joint that connects the spinal segments or the vertebrae. The spines vertebrae are connected to each other in three different places. On the front part of the spinal cord, vertebrae are separated the the cushion-like spinal disc. Right behind it, the vertebrae are connected with two small joints known as the facet joints. These joints, together with the spinal disc, permit spinal movements including the arching of the back, twisting sideways and bending forward.
Considered as the most common form of arthritis that usually occur in the back or the spine is osteoarthritis. This is also known as the wear-and-tear arthritis. In case this type of arthritis occurs in the back, experts refer to it as spondylosis. Once the spinal joint starts to become arthritic, the movement of the spine may become stiff and painful. Back or lumbar spine arthritis is often prevalent accompanied by other health conditions that involve the spine, which include:
Contact Spine Institute Of North America For Your Spinal Pain Consultation
No matter the level of spinal pain or discomfort you feel, Spine Institute of North America understands and is here to help. Our physicians specialize in alleviating back and joint pain and are committed to providing an honest, empathetic and personalized approach.
We are leaders in spine and joint pain, and we use the most cutting-edge technology and the least invasive techniques. To learn more about arthritis in the back and how we can help, call us at 609-371-9100 or set up an appointment for a consultation today.
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Should I See A Health Professional
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.
Osteoarthritis In The Neck
Osteoarthritis in the neck is the degeneration of joints, vertebrae, and discs in the cervical portion of the spine. With less padding between them, vertebrae may rub against each other. That can cause tiny bone fragments to break off and float in the synovial fluid .
Sometimes this process stimulates the growth of bony projections along the edges called bone spurs, or osteophytes. Since the padding is now thinner, the vertebrae become closer to each other. That leaves less room for the spine nerves that stick out from the spinal cord.
Symptoms of neck osteoarthritis range from none to pain, stiffness, and inflammation. Osteoarthritis in the neck pain tends to worsen after activity. Complications such as loss of coordination can happen if the spinal cord becomes pinched.
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Are There Any Complications
Some people who have osteoarthritis in their neck might have problems swallowing or when they speak, but this is not very common. This can be caused by bony spurs affecting blood supply to the spinal cord.
If you have osteoarthritis of the spine, you may have other problems that may need treating. Let your doctor know urgently if you:
- have trouble going for a wee, or feel like you need a wee when you dont
- lose control of your bladder or bowel the organs that control wee and poo
- have feelings of numbness or tingling around your genitals or bottom
- lose power in your legs
- feel unwell like having a fever or sweating.
Spinal stenosis is a condition that happens when the spinal canal, which contains the spinal cord, gets narrower. The most common symptoms are pain and weakness or numbness in the area linked to the affected part of the spine such as the legs, arms, neck, back or shoulders.
Spinal stenosis is often caused by osteoarthritis, as the bony spurs that form on the edge of the vertebrae can irritate the nerves in your spine. It can usually be treated with exercise, over-the-counter drugs and steroid injections.
Sometimes surgery will be needed to remove the spurs and make space in the vertebral column.
Arthritis And The Spine
The spine is made up of small, individual bones called vertebrae. They have the task of providing support for the spine. In the spine, arthritis can cause pain and stiffness that you feel most often in your neck and lower back. Cervical arthritis affects the neck and upper part of the spine.
Arthritis is an inflammation and swelling of the joints. The most common symptoms are joint pain and stiffness, and these symptoms typically worsen as you get older. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, with a few being much more common than others.
Four types of arthritis that affect the spine are:
Facet joint syndrome: This arthritis-like condition is the result of the breakdown of the joints between the bones of the spine. It can cause significant neck and back pain. In patients with facet joint syndrome, the cartilage within the facet joints breaks down and becomes inflamed. This causes pain and irritation of the nearby nerves.
Degenerative changes that affect the spine can cause weight to shift unevenly, placing an extra burden on the joints, preventing them from moving smoothly and causing irritation. The irritated and inflamed joints can cause intense pain.
Spinal stenosis: This type of arthritis results from new bone and tissue growth on the spinal column, causing narrowing of the spinal canal. In patients with spinal stenosis, the nerve roots become pinched and irritated, leading to painful burning, numbing, and tingling sensations.
- Lower back
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How Does Arthritis Affect The Joints Of The Leg
When someone suffers from arthritis, inflammatory enzymes are secreted in excess. These can have a negative impact on the health of the joints, whether big or small.
If the inflammation lasts for a long period of time and the condition becomes chronic, additional symptoms such as pain and reduced range of motion can occur.
A vicious cycle occurs the inflammatory process triggers the symptoms, preventing the patient from using the affected joints. Due to the lack of movement, the inflammation becomes worse.
The joints are affected by favoring factors as well, such as the aging process and physical injuries. A predisposition towards rheumatologic conditions can favor the appearance of arthritis and the subsequent leg pain.
Inflammatory Back Pain Vs Mechanical Back Pain
Lower back inflammation is a symptom complex rather than a condition and often indicates inflammation of the vertebrae and/or joints of the spine.
But how can you know if your lower back pain is caused by inflammation or by a mechanical problem
Here are the major differences
- Pain persists for more than 3 months
- The back pain and stiffness tend to ease with physical activity and exercise
- NSAIDs are effective pain relievers
- Pain after standing, bending forward, trunk flexion or extension
- Pain when doing sit-ups, driving long distance, getting out of a chair, running
- Pain when coughing or sneezing
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.
How Arthritis In The Back Is Treated
Treatment for back arthritis depends on many factors, including your age, level of pain, type and severity of arthritis, other medical conditions and medications, and personal health goals. Because joint damage caused by arthritis is irreversible, treatment usually focuses on managing pain and preventing further damage.
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What Is The Outlook For People With Lower Back Pain
The outlook depends on the cause of pain. Most people with back strains and sprains recover and do not have long-term health issues. But many people will have another episode within a year.
Some people have chronic back pain that doesnt get better after several weeks. Older people with degenerative conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis may have symptoms that get worse over time. Surgery and other treatments are effective at helping people with a range of injuries and conditions live pain-free.
Are Patients Being Overlooked
Dr. Fields says the back pain of an attack could be mistaken for something else and treated as such. But what the patient really needs is medication to lower their uric acid level.
Even though a doctor may know the patient has gout, they may assume the back pain is from a herniated disc or osteoarthritis, he explains. They have to do imaging or a biopsy to find the uric acid deposits in the spine.
Spinal gout is rare, but it may be worth talking to your doctor about if you have back pain and a history of gout. You should be even more suspicious if you use diuretics, have high blood pressure or are obese. Early diagnosis and treatment with uric acid-lowering drugs can prevent the need for surgical intervention.
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Spinal Arthritis Causes And Risk Factors
The causes of arthritis in the back or neck vary depending on the type of arthritis you have. Besides normal wear and tear and autoimmune triggers, in many cases the exact cause remains unknown. Genetic components have been identified in connection with some forms of spinal arthritis, meaning that it may be hereditary.
Other spinal arthritis risk factors include:
Presence of certain conditions such as diabetes, gout, psoriasis, tuberculosis, irritable bowel syndrome and Lyme disease
How Common Is Lower Back Pain
Around four out of five people have lower back pain at some point in their lives. Its one of the most common reasons people visit healthcare providers.
Some people are more likely to have lower back pain than others. Risk factors for lower back pain include:
- Age: People over 30 have more back pain. Disks wear away with age. As the disks weaken and wear down, pain and stiffness can result.
- Weight: People who are obese or carry extra weight are more likely to have back pain. Excess weight puts pressure on joints and disks.
- Overall health: Weakened abdominal muscles cant support the spine, which can lead to back strains and sprains. People who smoke, drink alcohol excessively or live a sedentary lifestyle have a higher risk of back pain.
- Occupation and lifestyle: Jobs and activities that require heavy lifting or bending can increase the risk of a back injury.
- Structural problems: Severe back pain can result from conditions, such as scoliosis, that change spine alignment.
- Disease: People who have a family history of osteoarthritis, certain types of cancer and other disease have a higher risk of low back pain.
- Mental health: Back pain can result from depression and anxiety.
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The Best Exercises For Arthritis Back Pain
Arthritis can feel like a real pain in the back. In fact, the back is the most common source of pain among all individuals.
Unlike acute, or short-term back pain, arthritis can mean long-term chronic discomfort.
Symptoms that may accompany back pain include:
Your symptoms may be so severe that you dont feel like moving. But with your doctors consent, you may find that exercise can be one of the best ways to relieve arthritis back pain.
What Are The Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis Of The Spine
Osteoarthritis of the spine may cause stiffness or pain in the neck or back. It may also cause weakness or numbness in the legs or arms if it is severe enough to affect spinal nerves or the spinal cord itself. Usually, the back discomfort is relieved when the person is lying down.
Some people experience little interference with the activities of their lives. Others become more severely disabled.
In addition to the physical effects, a person with osteoarthritis might also experience social and emotional problems. For instance, a person with osteoarthritis that hinders daily activities and job performance might feel depressed or helpless.
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How Will I Know If I Have Lumbar Arthritis
If youre experiencing lumbar arthritis, you may have already been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. In most cases of psoriatic arthritis, a diagnosis of psoriasis will precede any arthritis symptoms that occur.
If youre experiencing stiffness, creaking, and lost range of motion in your lower back and have never been diagnosed by a doctor with arthritis, see your doctor. They will perform a physical exam to check for inflammation and swelling at the site of your pain.
If your doctor suspects that you have arthritis, you will probably need to have an X-ray. X-rays can show any issues with bone density, cartilage loss, and bone spurs that may be causing your pain.
X-rays can also be useful in tracking your arthritis and assessing whether your recommended treatment is preventing further damage to your joints.
Your doctor will also order a blood test to determine what kind of arthritis you have.
You may be referred to a rheumatologist, a doctor who specializes in joint pain, for further testing.
Typical Symptoms Of Spinal Osteoarthritis
The full range of symptoms that typically occur with spinal arthritis includes some combination of the following:
- The back and/or neck stiffness and pain tend to be worse in the morning , often called “first movement pain.”
- The pain will usually subside to a more tolerable level over the course of the day as the person carries on his or her activities.
- Pain and stiffness tend to get worse again in the evening.
- Pain that disrupts sleep is often an indicator of osteoarthritis.
- Swelling and warmth in one or more joints, particularly during weather changes .
- Localized tenderness when the joint or affected area of the spine is pressed.
- Steady or intermittent pain in a joint, which is often described as an aching type of pain. The pain may be aggravated by motion.
- Loss of flexibility of a joint, such as inability to bend and pick something off the floor.
- A crunching feeling or sound of bone rubbing on bone when the joint is moved , particularly notable in the neck.
- A sensation of pinching, tingling, or numbness in a nerve or the spinal cord, which can occur when bone spurs form at the edge of the joints of the spine and irritate the nerves.
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