Weight Loss Exercise And Diet
Think about the extra pounds people carry every day due to their being overweight. This puts added pressure and strain on the back and stomach muscles, causing those muscles to stretch and weaken. Weak back and stomach muscles cannot support the back properly. Poor posture can shift your body out of balance. This forces only a few muscles and joints to do all the work. Without proper exercise, muscles become weak and tire easily. Exercise is necessary to keep the back strong and limber. A good conditioning exercise program led by a trained instructor can be particularly helpful. An effective program includes a warm-up period about 30 minutes of aerobic activity isolated muscle group work and a cool-down period. Over a period of time, the rewards of regular aerobic workouts can include a slimmer waistline and healthier back.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
If you have ankylosing spondylitis, you may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- Why did I get ankylosing spondylitis?
- What is the best treatment for ankylosing spondylitis?
- What are the treatment risks and side effects?
- What lifestyle changes should I make to manage the condition?
- Is my family at risk for developing ankylosing spondylitis? If so, should we get genetic tests?
- Am I at risk for other types of arthritis or back problems?
- What type of ongoing care do I need?
- Should I look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis that mostly affects the spine. Its a lifelong condition without a cure. However, exercise, medications and lifestyle changes can help manage symptoms so you can enjoy a long, productive life. Its rare for someone with AS to become severely disabled. Talk to your healthcare provider about the steps you can take to stay active and manage symptoms.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/21/2020.
What Are The Stages Of Arthritis Of The Knee
There are five stages of osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis that affects your knees:
- Stage 0 . If youre at stage 0, your knees are healthy. You dont have arthritis of the knee.
- Stage 1 . Stage 1 means that youve got some wear and tear in your knee joint. You probably wont notice pain.
- Stage 2 . The mild stage is when you might start to feel pain and stiffness, but theres still enough cartilage to keep the bones from actually touching.
- Stage 3 . If youre at the moderate stage, youll have more pain, especially when running, walking, squatting, and kneeling. Youll likely notice it after long periods of rest . You’re probably in a great deal of pain because the cartilage has narrowed even further and there are many bone spurs.
- Stage 4 . Severe osteoarthritis means that the cartilage is almost gone. Your knee is stiff, painful and possibly immobile. You might need surgery.
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Back Popping Or Crunching
Feeling a crunching or hearing a popping sound when bending or arching the back are signs that cartilage may have worn away and is not protecting the facet joints from friction. The medical term for this symptom is “crepitus.”
The sensation of crunching and popping is common in younger people and does not necessarily mean that joint damage has occurred. In fact, many people who experience crunching or popping have normal spine anatomy and may never have had pain.
Osteoarthritis Of The Knee
If you have osteoarthritis in your knees, both your knees will usually be affected over time, unless it occurred as the result of an injury or another condition affecting only 1 knee.
Your knees may be most painful when you walk, particularly when walking up or down hills or stairs.
Sometimes, your knees may give way beneath you or make it difficult to straighten your legs. You may also hear a soft, grating sound when you move the affected joint.
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Other Conditions And Joint Pain
Other forms of arthritis, and other conditions, can also cause joint pain. Examples include:
- fibromyalgia syndrome, a condition in which your brain processes pain in your muscles and joints in a way that amplifies your perception of the pain
- scleroderma, an autoimmune condition in which inflammation and hardening in your skin connective tissues can lead to organ damage and joint pain
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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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.
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Can This Injury Or Condition Be Prevented
OA occurs as you age, but is not a direct result of getting older. There are many factors that may put you at risk of developing OA, including your family history. Other factors include exposure to risks at work such as assuming prolonged or awkward positions and smoking. Regular conditioning and strengthening exercises will improve the ability of your muscles to work and may help prevent OA of the spine.
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How Is Arthritis Treated
Theres no cure for arthritis, but there are treatments that can help you manage the condition. Your treatment plan will depend on the severity of the arthritis, its symptoms and your overall health.
Conservative treatments include:
- Medication: Anti-inflammatory and pain medications may help relieve your arthritis symptoms. Some medications, called biologics, target your immune systems inflammatory response. A healthcare provider may recommend biologics for your rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis.
- Physical therapy: Rehabilitation can help improve strength, range of motion and overall mobility. Therapists can teach you how to adjust your daily activities to lessen arthritic pain.
- Therapeutic injections: Cortisone shots may help temporarily relieve pain and inflammation in your joints. Arthritis in certain joints, such as your knee, may improve with a treatment called viscosupplementation. It injects lubricant to help joints move smoothly.
Symptoms Of Arthritis Of The Spine
Spinal arthritis causes stiffness and low back pain. The stiffness is worst upon waking up in the morning, tends to ease with activity, then worsens toward the end of the day. Presumably, this is because fluid has built up in the joint due to inactivity overnight, which causes more swelling.
The low back pain due to facet joint arthritis has a typical pattern:
- The pain is mostly more than 80% in the back, runs into the buttocks, and often really feels like its in the hip.
- As it gets even worse people often report burning on the outer aspect of the thigh, and sometimes pain down the leg.
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Exceptional Care For Patients With Arthritis In Spine
The joints of the spine make it possible for us to stand, walk, bend, twist and stretch. A flexible substance called cartilage acts as a cushion between each of the small bones that make up the spine and facilitates smooth, pain-free movement. If this cartilage breaks down due to age, overuse or disease, it can lead to spinal arthritis with symptoms of inflammation, stiffness, severe pain and restricted mobility.
Your health is important. Dont delay care.
If the pain and symptoms of spine arthritis are limiting your ability to enjoy life, we can help. Call today to schedule an appointment with a UH spine specialist.
How Is Arthritis Diagnosed
If you think you may have arthritis, see your healthcare provider. The provider will ask about your symptoms and learn how joint pain affects your life. Your provider will perform a physical exam, which may include:
- Assessing mobility and range of motion in your joints.
- Checking for areas of tenderness or swelling around your joints.
- Evaluating your overall health to determine if a different condition could be causing your symptoms.
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Can Lumbar Arthritis Be Prevented
Your age, family history, and gender can all contribute to arthritis development. Although these factors are outside of your control, there are certain things that you can do to limit the pressure on your vertebrae. Reduced pressure may prevent flares of lumbar arthritis or other symptoms.
To reduce your risk of flare-ups:
Maintain a healthy weight. Carrying excess weight can put unnecessary stress on your joints.
Opt for low-impact exercise. Stretching, yoga, and swimming can all relieve pressure on your back.
Move with care. When dealing with heavy objects, be sure to lift with your knees and not with your back.
Back Pain And Stiffness
Back pain and stiffness are usually the main symptoms of AS. You may find:
- the pain gets better with exercise, but does not improve or gets worse with rest
- the pain and stiffness is worse in the morning and at night you may wake up regularly during the night because of the pain
- you have pain in the area around your buttocks
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What Is Arthritis Of The Knee
Arthritis is a disease that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in your joints. It can affect the largest and strongest joints in your body. Its common in knees. Arthritis of the knee can be a serious, debilitating disease.
Although there is no cure for knee arthritis, there are steps you can take that might ease your symptoms and potentially slow the progression of your disease.
Home Remedies For Cat Arthritis
One of the best ways to help a cat who has arthritis is to create a comfortable environment for them thats also safe. You can do this by:
- Giving your cat a soft, warm bed that is easy for your cat to get into and out of
- Providing a ramp up to places they like to rest such as your bed, a couch, or a window seat
- Providing a litter box with one low side for easy access
- Keeping everything your cat needs like the litter box, food, and water on one floor of your house
- Using soft brushes for grooming
- Helping them maintain a healthy weight to put less stress on their joints
Most cats dont display obvious signs that they have arthritis. They tend to hide their pain, even when theyre in distress. This can make it challenging to identify when there is a problem.
If you pay attention to subtle signs like difficulty jumping or sudden issues with the litter box you may be able to detect potential problems early on. The earlier you can start treating cat arthritis, the better.
If you suspect your cat may have arthritis or is in pain, schedule a visit with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Diagnosing Osteoarthritis Of The Spine
Physicians and surgeons at NYU Langone have extensive experience in diagnosing osteoarthritis of the spine, even when symptoms are mild. Osteoarthritis occurs when the spinal joints, called facet joints, deteriorate and become less functional. This condition usually results from aging, when the joints wear down after years of repeated everyday motions. Osteoarthritis of the spine is most common in people over age 40.
Degeneration of the facet joints often begins with the erosion of cartilage, a smooth tissue that lines the ends of bones in the joints and helps bones move together comfortably. If cartilage in the joint erodes, bones rub directly against each other, causing inflammation and irritation that lead to symptoms such as aching pain, often in the lower back or neck, and stiffness, which may limit mobility. For many people, pain and stiffness are most noticeable first thing in the morning or just before bed.
Repeated friction between bones can lead to the development of small bony growths called osteophytes, or bone spurs. These can get in the way of a nerve as it exits the spinal canal, creating whats called a pinched nerve. When this occurs, compression may cause pain separate from the discomfort caused by osteoarthritis itself. Pain caused by a pinched nerve often travels, or radiates, down the legs or into the arms. You may also notice numbness, tingling, or weakness in the limbs.
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.
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When To See Your Doctor
If youve been experiencing joint pain for a few weeks or longer, visit your doctor. You should see a doctor right away if you become unable to move your joint, notice the joint is very swollen and the skin is overly red, experience severe symptoms that interfere with your ability to complete daily activities. You should also see your doctor if you have a fever or flu-like symptoms along with joint pain. A fever may be a sign of an infection. See your doctor for a proper diagnosis, as each condition is treated differently. Bursitis is usually a temporary form of joint pain, while OA is a longer-lasting form.
For persistent joint pain that is interfering with your daily activities, see a Tristate rheumatologist to make the correct diagnosis and begin the proper treatment.
Contact Us For More Information to Request an Appointment
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Do Certain Types Of Weather Make Arthritis Worse
Some people find that arthritis feels worse during certain types of weather. Humidity and cold are two common triggers of joint pain.
There are a variety of reasons why this might happen. People tend to be less active in rainy seasons and the wintertime. The cold and damp can also stiffen joints and aggravate arthritis. Other theories suggest that barometric pressure, or the pressure of the air around us, may have some effect on arthritis.
If you find that certain types of weather make your arthritis worse, talk to your healthcare provider about ways to manage your symptoms. Dressing warmly, exercising inside or using heat therapy may help relieve your pain.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Arthritis is a disease that affects the joints. There are many types of arthritis, all of which can cause pain and reduce mobility. Some forms of arthritis result from natural wear and tear. Other types come from autoimmune diseases or inflammatory conditions. There are a variety of treatments for arthritis, ranging from physical or occupational therapy to joint surgery. Your healthcare provider will assess your symptoms and recommend the right treatment plan for your needs. Most people can successfully manage arthritis and still do the activities they care about.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/15/2021.
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