Tai Chi Instead Of Yoga
Alternative exercises like yoga are known to build strength and flexibility. But tai chi may be a better bet for alleviating pain from back arthritis.
Tai chi originated as a fighting technique, but has transformed into gentle, continuously moving stretches. Many poses work from the waist, which enhances spinal stretching.
Unlike yoga, tai chi puts little stress on the joints and helps improve balance. If youre new to tai chi, consider signing up for a class. The exercises can also be modified for severe arthritis back pain.
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.
How Is Spinal Arthritis Treated
The treatment for spinal arthritis depends on many factors. They may include your age, level of pain, type and severity of arthritis and personal health goals. Because the joint damage caused by arthritis is irreversible, the treatment usually focuses on managing pain and preventing further damage.
Nonsurgical treatments for spinal arthritis may include:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids to reduce pain and swelling
Other medications targeting specific symptoms or triggers of inflammatory arthritis
Physical therapy to improve back muscle strength and range of motion in the spine
Lifestyle changes to reduce inflammation or stress on your spine: losing weight, quitting smoking, changing your posture, etc.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Tested For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Treatments For Back Pain
More than 85 percent of people with lower back pain improve with minimal treatment in a matter of days. However, if back problems persist, doctors generally prescribe one or more of the following treatments: proper exercise, rest, heat and cold, posture training, weight loss, stress management and relaxation exercises, medication, spinal manipulation and/or surgery. For some back conditions, the doctor may refer you to another specialist such as an orthopedist, rheumatologist, physiatrist, physical or occupational therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist or surgeon.
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.
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
Arthritis In Lower Back Can Be Hereditary
Mrs P is doing incredibly well, and now comes in every three weeks for maintenance care … Yesterday she told me… Her great niece, aged 17 had Harrington rods put in her spine about four years ago for the scoliosis. It was apparently reasonably successful. But last week, the lass went in for a further spinal fusion at L5-S1 – and woke up with a foot-drop. Nuff said…
Update: Mrs P continues to do well. We have now exended the maintenance treatment to every six weeks. And, the arthritis of the back is no different. Another X-ray would probably look just the same. But she’s a different woman. The arthritis of the back wasn’t per se the cause of her pain.
Research shows that if you are significantly over weight, that losing a lot of weight is the most important treatment you can do for arthritic hips, knees and feet. So choose: a knee replacement or lose 50 pounds. Your call, it’s probably going to be one or the other.
It’s true in religion, but it’s true in healthcare too. Like: “You have arthritis, Mrs Jones. I’m afraid there’s nothing to be done.”
It’s a conviction commonly held in medical circles and light years from the scientifically proven truth. Think fatty fish, think exercise, think weight loss, think strawberries, think magnesium deficiency … think Chiropractic.
But yes, sometimes it is difficult. Always? Definitely not!
Recommended Reading: Is Arthritis And Autoimmune Disease
Surgery For Spinal Arthritis
Surgery may be recommended for spinal arthritis if other treatments donât sufficiently relieve pain. The goals of the surgery may include:
Stabilizing the spine by fusing several segments together in a procedure called spinal fusion
These surgeries can be performed as open procedures or with a minimally invasive approach. There are pros and cons to each method. The surgeon will review and discuss the options before the operation.
Lifestyle Changes And Alternative Treatments
Certain lifestyle changes can help relieve the pressure on your spine and improve your overall outlook.
- eating foods that reduce inflammation
- quitting smoking
- reducing alcohol consumption
You may also benefit from working with a physical therapist. They can help you perform specific exercises that may restore lost range of motion in your lower back.
Pain from lumbar arthritis can also be treated by alternative or complementary medicine, especially in early stages. Acupuncture and chiropractic care felt in the lower back, but they arent long-term solutions.
Recommended Reading: Does Cracking Your Knuckles Give You Arthritis
What Should I Know About Back Pain
Back pain is a very common problem and will affect many of us at some point during our lives.
The good news is that in most cases it isnt a serious problem, and it might just be caused by a simple strain to a muscle or ligament.
As far as possible, its best to continue with your normal everyday activities as soon as you can and to keep moving.
Being active and exercising wont make your back pain worse, even if you have a bit of pain and discomfort at first. Staying active will help you get better. Taking painkillers can help you do this.
Questions To Ask The Doctor About Medications:
- What will the medication do?
- How long will it take before I notice results?
- What is the name of the medication? Is there a generic brand?
- Are there side effects I should know about?
- How should I take the medication ?
- How often should I take the medication?
- What should I do if I forget to take a dose at the specified time?
- Let your doctor know if you are taking other medications. Sometimes certain medications cannot be taken together.
Recommended Reading: How To Tell If You Have Arthritis In Your Thumb
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.
Osteoarthritis Of The Back/spine
Spinal OA can make it hard to get around. Treatment can ease your back pain.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis that affects the back. It can occur anywhere along the spine. Usually the low back and sometimes the neck are affected.
In OA, the cartilage that pads the ends of the bones wears down. In spinal OA, this occurs in the facet joints small joints located between and behind vertebrae.
When you move, the bones rub together painfully. Bony growths form in the joints. These spurs can press on nerves, causing more pain.
Causes of Back/Spine OA
The cause of OA is unknown. Some common factors that play a role in OA include:
- Age: The older you are the greater your chance of having OA.
- Weight: People who are overweight are more likely to have OA.
- Stress: Repeated joint stress from work or sports can increase your risk.
- Injury: A back injury can lead to OA.
- Genetics: Some people have a family history of OA.
Symptoms of Back/Spine OA
Symptoms usually start slowly and get worse as time goes by. Pain and stiffness may be worst when you first wake up or after sitting for a long time. Pain can also get bad after being very active.
- Stiffness and a loss of flexibility: Turning your neck or straightening your back may be tough.
- Pain: Your low back is the most common site of pain.
- Crepitus: You may have a feeling of grinding when moving.
- Tenderness and swelling: Your back along the affected joints may be sore to the touch.
Diagnosing Back/Spine OA
Nerve Pain Or Numbness
As the joint breaks down due to arthritis, bone spurs can form. These bone spurs can come in contact with nerves in the spinal column and cause pain, tingling, and numbness in other areas.
You may not notice these sensations all the time, but they can become problematic when doing even the most basic activities, like bending over to tie your shoes, or reaching up to get something from the top shelf.
Osteoarthritis Of The Spine
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of spinal arthritis. It usually affects the lower back and develops through wear and tear. As the cartilage between the joints slowly breaks down, it leads to inflammation and pain. Because the pain is from mechanical damage, it is typically more noticeable when you bend or twist your back. Past back injuries may also contribute to the development of degenerative arthritis of the spine.
Osteoarthritis of the spine usually affects the facet joints between the vertebrae. It is also known as facet joint arthritis, facet joint syndrome and facet disease. In some cases, degeneration of the spinal discs may contribute to facet joint arthritis. As discs between the vertebrae become thinner, more pressure is transferred to the facet joints. This leads to more friction and more damage to the cartilage.
When these degenerative changes occur in the neck, this condition is called cervical spondylosis. Arthritis in the neck doesnât always cause pain, and many people have no noticeable symptoms.
Also Check: How To Keep Arthritis At Bay
What Causes Ankylosing Spondylitis
About 95% of people who have AS have a variation of the human leukocyte antigen-B gene . This changed, or mutated, gene produces a protein called HLA-B27 that increases disease risk. However, most people with a mutated HLA-B gene dont get AS. In fact, 80% of children who inherit the mutated gene from a parent with AS dont develop the disease. More than 60 genes have been linked to the condition.
Having one of these conditions may also increase your risk:
Preventing Arthritis In The Back
It is very hard to cope up with your work if you are always bothered with some pain in your back due to arthritis. This can make your back hurt so much that all that you want to do is to have some nap and stop working. Arthritis in the back can make you lose your productivity. You should therefore learn to minimize or prevent the pain if you want to continue enjoying your life.
Here are some tips in order to prevent arthritis in the back:
Recommended Reading: What Type Of Disease Is Rheumatoid Arthritis
Treating And Managing Flare
Talk to your doctor about how to handle flare-ups, and let them know if they happen a lot. They may need to change your treatment plan.
Some flare-ups get better after you rest and take over-the-counter pain meds for a couple of days. Call your doctor if they last longer than that, or if your symptoms are intense.
Medication changes. You might need to adjust your medication temporarily, or add a new one. Medicines that can help with flares include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , either prescription or over-the-counter. You may take them as a pill or put them on your skin. Acetaminophen helps some people. Your doctor may also inject steroids into your joints.
Rest. One of the best ways to deal with a flare is to take it easy. Take a sick day if you need to. Ask family members to help out with chores. But try not to stop moving completely. Do a few gentle stretches to keep yourself from getting stiff.
Hot and cold therapies. Moist heat around your joints boosts blood flow and relaxes muscles. A warm paraffin wax dip may make your hands or feet feel better. A special machine heats the wax, which is the same type used in candles.
If too much exercise causes flare-ups for you, use an ice pack right after your workout to ease pain. A cold compress may help at other times, too. Cold constricts your blood vessels, which decreases blood flow. That leads to less pain.
Limit the use of either of these methods to two to four times a day, for no more than 15 minutes at a time.
Were Treating Lower Back Pain All Wrong Heres How To Do It Right
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Low back pain is the most common cause of disability worldwide, with eight in 10 people reporting the problem at some point in their lives, according to doctors.
But a new study on Wednesday found that people arent often getting the care they need to address their back pain.
The best cure for most people? Exercise. Regular movement is the best way to help with the vast majority of cases of low back pain, according to Doug Gross, a co-author of the study and a professor of physical therapy at the University of Alberta.
Although many people believe that bed rest or medication is what you should do when you have back pain, We know that the best management is just the opposite: you dont rest, you dont become immobilized, said Gross.
We tend to view back pain as something serious, he said, and so assume that rest and medication are the answer. And if it doesnt get better, patients get x-rays or MRIs or get referred to orthopedic surgeons. Ultimately most of those things are ineffective and they dont reduce the long-term disability that is associated with back pain.
Although he recognizes that the pain might limit your movement somewhat for a little while, you should not cut back on all your activities. And, he says, you should be confident that you will get better and not hold back on activities out of fear.
Foods You Should Take In When You Have Arthritis In The Back
In regulating arthritis in the back, you can try to check the foods that you are eating. Vegetables are very good to eat if you have arthritis. Foods which are rich in sulfur can bring you healing. They can repair the bones, cartilage and tissues. They can also help you absorb the calcium better.
You can also try eating some brown rice. Pineapple is also a fruit which can be good for your aches and pains due to arthritis. You can also eat fruits like cherries, apples, or bananas. Bromelain can lessen the inflammation in the back. Some vegetables which are also good for arthritis are celery, wheat grass, alfalfa, garlic and parsley.
If you can, try some juice fast for 4-6 weeks. It will dissolve the deposits in the joints and the tissues. Potato juice is also a must try if you want to have some relief from arthritis. You can make this using some electric juicer. Just cut the potatoes in small slices, mix with cold water and leave it overnight. You can drink it the following morning.
In order to prevent anemia which often accompanies arthritis, remember to drink iron supplements or foods rich in iron too. To prevent liver damage, eat fruits and vegetables which contain beta carotene. Have some carrot juice on hand as a refreshing drink.