What Is Arthritis Back Pain
Arthritis is caused by inflammation of the joints and it affects every single joint in the human body. Once diagnosed with arthritis, a person can only slow down the effect and reduce the symptoms. This situation cant be cured.
Almost 28% of the US adults are affected by this condition. Arthritis causes immobilization and reduces flexibility.
Depending upon the body part affected, there are over 100 different types of arthritis. Some of the most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, Polymyalgia rheumatic, fibromyalgia, Enteropathic arthritis, Cervical spondylosis that affect various parts of the body.
One of the common arthritis is spinal arthritis that specifically affects the spine. One of the common symptoms is an intense back pain.
Other types of arthritis such as osteoarthritis, neck arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can also cause back pain. So, it is important to properly diagnose your symptoms before taking treatment.
*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.
Risk Factors For Arthritis
Certain risk factors have been associated with arthritis. Some of these are modifiable while others are not.
Non-modifiable arthritis risk factors:
- Age: the risk of developing most types of arthritis increases with age.
- Sex: most types of arthritis are more common in females, and 60 percent of all people with arthritis are female. Gout is more common in males than females.
- Genetic factors: specific genes are associated with a higher risk of certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis , systemic lupus erythematosus and ankylosing spondylitis.
Modifiable arthritis risk factors:
- Overweight and obesity: excess weight can contribute to both the onset and progression of knee osteoarthritis.
- Joint injuries: damage to a joint can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis in that joint.
- Infection: many microbial agents can infect joints and trigger the development of various forms of arthritis.
- Occupation: certain occupations that involve repetitive knee bending and squatting are associated with osteoarthritis of the knee.
More than half of adults in the U.S. with arthritis report high blood pressure. High blood pressure is associated with heart disease, the most common comorbidity among adults with arthritis.
Around 1 in 5 of adults in the U.S. who have arthritis are smokers. Smoking is associated with chronic respiratory conditions, the second most common comorbidity among adults with arthritis.
Use Hot And Cold Therapy
Heat and cold treatments can help relieve arthritis pain and inflammation.
- Heat treatments can include taking a long, warm shower or bath in the morning to help ease stiffness and using an electric blanket or moist heating pad to reduce discomfort overnight.
- Cold treatments can help relieve joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. Wrap a gel ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and apply it to painful joints for quick relief. Never apply ice directly to the skin.
- Capsaicin, which comes from chili peppers, is a component of some topical ointments and creams that you can buy over the counter. These products provide warmth that can soothe joint pain.
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What Kind Of Physical Therapist Do I Need
All physical therapists are prepared through education and clinical experience to treat OA of the spine. However, you may want to consider:
- A physical therapist who has treated people with OA of the spine. Some physical therapists have a practice with an orthopedic or geriatric focus.
- A physical therapist who is a board-certified clinical specialist or who completed a residency or fellowship in orthopedic or geriatric physical therapy. This physical therapist has advanced knowledge, experience, and skills that may apply to your condition.
You can find physical therapists who have these and other credentials by using Find a PT, the online tool built by the American Physical Therapy Association to help you search for physical therapists with specific clinical expertise in your geographic area.
General tips when youre looking for a physical therapist :
- Get recommendations from family and friends or from other health care providers.
- When you contact a physical therapy clinic for an appointment, ask about the physical therapists experience in helping people with OA of the spine.
- Be prepared to describe your symptoms in as much detail as possible, and report activities that make your symptoms worse.
Referred Pain To And From The Lumbar Spine
Pain in the area of the lumbar spine may be due to important problems that are actually unrelated to the back. Referred pain occurs when a problem in one place in the body causes pain in another place. The pain travels down a nerve.. Sources of referred pain to the low back may include abdominal aneurysm , tubal pregnancy, kidney stones, pancreatitis, and colon cancer. Clues to these maladies include pain that waxes and wanes over a short period, with frequent peaks of intense pain, weight loss, abnormalities found during abdominal exam, and trace amounts of blood in the urine. On the other hand, pain can be referred from the low back and be felt in another location, as is often the case with . For example, it is not rare for a patient with a slipped disc in the lower back to have pain in the back of the thigh, or in the calf or even the foot, and not have any low back pain. This situation requires a doctor to sort out the type of pain and to do the examination required to show that the pain is actually coming from the spine .
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When Does Spinal Arthritis Become Spinal Stenosis
As a part of normal aging, the spine can develop arthritis. The discs lose their water content and begin to collapse, bone spurs form, and the ligaments around the joints of the spine begin to thicken. After age 50, these slowly growing bone spurs and thickened ligaments may begin to narrow the spinal canal and compress nerves. The result is slowly worsening pain into the buttocks, hips, thighs, and legs. Walking and standing are often worse than sitting. Feet or legs can become numb or tingle. Walking distances becomes more difficult as the legs begin to feel heavy. Often, patients find themselves standing or walking in a stooped forward position in order to ease the pain. This process of spinal nerve compression is called spinal stenosis. Back pain may or may not be present. Over time, if signs and symptoms of spinal stenosis are ignored, bowel and bladder control can be lost.
Nonoperative Treatment of Spinal Stenosis
Surgery for Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis most often requires surgery to decompress nerve roots and alleviate the pressure caused by the overly narrowed spinal canal. The surgery is called Laminectomy and is commonly done by spine surgeons all over the country.
Risks of Surgery: The risk of infection is 1-2%. If the incision becomes infected, an additional trip to the operating room is usually required to wash out the infection. Antibiotics are required, sometimes through a vein.
Surgical Procedure for correcting spinal stenosis
Treatments For Chronic Arthritis Of The Spine
Common treatments include limiting mobility with the use of a cervical collar or brace. Commonly used drugs are non-steroidal anti inflammatories, Acetaminophen, and morphine. Non drug treatments include, hot and icepacks, electrical stimulation, therapy exercises and ultrasound. However, most of these traditional therapies fail as they only focus on and treat the symptoms of the condition, and not the underlying cause of the condition.
Combining the below therapy treatments to suit you as an individual is suggested, since no two people are alike.
Inversion Therapy can help as it will decompress the spine, removing stress from the joints of the spine. Muscle Balance Therapy will focus on restoring balance in the body, especially the pelvis and the spine which will minimize wear and tear on the spinal discs and joints.
To get a complete list of treatments for Chronic Arthritis of the Spine, you can go to: /conditions/arthritis-of-the-spine/.
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Spinal Changes And Spinal Arthritis
The breakdown and erosion of cartilage quite often lead to the joint changing its shape. This is due to a process known as bone remodeling, says Hagit Rajter, a clinical physical therapist at the Joint Mobility Center, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York City.
Ã¢Bone remodeling may cause bone spurs and cysts to form at the edges of bones,Ã¢ Rajter told Verywell.
The low back is particularly affected when the osteoarthritis is in the spine.This is because the low back takes the day-to-day mechanical stresses of most of your body weight, Rajter comments.
Ã¢The excess pressure on the low back that results in strain and irritated joints already damaged by arthritis can greatly amplify the pain,Ã¢ she says, adding that generally the facet joints and spinal discs are most affected.
Rajter also notes that research supports the premise that osteoarthritis in your low back and hip affect your balance, along with your hip functioning and core strength. These ability decreases can make it more difficult to perform your usual activities at the level to which you may be accustomed. They also make it harder to exercise.
Ã¢These are the indirect consequences of spinal arthritis,Ã¢ Rajter says. Ã¢They are not the disease, but they sure have an impact on it.Ã¢
Deterrence And Patient Education
Low back pain is a widespread condition that affects the majority of patients in their lifetime. Providers need to educate patients on this condition and the various treatment measures to prevent developing chronic back pain. Shared decision-making is a crucial part of an active educative effort between a physician and patient and should be individualized based on patient needs. All education efforts should include key components regarding disease information and emotional support as it pertains to social influences and self-management. Specifically, the diagnosis, prognosis, and management are components of discussion in patients with spondyloarthritis of the spine.
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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.
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.
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What Does It Mean If Lower Back Pain Is Shooting Into Legs
Lower back pain can radiate to other parts of the body: up or down from its place of origin. Sometimes lower back pain can be on one side of the back, which is also normal.
If the pain is shooting from the lower back into one or both legs, it could be sciatica , but its not always the case. There are many parts in the lower back that may cause the pain to radiate into the legs, such as facet joints, sacroiliac joints, muscles or inflammation of the bursa.
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Surgery For Spinal Arthritis
Surgery may be recommended for spinal arthritis if other treatments dont 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.
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Who Is At Risk For Osteoarthritis
Anyone can get osteoarthritis, but it is more common as people age. Women are more likely than men to have osteoarthritis, especially after age 50. Other factors that may make it more likely to develop osteoarthritis include:
- Overweight or obesity
- History of injury or surgery to a joint
- Overuse from repetitive movements of the joint
- Joints that do not form correctly
- Family history of osteoarthritis
Each of these risk factors can cause tissues within the joints to break down and lead to osteoarthritis. You can decrease your chances of developing osteoarthritis by changing the risk factors you can control.
How Is Arthritis Treated
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, your age, and your general health. It will also depend on how what type of arthritis you have, and how severe the condition is. A treatment plan is tailored to each person with his or her health care provider.
There is no cure for arthritis. The goal of treatment is often to limit pain and inflammation, and help ensure joint function. Treatment plans often use both short-term and long-term methods.
Short-term treatments include:
Medications. Short-term relief for pain and inflammation may include pain relievers such as acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications.
Heat and cold. Pain may be eased by using moist heat or dry heat on the joint. Pain and swelling may be eased with cold on the joint.
Joint immobilization. The use of a splint or brace can help a joint rest and protect it from further injury.
Massage. The light massage of painful muscles may increase blood flow and bring warmth to the muscle.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation . Pain may be reduced with the use of a TENS device. The device sends mild, electrical pulses to nerve endings in the painful area. This blocks pain signals to the brain and changes pain perception.
Acupuncture. This is the use of thin needles that are inserted at specific points in the body. It may stimulate the release of natural, pain-relieving chemicals made by the nervous system. The procedure is done by a licensed health care provider.
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Counseling And Other Support
Health care team
Any major disturbance in your life–such as illness or chronic pain–may make you feel anxious, depressed, angry or even hopeless.
This is your first place to turn for help. The team includes your doctor and a nurse. It may also include an occupational therapist or a physical therapist, a social worker, counselor, psychologist and a pharmacist.
Talk to the members of the team about ways to cope with pain. They may be able to help you find services in your area. Don’t be afraid to suggest to your doctor a pain management idea of your own or one from this program. You know yourself and your pain better than anyone.
Many people become depressed when they have severe pain. Some people feel so bad they cannot sleep or eat. In these cases, therapy or counseling may help.
Some people are afraid to admit they need help. They believe that others will think they are crazy if they talk to a professional about their problems. But it’s smart to get help when you need it. If you have the symptoms of depression–poor sleep, changes in appetite, crying, sad thoughts–talk with your doctor.
Some psychologists or counselors are specially trained to work with the emotional side of chronic health problems like arthritis. These people can also teach you how to manage stress. Pain is stressful. If you have increased stress, you may feel more pain. So learning to manage stress can also help you manage your pain.
What Is The Knee Joint
Three bones come together to form your knee joint. They include the:
A smooth substance called cartilage covers the ends of each bone. Its a cushion between the bones that keeps them from rubbing together. The synovial membrane, a type of tissue that surrounds the joint, lubricates the cartilage.
Arthritis of the knee causes pain and swelling in the joint
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Home Remedies For Arthritis
In addition to treatments recommended by your doctor, you can use dry heat from a heating pad or moist heat in the form of a hot bath or a hot-water bottle wrapped in a towel to help relieve pain and stiffness. Heat and rest are very effective in the short run for most people with the disease. Regular exercise is also important to keep the joints mobile.
If you are overweight, losing weight is key, especially when arthritis affects the lower back, knees, and legs. Extra pounds add to the load and pressure on your joints, which can cause your arthritis to get worse faster. Being overweight also raises your chances of related health problems. Consult a registered dietitian who can help you plan a healthy weight loss program.
People with weakened, badly deformed fingers from rheumatoid arthritis benefit from specially designed utensils and door and drawer handles people with weakness in the legs and arms can use special bathroom fixtures, especially tub rails and elevated toilet seats.
Although arthritis may not be preventable, disability is — with a well-designed treatment program, including medications, exercise, and physical therapy when needed.
Here are some more things you can do to help keep the condition in check:
Educate yourself. Take a self-management course to learn specifics on day-to-day arthritis care.
Get active. Exercise can help you move better, lessen pain, and put off disability.