Prescription Medications For Spinal Osteoarthritis
- Prescription strength NSAIDs are stronger doses of a chosen non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that helps block certain pain-producing chemicals in your body.
- Muscle relaxants have a sedating effect and are prescribed to ease muscle tension.
- Opioids may be prescribed to manage severe pain.
- Lidocaine in an adhesive patch form may be prescribed for placement on the skin over the painful area.
Techniques For Good Posture:
- Sit in a firm chair with armrests to relieve pressure in your back and shoulders.
- Keep your upper back straight and shoulders relaxed. Keep stomach muscles pulled in, and maintain the proper curve in your lower back. You can do this by tightening your stomach and buttocks. Some people are more comfortable sitting with the back of the chair at a 15- to 20-degree angle. A small cushion behind the lower back to maintain the natural curve of the back also can be quite helpful.
- Keep your knees slightly higher than your hips.
- Use a footstool or book under your feet if necessary.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor or other surface.
- Don’t sit for a long period of time. Stand up every now and then to stretch tight muscles and give them a chance to relax.
- Stand with weight equal on both feet.
- Avoid locking your knees.
- Ease tension in your back by placing one foot on a footstool.
- If you stand for long periods of time, wear flat or low-heeled shoes.
- Keep your back straight by tightening your stomach muscles and buttocks.
- When sleeping,
Lie on your side with your knees bent.
- If more comfortable, place a pillow between your knees while sleeping on your side.
- If you sleep on your back, ask your doctor or physical therapist if placing pillows under your knees would help your lower back pain or make it worse.
- Use a firm mattress.
What Is A Spinal Cord Stimulator
A spinal cord stimulator is a small implantable device that sends a mild electrical current into your spine. The pulse stimulates the area of your spine thats transmitting pain signals to your brain, modifying and interrupting them.
A spinal cord stimulator includes a small generator device that Dr. Jassal implants under the skin of your lower back or upper buttock and an electrode wire that extends from the generator into your spine.
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How Is Osteoarthritis Of The Spine Diagnosed
The best way to confirm a diagnosis of osteoarthritis is by X-ray. The doctor will take a medical history and perform a physical exam to see if the person has pain, tenderness, loss of motion involving the neck or lower back, or if symptoms are suggestive, signs of nerve involvement such as weakness, reflex changes, or loss of sensation.
The doctor may order certain tests to aid in the diagnosis of osteoarthritis of the spine. These tests include:
- X-rays to look for bone damage, bone spurs, and loss of cartilage or disc however, X-rays are not able to show early damage to cartilage.
- Blood tests to exclude other diseases
- Magnetic resonance imaging to show possible damage to discs or narrowing of areas where spinal nerves exit
Natural Treatments For Arthritis
There are currently a number of alternative treatment options available for osteoarthritis sufferers, ranging from supplements to acupuncture. Many people who formerly suffered with osteoarthritis claim to have finally found relief naturally through adjusting their diets, lifestyles and approaches to managing pain. Here are the top seven natural treatments for arthritis.
1. Reach and Maintain a Healthy Weight
Additional body fat strains joints, but accumulated fat itself can also cause problems to joints that are already sensitive and partially damaged. Fat does more than just sit on your body its also an active tissue that creates and releases hormones and chemicals. Some of these promote inflammation and can contribute to worsening arthritis all over your body.
The University of Michigan School of Public Health reports,
Adipose tissue, once considered a passive storage portal of energy, is now recognized as a highly metabolic endocrine organ with the capacity to secrete active agents including adipocytokines, such as leptin, resistin and adiponectin. Over the past decade, interest in these adipocytokines has quickly become an area of intense study with respect to osteoarthritis based on evidence that they may play an important role in cartilage homeostasis and because of their emerging potential as therapeutic targets.
2. Improve Your Diet
Foods for helping treat arthritis include:
3. Stay Active
4. Get Chiropractic Care
5. Take Proteolytic Enzymes
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How Does It Feel
Symptoms of OA of the spine vary from person to person and can range from mild to disabling. You may not have symptoms even though the condition is present. Its onset and progression can be quite slow.
With early or mild disease, symptoms may be intermittent. You might feel stiffness or aching after sitting a long time, on waking in the morning, or after vigorous activity. You or your family may notice changes in your posture. Some people will bend forward or shift to the side. With more advanced OA of the spine, symptoms will become more constant and tend to interfere more with your daily activities, especially with walking and standing.
Common symptoms of OA of the spine include:
- Pain in the back or neck.
- Pain that is worse after prolonged inactivity, on getting up in the morning, or after physical activity.
- Pain that worsens with standing and walking, and gets better with sitting or lying down.
- Stiffness after prolonged inactivity, on getting up in the morning, or with movement of the involved area of the spine.
- With a more advanced condition, symptoms that do not improve with rest and that interfere with sleep.
- Pain, burning, or tingling sensations that spread to the shoulder or arm, or to the buttocks or leg.
- Difficulty performing normal daily activities, such as dressing and bathing, as well as walking and standing, as the condition progresses.
How Arthritis In The Back Is Diagnosed
Diagnosing arthritis in the back begins with taking your medical history and doing a physical exam of your back and legs to assess your mobility/flexibility and make sure your nerves are working properly. The doctor will ask questions about:
- Where the pain is occurring
- How long the pain has lasted
- What the pain feels like/how severe it is
- What situations/activities make the pain feel better or worse
- How the pain is affecting/limiting your daily function
Imaging tests are usually needed to help confirm a diagnosis of arthritis. X-rays are typically the first imaging test ordered. They can joint damage/bone spurs, but cannot show damage to soft tissues such as muscles, ligaments, or bulging discs. Other tests may be ordered to look for changes or damage that is not visible on X-rays. These may include MRI, CT, ultrasound, bone scans, or other tests as needed. The gold standard to diagnose arthritis in the back is actually an injection called a medial branch block, but its not often necessary, says Dr. Kirschner.
Other blood tests may look for genetic markers associated with axial spondyloarthritis, such as HLA-B27, or antibodies associated with rheumatoid arthritis .
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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.
How Can A Physical Therapist Help
Your physical therapist will help you set goals to reduce your symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. You’ll learn how to safely exercise and continue to participate in your normal daily activities.
Your physical therapist can help with a variety of treatment options, including:
Exercise. Exercise is the most important treatment to lessen your pain and improve your mobility. Your physical therapist will prescribe specific low-impact activities that will strengthen your spine, abdomen, and hip musclesâto improve your ability to stand, walk, and balance, and lower your risk of falling.
Caution: Please consult your physical therapist or doctor before starting any exercise program.
Stretching. Your physical therapist will prescribe specific stretching exercises for your spine, arms, or legs based on the results of your initial evaluation. Obese individuals are in special need of stretching and exercises. Combined with strengthening, stretching may help slow the progression of the disease.
Symptom management. Symptom management means learning to feel better and remain active. Sometimes people are fearful that increased activity will worsen their symptoms or increase their pain. Your physical therapist will help you learn how to be more active without worsening your symptoms. The therapist will help you find your appropriate activity levels, and develop a unique program to keep you moving.
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Reasons You Should See A Chiropractor For Arthritis
Theres no cure for arthritis. This can be a hard truth to take for many people who suffer from arthritis. It causes pain and limits mobility. But that doesnt mean you cant continue to function and enjoy life with arthritis.
Seeing a chiropractor for arthritis has many different benefits.
- Chiropractic Care Is Good For Inflammation
- Chiropractors Can Help Arthritis In The Whole Body
- Chiropractic Care Helps With Stress
- Chiropractic Is Safe For Arthritis
- Chiropractic Care Provides a Multifaceted Approach
In fact, chiropractors are uniquely positioned to help you manage your arthritis effectively. They use their expertise with the musculoskeletal system to ease arthritis pain and restore mobility all throughout the body not just in the spine.
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.
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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.
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.
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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
Coping With Low Mood And Sleep Problems
Living with pain can affect your mood and sleep, and its normal to feel low from time to time. If this is something that affects you, try going along to a pain clinic, where you can learn how to manage your pain. Theyll usually take place at outpatient clinics, and you can be referred to them by whoever is treating you.
Pain can be affected by different things, including feeling low or stressed. There are a number of talking therapies and techniques you can learn, which can help you manage your pain, support your emotional wellbeing, and deal with any low feelings you might have. Mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy can help with osteoarthritis.
Learning to relax your muscles can also help, particularly if you have neck pain and are feeling stressed, as this can cause your muscles to become more tense.
A pillow thats too firm or thick can make neck pain worse. Try to sleep with your head level to the rest of your body. Its important to have a mattress that gives your head and spine proper support.
Try having a hot bath, reading a book, or listening to the radio or a relaxation CD to wind down before bed. If pain is waking you during the night, try taking paracetamol or another painkiller before bed. Talk to your doctor or a sleep expert for more advice.
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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.
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.
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Chiropractic Care Provides A Multifaceted Approach
Its probably clear to you now having read the other reasons on this list, but chiropractic care is a multifaceted health care option. This is best exemplified by the different modalities and techniques chiropractors use.
While spinal adjustments are a major component of any chiropractic treatment, they are far from the only tool in a chiropractors toolbox. Since it is a full-body approach, youll often find that the chiropractors office includes a physical therapist, massage therapist, a nutritionist, and perhaps even an acupuncturist.
Some chiropractors are even nutritionists themselves, so they can better help their patients. They understand how all the seemingly separate parts of the body interact with each other. They know that an issue with the foot of the knee can cause problems all the way up to the spine.
When you visit a chiropractor for arthritis, youll likely get an approach that includes:
- Spinal adjustments
- Anti-inflammation techniques including ultrasound, cold laser therapy, electronic stimulation, and heat and ice therapy.
- Posture tips
Types Of Arthritis That Affect The Back
If you have arthritis in your back, its important to understand the type of arthritis that might be causing it. Different types of arthritis have specific medications and treatments. Here are some of the more common types of arthritis that affect the back.
It is common for people with back pain to have more than one cause, which could include arthritis as well as other causes .
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How Chiropractic Can Help With Osteoarthritis
As we age, the wear and tear on the spongy cartilage of our spine can begin to become thinner. Since the cartilage is necessary to keep the bones of the spine from rubbing together, the loss of cartilage can be very troublesome for spinal health. Chiropractic treatment can help relieve the pressure of spinal vertebra that rub together due to loss of cartilage.
When the spinal vertebrae continually rub together, small irregular growths called bone spurs usually form on the joints of the spine. Bone spurs are natures way of trying to stabilize the spine due to loss of the cartridge. This instability can cause patients to experience pain in their back. The lower back is the most common area where the cartilage of the spinal vertebra is lost.
The overall loss of cartilage in the joints of the body is known as osteoarthritis. When located in the spine, osteoarthritis can be divided into two groups: The lumbar spine and the cervical spine.
The lumbar spine is the lower back area. When osteoarthritis, also called lumbosacral arthritis, is located in this area, pain and stiffness in the lower spine is present. The joint that is located between the spine and pelvis, called the sacroiliac joint, can loosen the cartilage that protects it from the surrounding bones. This will cause intense pain in the lower back.
There are several risk factors associated with spinal arthritis such as: