How Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect The Cervical Spine
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, systemic, autoimmune disease in which the immune system, which is designed to attack foreign bodies like bacteria and viruses, mistakenly attacks other healthy areas of the body, including the spines facet joints and even organ systems. Untreated, attacked joints can become deformed and lose their mobility.
When it comes to spine pain, a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis is limited to the cervical spine. People can have problems, such as facet joint arthritis, further down the spine, but this is likely not due to RA. It is possible to have both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis at the same time.
If you have RA, you are part of a group of 1.3 million other Americans who have the disease.1 The disease causes morning joint stiffness that can last one to two hours or the whole day. It generally improves with movement of the joints. Other signs and symptoms include loss of energy, low fevers, loss of appetite, and lumps in the elbows and hands, called rheumatoid nodules. About 75% of RA patients are women, but cervical spine involvement is more common in male patients and those with a positive rheumatoid factor.
When rheumatoid arthritis loosens ligaments, erodes bone or causes thickened tissue around the atlantoaxial joint, it can compress the spinal cord and brain stem, which can lead to paralysis or even death if the neck is moved in certain positions. Fortunately, there are many treatments to avoid these outcomes.
How Is Spinal Arthritis Diagnosed
Your doctor may use some or all of the following diagnostic methods to confirm spinal arthritis:
Medical history and physical exam
Blood tests for genetic markers and/or RA antibodies
X-rays of the spine to locate the arthritic joint
MRI, CT scan, myelography, bone scan and/or ultrasound to zero in on the damage, detect nerve and spinal cord involvement or rule out other causes
Joint aspiration: testing of the synovial fluid inside a joint
To pinpoint the painful joint, your doctor may numb it with an injection and check whether the pain goes away.
Ways To Manage Arthritis
There are a lot of things you can do to manage your arthritis. The day-to-day things you choose to do to manage your condition and stay healthy are self-management strategies and activities. CDCs Arthritis Program recognizes five self-management strategies for managing arthritis and its symptoms.
Practice these simplestrategies to reduce symptoms and get relief soyou can pursue the activities that are important to you. These strategies can even help you manage other chronic conditions you may have, such as diabetes, heart disease, or obesity.
Use these 5 strategies to manage your arthritis at any age.
Join a self-management education workshop, which can help you learn the skills to manage your arthritis and make good decisions about your health.
How can a self-management education workshop help me?
Learning strategies to better manage your arthritis can help you:
- Feel more in control of your health.
- Manage pain and other symptoms.
- Plan and carry out valuedactivities, like working and spending time with loved ones.
- Improve your mood.
- Communicate better with your health care provider about your care.
Learn about CDC-recognized self-management education programs that improve the quality of life of people with arthritis.
Stay as active as your health allows. Some physical activity is better than none.
Unsure about what kind of activity is safe?
The focus of arthritis treatment is to
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What Types Of Arthritis Can Affect Your Back
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of spinal arthritis, and the risk typically increases with age. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease in which the cartilage that cushions the ends of the joints wears away. As the cartilage degenerates, it can lead to pain and stiffness.
Spondyloarthritis is a term for different types of arthritis that share specific symptoms, typically inflammation in the spine. There are two main types of SpA: axial and peripheral .
Reactive arthritis is a kind of peripheral spondyloarthritis that occurs in response to an infection in your body, often caused by gastrointestinal conditions.
Psoriatic arthritis is another sort of spondyloarthritis that can cause back pain, although it usually affects the peripheral joints, such as those in the knees, fingers, and toes.
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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Expert Q& A: Back Strain Or Arthritis
Understand the difference between spinal arthritis and other types of back pain, and try these pain-relieving tricks.
Question: I am a 35-year-old man who has had pain in my lower back for the past couple of weeks, and Id like to know some methods for low back pain relief. Because my mother and an aunt both have arthritis, Im also wondering if Iâm developing arthritis, too.
A: Itâs possible, but very unlikely, that you have arthritis of the spine. The most common cause of acute low back pain in people your age is back strain. This condition is caused by strain to the muscles or ligaments supporting the spine or a herniation of the lumbar disks . It is not always possible to differentiate between the two causes, nor is it necessary. In the vast majority of cases, the pain improves and subsides over several weeks.
Assuming your problem is simple back strain , the following advice can help you achieve low back pain relief:
Doyt Conn, MD
Emory University School of Medicine
How Is Septic Arthritis Diagnosed
Early diagnosis of septic arthritis is important. This is to prevent permanent damage to the joint. The process starts with a medical history and a physical exam. Tests may also be done, such as:
- Removal of joint fluid. This is done to check for white blood cells and bacteria.
- Blood tests. These are done to look for bacteria.
- Phlegm, spinal fluid, and urine tests. These are done to look for bacteria and find the source of infection.
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Can I Resume My Normal Activities After Radiofrequency Ablation
You will have a few restrictions immediately following radiofrequency ablation:
- Do not drive or operate machinery for at least 24 hours after the procedure.
- You may resume your normal diet.
- Do not engage in any strenuous activity for the first 24 hours after the procedure.
- Do not take a bath for one to two days after the procedure you may shower.
- You may remove any bandages in the evening before going to bed.
Chronic Lower Back Pain
When back pain continues for more than three months, it is considered chronic. Although for most people an episode of back pain is over by that time, in some cases it progresses and can have a major impact on ones ability to function. For some patients, physical therapy with local heat or ice application , combined with a home exercise program and education in proper positions for lifting and other movement techniques can make a major difference. Patients must learn to tolerate a certain degree of pain, or they may allow themselves to become more disabled than necessary. Patients at the Hospital for Special Surgery have had success with graded exercise to work through the pain, gradually increasing the exercise quota at each session so they can learn to tolerate more exercise in spite of the pain, and get back to work and activities. Read more detail on this topic in .
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Spinal Arthritis: What You Need To Know
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to affect the spine.
Arthritis can occur anywhere along the spine, but is more frequent in the lower back and neck.
Pain and stiffness are the most common symptoms of spinal arthritis.
Causes of spinal arthritis are still largely unknown except for osteoarthritis, which is typically a result of wear and tear.
Spinal arthritis treatment may include pain medications, steroid injections, physical therapy and surgery in severe cases.
Main Types Of Arthritis
Different types of arthritis come with different issues and symptoms. They are even classified by the age of onset symptoms. Here are the most prevalent types of arthritis people suffer from
Abnormal bone growth inside the joints or, increase of synovial fluids at the joints.
Causes painful inflammation in the joints, generally resulting from high amounts of uric acid in the body.
3. Calcium Crystals
Having a higher calcium percentage in the body can lead to crystallization of calcium near the joints, causing pain.
4. Rheumatoid Arthritis
It is caused by an auto-immune reaction that inflames the joints
5. Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
When someone younger than 16 contracts joint issues, it is called juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
Arthritis issues of the spinal structure are categorized in this.
7. Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis causes the skin near the affected area to turn bright red and inflamed. The affected skin might peel off.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis Of The Spine
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the immune system turns on itself. It attacks synovium the lining of the joints. Although rheumatoid arthritis is more common in other joints, it can also affect the spine, specifically the cervical region . Rheumatoid arthritis of the spine is not caused by wear and tear, so its considered an inflammatory arthritis. It may cause back pain even when these joints are not in use. It tends to affect women more than men.
Natural Remedies For Arthritis Pain
Living with arthritis can be a rollercoaster both physically and emotionally. Many people with arthritis experience bouts of significant pain and inflammation, followed by periods of disease inactivity. Not knowing when arthritis pain will flare up can reduce your quality of life and take its toll on your mental health.
Being able tomanage arthritis pain effectively is key to preventing debilitating symptoms from affecting your daily life. If youre looking for a toolbox of arthritis management techniques, here are six proven ways to help ease pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.
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Strong Muscles Help Manage Arthritis Symptoms
Spinal arthritis symptoms tend to worsen when you stand up and when you lie down. When you stand, the force of gravity can compress your spine, which can cause pain. When you lie down, you have less muscular support for your spine, which may increase compression and pain.
Strengthening the muscles around your spine can help support your back, which may help prevent pain and slow the progression of the disease.
So what is the best way to get your back muscles strong to minimize compression on your spine? I spoke with Hagit Rajter, a physical therapist at the Joint Mobility Center at New Yorkâs Hospital for Special Surgery, who gave me a simple exercise program designed to do just that.
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Warm Or Cold Compress
Using a warming pad or whirlpool for a few minutes can loosen a stiff back and make activity easier. Icing the back for 15 or 20 minutes after activity can decrease swelling and provide quick pain relief.
These temporary treatments will not alleviate the underlying causes of back pain or improve long-term joint function.
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What Can You Do For Degenerative Arthritis In The Spine
Degenerative arthritis of the spine, also known as spinal osteoarthritis, is inflammation of the joints in the spinal column. It is called degenerative because it is caused by the natural breakdown of the protective cartilage that allows the joints to move smoothly against each other. Since this condition is mainly related to the natural aging process, it does not have a cure. Often, however, degenerative arthritis in the spine causes little or no symptoms, allowing for a good quality of life with minimal treatment.
If spinal arthritis does become painful and disruptive to your normal activities, it is still possible to find relief by working with your doctor to develop a comprehensive treatment plan. The following can help you be a more informed and engaged patient, giving yourself the best chance to get back to a healthy and active lifestyle if degenerative arthritis in the spine is affecting you.
What Are Symptoms Of Arthritis In The Back
Common symptoms of arthritis in the back include:
- Stiffness or reduced flexibility in the spine
- Functional limitations, such as inability to perform everyday activities
- Tenderness of the affected vertebrae
- Grinding feeling when moving the spine
- Tingling, numbness, weakness, or sharp pains in the arms or legs
Although back pain is the most common symptom, not all patients experience back pain. Others may feel back pain before arthritis has been diagnosed.
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How Is Back Arthritis Diagnosed
Diagnosing back arthritis starts with taking your medical history and conducting a physical examination of the back and legs to evaluate flexibility and ensure the nerves are working properly. Your doctor may ask you about:
- Where the pain is
- How long the pain has lasted
- What the pain feels like or how severe it is
- What activities or exercises worsen or lessen the pain
- How the pain is affecting your daily activities
Imaging tests can help confirm a diagnosis. X-rays are typically the primary imaging test requested. Other tests include magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography scans, bone scans, etc.
Symptoms Of Arthritis In Lower Back And Hips
When we think of arthritis, we think of joint issues in senior people. While senior citizens do suffer the most from arthritis, it isnt exclusive to any age group, nor is it a single condition describing a specific type of joint related issue. There are several different types of arthritis that affect different age groups.
If you are someone who experiences chronic joint pain, you should be aware of arthritis. In this article, well try to give you a detailed description of arthritis, and its symptoms in lower back and hips.
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How Is Osteoarthritis Of The Spine Treated
In most cases, treatment of spinal osteoarthritis is geared toward relieving the symptoms of pain and increasing a personâs ability to function. The goal is to have a healthy lifestyle.
Initial treatment may include losing weight if needed and then, for everyone, maintaining a healthy weight. It may also include exercise. Besides helping with weight management, exercise can also help:
- increase flexibility
- improve blood flow
- make it easier to do daily tasks
Some of the exercises associated with osteoarthritis treatment include swimming, walking, and water aerobics. Exercise may be broken down into the following categories:
- Strengthening exercises. These exercises seek to make muscles that support the joints stronger. They work through resistance with the use of weights or rubber bands.
- Aerobic exercises. These are exercises that make the heart and circulatory system stronger.
- Range-of-motion exercises. These exercises increase the bodyÃ¢s flexibility.
Including rest periods in the overall treatment plan is necessary. But bed rest, splints, bracing, or traction for long periods of time is not recommended.
There are non-drug treatments available for osteoarthritis, including:
- heat or cold compresses, which refers to placing ice or heated compresses onto the affected joint
- transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation using a small device that emits electrical pulses onto the affected area
- nutritional supplements
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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:
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