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.
Nondrug Therapies And Lifestyle Changes To Ease Back Pain
Learn how assistive devices, mind-body therapies and healthy choices can provide back pain relief.
An estimated 50 percent to 80 percent of American adults will experience back pain. Whether because of a traumatic accident, a simple injury or osteoarthritis, there are ways to find relief. If you have a type of inflammatory arthritis such as ankylosing spondylitis or non-radiographic axial spondylarthritis, you also need to seek care from a rheumatologist to manage the inflammation that is driving your back pain. But these self-care tips can help to ease back pain.
Causes Of Spinal Arthritis
Since there are many types of arthritis, the causes vary according to the specific type. The most common causes of arthritis are wear and tear. Apart from wear and tear, there are other causes including genetic factors, age and being overweight. Certain present conditions including gout, diabetes and tuberculosis may lead to arthritis.
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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
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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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 I’m developing arthritis, too.
A: It’s 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 Ankylosing Spondylitis Managed Or Treated
Ankylosing spondylitis is a lifelong condition. While theres no cure, treatments can prevent long-term complications, reduce joint damage and ease pain. Treatments include:
- Exercise: Regular physical activity can slow or stop disease progression. Many people experience worse pain when theyre inactive. Movement seems to lessen pain. Your healthcare provider can recommend safe exercises.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs :NSAIDs, including ibuprofen and naproxen , ease pain and inflammation.
- Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs : Medications such as sulfasalazine reduce pain and joint swelling. The drugs also treat lesions caused by inflammatory bowel disease. Newer DMARDs called biologics help control inflammation by changing the immune system. Biologics include tumor necrosis factor and interleukin inhibitors .
- Corticosteroids: Injectable corticosteroids temporarily ease joint pain and inflammation.
- Surgery: A small number of people with ankylosing spondylitis may need surgery. Joint replacement surgery implants an artificial joint. Kyphoplasty corrects a curved spine.
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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 simple strategies to reduce symptoms and get relief so you can pursue the activities that are important to you. These strategies can even help you manage other chronic conditions you have.
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.
- Carry out daily activities, like going to work and spending time with loved ones.
- Reduce stress.
- 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, and change your activity level depending on your arthritis symptoms. Some physical activity is better than none.
Unsure about what kind of activity is safe?
The focus of arthritis treatment is to
How To Know If You Have Arthritis On The Spine
About 80% of back pain is acute, and this type of back pain usually lasts less than seven days. Pain that lasts longer than seven days is considered chronic, and one of the most common causes of chronic back pain is spinal arthritis. If you are experiencing persistent pain or stiffness in your back, especially in your lower back, you could be one of the 50 million American adults with arthritis of the spine.
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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.
Stop Eating An Unhealthy Diet
What’s your diet got to do with arthritis? Eating well and maintaining your ideal weight is especially important if you’ve got arthritis. Excess pounds can put lots of stress on weight-bearing joints, which is likely to make arthritis pain worse. Even moderate weight gain can stress joints that are already burdened by arthritis.
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Dont Be Too Proud To Ask For Help
We valued our independence before our diagnosis should it be any different now that we know we have arthritis? The honest answer is, yes. There will be things that you now wont be able to do because your body is literally telling you noexpect that. And you have to remember that if you do ask for help, its not a sign of weakness. Dont be too proud to seek it out if you need itwhether you need a literal helping hand, aids and tools, or emotional support.
How Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Cause Back Pain
In terms of spine involvement, RA primarily affects the cervical spine, which is located at the top of the spinal cord and forms your neck. While it is possible for the middle or lower back to be affected, this is considered rare.
If a patient with established RA comes to me with pain in the mid or lower back, Im less likely to think their symptoms are directly related to RA, Dr. Bolster says.
Heres the reason that the cervical spine is more commonly affected: In RA, the immune system attacks the synovium, the thin membrane that lines your joints its the main site of the inflammatory process in rheumatoid arthritis.
The spines top two vertebrae, C1 and C2, are synovial-lined joints, and are therefore subject to developing the inflammation and joint erosion you experience in your peripheral joints.
Its unclear how many people with RA have cervical spine involvement. It typically develops in the later stages of RA, but Dr. Bolster says it has been reported earlier.
My back pain started pretty quickly, within the first year of my RA diagnosis, says CreakyJoints community member Lisa Powell, who experiences both cervical and lumbar back pain. My doctor hasnt totally ruled out that osteoarthritis might be the cause of the damage to my lower back, but the pain there seems very tied to my RA symptoms. It gets worse when my RA is flaring or isnt well controlled.
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What Is Arthritis Of The Spine
Arthritis is an umbrella term that includes all injuries and conditions of the joints. The primary symptoms are pain, inflammation and stiffness in the affected joints. Arthritis is a chronic condition with no cure, but the symptoms and pain can be controlled and managed with proper treatment.
Arthritis of the spine develops when pain, inflammation and stiffness occurs in the joints of the spine or at the sites where ligaments and tendons attach to the vertebrae of the spine. It can occur anywhere along the spine, but it develops most commonly in the low back and neck.
Keep reading to learn more about the different types of spinal arthritis and treatment options.
Types Of Inflammatory Spinal Conditions
Inflammation can make its way into the bodys spinal and neurological systems, resulting in painful conditions that can disrupt daily life.
Other than chronic conditions, some lifestyle choices can cause or exacerbate inflammation. Obesity, smoking, and nutritional status can all impact chronic inflammation, Dr. Mukai says.
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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
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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Spinal Arthritis May Contribute To Other Issues In The Spine
Spinal arthritis may cause bone spurs overgrowths on the edges of the bones. In the spine, bone spurs particularly affect facet joints, making them grow larger. This condition is called facet joint hypertrophy. Although bone spurs on their own are not harmful, they may narrow the passages for the spinal cord and the nerves exiting the spine. This may lead to two painful conditions:
Spinal stenosis compression of the spinal cord inside the spinal canal
Radiculopathy pinching of the peripheral nerves as they exit the spine
Ankylosing spondylitis may also cause additional problems such as:
Stress fractures in places where new bone has formed
A spinal deformity called kyphosis
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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What Spinal Structures Can Be Affected By Inflammation
Every part of the spine can be affected by inflammation, from lower back inflammation to inflammation of the vertebrae. Acute injuries to the spine, including the bones, discs, ligaments, and joints, can cause swelling and fluid build-up that can be spotted on an MRI, which Dr. Mukai adds is typically the best way to look for inflammation visually.
She goes on to say that the term -itis usually signifies some sort of inflammation.
She says, For example, neuritis means inflammation of the nerve. This can be seen with nerve compression where the nerve looks swollen on an MRI.
What Should You Do If You Are Suffering From Arthritis In The Back
If are suffering from arthritis in your back, you can follow these steps
Use medication to get relief from pain and inflammation.
You can try physical therapy. It will support the back and strengthen the muscle.
If you are overweight, make sure you change your diet so that you can lose weight. Being overweight can worsen the condition.
Regular exercise is recommended. It will improve flexibility and bring back the strength of muscle.
In Particular, you need to contact your doctor. Only your doctor can provide you efficient treatment that will help you find relief from certain painful conditions. While you are in Oklahoma City and looking for Osteoarthritis treatment, you can contact a pain management doctor.
Spinal arthritis is a difficult condition. It will lead you to experience severe pain that makes it difficult to sit and walk. In this situation, calling a specialist is the smartest choice.
Longevity Pain Management is always here to help you get relief from the world of pain. Pain makes life difficult to live. Our experienced physicians will help you find the best solution for your painful conditions. Whether it is back pain or neck, we will make sure you have got relieved. Contact us now to schedule an appointment.
**Disclaimer: This content should not be considered medical advice and does not imply a doctor-patient relationship.
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Diagnosis Of Back Pain
Regardless of what type of doctor you see, there are some things you can expect your doctor to do during your visit. Your doctor first will ask you a number of questions, the most common of which are listed as follows:
- What are your symptoms–that is, what aches or pains do you have?
- Exactly where is the pain?
- Where is the pain the most severe?
- When did the pain begin?
- How long have you had it?
- Did something specific cause your back pain, such as an accident or injury?
- What home treatments have you used?
- Were you under any additional stress when the pain began?
- Do you have any other health problems?
- What kind of work do you do?
- In what types of recreational activities do you participate?
Think about these ahead of time so you can answer them easily. You also may have questions you’d like to ask the doctor. As you think of questions at home, jot them down and take them to the appointment.
Next, your doctor will give you a physical exam. During the exam, the doctor may perform any of the following: observe your muscles and joints ask you to sit and lie down ask you to move your back in different positions observe and feel the area of most pain and/or check to see if other areas of your body are tender or painful If the doctor can identify the likely cause of your back pain at this point, no further tests will be needed.