Serious Conditions Related To Lower Back Pain
For symptoms of lower back pain PLUS any of the following red flags then a medical evaluation is an emergency, and should be done same day:
- History of cancer, or unexplained weight loss
- Symptoms of infection, such as fever, shakes, chills
- Numbness in the perineum and urinary problems
- Recent fall or trauma that may have caused spine fracture
- Severe numbness or weakness in one or both legs
The evaluation usually consists of a discussion of symptoms and a detailed medical history, a physical examination, and X-rays of the low back.
Other tests may be performed if there are red flags, or to confirm or exclude the presence other rare conditions that can cause similar symptoms, such as a spinal tumor, infection, fracture, or other types of arthritis. MRI and CT scans are not routinely needed in the initial evaluation of low back pain. Studies have shown patients who get MRI imaging in the early stages actually tend to do worse due to over-treatment â since so much of the general population has irregularities in their spine, early MRIs may lead doctors to incorrectly associate an irregular finding as the source of the patientâs pain.
Causes Of Spinal Arthritis
Arthritis in your spine, just like any other joint in the body, is caused by inflammation due to the breakdown of supportive structures that surround your joints. Specifically to the spine, these supportive structures include intervertebral discs located between the vertebrae, ligaments in front and behind the vertebrae, and two facet joints located in the back of the vertebrae. The facet joints and the intervertebral disc between the vertebrae work harmoniously to allow movement- bending and twisting of your spine to carry out daily activities.
When one structure is not working, it creates more stress on the surrounding structures which eventually leads to faster breakdown of the entire structure. Think of a 3 legged table. If one of the legs is wobbly, the other 2 legs will have to carry more weight in order to keep the table stable. However, as time passes by, the 2 supporting legs will start to feel the impact and will start breaking down. Eventually, all 3 legs will be nonfunctional. Once the facet joints and intervertebral discs start breaking down, the space between the vertebrae decreases. This narrows the canal in which the nerves exit the spine and the vertebrae/facet joints to rub together more. Both scenarios cause irritation of the nerves and joints which leads to inflammation.
What Causes Spinal Arthritis
In a word: imbalances.
These imbalances can occur in your stress levels, hormone levels and nutritional levels.
But most of the time when we talk about imbalances, were talking about muscle imbalances.
These muscle imbalances can negatively affect your posture, which can lead to neck and back pain.
The causes may vary from person to person, but common factors include degeneration in the bones, along with calcium build-up.
Learn how calcium is affecting your body in my our book, The Calcium Lie II, which you can download for free right here.
Sometimes, injuries or past spine surgery can lead to the onset of spinal arthritis.
Nerves become pinched or compacted, causing severe pain or numbness in the affected areas.
Many people who suffer from spinal arthritis of the spine will also be affected by herniated discs and bone spurs.
These bone spurs can put pressure on the nerves of your spinal column, which may cause weakness and pain in your arms and legs.
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The Key To Overcoming Spinal Arthritis Pain
- NSPC Team
Do you suffer from chronic back or neck pain? You may be suffering from arthritis of the spine, a condition that often arises as the result of normal wear and tear.
Spinal arthritis is most often seen in adults over 50, but it can occur at a much younger age from injury or overuse.
The CDC reports that arthritis affects an estimated 52.5 million U.S. adults, including many with other multiple chronic conditions. It is a leading cause of disability in the United States, but our board-certified pain management physicians offer a variety of highly effective treatments that can provide significant long-term pain relief from arthritis and enable people to live healthy, vibrant lives again.
Conservative Care For Spinal Arthritis
Many cases of spinal arthritis respond to conservative care approaches. Your physician may recommend different treatment strategies depending on the type and severity of your arthritis. For instance, chiropractic adjustment often eases osteoarthritis symptoms by relieving joint strain, but it poses certain risks for rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Over-the-counter medication can reduce inflammatory pain and stiffness associated with arthritis, if only for a few hours at a time. Popular examples include non-steroidal inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen. Ask your doctor about potential risks or interactions before taking these drugs.
Injections offer the next level of pharmaceutical relief for facet joint arthritis. Your doctor can inject a steroid called cortisone, along with a local anesthetic, into an inflamed facet joint to bring the inflammation down for extended periods.
Exercise can help you manage osteoarthritis of the spine. A combination of stretches and strengthening exercises can improve your degree of pain-free spinal mobility while also lending your spine greater muscular support. Exercise and dietary changes can also help you lose weight and take stress off of your spinal joints.
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What Is Ankylosing Spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis that causes chronic spine inflammation. Ankylosing spondylitis inflames the sacroiliac joints located between the base of the spine and pelvis. This inflammation, called sacroiliitis, is one of the first signs of AS. Inflammation often spreads to joints between the vertebrae, the bones that make up the spinal column. This condition is known as spondylitis.
Some people with AS experience severe, persistent back and hip pain and stiffness. Others have milder symptoms that come and go. Over time, new bone formations may fuse vertebrae sections together, making the spine rigid. This condition is called ankylosis.
Who Gets Osteoarthritis Of The Spine
In general, osteoarthritis happens as people get older. Younger people may get it from one of several different causes:
- injury or trauma to a joint
- a genetic defect involving cartilage
For people younger than age 45, osteoarthritis is more common among men. After age 45, osteoarthritis is more common among women. Osteoarthritis occurs more often among people who are overweight. It also occurs more frequently in those who have jobs or do sports that put repetitive stress on certain joints.
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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:
What Is Spinal Arthritis
Spinal arthritis occurs when the cartilage, joints and discs in your neck and lower back break down.
It can affect any part of your spinal column and typically occurs in the facet joints, or vertebral joints.
Your facet joints are located in the rear part of your spine.
They connect your vertebrae together and make it possible for you to do things like bend, twist and stretch.
These joints are particularly prone to arthritis because of the pressure theyre under every day.
When the cartilage breaks down in your facet joints , daily activities can become more difficult.
If you have cervical arthritis, sometimes called neck arthritis, you will likely have pain in your neck and upper part of the spine.
Spinal osteoarthritis sufferers usually have neck pain as well as lower back pain. Low back pain can also be caused by lumbar arthritis.
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Exercise And Mobility Aids
Arthritic dogs benefit greatly from controlled exercise. Considering the joints are compromised it is advisable to practice several but shorter walks. Exercise is important because of several reasons, including:
- It strengthens the legs and muscles
- Promotes healthy body weight
- Supports joint function and pain-free movement.
If you are not sure which exercise regimen is best for your senior dog with arthritis, you could ask the veterinarian for advice.
To relieve the joint stress and encourage proper movement, your trusted DVM may recommend using mobility aids like back braces or wheelchairs for pets.
In general your dog will not have to wear the aid tool at all times, only while walking outside or when expecting more challenging physical activity.
Arthritis In Back Symptoms
Arthritis in back, also known as lumbar facet joint arthritis or lumbar spine arthritis is a known condition that can cause stiffness and pain to the joints found in the back and cause the surrounding tissues to become inflamed. Normally, the joints in the lumbar area or the back are are cushioned with a gel-filled disc and is protected with an outer covering known as cartilage. However, an arthritis condition can cause the cartilage to wear and tear and the discs to erode, thus resulting to irritation, friction, and pain and decreased flexibility in the back. Continue reading
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Progression Of Ankylosing Spondylitis
Over months or years, pain may spread up the spine and into the neck. As the disease progresses, the body’s defense mechanisms fight back by producing new bone . The new bone grows between and around the vertebrae, causing abnormal fusion and increases the risk for spinal fracture.
Sometimes ankylosing spondylitis leads to a spinal deformity such as a humpback or swayback . Advanced symptoms can be chronic and include severe pain and stiffness of the spine and possibly other body joints. Bowel and eye inflammation may be associated with ankylosing spondylitis.
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.
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Disk Degeneration And Bone Spurs
As the disks in the spine age, they lose height and begin to bulge. They also lose water content, begin to dry out and weaken. This problem causes settling, or collapse, of the disk spaces and loss of disk space height. Eventually, the cushioning qualities of the disks begins to decrease.
As the facet joints experience increased pressure, they also begin to degenerate and develop arthritis, similar to what may occur in the hip or knee joint. The smooth, slippery articular cartilage that covers and protects the joints wears away.
If the cartilage wears away completely, it can result in bone rubbing on bone. To make up for the lost cartilage, your body may respond by growing new bone in your facet joints to help support the vertebrae. Over time, this bone overgrowth called bone spurs may narrow the space for the nerves and spinal cord to pass through . Bone spurs may also lead to decreased range of motion in the spine.
Side view of a healthy cervical vertebra and disk. A disk that has degenerated and collapsed.
Neck Pain Caused By Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis of the neck, called cervical spondylosis, is also common. This is characterized by arthritic deterioration of the discs and facet joint cartilage of the cervical spine. Spondylosis is nearly universal in elderly patients, but can also affect younger people. Some people experience no symptoms, while others may feel stiffness and/or pain in the neck, shoulders and/or between the shoulder blades. See also .
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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.
What You Can Do
Theres no real cure for osteoarthritis. Treatment is generally focused on pain relief, slowing the progression of the condition, controlling inflammation in the joints and improving your ability to do what you like to do.
Treatment can be individually tailored to your needs, and often a multi-pronged treatment approach is taken. While different types of modalities are usually included in a treatment plan for spinal arthritis , it is wise to acknowledge the importance of exercise in your daily life.
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What Is The Prognosis For People Who Have Ankylosing Spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis symptoms may gradually worsen as you age. The condition is rarely disabling or life-threatening. Still, symptoms like joint pain may interfere with your ability to do the things you love. Early interventions can ease inflammation and pain. A combination of physical activity and medications can help.
Tips For Easing Back Pain
Use these self-care tips to ease your back ache and pain associated with arthritis.
1. Relief is Possible
2. Get Wet
3. Move and Strengthen It
4. Find Your Zen
5. Cinch It In
6. Trim It Down
7. Visit China
8. Manipulate It
9. Apply Pressure
10. Put It Together
11. Medicate It
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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.
What To Expect From A Cortisone Injection
If the cortisone shot works, you’ll certainly be grateful for the relief, but success is not guaranteed. In studies of large groups of back pain sufferers, the benefit is small to none on average. It’s hard to predict what you, individually, will experience.
Corticosteroid injections do not change the course of a chronic back pain condition. Months down the road, you will generally end up in the same condition as if you never got the shot. In the meantime, the shot could ease your discomfort.
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What Is Osteoarthritis Of The Spine
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, and the spine is one of the most commonly affected parts of the body. Osteoarthritis of the spine affects the back and neck.
Osteoarthritis of the neck is sometimes called cervical spondylosis. Spondylosis means arthritis in the spine, and cervical is the medical term for the neck.
The joints in your body go through a normal cycle of damage and repair during your lifetime. But sometimes the process your body goes through to repair joints can change their shape or structure. When these changes happen in one or more of your joints, its called osteoarthritis.
A joint is where two or more bones meet. You have a number of facet joints that sit on either side of your spine and guide the movement of the bones in your back and neck.
There are 33 vertebrae in your spine these start at the top of your neck and run all the way down your back, to your tailbone.
The spine is sometimes called the vertebral column or spinal column. Its purpose is to protect your spinal cord, carry the weight of your body and help you move around. The spine is split into five sections cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacrum and coccyx.
Strong ligaments surround your spine and support the vertebrae, to help keep them in place.