Arthritis of the spine can be very painful and cause discomfort to those who experience it. It is also referred to as “degenerative joint disease.” The cartilage that protects and cushions the tops of your bones wears down causing swelling and pain.
Arthritis of the spine is the breakdown of cartilage in the joints and discs in one’s neck and lower back. This makes basic functions like walking and lifting difficult and painful.
Symptoms of Arthritis of the Spine
There is a wide range of symptoms that can alert someone that they have spinal arthritis. Pain tolerance will differ from person to person and not everyone will experience the same symptoms. Below you will find some of the common symptoms of arthritis of the spine.
- Pain: This is especially noticeable in the lower back and neck.
- Stiffness: Some people experience an inability to flex their spine. Straightening out your back or turning your neck are difficult and painful.
- Swelling: You may feel tenderness, inflammation, and swelling over the affected part of your spine.
- Grinding: When you move your spine or neck you may experience a grinding feeling.
- Overall Weakness: Some people experience weakness in their whole body. They will also feel fatigued and low energy.
- Numbness and Pain: Your spine can impact your entire body. You may experience numbness or pain in your arms or legs if spinal arthritis has affected your nerves.
- Headaches: Migraines or headaches are usually present when spinal arthritis is in the neck area.
If you experience any of these symptoms it’s important to get to a spine specialist in Orange County as soon as possible. Getting arthritis treatment early can help reduce pain and make day-to-day tasks more manageable.
Who is at Risk for Arthritis of the Spine?
While age is the most common, there are a number of risk factors for spinal arthritis.
- Weight: Maintaining a healthy weight can help relieve pressure on your neck and back. Keeping your BMI in the normal range is important for your overall health but will also minimize the stress your body puts on your neck and spine.
- Certain Conditions: Diabetes, gout, psoriasis, tuberculosis, irritable bowel syndrome, and Lyme disease can be risk factors for spinal arthritis and should be carefully monitored. They weaken the immune system and can lead to arthritis of the spine. If you already have one of these conditions and experience any of the symptoms discussed, contact your doctor for an appointment.
- Overused Joints: Repeated activity at work or home can lead to issues with the spine. Overuse through repeated movements can be problematic on your neck and back.
- Age: Most often spinal arthritis affects those who are older. Women over the age of 50 are more likely to suffer from spinal arthritis.
- Traumatic Injuries: Injuries can disrupt the spine and result in joint deterioration.
- Genetics: Your family history can impact your potential for getting spinal arthritis. If a close family member has experienced arthritis, you’ll likely have a higher risk of getting the disease.
There are various options for treating spinal arthritis, including surgical and non-surgical treatments. Before surgery, non-surgical treatment options will be utilized.
Below you will find some of the common non-surgical options for treating spinal arthritis:
- Medication: This could include anti-inflammatory medication. It could also include pills or injections that help reduce pain and swelling.
- Physical Therapy: Sometimes physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles in your back and improve the range of motion in your spine. This can naturally alleviate some of the pain and swelling.
- Lifestyle Changes: Living a healthy lifestyle by maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and staying active are important habits for your overall health.
If these non-surgical options do not provide relief, surgery is a realistic option to address spinal arthritis.
OC Spine Specialists
At OC Spine Center we believe in carefully customizing patient care and treatment based on your specific condition and individualized needs. If you are experiencing back and neck pain, contact OC Spine Specialists for a consultation. We will be able to evaluate your medical history and physical condition to provide you with a successful treatment plan. For relief from your back and neck pain, contact our office for an appointment and get back to feeling yourself again.