What Is Osteoarthritis?
Spine arthritis is a form of osteoarthritis, an inflammation of a bone joint and the reaction of the body to that inflammation. Much like arthritis, which refers to an inflammation of joints all over the body, osteoarthritis refers to the inflammation of joints in the bones. Osteoarthritis is not only the most common form of arthritis, it’s also extremely painful and thoroughly disabling. Arthritis of the spine occurs with the breakdown of the cartilage between aligning facet joints in the back of the spine. This will cause severe pain in the lower back joints.
A number of different factors are known to cause spine arthritis. Most commonly, the condition is related to genetics, excess weight, aging and gender. Post-menopausal woman are said to be a commonality for the condition, as well as overweight individuals who are putting too much stress onto their spine by carrying excess weight. Spine arthritis is also said to be concurrent with the presence of diseases like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and infections. Sports injuries, heavy work activities and poor posture are also reoccurring traits in people who have the condition.
Lower back pain is the most commonly associated trait of spine arthritis. The lower back is where most strain is put onto the spine, leading to pain through heavy stress and strenuous activity. Tenderness and swelling are also known symptoms of the condition, occurring during weather changes and pressure onto the joints. If you’re having a hard time bending over or with your general flexibility, it might be because of spinal arthritis. If you are feeling pain in your neck, this might also cause pain to your shoulders and can even result in headaches. Overall pinching and numbing is also associated with the condition. Pain is said to be worse in the morning, decrease soon after, and reappear later throughout the day. Be cautious when making strong movements with your body if you feel any of these symptoms. If ignored, the strain on your back will only get worse over time.
If pain has been progressive for at least 3 weeks, it’s best to visit a physician. If diagnosed with spinal arthritis, the number of treatments vary; first a doctor will perform x-rays, CT or MRI scans to assess the severity of the conditions. Though there are no current successful treatments that will completely cure spinal arthritis, a number of things can be done to stop pain as it reoccurs. Like many other spinal conditions, applying hot and cold compressors can significantly help with pain. Things like exercising more frequently, maintaining a healthy weight, and spending time healing with massages and hot water spa pools will all give relief to back pain caused by spinal arthritis. If needed, over-the-counter pain medication can be used to alleviate significant amounts of pain. In more serious cases, doctors might prescribe a more intensive pain killer to help aid the persistent discomfort. Acupuncture is another option for treatment as well, as people have had success when using the method to ease pain.
If your spinal arthritis is diagnosed with more serious symptoms, fusion surgeries and spinal stenosis can be performed. These surgeries would remove any or all parts of the bone spurs and ligaments that are the direct cause of severe pain. As with any other medical condition, the most important thing to do is treat the condition early, eradicating the risk of things getting worse.
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