Dealing with Spinal Osteoarthritis

back view of man sitting on bed and suffering from back painJust about all of us over the age of 45 or 50 have arthritis. You read that right, but it’s not the type you think of where a person’s joints become so painful it’s hard to function. The immune system mistakenly starts attacking your own joints. That’s rheumatoid arthritis.

No, for most all of us who have been active in our lives we have some degree of osteoarthritis. That is the degenerative form of arthritis, where your joints are simply showing their age and the wear and tear of decades of use. Osteoarthritis is colloquially known as “wear and tear” arthritis.” At DFW Center for Spinal Disorders, Dr. Tinley addresses the effects of spinal osteoarthritis.

In this month’s first blog, we discussed what spinal osteoarthritis is and what causes it. Let’s get into treatment mode in this second blog.

How will spinal osteoarthritis cause me pain?

If you have spinal osteoarthritis, you likely have a combination of these symptoms:

  • Back and/or neck stiffness and pain that is usually the worst when first waking up
  • Pain that subsides during the day, but tends to return at night
  • Pain that disrupts sleep
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs or arms if a nerve is being impinged
  • Swelling and warmth in one or more joints, particularly accompanying low pressure weather systems

How we treat spinal osteoarthritis

Spinal arthritis can really impact quality of life, keeping patients from many activities they love, and bleeding over to affect their mental outlook. Our goal at DFW Center for Spinal Disorders is to get you back to a healthy, pain-free lifestyle.

We may be able to get you there with conservative treatments; that’s always where Dr. Tinley starts (except in cases of severe trauma). These could be as simple as postural support and training, maybe a weight-loss program if the patient is overweight. Exercise of all types is beneficial, as it strengthens the muscles that support the joints, strengthens the heart and circulatory systems, and increases flexibility.

We include exercises that involve walking, swimming, and water aerobics. We also include anti-inflammatory pain medications. Sometimes, epidural steroid injections are effective.

If these treatments aren’t relieving the patient’s pain, Dr. Tinley may opt for surgery that relieves the pressure on the nerve roots. There are various surgical methods, from trimming a bulging spinal disc to removing the part of the facet joint that is pressing on the nerve. As a board-certified spinal surgeon, Dr. Tinley has extensive experience with these procedures. Plus, evolving technology and the expansion of minimally invasive techniques continue to make these surgeries safer and far easier to recover from afterwards.

Do you have chronic back or neck pain? It could be due to osteoarthritis. Give us a call at DFW Center for Spinal Disorders, (817) 916-4685, and have Dr. Tinley investigate what’s going on.

Posted in: Spinal Osteoarthritis

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