- Posted on: Jul 15 2018
Just 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. That’s rheumatoid arthritis.
Most all of us who been active in our lives 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. At DFW Center for Spinal Disorders, we address the effects of spinal osteoarthritis.
What is spinal osteoarthritis?
This form of arthritis in the spine causes inflammation of the spinal facet joints. These joints in the lower back, the lumbar spine, are the most likely to become somewhat arthritic. As the facet joints wear, bone spurs can be produced and these often put pressure on the nerve roots exiting the spinal column. This leads to pain that can radiate down into the legs, and over time can create weakness as the nerve is damaged.
What symptoms will I have with spinal osteoarthritis?
Our patients at DFW usually 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 is to get you back to a healthy lifestyle.
We start with conservative treatments such as postural support and training. If the patient is overweight, a weight loss program will be a part of treatment. 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, we 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.
Posted in: Spinal Osteoarthritis