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What is spinal arthritis?

Spinal arthritis refers to the inflammation that occurs in the joints between the vertebrae of the spine. Arthritis can affect any part of the spine, but it is most commonly found in the cervical spine (neck) and lumbar spine (lower back). When arthritis occurs, the joints become inflamed or the cushioning tissue in the joints breaks down, leading to degeneration.

There are several types of arthritis that can affect the spine, including:

  • Osteoarthritis: This is the most common type of arthritis and results from the wear and tear of the joints over time.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: An autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the joints, causing inflammation.
  • Psoriatic arthritis: This form of arthritis is associated with psoriasis, a chronic skin condition characterized by red, scaly patches.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis: A chronic inflammatory disease that primarily affects the spine, causing pain and stiffness.

At NeuroSpine Plus, we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of spinal arthritis, providing personalized care to our patients. Our team of experienced professionals understands the impact that spinal arthritis can have on your daily life, and we are dedicated to helping you find relief from your symptoms.


What are the symptoms of spinal arthritis?

Spinal arthritis can cause a range of symptoms that affect the back and other areas of the body. Individual experiences may vary, but individuals with spinal arthritis often report feelings of pain, stiffness, or tenderness in their back. Some may even describe a grinding sensation, especially with movement or twisting of the spine. Common signs of spinal arthritis include:

  • Persistent Back Pain: Spinal arthritis often manifests as chronic pain, particularly in the neck and lower back regions.
  • Stiffness and Reduced Flexibility: Individuals with spinal arthritis may experience stiffness and a decreased range of motion in their spine.
  • Radiating Arm or Leg Pain: Spinal arthritis can lead to radiating pain that extends into the arms or legs.
  • Limited Walking Distance: If you find yourself unable to walk as far as you once could due to increasing pain or stiffness in your spine, it may be a sign of spinal arthritis.
  • Chronic Fatigue: Spinal arthritis can take a toll on your energy levels, leaving you feeling tired and fatigued.

In addition to these common symptoms, spinal arthritis can also cause discomfort in other areas of the body, including the head, ribs, hips, buttocks, and knees. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, it's essential to seek the expertise of the professionals at NeuroSpine Plus for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.

What are the causes of spinal arthritis?

There are various causes of spinal arthritis depending on the type of arthritis. For instance, osteoarthritis occurs gradually over time as the protective tissues in the joints naturally wear down. On the other hand, autoimmune disorders, which occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body, can lead to different types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Several general causes apply to all types of arthritis, including:

  • Age

    As you get older, the likelihood of developing arthritis increases.

  • Tobacco use

    Smoking or using other tobacco products can elevate the risk of arthritis.

  • Sex assigned at birth

    Individuals assigned male at birth are more susceptible to spinal arthritis.

  • Family history

    If you have a biological parent or close relative with arthritis, you may have a higher risk.

  • Occupation or hobbies

    Engaging in physically demanding work or participating in contact sports can place significant stress on the spine, increasing the risk.

  • Certain autoimmune disorders

    Conditions like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and psoriasis are associated with a higher risk of spinal arthritis.

  • Overweight or obesity

At NeuroSpine Plus, we understand the complexities of spinal arthritis and offer professional and informative guidance to manage and treat this condition.

What are the treatments for spinal arthritis?

There is no cure for arthritis, but at NeuroSpine Plus, our providers offer a range of treatments to effectively manage the symptoms of spinal arthritis. The specific treatments recommended will depend on the type of arthritis you have. Here are some common treatments for spinal arthritis:

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers

    Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen are commonly used to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.

  • Physical therapy

    Improve your body’s mobility and manage symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and discomfort that may restrict your movement.

  • Prescription medication

    In some cases, your healthcare provider may prescribe corticosteroids as prescription pain relievers. These can be taken orally or administered as cortisone shots directly into the affected joints.

Most individuals with spinal arthritis will not require surgical intervention. However, if conservative treatments have not provided sufficient relief for severe symptoms, your healthcare provider may suggest surgery. Surgical options include:

At NeuroSpine Plus, we prioritize non-surgical approaches whenever possible, but our team of neurosurgeons is fully equipped to offer surgical solutions for those who require them. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward finding relief from spinal arthritis.

Spinal Arthritis FAQ

Spinal arthritis complications encompass a range of conditions that can affect individuals including: 

  • Spinal Stenosis: This condition refers to the narrowing of the spinal canal, leading to compression of the nerves within the spine. 
  • Radiculopathy: Spinal arthritis can result in pinched nerves, causing pain, weakness, or numbness in various parts of the body. 
  • Spinal Fractures: Compression fractures, characterized by broken vertebrae in the spine, can be a consequence of spinal arthritis.
  • Kyphosis: An additional curvature in the spine, known as kyphosis, can lead to a forward hunching posture.

Preventing arthritis, especially if it is caused by an autoimmune disorder, may not be entirely possible. However, there are steps you can take to protect your joints, including your spine.

  • Follow a Healthy Diet Plan
  • Engage in Low-Impact Exercise
  • Stop Smoking or Using Tobacco Products

If you have arthritis, walking can always help keep your joints flexible, lowering your risk of osteoporosis. This is a low-impact exercise you can do every day. If you do, however, feel more sore after walking, speak to one of our neurosurgeons for advice.

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