Managing Osteoarthritis of the Spine
Osteoarthritis of the spine is a breakdown of the cartilage of the joints and discs in the neck and lower back. Sometimes osteoarthritis produces bone spurs that put pressure on the nerves leaving the spinal column. This can cause weakness and pain in the arms, legs, or groin.
What Causes Osteoarthritis of the Spine?
Spinal arthritis is one of the common causes of back pain; it is the mechanical breakdown of the cartilage between the joints in the back portion of the spine that can lead to mechanically created pain. Over time, bone spurs typically form on the facet joints, vertebrae, and even around the spine. These bone spurs are created as a response to joint instability but in turn can cause more pain in the long-run.
The rubbing of bones on each other is thought to lead to irritation and inflammation of the surrounding structures of the spine, and the pain felt by arthritis sufferers.
The likelihood of developing arthritis in the spine increases as a person gets over the age of 40. For younger people, usually trauma to the joint or a genetic defect can lead to the development of arthritis. It also occurs more frequently in people who are overweight or do repeated activities that put stress on the back.
Arthritis of the spine can cause a multitude of symptoms. Primarily causes stiffness and pain that is relieved when the person lays down. The symptoms of arthritis usually get worse as the day progresses, culminating at night, however the stiffness and pain tend to be worse in the morning as well. It often improves during the day as the person carries on his or her daily activities.
A lot of time staying in one position can aggravate the pain and stiffness, while moving and changing positions can relieve the discomfort felt from arthritis. Sometimes swelling and warmth in one or more joints occurs, particularly during weather changes or localized tenderness when the joint or affected area of the spine is pressed. There can also be steady or intermittent pain in a joint, often described as an ache. The pain may of arthritis is usually aggravated by motion.
Unfortunately there is no proven cure to arthritis so currently the options out there are more symptom and pain relief including physical therapy, diet, medication, alternative therapies, and surgery.