The causes of arthritis in spine are widespread and often vary from person to person. To better understand the causes of arthritis in spine, you should familiarize yourself with the two main kinds of arthritis that can affect the spine.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects the thin membrane that covers the joints and cartilage of the body, in this case the vertebral bones. For some still unknown reasons, this condition causes the body’s white blood cells to turn against this membrane, leading to the inflammation of the joints. This seemingly natural but improper immune response can also give rise to whole-body fatigue and/or fevers. The members of the medical community have still to identify what causes RA, however it is believed by some researchers that viral or bacterial infections can trigger the onset of RA. It has also been noted that RA usually appears during the middle age years and is more common in women than in men.
The second type of arthritis in spine is a degenerative disease that is most often associated with aging. This is the most common and most frequently disabling type of arthritis in spine. Many cases of osteoarthritis have no known causes but the acknowledged risk factors include:
Gender – women are twice more likely than the men to develop arthritis in spine;
Obesity – excessive body weight can create stress on the joints;
Age – arthritis in spine manifests itself when one reaches the age of 50;
Injury – arthritis in spine can occur after an accident, sports, or work related injuries;
Heredity – some people may inherit certain joint deformities or defective cartilage and thus develop arthritis in spine at some point in their lives.
Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can cause pain, tenderness, swelling and stiffness of the joints in the area. All these feelings of discomfort can seriously limit the range of things that you can do in your normal life. The manifested symptoms may be different from one person to another. The frequency and intensity may likewise vary. Some areas may ache from time to time and feel all right at other times. However, arthritis in spine can become a very painful and debilitating chronic problem that often affects individuals 50 years or older. There can be episodes when a person with arthritis of the spine can suddenly experience excruciating pain that make him or her take to bed and be unable to perform any or his/her normal daily activities. If left untreated, the patient can develop physiological problems such as muscle breakdown or overall weakness of the body, thus curtailing what he can or cannot do. Arthritis in spine can also lead to psychological problems such as anxiety and depression.
You may need to have a thorough review of your medical history to enable your doctor to diagnose what is causing your arthritis in spine. Because the symptoms of arthritis in spine are similar to other spinal arthritic conditions, it is important for your doctor to rule out other – possibly more serious – problems. To do this, you may need to undergo a variety of tests such as blood tests and a series of x-rays.