Spine Arthritis: A Look at Osteoarthritis in the Spine

Close to 50 million individuals in the United States suffer from different types of arthritis. Arthritis is a broad term for many types of diseases that cause pain, tenderness, inflammation and tightness of different joints in the body. Arthritis can also cause certain irregularities in the body’s soft tissues. In fact, arthritis can affect almost any of our body parts to include the spine.

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. It is also the most painful and, frequently, most disabling especially if it affects the spine. When a person has this type of spine arthritis, it means the joints in the spine have degenerated and its cartilage has become worn out and no longer smooth so that the joints are rubbing against each other, which causes pain, inflammation and the development of bone spurs. Normal joints are lubricated but in a person with spine arthritis, there is not enough lubricant in the spinal joints, causing its lining to swell and become inflamed.

Some factors that may lead to spine arthritis include the aging of the spine, which starts in the 30’s; gender, with osteoarthritis being a common condition in women after menopause; excess weight, which puts a lot of stress on the spine; genetics, which may mean having a history of the disease in the family or spine abnormalities since birth; associated medical conditions such as diabetes or gout and joint overuse from work or recreational activities.

In general, the symptoms of spine arthritis include joint inflammation, pain and stiffness. Some cases of spine arthritis have one or a combination of the following symptoms:

* Periodic attacks of back pain
* Tightness in the spine in the morning, which lessens with rest or after exercising
* Neck pain, soreness or numbness, if nerves are impinged
* Pain in the lower back area that affects the pelvic area, buttocks or thighs
* Pain or soreness in the hips, shoulders, knees or heels
* Crepitus or experiencing a crunching sound or sensation of bones grinding against each other
* Lame or numb legs and/or arms
* Restricted range of motion such as difficulty in walking or bending
* Deformity in the spine

If you are suffering from the pain of spine arthritis, there are advanced surgical procedures that are available today that are minimally invasive and performed on an outpatient basis. The Laser Spine Institute is one place where you can get help. Their surgical procedure for spine arthritis eliminates the need to stay in the hospital for days.
There is also no need for general anesthesia and the recovery time is faster. Like other surgeries, a doctor will first examine your specific symptoms and condition to determine whether surgery is the best treatment for you.