Osteoarthritis Of The Spine
Similar to osteoarthritis of any other joint such as the knee or hip, the spine can undergo similar changes over time. As the discs begin to degenerate, this places more stress on the remainder of the spinal column such as facet joints and ligaments, all of which provide additional support to the spine. Once these other parts of the spine receive more stress, they begin to try to compensate in order to stiffen and support the spine. They do this by forming bone spurs, thickened ligaments, and hardened bone. All of this can not only create pain with motion, but can crowd the spinal nerves and cause an array of problems such as sciatica and spinal stenosis.
If you have back or neck pain that doesn’t go away, you may have osteoarthritis of the spine. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. For many of us, it develops slowly as we age. And it can keep you from being as active as you like.
Osteoarthritis doesn’t have a specific cause. The normal wear and tear of aging can bring it on. So your risk is higher as you get older. It’s also higher if you have a family history of the condition. Osteoarthritis is more likely to develop if you are overweight, or if you’ve ever injured your spine.
With osteoarthritis, the discs in your spine may get thinner, and joint cartilage at the rear of your spine may wear away. Bone rubs against bone, creating bone spurs. Your nerves may become pinched. You feel pain and stiffness, usually in your neck or lower back. You may lose some of your range of motion. Your symptoms may be worse in the morning, after you sit or rest, and on rainy days. And symptoms flare up when you’re active.
Treatment options include medications, physical therapy and limiting activities that cause pain. If these aren’t helpful, you may need surgery. Your healthcare provider can create a plan that’s right for you.