Spinal Arthritis

What is Spinal Arthritis?

One of the more common forms of spinal arthritis would be osteoarthritis (OA). When you break down the meaning of the word you come up with its basic definition. “Osteo”, means pertaining to bone, “artho” relates to joints and “itis” represents inflammation or burning.

OA of the spine is a chronic disease involving the sum of its parts; bones, joints and inflammation. Your spine, especially your lumbar spine, supports a great deal of weight each and every minute of the day, which makes it considerably more susceptible to spinal arthritis. Osteoarthritis of the spine is marked by the destruction of joint cartilage, overgrowth of bone (spurs, stenosis) along with impaired function.

Osteoarthritis itself, is the most frequent type of all joint disorders. X-rays reveal the first signs of OA (although without any symptoms) beginning as early as a person’s 20’s and 30’s. Osteoarthritis becomes universal by age 70, with virtually no one escaping it on every level. Nearly all people by age 40 have some sort of discernable changes in the weight-bearing joints of their spine, although moderately few people have any symptoms at all. Men and woman are proportionately affected, but the beginning of spinal arthritis is undeniably earlier in men.

This disease is practically inevitable for all living creatures, as a result of aging. It is also a major contributing factor and/or cause of severe chronic disability, affecting over 10% of the population over the age of 60.

Oseoarthritis occurs in almost all animals with vertebraes, which suggests that it first appeared with the arrival of the bony skeleton. OA occurred in ancient animals, fish, reptiles, birds, mammoths, whales, dolphins and bears. The only mammals it is not seen in is bats and sloths, interestingly, animals that hang upside down.

Spinal Arthritis: Symptoms, Signs and Progression:

Usually, symptoms start gradually and subtly, and are often only affecting one or two joints or vertebras. Morning inflexibility, or stiffness, will usually be one of the first signs most people will notice. Typically, a little light stretching, or exercise will lessen the rigidity or mild pain that comes along with the stiffness. However, as the spinal arthritis progresses, often time the exercise will make the
symptoms worse. The progression also brings about reduced range of motion in the spine, which causes
the ligaments to become relaxed. The domino effect then begins to build on itself. The joint becomes unstable; therefore, greater pain and other symptoms will be felt. Muscle spasms, tenderness when being touched, and there is also an increase in venous pressure which can be a source of pain. An x-ray is the most commonly used diagnostic test used to verify the already suspected Arthritis of the spine.

Exclusive Nerve & Disc Centers ® Treatment for Spinal Arthritis:

Treatment should be initiated as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed in order to prevent or prolong the onset of disability. Main factors to be considered in regard to the type of treatment or therapy would be the patient’s degree of pain, the source of the pain (mechanical vs inflammation), the number of vertebrae affected, and the patient’s lifestyle. Treatments and lifestyle changes to be considered when facing a diagnosis of spinal arthritis are:

  • NDR Method® (Non-Surgical Disc Restoration)
  • Laser Technology/Therapy
  • Bio-Electro / Bio-Chemical Medicine
  • Chiropractic Treatments

Other treatments or lifestyle changes that are known to have positive effects are:

  • Exercise (Isometric, Isotonic, Isokinetic, Postural, Strengthening)
  • Daily Stretching
  • Balance of rest and exercise
  • Avoiding soft chairs or recliners
  • Firm bed
  • Continue normal physical activities
  • Medications (Aspirin, NSAIDS, Muscle Relaxants, Corticosteroids
  • Surgery (Laminectomy)

A positive, pro-active approach to managing the symptoms of arthritis is the first step in maintaining your both your on-going range of motion and your quality of life.

Recovery for Spinal Arthritis Treatment:

There is generally no down time or recovery period while being treated. In fact, most patients find the treatments quite relaxing. The overall treatment sessions can last from 45 to 60 minutes. Patients should stay well hydrated and practice good nutrition during this process and after for best healing.

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