Arthritis denotes a set of symptoms like pain, tenderness, stiffness and swelling in the joints throughout the body. There are many types of arthritis, but the most common type, osteoarthritis, is very painful, that limits the daily activities of life. Osteoarthritis mostly affects the weight-bearing joints, such as hips, knees, hands, feet and the spine joints, called facet joints. Normally, joints move smoothly with little resistance, but usual wear and tear of the joints can cause the cartilage in between the joints, to become rough and worn out. This can result in raw joint surfaces rubbing against each other, causing swelling, formation of bone spurs, stiffness and pain. The lubricating synovial fluid of the joint can also become watery.
Bone spurs are a normal part of the aging process and do not necessarily cause pain. However, they can cause the irritation or compression of spinal nerves. This narrowing of nerve routes in the spinal column is called spinal stenosis or lumbar canal stenosis.
You need to call spinal arthritis doctor if the following symptoms of Spinal arthritis are present
Generally speaking, spinal arthritis is osteoarthritis of facet joints, or vertebral joints in the neck and lower back. These joints unite vertebrae (bones of the spine) together and are located in backside of the spine. Facet joints help in the movement of the lumbar spine (back) and cervical spine (neck) such as bending, twisting and stretching, but these joints often thicken and become firm with age, which can lead to osteoarthritis of the spine.
Arthritis of the facet joints can cause slight to severe pain typically known as facet joint pain in neck or lower back. In case of lumbar spine, this pain can radiate along the affected nerves to the buttocks, upper thighs or back of the thigh. In case of cervical spine, pain radiates towards shoulder, shoulder blades and upper back. The resulting pain and stiffness decreases movement and flexibility in all the postures. Sometimes fluid has built up in the joint due to inactivity overnight, which causes more swelling. The back and/or neck stiffness and pain tend to be worse in the morning (particularly for about 30 minutes after waking up), often called “first movement pain.”
Overweight and repetitive stress on joints is the risk factors for early development of spinal arthritis, specially in younger age group.
Spinal arthritis may also be associated with degenerative disc disease(DDD), a steady worsening of the shock-absorbing discs between the vertebrae of the spine.
Treatment of spinal arthritis or Facet joint pain treatment
Most cases of spinal arthritis can be treated without surgery. Posture correction, heat or cold application, life style modification and pain killer medicines can help up to certain extent. Physiotherapy and back pain exercises have minimal role in the treatment of spinal arthritis. Neck collar and cervical or lumbar traction are not good options.
You need to call/contact spine specialist if:
- No relief from pain from above treatments.
- Pain is coming back again after above treatment methods.
- If pain relief is short-lived or pain becomes constant.
Interventional Pain and Spine Centre, Delhi, India, with its branches (Contact) at Rohini, Ashok Vihar, Punjabi Bagh, Pitampura, Dwarka, Paschim Vihar (Delhi) and Rohtak (Haryana) is the most advanced spine clinic to treat spinal arthritis without any major surgery and with minimally invasive, pinhole techniques. You can consult the best spine doctor in Delhi at our centre.
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