Spinal arthritis may ebb and flow with the intensity of the pain and symptoms. Non-prescription anti-inflammatory medications and exercise may be sufficient to decrease the symptoms.
Conservative treatment from the physician for spinal arthritis may include more powerful anti-inflammatory drugs by prescription, cortisone injections in the epidural space, physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, and continue your home exercise regimen. When these options fail, spine surgery may be an option.
Before you make a decision about surgical treatment of spinal arthritis, you should check out the modern minimally invasive options for surgery. To learn more about what we do or receive a free MRI review contact us.
Surgical Treatments for Spinal arthritis
- Many spine arthritis treatments are available to relieve symptoms of spinal arthritis effectively, although there is no cure for this disease. The goal of a spinal arthritis treatment is to slow the progression of the disease, stop the pain, decrease other symptoms, increase joint function, and preserve range of motion. Your doctor will first assess the severity of your condition and factor in your age and overall health before designing a treatment plan that’s right for you.
- Most symptoms of spinal arthritis are treated using conservative methods like exercise, rest, massage, ice and heat applications, or weight loss. Your doctor may recommend medications for spine arthritis, which can be either over-the-counter or prescription, depending on the severity of the symptoms. More advanced cases of spinal arthritis may require physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, or spinal injections to alleviate pain and restore mobility. If non-surgical treatments for spine arthritis fail to relieve symptoms, your doctor may recommend surgery.
- If your doctor suggests surgery as a treatment option, it’s always a good idea to explore all the procedures available to you so that you are able to make a wise decision about your health. If you’d like more information on our spine arthritis treatments, contact us and ask us about our free MRI or CT scan review.
Traditional Back Surgery for Spine
- Surgical treatments for spinal arthritis are used in cases where conservative, non-surgical treatments have been exhausted and the patient still has chronic and acute pain and limitation of activities even walking. Depending on the severity of the condition, the surgical treatment will involve decompression and possibly a spinal fusion.
- “Decompression surgery" is a broad term used to describe a number of procedures that are designed to relieve symptoms caused by pressure on a nerve root or the spinal cord. During a decompression, a surgeon will remove any bone matter, disc materials or other debris placing pressure on the nerve root and spinal cord to relieve spine arthritis symptoms like pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in the back or extremities. Common decompression surgeries include laminectomy, foraminotomy, discectomy, and others.
- Sometimes an open-back decompression surgery will leave the spine unstable or structurally unsound, depending on the type of procedure performed. In this case, the patient may require a spinal fusion. During a spinal fusion, bone grafts or hardware such as screws and rods are inserted into the spine for support and to force two or more vertebra to grow together as a single unit.
- Spinal fusion and decompression both come with some negative side effects, and both are generally performed in a hospital using general anesthesia. These surgeries also involve large incisions and damage to muscle and tissue, so infection risk can be high and the recovery time can take up to a year or more.
- You can receive minimally invasive surgical treatments for spinal arthritis. These procedures use state-of-the-art technology to allow for a drastically shorter recovery time than traditional back surgery. We can perform these surgeries for spinal arthritis and a number of other back and neck problems. If you’re tired of living your life in pain, contact us to learn more about what we may do for you.
Spinal Arthritis Surgery
The idea of spinal arthritis surgery may sound like the right choice when you feel so bad and cannot do anything you normally do.. Surgery is a life changing event that can affect you physically, socially, and in the wallet. It may affect your ability to return to work, and your activities of daily living. It is important to learn as much as possible before you decide that spinal arthritis surgery is the right treatment option for you.
If your doctor has diagnosed you with spinal arthritis and is suggesting that spinal arthritis surgery may be a way to relieve your pain, some common procedures include:
- Laminectomy – removal of lamina (the bony roof of the vertebral arch) and also the removal of bone spurs (osteophytes) that cause nerve compression
- Spinal fusion – joining, through bone graft or hardware, of two or more vertebrae; meant to eliminate mobility and pain, and also used to bolster spine when bone has been removed in procedures like a laminectomy or foraminotomy
- Osteotomy a type of realignment by cutting across the vertebra to correct mal-alignment of the spine.
- Foraminotomy – a form of spinal arthritis surgery that enlarges neural foramen by removing significant amounts of bone
Usually, the above options for spinal arthritis surgery are traditional, open surgeries that require general anesthesia, hospital stays, and longer recovery periods. If you feel that these may not be the right options for you, there are other alternative minimally-invasive procedures that can help you rediscover a life without pain. Contact us today to learn how and for a free review of your MRI or CT scan.
Non-Surgical Treatments for Spine Arthritis
Non-surgical treatments are usually the first options a doctor will consider when managing spine arthritis and other back and neck problems. Because conservative treatments help the majority of patients, doctors only recommend surgery as a last resort. Whether you’re suffering from sciatica, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, arthritis of the spine, or any other back and neck condition, the conservative treatment options are often the same, and include:
- Physical therapy is the first step in treatment of spinal arthritis. Physical therapy may be a home program or a referral to a therapist. It should improve flexibility and mobility while increasing strength. Typical physical therapy treatments include exercise, massage, electrical stimulation, heat therapy, hydrotherapy (aquatic therapy) and more.
- Chiropractic care – Chiropractic care will likely include the adjustment of the spine in order to treat back and neck pain. Chiropractic care also includes many of the physical therapy modalities and exercises. Chiropractors employ such techniques as applied pressure, massage, and manual manipulation (adjustment) of the vertebrae and joints.
- Pain management – Many types of acute or chronic back pain can be alleviated with such treatments as injections, drugs and medications, spinal bracing and others.
- Alternative medicine – Alternative medicine is a broad term used to describe non-traditional therapies including acupuncture, acupressure, yoga, biofeedback, and more. Some people report experiencing relief from alternative medicine.
If you are interested in a non-surgical treatment for your spinal arthritis, it is very important to check with your doctor before starting any treatment program. All treatments carry the risk of side effects and further injury to your spine and neck, so you should always remain in a doctor’s care throughout the treatment process.
General measures you may lessen the severity of the pain of spine arthritis. These include:
Maintaining a healthy weight
Maintaining proper posture
Remaining active and avoiding any extended periods of inactivity
Quitting smoking, as smoking impairs blood flow resulting in nutrient and oxygen loss in spinal tissues
Wearing comfortable, low-heeled shoes
Sleeping on a mattress of medium firmness to reduce curvature of the spine
If you’ve tried non-surgical treatments but are still experiencing back or neck pain due to spine arthritis, it may be time to consider a minimally invasive surgical procedure.. For more information on the types of procedures we provide please contact us.
Medications for Spine Arthritis
In general your physician will prescribe anti-inflammatory medications for the spine arthritis. These may be such medications as Motrin or Naprosyn, medications that work directly on the spine arthritis. Short courses of cortisone also may be helpful. Another category of medications is pain medications. If the pain is more severe and not controlled by the anti inflammatory medications, pain medications may be prescribed.
If your arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis or another autoimmune type of spinal arthritis, medications such as Methotrexate, Prednisone, and biologic disease modifying agents for rheumatoid disease (DMARD’s) are most effective for joint and spinal discomfort.
The pain associated with arthritis can seriously affect your life, but you don’t have to live with it forever. If you’ve tried medications for spine arthritis without success, there are other safe and effective options. Minimally invasive surgeries work to treat symptoms of spinal arthritis and other back problems with a high success rate.
Spinal Arthritis Exercises
Neck Arthritis Exercises
Spinal arthritis exercises can be an important part of any physical therapy program aimed at relieving the pain that accompanies spinal arthritis. An arthritic joint means that the joint has either degenerated (osteoarthritis) or inflamed (spinal rheumatoid arthritis), causing every movement of the joint to be extremely painful. Spinal arthritis exercises should, therefore, be aimed at strengthening muscles and ligaments around the joint so that a weight burden can be removed from the arthritic area – and at increasing general flexibility so that you can experience as much joint mobility and pain relief as possible.
It is important to consult with your doctor before attempting any exercise for your spinal arthritis, as some exercises could make you worse.
Gentle range of motion of the Neck and back gently moving the head from side to side, then practice bending forwards and backwards
Do small arm circles and pendulum swings can keep the lumbar (lower) and cervical (upper) regions of your spine flexible.
Aerobic exercise: build endurance without doing high-impact activities by swimming easy laps in a pool or training on an elliptical machine.
Meditation: Very light stretching and rhythmic breathing can help calm your mind and body.
Spinal Arthritis Pain Relief
If you are one of millions suffering daily with the pain of spinal arthritis you realize there must be a treatment for your pain. You should seek a diagnosis of your problem. It may be spinal arthritis of degenerative or rheumatoid type. It may be spinal stenosis causing pressure on your nerves to the arm or leg. There may be inherited factors that will influence your painful condition.
Spinal arthritis pain relief treatments might include mild chiropractic therapies that focus on the joints of the spine so that tension is released and circulation is increased. Strength-building exercises can help bolster the spine so that arthritic joints don’t have to support so much weight. Low-impact activities such as walking, gentle stretching, or swimming can help build endurance. Steroid injections may temporarily help pain that results from joint swelling and can also help your doctor to pinpoint the exact location of the afflicted joint.
If these conventional forms of pain relief do not prove effective, your physician may suggest that you consider a major open-back surgery. These surgeries may include Laminectomy or fusion surgery. There are minimally invasive surgical alternatives to large open surgeries. Please contact us for more information.
Neck Arthritis Treatment
Treatment of the neck arthritis by your doctor will depend on the severity of your neck pain, arm radiculopathy pain, and limitation of range of motion. The most common course of treatment for neck arthritis symptoms is conservative, or non-surgical, methods. When a patient’s neck mobility or radiculopathy remains compromised after conservative treatments, or if chronic pain persists, your physician may suggest surgery as an option.
There is no known cure for arthritis, and most patients will experience long-term intermittent or it may become constant effects from this disease. When a person is diagnosed with neck arthritis, or cervical osteoarthritis, most physicians offer options for conservative neck arthritis treatment, including:
Physical therapy – Exercise to strengthen the neck muscles
Hot or cold therapy – Heat pads to increase circulation or cold pads to reduce swelling
Pain medicine – Over-the-counter drugs like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, as well as prescription pain killers
Anti-inflammatory injections – Cortisone or steroidal solutions to numb pain
Behavior modification – Avoiding activity that might exacerbate neck arthritis symptoms
Chiropractic therapy – Including traction or non-surgical spinal decompression therapy
Others – Acupuncture, massage, cervical pillows
If cervical spine arthritis pain deteriorates quality of life significantly after months of conservative treatment, they may begin to look into surgical treatment. Spinal decompression surgery is treatment of irritated nerve roots that become compressed as the spinal structure degenerates. This procedure is designed to take the pressure off those nerves, thereby reducing irritation and pain.
Minimally invasive treatments of neck arthritis treatment can help you get your life back.