What is spinal arthritis?
Spinal arthritis is inflammation of the facet joints in the spine or sacroiliac joints between the spine and the pelvis. It may be related to wear and tear, autoimmune disorders, infection and other conditions.
What causes spinal osteoarthritis ?
It typically affects the lower back and is caused by general wear-and-tear. As cartilage between the joints gradually deteriorates, it causes irritation and pain. Because the discomfort is caused by mechanical trauma, it's usually more apparent when you bend or twist your back.
What are the symptoms of spinal arthritis ?
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."
The pain will usually subside to a more tolerable level over the course of the day as the person carries on his or her activities.
Pain and stiffness tend to get worse again in the evening.
Pain that disrupts sleep is often an indicator of osteoarthritis.
Swelling and warmth in one or more joints, particularly during weather changes (which may be related to barometric pressure changes and cooling of the air).
Localized tenderness when the joint or affected area of the spine is pressed.
Steady or intermittent pain in a joint, which is often described as an aching type of pain. The pain may be aggravated by motion.
Loss of flexibility of a joint, such as inability to bend and pick something off the floor.
A crunching feeling or sound of bone rubbing on bone when the joint is moved (called crepitus), particularly notable in the neck.
A sensation of pinching, tingling, or numbness in a nerve or the spinal cord, which can occur when bone spurs form at the edge of the joints of the spine and irritate the nerves.
What can be done for arthritis in the spine?
Some of the most common non-surgical spinal arthritis treatments include:
Hot and cold therapy.
Over-the-counter medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Over the counter medicines freely available in pharmacies near you
How should I sleep with arthritis in my spine?
Rest your head on a flat pillow so your cervical spine is in a neutral position. Those with low back joint pain might find relief by sleeping on their back or side with their knees and hips flexed at a 90-degree angle.
Keep a soft pillow between your knees in lateral position, or below your knee to keep them in flexion and bending position to relieve strain on your back muscles and ligaments. It helps to reduce the pain generation and relieve faster from arthritis pain
How is spinal arthritis diagnosed?
Your doctor may use some or all of the following diagnostic methods to confirm spinal arthritis:
Medical history and physical exam
Blood tests for genetic markers and/or RA antibodies
X-rays of the spine to locate the arthritic joint
MRI, CT scan, myelography, bone scan and/or ultrasound to zero in on the damage, detect nerve and spinal cord involvement or rule out other causes
Joint aspiration: testing of the synovial fluid inside a joint
To pinpoint the painful joint, your doctor may numb it with an injection and check whether the pain goes away..
Surgery for Spinal Arthritis
Surgery may be recommended for spinal arthritis if other treatments don’t sufficiently relieve pain. The goals of the surgery may include:
Decompressing the spinal cord and freeing up the nerve roots from bone spurs and other tissues that may be pressing on them
Stabilizing the spine by fusing several segments together in a procedure called spinal fusion
These surgeries can be performed as open procedures or with a minimally invasive approach. There are pros and cons to each method. The surgeon will review and discuss the options before the operation.
Dr Om Patil is a Spine Surgeon in Mumbai treating back pain and spinal arthritis with minimally invasive spine surgeries and endoscopic spine surgeries. Dr Om Patil is popularly known as Spinewala among his patients and colleagues. Dr Om Patil has clinics in Dadar , sion, Chembur and Khar area of Mumbai. He is visiting orthopedic snd spine surgeon in Apollo Spectra hospitals, Mumbai, Fortis Hospital and various Multispeciality and superspeciality hospitals in mumbai.