Spinal Osteoarthritis (Osteoarthritis of the Spine)

What is Arthritis of the Spine?

‘Arthros’ is a Greek word meaning bone and ‘itis’ is a pathological term used to denote inflammation. The combination of the above two words ‘arthritis’ is used to indicate a variety of diseases causing pain, stiffness and swelling in joints. Similarly ’osteo’ means bone and ‘osteoarthritis’ means arthritis of the bone.The articular surface of the joints is covered by cartilages. Synovial fluid in the joint acts as a lubricator. Normal wear and tear over the years or a sudden pressure which occurs in an accident or sporting activity may causes the cartilage to break resulting in severe pain and arthritis. Similarly the amount of synovial fluid in the joint may get decreased due to passage of years. This may also promote the formation of arthritis.By studying your medical history and by  physical examination of your joint and assessing the strength of the various muscles related to the joint and by using ultrasonic imaging techniques your surgeon will be able to diagnosis the existence of spinal arthritis.

What is Osteoarthritis of the Spine?

The most common and most painful and most frequent form of arthritis found in weight bearing joint like the spine is Osteoarthritis of the Spine or Spinal osteoarthritis. Arthritis  occurring in the spinal joints (vertebral joints) is known as spinal arthritis. Facet joints connect vertebrae together and are located at the posterior portion of the spine. Facet joint provides spine the ability to bend and stretch. These joints harden with age causing arthritis.Arthritis of facet joint produces sever pains which is transmitted to the other areas of the body like buttocks or thighs through the affected nerves. The back pain decreases the motion of the body especially when standing, sitting or walking.

Arthritis develops as cartilage wears away. Synovial fluid also gets reduced in volume as years and decades roll by. This results in bone to bone rubbings. When the bone gets stressed it responds by creating more bone in an apparent effort to repair them. But this new bone will be different from the original stressed bone. Over the years these bone spurs may have formed on facet joints of spinal vertebrae. These bone spurs may enlarge and cause pressure on the nerves passing through the spinal cord. This narrowing of nerve passage in spinal cord is known as spinal stenosis.

What is Arthritis of the Spine?

What is Osteoarthritis of the Spine?

The most common and most painful and most frequent form of arthritis found in weight bearing joint like the spine is Osteoarthritis of the Spine or Spinal osteoarthritis.Arthritis occurring in the spinal joints (vertebral joints) is known as spinal arthritis. Facet joints connect vertebrae together and are located at the posterior portion of the spine. Facet joint provides spine the ability to bend and stretch. These joints harden with age causing arthritis.Arthritis of facet joint produces sever pains which is transmitted to the other areas of the body like buttocks or thighs through the affected nerves. The back pain decreases the motion of the body especially when standing, sitting or walking.

Arthritis develops as cartilage wears away. Synovial fluid also gets reduced in volume as years and decades roll by. This results in bone to bone rubbings. When the bone gets stressed it responds by creating more bone in an apparent effort to repair them. But this new bone will be different from the original stressed bone. Over the years these bone spurs may have formed on facet joints of spinal vertebrae. These bone spurs may enlarge and cause pressure on the nerves passing through the spinal cord. This narrowing of nerve passage in spinal cord is known as spinal stenosis.

What are the treatments for osteoarthritis of the spine?

Non – Surgical procedures for osteoarthritis of the spine

Treatment of the osteoarthritis of the spine is intended to relieve the pain and improve the functionality of the spine. If the patient is an obese person loss of weight is an important option which has to be taken up as the first step in the treatment. The patient will be asked to do regular exercises like swimming, walking and water aerobics which will help to improve the blood flow, strengthen the heart and increase flexibility. Massaging, acupuncture, heat and cold presses etc are also found to be very useful and easy procedures which can be used for treatment for osteoarthritis of spine. Option for surgical procedure comes into play only if non surgical procedures are not yielding any results.

Surgical procedures for osteoarthritis of the spine

Patients with severe cases of spinal arthritis may need to undergo surgical procedures for getting relief from pain and other symptoms of arthritis. Patients who feel instability of the joint due to spinal arthritis (degenerative spondylolisthesis) or in the case of patients in whom the spinal arthritis has lead to the formation of bone spurs (osteophytes) or whose spinal cavity has narrowed due to spinal stenosis may need to undergo surgery for finding a permanent solution.

Spine treatments from our Doctors and Hospitals

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