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About osteoarthritis of the spine

Arthritis is a general term describing several different diseases causing pain, pain, swelling, stiffness and irregularities of various soft tissues of the body. This term comes from “arthros”, ie a letter and its attachments, and “-itis” meaning inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis and Osteoarthritis are the most two common kinds of this disease.

Have you ever felt a dull moment in the neck or lower back? Or have you ever been annoyed by the persistent pain and sharp? If the answer is yes, it is time that you should find out the osteoarthritis of the spine. When pain and stiffness occur gradually and chronic spinal osteoarthritis may be the cause.


  1. Osteoarthritis
  2. Spinal osteoarthritis
  3. Risk factors
  4. Signs and symptoms in osteoarthritis of the spine
  5. How is the disease diagnosed?
  6. How to treat and slow the damage?

osteoarthritis of the spine

  1. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative form of business in which the cartilage that cushions the peak protection worn bone causing stiffness and pain. Aging can be seemed to mainly associate with this type of arthritis. It mainly affects the weight bearing joints (hips and knees) plus hands, feet and spine.

Normal joint is the hinge at the top of the bone usually covered by cartilage (a smooth shape generally, slightly elastic, connective tissue covering the ends of the joints. In the cartilage acts as a shock absorber protection to minimize the impact of bouncing, jumping and other kinds of daily activities on the joints – and therefore significant abrasion resistance and tear of life) and lubrication inside an enclosed by nature synovial fluid. Normally, joints have little friction and move easily. With the degeneration of the joint, the cartilage becomes rough and worn, causing half the joint to rub together, creating pain and inflammation with the formation of bone spurs. The liquid lubricants can become thin and swelling and inflammation of the joint membrane.

  1. Spinal osteoarthritis

Human spine is a column of bones excellent (backbone), separated by cushioned shock absorber cartilage (disks). Hollow center spine protects the spinal cord, a network of nerves that govern the motion of large and small, feeling, digestion, and breathing. Wear and tear, such as age or repeating certain movements you can cause the disc to degeneration, a progressive condition known as spinal osteoarthritis (OA).

osteoarthritis of the spine

Causing of back pain, osteoarthritis of the spine is mechanical breakdown of the cartilage between the joints aligned in the dorsal aspect (back) of the spine resulting in the pain in muscle. The joint aspect (also called vertebral joints or joints zygophyseal) inflammation and progressive joint degeneration pain creates more friction. Back motion and flexibility decrease proportional to the progression of diseases caused back pain while standing, sitting, and even walking. Over time, bone spurs (small irregular growth in the bone also called osteophytes) are often formed on the joint aspect and even around the vertebral spine. The bone spurs as a response to the general instability and the natural effort to help return stability to the joint. The expansion of the normal bone structure showed the degeneration of the spine. It can be divided into two main options in osteoarthritis of the spine:

  • Lumbar spine or the lower back osteoarthritis. It causes stiffness and pain in the spine.
  • Cervical spine or neck osteoarthritis, leading to stiffness and pain in upper spine, neck, shoulders, arms, and head.

This degradation can lead to pain, stiffness, and other symptoms. The process of osteoarthritis of the spine usually occurs slowly, in some years, and can be developed in parallel with other degenerative problems in the spine, such as degenerative disc disease, and / or spinal stenosis.

  1. Risk factors

  • Advanced Age. Aspect ratio joint osteoarthritis symptoms increase starting at age 45 and continue to rise thereafter. The prevalence of spinal osteoarthritis increases with age because the spinal cord as the years wore matching aspects of experience and tears.
  • Athletes and those who have jobs that require repetitive, and especially heavy, the motion was found to be higher risk.
  • Aging: As we age, the buffer between your vertebrae gets older, too. A lifetime of motion is often repeated as jogging in the park, skiing, standing at a blackboard in a classroom, or cradled the phone on your shoulder damping can compromise your spine. Over time, the cartilage may be thin, dry, or aneurysm.
  • Gender: Women from 45 years old are at higher risk of this disease.
  • Obesity: The more excessive a person weighs, the more pressure on bearing joints. So the development of osteoarthritis of the spine is at higher rate. In fact, obese people are 5 times more likely to develop lower back arthritis
  • Genetics: Genetic factors for spinal osteoarthritis have not been studied. Same as height and hair color, a person’s ability to develop osteoarthritis of the spine can be affected by genetics.
  • Associated Diseases: Scoliosis of the spine or poor farming can put extra stress on the joints among the vertebrae aspects, increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis of the spine.
  • Injury: A broken vertebra, severe back injury, or surgery may cause joint damage that ultimately leads to osteoarthritis of the spine, although the symptoms may not appear until many years later.

osteoarthritis of the spine

  1. Signs and symptoms in osteoarthritis of the spine

  • Backache

If you have spinal osteoarthritis, the back pain occurs more often and is usually felt deep in the muscle. The first symptom of osteoarthritis of the spine is intermittent back pain that is usually most severe in the morning or after work. Back pain related to arthritis depends on many factors, including how much osteoarthritis happened and where it was developed on the spine:

o In the lumbar spine, the pain in the lower back, groin and buttocks occurs more commonly.

o In the cervical spine, patients often suffer from pain in the neck, shoulders and upper back and middle, and may experience frequent headaches.

o The pain is often experienced as dull and aching, although there may be severe pain. Pain can worsen with certain activities, such as twisted, bent deep, heavy lifting, or activities such intense jogging. Usually lay down may reduce back pain.

  • Back stiffness.

Arthritis symptoms such as back pain and stiffness tend to progress slowly. Many people initially attribute the symptoms lack of exercise or older. Others can skip the first symptoms of arthritis such as muscle pain until the pain worse and interrupt effects of daily activities. Bone friction and swelling in the joints aspect can make the spine stiff and inflexible, especially after sleeping or sitting for a long period of time. Some people find it is difficult to maintain good posture.

  • Tingling, numbness or weakness of the limbs.

Osteoarthritis can stimulate muscle contractions, the growth of bone spurs, or other degenerative changes cause the spinal cord or nerve root compression her to become.

  • Popping or crunching.

Feel a crunching or popping sound when listening to a bending or curving back is a sign that the cartilage may have been lost and does not protect the joints from rubbing aspects. Medical term for these symptoms is “crepitus.”

  • Hunched or appear attractive.

Osteoarthritis of the spine and bad posture often go hand in hand. Bad posture causes curvature of the spine more than normal, which puts more stress on the joints respects and encourages the development of osteoarthritis. In addition, osteoarthritis can be put into motion a series of physical changes caused by spinal curves become sharper, making a person appear bent or rinsing.

  • Swelling.

When the cartilage of the joints wears away aspect, bones can rub together, resulting in discomfort and swelling. This swelling can be mild and go undetected by the patient.

  • Tenderness: The affected area may be tender to touch.
  • The physical effects: Spinal osteoarthritis can also lead to social problems and feelings.

Osteoarthritis of the spine

  1. How is the disease diagnosed?

No health checks to confirm the diagnosis of osteoarthritis. The doctors will also look for any signs of damage to the surrounding tissue, including tendons, muscles or ligaments. To diagnose osteoarthritis of the spine, doctors can use some certain methods:

  • Blood tests
  • Common aspiration: remove the synovial fluid (a lubricant gathered in the lining of the joints) to analyze.
  • Patient interviews. A doctor will ask the patient about family history and to describe their symptoms, neck or back pain models and hardness and how the symptoms affect the lifestyle, as well as what makes the pain better or worse. Symptoms reported one patient is very important to diagnose and treat. Before a doctor’s appointment, it is usually beneficial for the patient to keep a journal of symptoms and when they occur.
  • Physical examination. A doctor will check the physical spine of the patients, pay attention to what motion causes pain and specific pain points.
  • X-ray: show if there is a loss of the joint space between the vertebrae, showing a thin vertebral discs. X-rays can also show bone spurs sometimes in a business perspective, a sign that the bone has tried to compensate for the loss of cartilage with extra bone growth. However, some people may have X-rays showed important signs of osteoarthritis of the spine, but no experience of pain, while others may have X-rays showed few signs of spinal osteoarthritis and pain significantly. Due to high concentrations of the nerves coming from the spine, even small cartilage lesions or bone spurs can translate into a lot of pain if either is in a sensitive position. Therefore, X-ray is just a tool to be used in conjunction with the patient interview and physical examination.
  • CT scan or MRI. Because of the complex anatomy of the spine, doctors often need a more detailed picture of the spine than an X-ray can deliver. This method provides doctors the cross-sectional view of the spine. The imaging technology also showed soft tissue (vertebral disks, ligaments, tendons and muscles), added to the bone.
  • Inject diagnosis. A doctor can inject local anesthetic into the joint or nerve which appears to be the source of pain and then observe how it affects the level of pain of patients. Diagnostic injection is usually done by fluorescence, provides X-ray images in real time, and is performed by neuroradiologists.

osteoarthritis of the spine

  1. How to treat and slow the damage?

Osteoarthritis of the spine is a degenerative disease. It can not be reversed, but treatment can slow its progression, reduce pain and restore some or all of the normal functions, increase flexibility, improve attitude and mood, increase strengthen the heart, improve blood circulation, making it easier to work every day. The goal is to maintain an independent lifestyle.

Treatments for spinal arthritis are reviewed in this article in three main categories: Health; alternative treatments; Self – care, exercise, and rehabilitation; Surgery

People with osteoarthritis of the spine can seek treatment from a doctor, chiropractic, acupuncture or massage therapy. The medical staff can recommend medical approaches and alternative treatment for osteoarthritis, back pain, such as those described below.

  • Medical treatments, anti-inflammatory
  • Skin medicines: These lotions, sprays, gels and patches are applied directly to the skin in the painful joints.
  • Painkillers mild narcotic: Addictive drugs are effective in relieving pain, but can be addictive and therefore are not prescribed often.
  • Muscle relaxants: These drugs may be temporarily prescribed if a patient with osteoarthritis of the spine muscle spasm.
  • Spinal injections for osteoarthritis: Two types of injections are often used to treat severe pain from osteoarthritis of the spine: steroid injections (reduce swelling and thereby reduce the stiffness and pain) and hyaluronic acid injections (provide lubrication for the joints aspects, such as imitating viscous synovial hyaluronic acid that naturally helps lubricate the joints aspects). Steroids and / or hyaluronic acid injections are often used with the goal of providing adequate pain medication to allow the patient to start with a program of physical therapy to strengthen muscles and restore joint facets impact (s). Injections may also be an option for people who are sensitive to the drug.

Osteoarthritis of the spine

  • Alternative treatments
  • Manipulation: A chiropractor, a chiropractor, physiotherapist or a trained and licensed can make adjustments on the spine can help properly organize the spine and can relieve pain.
  • Massage: Massage therapy may help relieve osteoarthritis pain, improve circulation, and reduce muscle tension and spasm. It is better to find a professional who is specially trained in treating people with arthritis.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): This type of non-invasive treatment using a small amount of electricity to reduce the sensitivity of the nerves around the spine. TENS treatment can be done in a medical office or TENS unit may be prescribed for the patient and sent home with instructions on its proper use.
  • Self – care, exercise, rehabilitation
  • Rest periodically

A little discomfort is to be expected as loosening stiff joints in the morning or at the start of exercise. However, moderate to severe back pain is a sign that the spine, muscles and soft tissues surrounding the other should be resting.

  • Heat and cold therapy

Use a heating pad up or whirlpool for a few minutes can loosen a stiff back and make operation easier. Freeze back for 15 or 20 minutes after activity can reduce swelling and relieve pain quickly.

  • Weight loss and physical therapy

A diet to maintain a healthy weight can pay huge dividends for people with osteoarthritis of the spine, particularly osteoarthritis of the spine. Some exercises related to the treatment of osteoarthritis, down into the following categories:

Strengthening exercises: Strengthening and stretching back is very important for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the spine. The objective to strengthen the muscles supporting the joints. Powerful, flexible back and neck muscles support the spine and relieve pressure on the spinal discs and joints aspects, thereby reducing further progression of the symptoms.

Low impact aerobic exercises: Aerobic activity keeps the lungs and circulation system in shape, and help control weight. Popular activities without putting undue stress on the spine include walking, stationary cycling, and exercise in the water.

The range-of-movement exercises. These exercises increase flexibility of the body and prevent the muscles from getting weak, keeping joints supple, reduce stiffness and maintain normal joint movement at the rear. For examples: gentle stretching sideways, forward, backward and gentle yoga.

While physical therapy and exercises are very useful, some kind of activity will exacerbate follows and should be avoided. Such kind of movements stretching the neck or back are better to be avoided, example:

  • Heavy lifting, including carrying heavy bags or backpacks, can strain the neck and back.
  • People with osteoarthritis in lumbar spine may want to avoid deep bending or twisting at the waist deep.
  • People with osteoarthritis cervical spine should avoid placing additional pressure on the head and neck, such as doing a handstand in yoga class.

osteoarthritis of the spine

  • Surgery

Although it is rare, in the case of bladder and bowel function is impaired, nervous system damage or walking becomes very difficult, surgery is necessary. For most patients, the program is committed to a non-surgical treatment of extensive and rigorous, which generally includes physical rehabilitation therapy and exercise, will help them avoid back or neck surgery.

  • Fusion vertebrae

Patients with osteoarthritis serious aspect may encounter friction between the joints painful aspects. After successful surgery usually takes 3-6 months, but can last up to 18 months for the bone graft and the spine to grow together.

Patients should know that surgery reduces synthesis of spinal flexibility and can cause more pressure on the soft tissues surrounding joints and aspects. Patients and doctors must weigh the benefits of surgery against the risk of future problems it creates.

  • Laminectomy

Osteoarthritis can cause narrowing of the spinal canal and touches the nerve roots and spinal cord, causing pain, numbness and weakness in the arms and hands or legs and feet. In fact, the nerve pain in limb could be worse than back pain.

The goal of a laminectomy, sometimes called surgical decompression, is to create more space for the nerve material, thereby reducing or alleviating symptoms. Laminectomy can help to remove the lamina, which covers the back of the spinal canal. The surgeon can also cut any growth Boney on the vertebrae.

This topic has given to you all essential information to know about the disease of osteoarthritis of spine. Hope that it is helpful for you.