What is Arthritis of the Spine?

  • Occurs when cartilage in the joints is worn down due to aging, wear and tear, injury or misuse
  • Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis
  • We treat with minimally invasive surgical techniques

Arthritis is a complex family of musculosketal disorders that can affect people of all ages, races and genders. Arthritis basically involves the wearing out of cartilage in joints or the inflammation of membranes lining the joints. The three most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid and juvenile. In the spine, osteoarthritis can cause stiffness and pain in the neck or in the lower back. Cervical arthritis, also called cervical spondylosis, affects the upper spine and neck. Lumbar or lumbosacral arthritis affects the lower back and pelvic area. Ankylosing spondylitis is another type of spinal arthritis.

Our Treatment Approach

We always begin treatment with the most conservative approach. For rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, your physician may prescribe over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications, moist heat, ice packs, exercises or injections to block pain and reduce inflammation. Osteoarthritis leads to bone spurs, which can cause nerve impingement and severe pain. Our back and spine specialists remove the bone spurs with a simple minimally invasive laser procedure. This technique does not traumatize surrounding tissue and no muscles are cut to access that surgical site so you can get you back to enjoying your life as quickly as possible.

Causes

While the exact cause of arthritis is unknown, some common factors are:
  • Aging
  • Loss of cartilage in joints
  • Bone spurs
  • Inflammation
  • Genetic predisposition

Symptoms

Depending on the type of arthritis you have, your symptoms can vary:
  • Back pain that comes and goes
  • Spinal stiffness in the morning
  • Pain, tenderness or numbness in the neck, shoulders, hips, knees or heels
  • Lower back pain that runs down into the buttocks, thighs or pelvic area
  • A crunching feeling or sound of bone rubbing on bone
  • Weakness, numbness in legs or arms
  • Limited range of motion, difficulty bending or walking.