Osteoarthritis of the Spine

Osteoarthritis is a condition where the protective cartilage between a joint begins to wear down or degenerate. Various joints throughout the body, such as joints in the hips, wrists, knees, and spine may be affected by this condition. Spinal osteoarthritis is, therefore, a condition in which the cartilage between the numerous facet joints of the spine begins to wear down, causing swelling and considerable amounts of pain.

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common causes of lower back pain. However, this does not mean you need to suffer from its negative effects. A Tampa Bay doctor can offer relief for osteoarthritis of the spine. Call an experienced doctor today to schedule an appointment.

Causes of Osteoarthritis

Arthritis of the spine typically occurs when the facet joints sustain some form of internal injury or damage. Facet joints are lined with a smooth form of cartilage that facilitates movement as two sides of a joint rub against one another. However, osteoarthritis can happen due to:

  • Age – as a person ages, the smooth elastic tissue that provides lubrication between joints begins to naturally wear down
  • Trauma – sustaining an injury to the back and spine can cause irreparable harm to the cartilage in the spine
  • Occupation – working in an occupation such as construction or manufacturing has been shown to lead to a higher rate of osteoarthritis of the spine
  • Family history – those who have a family history of osteoarthritis are similarly prone to the condition

Osteoarthritis can result in joint tenderness, joint stiffness, a limited range of motion, and weakness or numbness in the extremities.

Diagnosing This Condition

Do not ignore the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis of the spine. Because osteoarthritis is a progressive disease, if left untreated, it can worsen over time and become debilitating. A Tampa Bay spinal surgeon can work to diagnose osteoarthritis by using:

  • X-rays
  • MRI
  • Joint fluid analysis
  • Blood samples
  • Testing for bone spurs and bone damage

Because the symptoms of osteoarthritis may also be indicative of other conditions, it is important to rule out other conditions including gout or infections.

Treatment Options

Osteoarthritis of the spine is a progressive condition and currently is there is no cure or way to reverse the damage to the cartilage. The goal of treating osteoarthritis of the spine is twofold, it is meant to relieve pain while improving the mobility of the affected joints. This underlines the importance of knowing the full extent of osteoarthritis.

After a full assessment, a Tampa bay spinal doctor may prescribe over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen sodium to treat mild cases of osteoarthritis of the spine.

In more advanced cases of osteoarthritis, a Tampa bay spinal doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections in the affected joints. Finally, in advanced and serious cases of osteoarthritis of the spine, a doctor may recommend disc replacement.

Tampa Bay Doctors Could Help

The effects of osteoarthritis of the spine can greatly reduce your quality of life. However, a doctor may be able to help you seek relief so you can get back to doing what you love.

If you or a loved one is suffering from osteoarthritis of the spine, contact a Tampa Bay doctor today to learn your options regarding osteoarthritis of the spine and begin on the path to a pain-free back.