If you’re over the age of 45 or 50, odds are you have arthritis. You read that right, but it’s not the type you think of where a person’s joints become so painful it’s hard to function. That’s rheumatoid arthritis.
Most all of us who been active in our lives have some degree of another kind of arthritis — osteoarthritis. That is the degenerative form of arthritis, where your joints are simply showing their age and the wear and tear of decades of use. Dr. Trujillo addresses pain caused by the deterioration due to spinal osteoarthritis.
What is spinal osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is colloquially known as “wear and tear” arthritis. This form of arthritis in the spine causes inflammation of the spinal facet joints. These joints in the lower back, the lumbar spine, are the most likely to become somewhat arthritic. As the facet joints wear, bone spurs can be produced and these often put pressure on the nerve roots exiting the spinal column. This leads to pain that can radiate down into the legs, and over time can create weakness as the nerve is damaged.
What symptoms will I have with spinal osteoarthritis?
The patients we see at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic usually have a combination of these symptoms:
- Back and/or neck stiffness and pain that is usually the worst when first waking up
- Pain that subsides during the day, but tends to return at night
- Pain that disrupts sleep
- Weakness or numbness in the legs or arms if a nerve is being impinged
- Swelling and warmth in one or more joints, particularly accompanying low pressure weather systems
How we treat spinal osteoarthritis
Spinal arthritis can really impact quality of life, keeping patients from many activities they love, and bleeding over to affect their mental outlook. Our goal is to get you back to a healthy lifestyle.
We start with conservative treatments such as postural support and training. If the patient is overweight, a weight loss program will be a part of treatment. Exercise of all types is beneficial, as it strengthens the muscles that support the joints, strengthens the heart and circulatory systems, and increases flexibility.
We include exercises that involve walking, swimming, and water aerobics. We also include anti-inflammatory pain medications. Sometimes, epidural steroid injections are effective. Radiofrequency ablation can be useful. If the pain doesn’t respond to these measures, Dr. Trujillo may insert an intrathecal pain pump to deliver targeted pain medication into the intrathecal space.
If you’re suffering from chronic back pain, you’re probably dealing with some degree of spinal osteoarthritis. Call the team at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic, (855) 768-4968 and let’s see how we can help.