Receiving a diagnosis of arthritis of the spine can be a cause for concern. After all, when most people think of arthritis, they think of a condition that can affect joints throughout the body and progressively worsen over time. Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis, resulting from the deterioration of the cartilage that lines joints and eases their movements. Over years of use, the cartilage wears away and causes joint inflammation, aches, and stiffness.
What Causes Spinal Arthritis?
When it comes to the spine, several components are vulnerable to deterioration due to the daily stress placed upon them. The facet joints, which allow the spine’s vertebrae to flex and move, are often affected by spinal arthritis, leading to bone rubbing against bone and causing the facet joints to ache. The contact also can stimulate the growth of bone spurs in these joints, possibly leading to decreased range of motion or joint stiffness. In some cases, bone spurs can compress the spine’s nerves, leading to shooting pain, numbness, or a tingling sensation.
These complications might make you wonder about the arthritis of the spine risk factors. Aside from the natural aging process, here are a few of the factors that are related to spinal osteoarthritis:
- Genetic predisposition. According to current research, if close family members have suffered from arthritis in the past, you are likely at risk for the condition as well.
- Gender. Women are more likely than men to experience the effects of arthritis, particularly after menopause.
- Traumatic incidents. Damage to the spine received during an automobile accident, a hard hit during a contact sport, or another source of trauma can all contribute to joint degeneration.
- Smoking. Smoking decreases the body’s circulation, reducing the amount of oxygen and nutrients the spine can absorb.
- Obesity. Excess body weight places undue stress on the spine, accelerating cartilage degeneration.
Surgery with Dr. Keith Girton
Relieving the symptoms caused by arthritis of the spine can often be achieved through conservative measures. This includes treatments such as anti-inflammatory or pain medication, therapeutic massage, physical therapy, facet joint injections, and hot/cold therapy. If symptoms do not improve or suddenly worsen after weeks or months of doctor-guided treatment, you may want to see a specialist for a surgical consultation.
At BEST Health System’s Cincinnati location, Dr. Keith Girton performs minimally invasive surgery for patients looking for a surgical alternative. We believe in helping patients find the most effective, least invasive treatment option. Would you like to learn more about treatment with Dr. Keith Girton? Contact BEST Health System today.