What Causes Arthritis of the Spine? | BEST

Spinal arthritis can be caused by many factors, but the most common is the natural degeneration of the spine due to age. 

The spine is meant to support and stabilize the majority of the body’s weight. Over time, the joints and discs in the spine begin to wear down due to factors like loss of water content, carrying extra weight, and poor posture. When the protective cartilage that allows for smooth motion between the joints wears away, the increased friction causes inflammation and a host of other symptoms that are often associated with osteoarthritis of the spine, which is the most common form of this condition. 

The other main cause of spinal arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This is an internal condition that can manifest in the spine and other areas of the body. Patients with spinal arthritis caused by RA may need to consult with their physician about special treatments to help reduce pain and symptoms in the spine. 

Spinal Arthritis Caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease of connective tissue. It affects the synovial lining, the thin membrane that covers the inside of the joint and cartilage. RA causes white blood cells to turn against the membrane which causes inflammation and destruction of the joint surfaces. This misdirected immune response can lead to whole-body fatigue and fevers. 

The exact cause of RA is unknown. Some researchers believe viral or bacterial infections could trigger its onset. Some genetic markers are known to be associated with RA. This condition usually appears in middle-aged individuals and is more common in women than men. 

Risk Factors for Spinal Arthritis

While spinal arthritis is a common development later in life, there  are several factors that can increase a patient’s risk of developing the condition, such as:

  • Age – Osteoarthritis causes usually appear around age 45
  • Gender – Women are twice as likely to develop osteoarthritis
  • Injury – Osteoarthritis can result from injuries sustained from accidents and sports or work-related injuries
  • Heredity – It is possible to inherit joint deformity and defective cartilage
  • Obesity – Excessive weight causes stress to the joints

Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis cause pain, tenderness, swelling, and stiffness of the joints. These symptoms can cause you to experience chronic pain and ultimately a decline in your quality of life. 

Many patients with spinal arthritis can find lasting relief through conservative methods of treatment such as rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and physical therapy, which aims to strengthen the muscles surrounding the spine to help support the body’s weight and relieve pressure on the vertebrae in the spine. Work with your doctor to design a treatment plan that is right for you. 

Next Steps to Find Relief from Spinal Arthritis

If conservative treatment has been fully explored without bringing the relief you require, your physician may suggest that you consider surgery. While traditional surgeries may seem convenient, they are intense and require long recovery periods. BEST Health System specializes in minimally invasive surgical procedures that can be performed on an outpatient basis. This means that patients can avoid the hassle of a hospital and skip the long recovery time. 

BEST Health System

Contact BEST Health System today and get started on your path to recovery. Traditional healthcare is not the only option anymore, and we offer patients a more efficient alternative. If you are interested in learning more about the surgical procedures offered through BEST, reach out today. The BEST is yet to come.