What Causes Arthritis of the Spine?

Arthritis of the spine is closely linked to the natural aging process and degeneration of the cartilage that protects the spinal facet joints. Over the years this cartilage begins to dry out and become brittle, causing it to wear down. This leads to increased bone-on-bone contact between the joint faces as the spine bends and flexes. This causes the inflammation associated with spinal arthritis. The friction also causes bone spurs, which are natural growths that can potentially cause spinal narrowing and nerve compression.

What Causes Arthritis of the Spine?

Although aging primarily causes arthritis, anything that causes undue stress on the spine, or adds to the weight it has to support, can potentially speed up this process. These contributors can include:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Smoking or excessive alcohol consumption
  • High-impact sports, or sports that involve repeated twisting, such as golf
  • Poor posture
  • Using improper lifting technique

Although there is no way to prevent arthritis of the spine completely, taking active measures to promote the long-term health of the spine can decrease the risk that it develops.

Treatment with Dr. Keith Girton

Form a close partnership with your doctor and commit to conservative treatment if you are diagnosed with arthritis. A combination of treatments such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), hot and cold therapy, regular exercise, a healthy diet, and therapeutic massage helps a large number of patients effectively manage this condition and live an active lifestyle. You should consider spine surgery a last resort treatment, but it can offer the best chance of relief for some if conservative treatments do not work.

At BEST Health System, Dr. Keith Girton is our dedicated spine surgeon. Dr. Keith Girton specializes in minimally invasive spine treatment. These procedures offer many benefits, including smaller incisions and a quicker recovery time, all on an outpatient basis. Contact BEST today to learn more about surgery with Dr. Girton.