Symptoms of spinal osteoarthritis can creep up on you gradually. It may begin with mild stiffness and pain in the back which slowly becomes worse. You may experience weakness, numbness, tingling, and pain running down your arms or legs as well. While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, the progression of the disease can be slowed down or halted with the right treatment.
Spinal osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition where there is breakdown of the cartilage present between your vertebrae and spinal discs. This can lead to formation of bone abnormalities that press against the nerves that leave the spine causing the symptoms mentioned above. Treatment options include:
Lifestyle modification: This should be the first line of treatment and consists of maintaining proper posture, stretching exercises to improve range of motion of the spine, core strengthening exercises to improve spinal stability, and a healthy diet to lose weight if necessary.
Medications: Over-the-counter oral anti-inflammatory medications made should be taken as recommended by your doctor to avoid risk of side effects. These medications will help reduce swelling and pain in the back; however, they don’t treat the underlying cause.
Spine Injections: Facet joint injections may be given to control arthritis pain, and epidural injections to relieve pain due to nerve irritation. The injections are given under fluoroscopic guidance to ensure the exact location on the spine is targeted.
Surgery: More than 90% of the cases of spinal osteoarthritis can be treated non-surgically. However, if symptoms persist, surgery should be considered. Treatment options include decompression surgery to relieve pressure on a pinched spinal nerve and spinal fusion to prevent friction between the vertebral joints.
Dr Payam Moazzaz specializes in advanced minimally invasive spine surgery that enables faster recovery and return sooner to their active lifestyles. For all appointments and inquiries, please call (760) 904 5444.