Spinal Arthritis Overview

chronic back pain

Arthritis of the spine is often associated with the following symptoms. If you have been diagnosed with arthritis of the spine, allow a North American Spine specialist to help you find relief.

  • Back pain that is continuous or comes and goes
  • Neck pain that is continuous or comes and goes
  • Tenderness or stiffness in the back, neck, hip or heel
  • Popping or grinding when you move your back or neck
  • Nerve-related pain, weakness, tingling, burning or numbness that runs from your neck or shoulder down the length of your arm
  • Similar nerve-related symptoms that run from your back down the rear of your legs
  • Noticeable restrictions in your normal range of motion, as well as sciatica, muscle spasms, low body energy and sleeping problems

North American Spine provides pain relief for patients diagnosed with arthritis of the spine, by first pinpointing the source of the pain. Thousands of chronic back and neck pain sufferers who are diagnosed with arthritis of the spine are not aware that the diagnosis, and their severe pain, may not be related. In fact, their pain is being caused by another source, such as a bulging disc or bone spur.

It is more common than most patients realize, for a diagnostic review to miss the full picture. One reason is that nerves are complex, with pain radiating to areas far from the source. Another reason is that tools like the MRI are helpful but are not perfect in pinpointing the source of pain. That is why North American Spine focuses on precision in diagnosis, using a range of techniques starting with a free MRI review.

If arthritis of the spine is confirmed to be the source of your pain, North American Spine can reduce the pain associated with the condition. Our approach includes treating the nerves sending pain signals. Patients undergo a short outpatient procedure. Many feel immediate relief, walk the next day and return to non-strenuous activities within a week.

request free mri

The first step is to learn more about your unique case, the exact cause of your pain, and the best treatment for you. Start by contacting a North American Spine patient coordinator at (877) 474-2225 to discuss your symptoms, past treatments and medical history. Then request a free MRI review.

Click: More About Arthritis of the Spine

Arthritis of the spine is a general term used to describe a variety of arthritic conditions that can appear in the bones or joints of your spinal column. These conditions have a number of potential causes, and can have a range of effects on your back and neck health.

Arthritis of the Spine Basics

Doctors use the term arthritis to collectively refer to more than 100 ailments that inflame and damage the joints in your body. Specific types of arthritis that commonly affect your spine include osteoarthritis, which triggers cartilage loss inside joints in your spine called facet joints; rheumatoid arthritis, which damages a membrane that surrounds the facet joints; ankylosing spondylitis, which typically produces chronic inflammation in the joints that connect your spine and pelvis; reactive arthritis, an inflammatory condition that can begin in the aftermath of certain types of infections; and psoriatic arthritis, which sometimes occurs in association with the skin disorder psoriasis and can lead to fusion between neighboring spinal bones. Another form of arthritis, called enteropathic arthritis, sometimes develops in people with Crohn’s disease or other gastrointestinal disorders, and leads to inflammation at the juncture of the spine and pelvis.

Arthritis of the Spine Causes

The specific cause of spinal arthritis varies according to the type of arthritis present in your body. For instance, as noted, bacterial or viral infection can lead to the onset of reactive arthritis. People with rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis have immune systems that mistakenly assault healthy tissues in their bodies; doctors don’t fully understand the underlying reasons for these altered immune functions. People with osteoarthritis have spinal degeneration related to accumulated stress and wear and tear. You can also develop spinal arthritis if your break a spinal bone (vertebra) and physically damage the integrity of its joints.

Arthritis of the Spine Symptoms

Depending on your individual circumstances, spinal arthritis can produce symptoms that include intermittent or constant tenderness or pain in your neck, upper back or lower back; altered nerve sensations—such as weakness, numbness, burning or tingling—that radiate from your neck to your arm, or from your lower back to your legs; grinding or popping sensations in your back or neck; morning back or neck stiffness; and tenderness or pain that appears in your knees, heels or hips. Other potential symptoms of spinal arthritic disorders include restrictions in your normal range of back or neck motion; abnormal spinal curvature; difficulty walking or bending your back; and radiating pain along the course of your sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back to your legs. You can also develop sleep disturbances, fatigue and/or muscle spasms.

In many cases, symptoms are mistakenly diagnosed as arthritis of the spine.  In fact, for many patients diagnosed with arthritis of the spine, their chronic pain has a different source, such as a bulging disc or bone spur.  Proper diagnosis is required to pinpoint the source of pain and recommend the correct treatment.  Contact North American Spine for a free review of your MRI or call a patient coordinator at (877) 474-2225.

Arthritis of the Spine Treatments

Common treatments for arthritis in your spine, or other areas of your body, include muscle-strengthening exercises, low-impact forms of aerobic exercise, range-of-motion exercises, nonprescription medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or acetaminophen, and physical therapy techniques such as massage, applications of ice or heat, water exercises, corrective orthotics or protective splints. Medications used specifically for autoimmune forms of spinal arthritis include disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs); biologic medications such as abatacept (Orencia), etanercept (Enbrel) or adalimumab (Humira); and drugs such as leflunomide (Arava) or azathioprine (Imuran), that suppress immune system activity. Some people with spinal arthritis need surgery to correct the damaging effects of their condition.

Take the Next Step
Contact a North American Spine patient coordinator today. Use the Ask An Expert form on this page or call us at (877) 474-2225.