Spinal Arthritis is a common condition and occurs when there are structural changes to the joints of the spine. While not always painful, Spinal Arthritis can lead to central spinal pain in some cases.
Spinal Arthritis may also result in bone spurs, or osteophytes. These are a sign of arthritis and can cause pain in extremities when they press on spinal nerves.
Typically, someone with painful Spinal Arthritis will have pain in the center of the neck or back. The pain increases when you lean forward, walk or run. Spinal Arthritis is different from sciatica, which is a degenerative condition that can cause pain in arms and legs in addition to weakness.
Spinal Arthritis may occur because of sudden injuries, such as falls or lifting something incorrectly. However, the condition usually develops over many years.
There are several types of Spinal Arthritis. The most common is osteoarthritis, which is due to trauma or age-related deterioration of the cartilage lining of the joints. People who have autoimmune or inflammatory arthritis, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, may have painful arthritis due to their medical condition.
Your doctor can usually diagnose Spinal Arthritis by discussing your medical history and examining you. Your doctor might order X-rays or an MRI for additional information. If you or your doctor suspects you have an autoimmune disease, your doctor might order lab tests.
In some cases, your doctor may perform a procedure called a Medial Branch Block. The doctor will use an X-ray to inject a local anesthetic into the nerves around the affected joints. If this reduces your pain temporarily, there may be treatment specifically for the painful arthritis.
There is no cure for Spinal Arthritis, since it is an irreversible condition. But there are many treatments to help ease pain and difficulties associated with this condition. These may include physical therapy, exercise, cognitive behavioral therapy, medications , Radiofrequency Facet Denervation, or surgery. Many patients need more than one of these treatments.