Arthritis Facts & Information
Arthritis is a general term that describes many different diseases causing tenderness, pain, swelling, and stiffness of joints as well as abnormalities of various soft tissues of the body.
The term comes from "arthros," meaning a joint and its attachments, and "-itis," meaning inflammation.
Spinal arthritis starts developing early in life with symptoms most often seen in adults over 50, but can also occur at a much younger age from injury or overuse. Spinal arthritis is the second leading cause of mechanical low back pain and the number one cause of mechanical neck pain.
The CDC reports that arthritis affects an estimated 52.5 million U.S. adults, has been told that they do have some sort of arthritis, as a common comorbidity with multiple chronic conditions, and is a leading cause of disability in the United States. While millions of Americans suffer from arthritis of the spine, at MAPMC our board-certified pain management physician offer a variety of highly effective treatments that can provide significant long-term pain relief from arthritis enabling those to live healthy, vibrant lives again.
Certain “insults” cause pain to become present earlier than expected e.g. lifting a heavy object at work, car accidents, twisting the wrong way, overweight, and many others.
When you hear a pop in your neck or low back, it is these joints that you are hearing.
Whiplash conditions typically also involve these joints and if addressed early on and aggressively, the chances that you will become pain free become greatly improved.
Risk Factors for Spinal Arthritis
Athletes and people with jobs that require repetitive, and particularly heavy, motion have been found to be at greater risk. Other known risk factors for developing spinal arthritis include:
- Aging: steady and advanced aging of spinal structures, beginning in the 30s, often work-related
- Gender: Osteoarthritis being more common in post-menopausal women (although below age 45, it is more common in males)
- Excess Weight: causing more stress on weight-bearing joints and the spine, particularly during the middle age years
- Genetics: having a family history of osteoarthritis or congenital defects of joints, spine, or leg abnormalities
- Associated diseases: the presence of other associated diseases, diabetes, and various other forms of circulating arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout
What Causes Spinal Arthritis Pain?
Arthritis of the spine develops in the small joints located between each vertebra called Facet Joints. These joints develops arthritis as we age, the cartilage lining the joint surface can develop wear and tear causing bone spurs and enlargement of the joint, which often leads to the inflammation and pain of arthritis.
Arthritis can occur Anywhere in the spine from the neck to the lower back.
Arthritis pain is often worse in the morning, when the weather changes, after over-exertion or even after long periods of standing or sitting. Pain that disrupts sleep is often an indicator.
Bone rubbing on bone, abnormal curvature of the spine, loss of flexibility and difficulty bending or walking may also occur. However, because these symptoms are not unique to arthritis, it’s important to identify the correct source of pain to successfully treat your problem.
The key to managing the condition is to get an accurate diagnosis and start early, proactive treatment.
Most osteoarthritis treatments are focused on reducing the pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis and maintaining the joint mobility and flexibility needed to continue with necessary and desired activities.
Very similar to other joints in the body that begin to hurt you, one of the approaches is by delivering anti-inflammatory medications into the irritated joints to give you pain relief, through Facet Joints Injections. The sooner these injections are given to when you start experiencing pain, the better chance you have at gaining significant and prolonged relief.
As a general rule, the quicker you address acute pain with the appropriate treatment, the likelihood of chronic pain decreases dramatically.
Long-term Pain Relief Without Surgery Can be Achieved
- The facet joint injection is not only a precise diagnostic tool but also it is a highly effective therapy, providing substantial pain relief for several weeks to months.
- If you obtain pain relief of at least 50% or more for at least several hours after the injection, then you would be a candidate for a more permanent pain relief by another proven method of treatment, Radiofrequency Denervation (RFA).
- This technique desensitizes the nerve endings using heat therapy and can provide months to years of pain relief. Approved by Medicare and most insurance plans, these procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and generally take only 30 to 90 minutes.
Proven to be safe and effective, this therapeutic approach offers the benefit of alleviating your pain without Surgery, without General Anesthesia, and without hospital stays or long recovery periods.
Is Spinal Arthritis Negatively Affecting Your Quality of Life?
If you, a friend or family member lives with pain from arthritis in the neck or back, be sure to reach out to an experienced, board-certified pain management specialist for diagnosis and treatment.
Our physician and provider support staff at MAPMSC are here to help with the most advanced comprehensive, compassionate care that works best for your individual health needs.