Arthritis refers to a collection of diseases that cause inflammation and pain in the joints. There are various forms of arthritis, including the age-related osteoarthritis, which is the most common of all forms. Osteoarthritis of the spine causes inflammation of the facet joints between the spinal vertebrae and subsequent breakdown of the cartilage that acts as a cushioning surface between them. The gradual worsening of the cartilage degeneration associated with osteoarthritis occurs as affected individuals age, with the cartilage eventually declining to the point that friction between the spinal vertebrae is the source of pain. Osteophytes, or irregular bony growths that enlarge the vertebrae, may occur as a result of the body’s attempt to repair the friction damage caused by the vertebrae rubbing against one another.
While there aren’t any treatments that exist to stop the degenerative process caused by arthritis, there are medications available to limit the pain it causes.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and other over-the-counter medications for the relief of the inflammation and pain caused by arthritis are usually advised to be used judiciously, as the symptoms require. If over the counter medication isn’t effective in eliminating the symptoms of arthritis, Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine can provide prescription alternatives.
By strengthening the muscles supporting the spine, physical therapy can minimize the pressure placed on the joints separating the vertebrae. Additionally, rehabilitative exercises to improve the spine’s range of motion can effectively minimize arthritis pain. Physical therapy is typically recommended by Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine for the treatment of most types of back pain, which includes arthritis.