Osteoarthritis of the Spine.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease in which the cartilage between the bones degrades, degenerates or wears out. It is often referred to as degenerative joint disease.
When osteoarthritis occurs in the spine, the discs and cartilage between, in and around the vertebrae in the back and neck begin to break down, thin, dehydrate and degrade.
What causes osteoarthritis of the spine?
Osteoarthritis is a normal process for all of us as we age.
It can start when we are younger when we have an injury or trauma to a joint such as a car accident injury, whiplash, a hard fall, or a sports injury . In my Raleigh, NC chiropractic clinic, I have treated osteoartritis with many such causes.
One can also have a genetic defect that involves the cartilage in the spine causing it to degrade faster than would normally occur with age.
Being overweight can also predispose someone to getting Osteoarthritis in the spine. The extra weight carried around when you are overweight degrades the discs, cartilage, and ligaments in the spine at a much faster rate.
What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the spine?
The most common symptoms of osteoarthritis of the spine are stiffness and pain. I see this commonly when I treat patients with osteoarthritis at my Raleigh chiropractic office. But it’s not uncommon to get a host of other symptoms such as nerve pain causing numbness in tingling into the arms or legs, headaches, and fatigue. Treatments for osteoarthritis at my Raleigh clinic can also help to alleviate these symptoms, as well.
Osteoarthritis of the spine can also cause emotional difficulties. I see many patients who due to the pain in their spines from osteoarthritis do not participate in normal activities of daily living. The spine pain may stop one from participating in normal activities of daily living like bowling, travel, sitting in a movie theater for two hours, or even picking up their kids at home.
How is osteoarthritis arthritis of the spine diagnosed?
Diagnostic imaging is very important when diagnosing osteoarthritis of the spine.
A plain film x-ray is a great start to look at the bones and discs. X-rays may reveal bone spurs, disc degeneration, and advanced cartilage degeneration.
MRI of the spine may show damage to the discs, compression of the nerves or spinal cord.
Blood tests can help to rule out other diseases and arthritis which may be causing the symptoms.
What are some treatments for osteoarthritis of the spine in the Raleigh, NC area?
One great option for the treatment of osteoarthritis in Raleigh is chiropractic care. Most chiropractors utilize physical therapy as part of their practice. These treatment for arthritis pain usually include:
ULTRASOUND THERAPY FOR OSTEOARTHRITIS PAIN– Uses a deep penetrating ultrasonic heat. Ultrasound therapy can provide a significant decrease in stiffness, pain, and inflammation in joints ligaments, nerves and muscles while providing a deep soothing ultrasonic heat and pulsation that decreases joint and tissue pain.
ELECTROTHERAPY FOR OSTEOARTHRITIS PAIN – Targeted electrical impulses are used to soothe tense inflamed, muscles and dull overactive excited nerves. This can increase mobility and decrease stiffness in locked up and tense muscle and ligaments.
MANUAL THERAPY FOR OSTEOARTHRITIS PAIN – The clinician will stretch or gently massage areas of inflamed and sore tissues. This causes increased circulation to the affected region and increases mobility, flexibility to muscles fascia, tendons and joints.
TARGETED THERAPEUTIC EXERCISES FOR OSTEOARTHRITIS PAIN – The clinician prescribes and performs targeted therapeutic stretches and exercises to increase circulation, increase strength, and increase flexibility.
Chiropractic care should be considered as a valuable tool in the toolbox of managing pain and stiffness from osteoarthritis of the spine and overall treatment of osteoarthritis.
Dr. Jeffrey Gerdes, D.C.