Do you have spinal arthritis?

Arthritis sneaks in like an unwelcomed thief and robs you of little moments you didn’t know you would miss. It steals away the ability to pick up a small grandchild, easily move pots and pans around the kitchen and walk up the stairs. There are several types of arthritis, but the most common is known as spinal arthritis.

Spinal arthritis, also called osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis of the spine, affects more than 27 million Americans. The disease affects the joints of the spine, specifically the cartilage that cushions the joints. As the disease progresses, it can inflict painful symptoms among unsuspecting persons.

Who gets spinal arthritis?

Anyone can develop spinal arthritis. In fact, most people have some form of degenerative arthritis in their spine, as it is a symptom of aging. Men are more likely to develop spinal arthritis before age 45 than women. However, women are more likely to be diagnosed with spinal arthritis after hitting 45 years of age.

You don’t have to be elderly to have spinal arthritis, though. Some may experience arthritis in their spine if they’ve suffered an injury, have a genetic disorder or are diagnosed with a condition that would make them prone to the disease.

How is it diagnosed?

Spinal arthritis isn’t normally diagnosed through one test. Your physician will start by gathering a detailed medical history. He or she may order an X-ray, MRI scan or blood tests.

How is it treated?

There is no cure for spinal arthritis. However, the symptoms can be treated. To help relieve the pain on your joints, your physician may suggest one of these treatment options:

  • Weight loss
  • Exercise
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Heat or ice therapy
  • Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Use of topical ointments or oils
  • Nutritional supplements 

Can spinal arthritis be prevented?

Steps can be taken to help prevent spinal arthritis. One of the best things you can do for your joints is to ensure you are living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a healthy weight. Staying active through low-impact exercises such as swimming, walking and water aerobics is a great way to prevent spinal arthritis.

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