Who Gets Spinal Arthritis and Why?

Arthritis is a term that describes a number of different diseases that can result in pain, swelling, stiffness, and tenderness of the joints. The Arthritis Foundation suggests that some of the most common forms of this condition include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and ankylosing spondylitis

For the millions of people affected by arthritis, this condition can be difficult to manage, especially when it occurs in the spinal joints. These joints, like any other joint in your body, have a protective layer of cartilage that can wear out over time, causing the bones to rub against one another. This bone-on-bone friction can result in inflammation and pain, as well as lost flexibility, bone spurs, irritated nerves, back pain, spinal stenosis, and sciatica.




But who is most at risk to get spinal arthritis, and why? We asked Laser Spine Institute’s Director of Medical Services, Irene Rademeyer, PT, OCS, this question. Here’s what she had to say:




“Most people will develop some form of spinal arthritis in their lifetime if they live long enough, but there are certain factors that make some people more likely to have it,” Irene says.




Here is a brief look at the factors that might put you at a greater risk for developing spinal arthritis:




Genetics may result in a familial predisposition to osteoarthritis, which can cause an earlier onset of this condition. This can be observed as you see your parents and grandparents age and although you cannot stop it, it can be very well managed.

Occupational requirements that place excessive demands on your spine. At Laser Spine Institute, we see this in football players, dentists, gymnasts, pilots, etc.

Repetitive overloads that put compressive forces on the spine over a long period, such as weightlifting, sitting for long periods, leaning over constantly, and repetitive lifting and twisting.




“Spinal arthritis presents as stiffness, muscle pain, spasm or weakness, and sometimes nerve pain,” Irene says. “It can be well managed with exercise, physical therapy, medication, intervention and lifestyle changes.”


However, some patients can’t find relief from spinal arthritis through conservative measures and instead turn to surgery. If you’re suffering from spinal arthritis and you are exploring other treatments, please contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures that can help you rediscover your life without back and neck pain. Also, be sure to join the discussion on our Facebook page where you can get firsthand accounts from former patients who have trusted our minimally invasive procedures to help relieve their spinal arthritis.



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