Arthritis in the back is one of the major causes of lower back pain. It is also referred to as spinal arthritis and can occur anywhere in the spine but mostly affects the lower spine.
Osteoarthritis is the major type of arthritis that affects the spine and it is the inflammation of facet joints in the spine or the joint between the spine and pelvis.
Lumbar arthritis is a degenerative disease and gets worsen with time as you grow older, that is, the degeneration of the spine which is more common to the older folks.
Research has shown that lumbar arthritis affects between 40-85% of people in the United States and approximately 85% experience lower back pain at least once in their lifetime.
Osteoarthritis is not abnormal especially when you are aging, its effect can slow you down and limit your productivity but there are some things is not abnormal especially when you are aging, its effect can slow you down and limit your productivity but there are some things you can do to mitigate its effect.
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Causes of Back/Lumbar Arthritis (Osteoarthritis)
Lumbar arthritis mainly results from osteoarthritis and that results from gradual damage, inflammation and wear and tear to the facet joints of the spine.
However, apart from degeneration to the spine joint, there are also some external factors that can lead to quick degeneration or sudden wear and tear to this joint, thereby leading to back arthritis.
Main factors or causes of Spine arthritis from OA are as follow:
- Age: Degeneration due to the aging factor is the most common cause of arthritis in the spine, leading to excruciating back pain. The condition degenerated gradually and the pain gradually increases as you grow older.
- Overweight/Obesity: When extra weight is pushed between space in the lower back, leading to pinched nerves and arthritis of the back is aggravated when extra weights strain the spine joints.
- Poor Diet: Poor diet can cause arthritis in the lumbar region. There are some diets that have been proven to cause inflammation in the body and lead to a breakdown, especially to the back components.
- Accident: Back components are fragile and accidents can lead to displacement or sudden tear to muscles, ligaments of the spine, leading to arthritis.
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Symptoms of Back Osteoarthritis
There are several symptoms of osteoarthritis in the back region, it may differ from one person to the other. They include:
- Excruciating lower back and neck pain
- Swelling/inflammation of the affected area. It might look reddish than other non-affected areas.
- Inability to straighten the back or turn the neck due to inflexibility
- Fatigue and pain to other parts of the body
- It can also lead to pain and numbness in the arms and legs, sciatic nerve pain
Pain in the lower back region and neck is the most common symptom. However, other signs can also be a presence of osteoarthritis in the spine.
Treatments of Back Osteoarthritis (OA)
There are several treatments that can be administered to back arthritis and it will depend on the causes and other factors. It should be noted that the treatment is just to mitigate the pain and not to totally cure back arthritis. Treatments administered can be surgical or physical depending on the severity of the back pain, the causes and the age of the person.
Drugs: Your doctor might probably prescribe drugs to mitigate the pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids pills or injections can help reducing pain and swelling.
Exercises: there are several exercises that greatly mitigate lower back pain. However, you should also not engage in some activities so as not to aggravate back arthritis. It is important that you talk to a physiotherapist for better advice.
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Weight Loss: If you are obese, you might need to go through a weight reduction routine to mitigate arthritis. Weight loss does help to reduce lower back pain.
Resting: You might need to change your lifestyle routine and rest from the activities that are probably aggravating the symptoms.
Surgical Option: This is only done when all physical treatment seems not to work due to the level of severity. Spinal fusion can be done and that involves combining/fusing several segments to stabilize the spine. Surgery can also be done to decompress the spinal cord.
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Best Back Brace for Arthritis
Back brace is an orthopedic brace that helps in alleviating or considerably reducing excruciating back pain. Arthritis in the back commonly affects the lower back region, leading to lower back pain. Therefore, the best back brace for arthritis is the one that can provide good support, stabilize and compress the lower back region.
- Stability: Back brace holds the back components together and ensures they stay in their correct position. This also limits unnecessary movements that can aggravate pain or worsen arthritis.
- Compression: The affected area can swell or inflame. A good compression to the area will greatly reduce swelling and inflammation.
- Cold/Hot Therapy: Some back brace has a gel pack pocket and some are sold with gel pack. You can ice or heat the gel pack to give the affected area hot/cold therapy which is one of the ways to mitigate lower back pain.
These and many others are reasons you need to get the best back brace as it is one of the physical and most important treatments to mitigate back pain caused by arthritis.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Spine
This type of arthritis also has similar symptoms to osteoarthritis but their causes are not similar. Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disease that leads to swelling of joints, back pain, neck pain, and stiff joints among other symptoms.
OA is caused by wear and tear, on the other hand, RA is an autoimmune disorder, this means the damage is caused by the immune system.