Arthritis of the spine develops in the facet joints, located between each vertebra. As we age, the cartilage lining the joint surface can shrink and wear thin, causing bone spurs and enlargement of the joint. This often leads to the inflammation and pain of arthritis. In addition, it can lead to loss of flexibility, irritated nerves, and sciatica.
There are many different types of arthritis, several of which affect the spine. Some of these include:
There are many non-surgical methods of treating arthritis of the spine. Some of these include exercise to improve blood flow and increase flexibility, massage, acupuncture, and hot/cold compresses. Pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs may also be used to treat the pain.
In severe cases where bladder and bowel function is impaired, or if the nervous system is damaged, surgery will likely be recommended. Adult stem cell therapy may be an alternative treatment for chronic arthritis. This same-day procedure may provide pain relief and improve cartilage quality in the spine.