Arthritis & Back Pain

Degenerative change in the lumbar spine or lower back is a normal process. It’s important to understand that degenerative change does not necessarily = pain. Many patients with a clear degenerative change have no or very little pain. Osteoarthritis is a diagnostic term applied when degenerative change is responsible for pain, swelling and stiffness.

Like any structure, the disc degenerates over time causing a “flattening out” of the disc and as a result other parts of the spine carry more load. This leads to degenerative change of the facet joint and vertebral body and spurs or bony projections arise.

Cause: Many factors may contribute to natural degeneration of the disc and spinal joints. The process can be accelerated by traumatic injury, habitual poor posture, other lifestyle factors and potentially genetics.

Symptoms: When OA targets the neck patients will often notice a restriction in movement. When OA targets the lower back, restricted motion is not as obvious. People affected by arthritis are typically over 65 years of age, however, the condition may arise earlier for numerous reasons. Arthritic change may well give rise to pain, restricted movement and nerve compression, however, in our experience other structures are more likely to be at the source of the symptoms.

Treatment:  When OA is the source of symptoms it’s important to keep moving. images-3
Movement helps to produce synovial fluid, a natural lubricant found in joints. Appropriate exercise prescription will depend on a number of things such as; severity of arthritis, age, weight etc. Spine Smart can provide you with the correct exercises to maintain mobility and Spine Therapy offers a number of treatment methods that may help to relieve or even eliminate pain.