Arthritis is a term for pain and stiffness caused by the joints in our body, including the facet joints in the spinal column. The most common type of spinal arthritis — osteoarthritis — is caused by normal degeneration that comes with age. In cases of osteoarthritis, the smooth coating of cartilage that protects joints wears away over time, leading to pain, stiffness and inflammation within the joint.

Primary causes spinal arthritis

As we age, our bodies tend to dry out. This includes the joint cartilage that allows our joints to glide smoothly against each other. When these protective surfaces become dry and brittle, it can lead to bone-on-bone contact and the aches, pains and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis.

While no one can prevent the natural aging process, there are controllable factors that can contribute to the development of spinal arthritis. These include:

Carrying excess body weight
Excessive alcohol consumption
Traumatic injury
Participation in high-impact sports
Poor posture

Treatment for spinal arthritis

Typically, treatment for spinal arthritis begins conservatively with options such as pain medication and physical therapy. The first goal when treating a patient is to relieve pain and improve spinal flexibility enough to enjoy an active life and promote the continuing health of the spine.

While it is usually viewed as a last resort by doctors and patients alike, in certain cases, arthritis of the spine surgery may be recommended. This is especially true if pain and other symptoms have not responded to a full course of conservative treatments.

If you have been diagnosed with annular tear, contact our specialists at Spine & Orthopedic Center at 888-409-8006.