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Can Ra Cause Lower Back Pain

Treating Back Pain In Ulcerative Colitis

Can arthritis of the spine cause back pain?

Treating back pain in ulcerative colitis can be complicated. Research shows that treating the underlying UC can help lessen the severity of spondyloarthritis, but it will not resolve spondyloarthritis and back pain. Back pain must be addressed separately and in a way that does not make a persons UC symptoms worse.

People with ulcerative colitis may need to work with both a rheumatologist and a gastroenterologist to manage their gastrointestinal and spinal health properly. These doctors may prescribe or recommend the following treatments and therapies.

About Tristate Arthritis And Rheumatology

Tristate Arthritis and Rheumatology is first and largest Rheumatology practice in the Northern Kentucky area. Founded by Dr. Arthur Kunath in 1986, our rheumatology practice now consists of six doctors who are board certified in both Internal Medicine and Rheumatology and a Physician Assistant. Patients see one doctor , thereby assuring continuity of care and an individualized doctor-patient atmosphere giving the physician the ability to establish personalized and detailed relationships. Our doctors have received numerous awards, including being listed as Top Doctors in Cincinnati Magazine, receiving the Patients Choice Award, the Most Compassionate Doctor Award, and the American College of Rheumatologys My Doc Rocks award.

Top 11 Causes Of Chronic Low Back Pain

February 5, 2018 by Neurosurgical Associates of Central Jersey

Low back pain can really be a pain in thewell, back.

This condition is one of the most common health issues around. In fact, 31 million Americans experience low back pain at any given time, and it is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. In many cases, low back pain can resolve itself over a period of time. However, should the pain last longer than three months, it is then considered a chronic condition.

When chronic low back pain strikes, it can be due to any number of reasons. Lets take a look at some of the top causes of chronic low back pain:

  • Herniated discs.

    Disc herniation occurs when the soft center of a spinal disc leaks through a crack in the tough exterior and places pressure on the surrounding nerve or nerve roots, resulting in pain. Herniated discs can happen in the cervical or lumbar sections of the spine.

  • Facet joint dysfunction.

    Facet joints are joints that are located behind the majority of the spinal discs. They help give the spine its flexibility and stabilize it. When these joints become inflamed, they can cause pain similar to that of a herniated disc.

  • Spinal stenosis.

    Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal where the spinal cord and nerves live. The narrowing can put pressure on the nerves, causing pain. Like disc herniation, this typically only occurs in the cervical or lumbar spine.

  • Spinal irregularities.
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    Tylenol And Heat Therapy

    Doctors frequently prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or aspirin to help manage back pain. However, NSAIDs arent typically a viable solution for people with UC, as the medication can cause symptoms to flare.

    Those with ulcerative colitis can generally take the pain reliever Tylenol which is not an NSAID for minor aches and pains without side effects. Applying moist heat to affected areas may also reduce pain.

    How Does Ra Cause Back Pain


    RA is an autoimmune condition that causes swelling and pain in joints throughout the body. It can affect the facet joints in the spine.

    The paired facet joints run all along the spine. They connect with the bony bumps that a person can feel when they run their hands down their back. Facet joints support movement and flexibility in the spine.

    RA-related inflammation in the facet joints can cause back pain. In some cases, extended inflammation can destroy the facet joints. As a result, the vertebrae become less stable.

    Instability in the spine can cause a vertebra to slip out of place, which usually means that the upper vertebra slides over the lower one. Doctors call this spondylolisthesis.

    If slipped vertebrae put pressure on the sciatic nerve in the lower back, it can cause sciatica.

    Sciatica can cause:

    • loss of bowel or bladder function
    • loss of coordination
    • pain that radiates to the arms and legs

    However, unstable or severely damaged vertebrae can also press on other vital parts of the body. If left untreated, cervical spine RA can have severe consequences, including:

    As RA progresses, it is more likely that people will experience symptoms in their spine.

    One study suggests that around 64.5 percent of people with RA may experience lower back pain. The researchers found that people with RA and lower back pain reported a lower quality of life, and that some were at increased risk for depression.

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    Lifestyle Changes And Therapies

    Certain lifestyle changes may help reduce your pain and improve your long-term quality of life. These steps might include establishing a regular exercise routine, losing weight, and following an anti-inflammatory diet.

    Occupational and Physical Therapy

    You can also engage in occupational therapy, which will teach you how to perform daily activities without straining your back, or physical therapy, which can help you strengthen your back muscles and extend your range of motion.

    Im constantly stretching head to toe swimming is my rehab, one myRAteam member shared.

    Heat and Cold Therapy

    For immediate at-home pain relief, you may want to try hot and cold packs. Heat and cold therapy can provide a nonpharmacological way to manage symptoms during a flare-up. The pack you choose will depend on your symptoms. A hot pack can alleviate muscle spasms and improve blood flow, while cold packs can help reduce inflammation. For pain outside the cervical spine, hot packs will likely be the most helpful.

    Rheumatoid Arthritis And Sciatica

    The term sciatica describes the symptoms that occur when the sciatic nerve is pinched or irritated . These symptoms may include pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness that radiate along the sciatic nerve, affecting the buttocks, the back of the leg, and the foot.

    Sciatica is not a medical diagnosis. It can be caused by a variety of conditions, including those associated with RA, such as spondylolisthesis.

    Read about Spondylolisthesis on

    To relieve sciatica, the underlying cause must be treated.

    Learn more about Sciatica on

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    Chest Pain/shortness Of Breath

    Rheumatoid arthritis can affect blood vessels throughout the entire body, including the heart. People with RA are at a greater risk for heart attacks and other cardiovascular issues. Additionally, shortness of breath could be a sign that something is wrong, such as a lung infection or inflammation. If you frequently find yourself running out of breath or suffering chest pain, please call a rheumatologist as soon as possible.

    Hot And Cold Treatments For Symptom Relief

    Is Your Back Pain / Backache from Arthritis? 3 Quick Tests

    Hot and cold packs cant treat the underlying causes of back pain, but they can help to reduce the pain and stiffness you feel during a flare-up.

    Use a heat pack to help improve blood flow and reduce muscle spasms. It can also help make your pain more manageable.

    Use a cold pack to help reduce RA inflammation. It should mainly be used for flare-ups or acute pain.

    Cold packs may feel uncomfortable at first, but they can reduce swelling and help the pain. Cold packs should only be applied for 20 minutes at a time, 3 to 4 times a day.

    Medication can be an effective way of controlling chronic back pain. The type of medication youll need depends on how severe your pain is and how often you experience it.

    A variety of medications can alleviate pain and even slow the progression of RA.

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    How Is Ankylosing Spondylitis Diagnosed

    There isnt a test that definitively diagnoses ankylosing spondylitis. After reviewing your symptoms and family history, your healthcare provider will perform a physical exam. Your provider may order one or more of these tests to help guide diagnosis:

    • Imaging scans:Magnetic resonance imaging scans can detect spine problems earlier than traditional X-rays. Still, your provider may order spine X-rays to check for arthritis or rule out other problems.
    • Blood tests: Blood tests can check for the presence of the HLA-B27 gene. About 8% of people of European descent have this gene, but only a quarter of them develop ankylosing spondylitis.

    Diagnosing Back Pain In Ulcerative Colitis

    Diagnosing back pain as a symptom of ulcerative colitis can be tricky. Back pain can be attributed to a number of causes, including injury and strain. Because of the other potential causes, some people may not think to mention their backaches when seeking care for their UC. Whats more, back pain may develop years before UC does, making it more challenging to note the connection between the two.

    If your doctor suspects that your UC has led to axial arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis, they will likely ask you to come in for a physical exam and tests. During this exam, they may test the range of motion in your spine and gauge your ability to take a deep breath. The doctor may also try to pinpoint the location of your pain by moving your legs or pressing on certain areas of your pelvis.

    Radiographic tests are also commonly used to diagnose axial spondyloarthritis. Your doctor may use an X-ray to check for damage to your bones or joints. If no inflammatory damage is visible on the X-ray, your doctor may also order an MRI scan to get a more detailed view of your soft tissue and bones. An MRI scan can be particularly helpful, as it can allow doctors to catch and start treating your axial arthritis or AS before damage becomes extensive.

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    Increased Risk For Disability Poor Quality Of Life And Depression

    While low back pain may not be severe, its effects can be significant. People who are diagnosed with both RA and low back pain tend to report higher rates of disability, lower quality of life, and more symptoms of depression.2,6

    Treatment to alleviate chronic pain and improve everyday function may increase quality of life and reduce symptoms of depression.

    Surgery For Spinal Arthritis

    Lower Back Pain Due to Spinal Arthritis Non

    Surgery may be recommended for spinal arthritis if other treatments dont sufficiently relieve pain. The goals of the surgery may include:

    • Stabilizing the spine by fusing several segments together in a procedure called spinal fusion

    These surgeries can be performed as open procedures or with a minimally invasive approach. There are pros and cons to each method. The surgeon will review and discuss the options before the operation.

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    Arthritis Of The Spine

    Arthritis of the spine the slow degeneration of the spinal joints is the most frequent cause of lower back pain. All of us experience wear and tear as we age, and it is normal for your lower back to start acting up as you get older. As the cartilage breaks down between the spinal joints, surrounding tissues may become inflamed. The inflammation and the thinning of cartilage increase friction in the joints, which may cause pain in the lower back.

    Differences In Skeletal Alignment And Posture

    RA with low back pain is associated with poor skeletal alignment.7 For example, a hunched back or a loss of the normal curve in the lower spine is linked to low back pain.

    Poor pelvic alignmentthe angle at which the pelvic bone is positioned during standing and sittingcan also cause low back pain or make existing pain worse.

    Some of the factors listed above can be modified. Taking steps to change them may be part of a treatment plan.

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    How To Ease Back Pain

    Which treatment you and your doctor will decide on will depend on the type of joint problem you have and how serious it is.

    For example, if you have rheumatoid arthritis and show signs of joint damage, your doctor may recommend a prescription medication like a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug. You may hear it called a DMARD. DMARDs ease inflammation and help keep your joint damage from getting worse.

    Many of the things that can ease back pain caused by other problems can help with joint problems, too. Talk to your doctor about:

    Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications . These medications target inflammation and pain, which is why theyâre often recommended for back problems. You can get many NSAIDs over the counter. You may be able to use them with other types of medication for joint pain.

    Exercise. Gentle activities, like water aerobics, tai chi, or yoga, can really help ease low back pain from joint problems. Any movement that doesnât cause more pain is helpful. Talk to your doctor or a physical therapist if youâre not sure where to start or how to exercise safely.

    Squashing stress. Stress and anxiety make low back pain worse. But easing stress through talk therapy, mindfulness training, or other methods can ease pain and improve your quality of life. Your doctor can talk over stress-busting techniques with you.

    Treatments For Lower Back Pain

    Lower back pain due to arthritis, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease

    The source of your lower back pain will help guide your treatment options. These include:

    • Core strengthening to improve the ability of your abdominal muscles to support your spine
    • Weight loss to decrease lower back strain
    • Lower back and leg stretching to improve mobility and flexibility to alleviate areas of nerve compression and joint stiffness
    • Application of ice to decrease pain and inflammation or heat to improve mobility and decrease stiffness
    • Medication, hemodialysis, or kidney transplant to improve kidney function
    • Medical management of underlying conditions that increase the risk of kidney disease, such as hypertension or diabetes
    • Medications such as DMARDs and biologics to treat autoimmune forms of arthritis
    • Antibiotics or antivirals to treat infections
    • Pain medications taken orally via pill form, topically via creams or gels, or through injections into painful joints
    • Surgery to relieve chronic nerve compression

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    Can Ra Affect The Thoracic Spine

    RA usually affects the cervical spine, which is at the top of the spinal cord. However, it can also cause inflammation in the facet joints of the thoracic spine, which may worsen back pain.

    Although uncommon, a noted there have been reports of spinal stenosis, or a narrowing of the spaces in the spine, occurring in the thoracic spine in people with RA.

    Rheumatoid Arthritis Back Pain: Symptoms And Treatments

    There are many potential causes for back pain, including injuries, strain, or even physical exercise. But when aches last for weeks or months, it may be time to rule out temporary injury and start looking for an underlying condition.

    If you have rheumatoid arthritis a chronic autoimmune disease best known for causing inflammation and damage in the hands, wrists, and knees you may think your condition is also having a negative effect on your spinal health. In some cases, this may be true, but for the most part, spinal changes in people with RA are not due to inflammatory arthritis.

    Heres what to know, including other potential causes of your back pain, and ways to find relief.

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    When The Fingers Are Abnormally Bent

    Some disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and injuries can cause the fingers to bend abnormally. In swan-neck deformity, the joint at the base of the finger bends in , the middle joint straightens out , and the outermost joint bends in . In boutonnière deformity, the middle finger joint is bent inward , and the outermost finger joint is bent outward .

    Swollen wrists can pinch a nerve and result in numbness or tingling due to carpal tunnel syndrome Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful compression of the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. The cause of most cases of carpal tunnel syndrome is unknown… read more .

    Cysts, which may develop behind affected knees, can rupture, causing pain and swelling in the lower legs. Up to 30% of people with rheumatoid arthritis have hard bumps just under the skin , usually near sites of pressure .

    • X-rays

    • Examination of joint fluid

    In addition to the important characteristic pattern of symptoms, doctors follow established criteria when evaluating a person for rheumatoid arthritis. Doctors suspect people have rheumatoid arthritis if they have more than one joint with definite swelling of the joint’s lining that is not caused by another disorder. Doctors diagnose people with rheumatoid arthritis if they have certain combinations of the following criteria:

    Can Neck Problems Cause Lower Back Pain

    Back pain causes: How you can avoid triggering spinal ...

    Have you been experiencing lower back pain? If so, you have plenty of company. About 80% of adults suffer from lower back pain. Often an overlooked condition, youd be surprised to know that it is the top cause of illness-related work absences and the most common reason for job-related disability.

  • How a Neck Issue Is Related to Low Back Pain
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    Coping With Low Mood And Sleep Problems

    Living with pain can affect your mood and sleep, and its normal to feel low from time to time. If this is something that affects you, try going along to a pain clinic, where you can learn how to manage your pain. Theyll usually take place at outpatient clinics, and you can be referred to them by whoever is treating you.

    Pain can be affected by different things, including feeling low or stressed. There are a number of talking therapies and techniques you can learn, which can help you manage your pain, support your emotional wellbeing, and deal with any low feelings you might have. Mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy can help with osteoarthritis.

    Learning to relax your muscles can also help, particularly if you have neck pain and are feeling stressed, as this can cause your muscles to become more tense.

    A pillow thats too firm or thick can make neck pain worse. Try to sleep with your head level to the rest of your body. Its important to have a mattress that gives your head and spine proper support.

    Try having a hot bath, reading a book, or listening to the radio or a relaxation CD to wind down before bed. If pain is waking you during the night, try taking paracetamol or another painkiller before bed. Talk to your doctor or a sleep expert for more advice.


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