Physical Therapy Guide To Osteoarthritis Of The Spine
Osteoarthritis of the spine is a condition that usually occurs with aging and is typically diagnosed after age 50. Its causes include injury to the spine, wear and tear on the discs of the spine , or an inherited tendency to develop OA. Sometimes the cause is unknown. OA of the spine may cause pain and stiffness, and make it difficult to bend over, perform weight-bearing activities, such as walking, and accomplish daily tasks such as dressing and bathing. Your physical therapist will help you manage your condition, lessen your discomfort, and get moving again.
Physical therapists are movement experts. They improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement. You can contact a physical therapist directly for an evaluation. To find a physical therapist in your area, visit Find a PT.
Is Your Back Pain Caused By Oa
Osteoarthritis of the spine is more common than you think.
Studies show that four out of five adults have back pain at some time in their lives. With an aging U.S. population, back pain may be a growing problem, since osteoarthritis typically emerges in people over age 40, and the spine is a prime target for this common joint condition. Back pain is a complex condition, and OA is often just one piece of the puzzle.
How Will Osteoarthritis Of The Spine Affect Me
The first sign of osteoarthritis of the spine is usually pain and stiffness in your back or neck.
The condition can be difficult to diagnose, as it can be hard to tell which symptoms are linked to osteoarthritis. It can even be hard to spot back and neck problems on x-rays of the spine, as changes caused by osteoarthritis dont always cause pain.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis of the spine will vary from person to person. The most common symptoms are:
- pain in your back or neck
- stiffness, especially first thing in the morning or after resting
- crunching or grinding noises when moving your back or neck.
People who have osteoarthritis in their neck might also have headaches or feel pain in their shoulders and arms.
Its normal for the cartilage in our joints to get thinner, especially as we get older. But in people with osteoarthritis, its the bodys normal process of repairing damage to joints that can cause pain and stiffness.
When the body starts to repair damage to cartilage, the whole joint can be affected including the bone, tendons and ligaments.
During the repair process, the edges of the bones in the spine can grow outwards, forming bony spurs. These are known as osteophytes . The discs between the vertebrae in the spine can also become thinner.
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How Back Pain Can Affect You
If you suffer from back pain, you may find it harder to do certain things such as going up stairs and lifting heavy objects . You may also experience tingling and numbness. This can interrupt your daily routine and affect your quality of life.
*GSK Global Pain Index Research 2014 full report, p.20 **GSK Global Pain Index Research 2014 full report, p.11
Should I See A Health Professional
Most people with low back pain do not need to see a doctor or other health professional as the pain will get better within a week or two. In most cases tests such as x-rays, scans and blood tests are not helpful in finding out the cause of back pain. They are best avoided as they may lead to further unnecessary or harmful medical interventions.
Talk to your doctor if your pain does not settle down after a few weeks, or starts getting worse, or you become very worried by it. A physiotherapist can also be helpful in providing reassurance and helpful information.
You should see your doctor immediately if:
- you have new symptoms such as losing weight, sweats and chills, problems controlling your bladder or bowel, tingling or numbness in your legs or saddle region
- you have osteoporosis or a history of cancer
- you are prone to infection, or you are an intravenous drug user.
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Types Of Arthritis That Affect The Back
If you have arthritis in your back, its important to understand the type of arthritis that might be causing it. Different types of arthritis have specific medications and treatments. Here are some of the more common types of arthritis that affect the back.
It is common for people with back pain to have more than one cause, which could include arthritis as well as other causes .
What Are The Symptoms Of Spinal Arthritis
Symptoms of spinal arthritis may differ from person to person. In general, they may include:
Back and neck pain, especially in the lower back
Stiffness and loss of flexibility in the spine, such as being unable to straighten your back or turn your neck
Swelling and tenderness over the affected vertebrae
Feeling of grinding when moving the spine
Pain, swelling and stiffness in other areas of the body
Whole-body weakness and fatigue
Pain and numbness in your arms or legs if the nerves are affected
Although back pain is a common symptom, not all people have it, even those with advanced spinal arthritis. On the other hand, some may experience pain even before arthritis can be seen on an X-ray.
In certain types of spondyloarthritis, eye inflammation may occur, causing pain, watery eyes and blurred vision.
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Nonsurgical Treatment For Osteoarthritis Of The Spine
If osteoarthritis of the spine is diagnosed early, doctors may recommend nonsurgical treatment to manage symptoms. NYU Langone physicians, physical therapists, and physiatrists, who specialize in rehabilitation medicine, can help you relieve pain and stiffness, improve flexibility, and build strength in muscles that support the spine.
These treatments do not reverse damage to cartilage or bone or prevent the progression of osteoarthritis, but they may make it possible for you to continue an active lifestyle.
The Symptoms Of Arthritis In The Spine
Back pain due to arthritis manifests through some very specific symptoms. These symptoms are important to note as these can be used by doctors to better diagnose the specific back pain you are suffering from.
- Stiffness in the neck and back which is also accompanied by pain, in most cases a debilitating kind of pain.
- The pain from the neck and back can go all the way down to the arms and even to the legs. This wider reach of the pain often reveal the severity of the damage in the cartilages.
- One common observation by sufferers of the condition is that the pain is reduced when they lie down flat in the bed.
Like any other causes of back pain, the severity of the discomfort can vary widely. The pain however is not the only problem faced by people who are suffering from the condition. The pain and the limitation it can impose on them at work and at home can make them feel helpless. This can easily progress to depression later on.
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Osteoarthritis Of The Back/spine
Spinal OA can make it hard to get around. Treatment can ease your back pain.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis that affects the back. It can occur anywhere along the spine. Usually the low back and sometimes the neck are affected.
In OA, the cartilage that pads the ends of the bones wears down. In spinal OA, this occurs in the facet joints small joints located between and behind vertebrae.
When you move, the bones rub together painfully. Bony growths form in the joints. These spurs can press on nerves, causing more pain.
Causes of Back/Spine OA
The cause of OA is unknown. Some common factors that play a role in OA include:
- Age: The older you are the greater your chance of having OA.
- Weight: People who are overweight are more likely to have OA.
- Stress: Repeated joint stress from work or sports can increase your risk.
- Injury: A back injury can lead to OA.
- Genetics: Some people have a family history of OA.
Symptoms of Back/Spine OA
Symptoms usually start slowly and get worse as time goes by. Pain and stiffness may be worst when you first wake up or after sitting for a long time. Pain can also get bad after being very active.
- Stiffness and a loss of flexibility: Turning your neck or straightening your back may be tough.
- Pain: Your low back is the most common site of pain.
- Crepitus: You may have a feeling of grinding when moving.
- Tenderness and swelling: Your back along the affected joints may be sore to the touch.
Diagnosing Back/Spine OA
How To Diagnose Oa Of The Spine
Before diagnosing OA of the spine, your doctor may ask about your family history of the disease and complete a physical examination to check for tenderness, limited range of motion, and swelling in your back. Tell your doctor about any other symptoms you might have, such as numbness or weakness.
Imaging tests are commonly used to diagnose OA of the spine. These tests can check for bone damage, bone spurs, and loss of cartilage in your joints. Your doctor may order an X-ray or an MRI, which creates a detailed picture of your spine.
Since osteoarthritis of the spine has symptoms that are similar to other conditions, your doctor may also take your blood to rule out other diseases.
Some doctors order a joint fluid analysis. In this procedure, your doctor inserts a needle in the affected joint to collect a fluid sample. This test can determine whether symptoms are caused by OA, gout, or an infection.
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Best Bet Exercises For Osteoarthritis Of The Spine
When you have osteoarthritis of the lower spine, it is important to stretch and strengthen the surrounding muscles to provide more support and reduce stresses around your back. The following Best Bet Exercises will help you get started on your path to feeling stronger, more flexible and more active. Remember: Exercise should not be painful if you experience pain, discontinue and consult with your physician.
Working Toward A Personalized Approach To Pain Management
This meta-analysis cannot tell us which of these types of medication should be prescribed for a particular patient. No study can. The person-to-person variation in the effectiveness of any KOA treatment is huge. One patient may get near-total pain relief while another is not helped at all. These findings do give clinicians a benchmark for the typical amount of pain relief that might be expected from these medications, and suggest that, since they work about equally well, the choice of which one to use will be influenced by considerations other than effectiveness. Providers and those suffering with chronic pain also need to weigh potential side effects. Treatment with oral NSAIDs can result in stomach problems like bleeding, ulcer, and stomach upset, as well as high blood pressure and kidney problems. Opioids can have side effects such as constipation, nausea, and drowsiness. As you are also likely aware, opioids are also associated with a risk of serious overdose and addiction.
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What Will Happen To Me
For most people low back pain is an unpleasant but common condition that settles down fairly quickly. This usually takes 1-2 weeks but can last several weeks for some people. After two months, 9 out of 10 people will have recovered. For many people, low back pain can return over the years but your experience and learnings from your previous bout can support you in returning to normal function more quickly.
Lower Back Arthritis Symptoms
The main symptom of lumbar arthritis is lower back pain. About 80% of back pain lasts less than a week. If it lasts much longer, doctors consider it chronic back pain, and arthritis may be the cause. The lumbar spine carries most of the bodys weight, which means that both movement and inactivity can trigger symptoms.
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The Best Exercises For Arthritis Back Pain
Arthritis can feel like a real pain in the back. In fact, the back is the most common source of pain among all individuals.
Unlike acute, or short-term back pain, arthritis can mean long-term chronic discomfort.
Symptoms that may accompany back pain include:
Your symptoms may be so severe that you dont feel like moving. But with your doctors consent, you may find that exercise can be one of the best ways to relieve arthritis back pain.
What Types Of Arthritis Can Affect Your Back
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of spinal arthritis, and the risk typically increases with age. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease in which the cartilage that cushions the ends of the joints wears away. As the cartilage degenerates, it can lead to pain and stiffness.
Spondyloarthritis is a term for different types of arthritis that share specific symptoms, typically inflammation in the spine. There are two main types of SpA: axial and peripheral .
Reactive arthritis is a kind of peripheral spondyloarthritis that occurs in response to an infection in your body, often caused by gastrointestinal conditions.
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Prevent It In The First Place
Do exercises to enhance the core muscles sustaining your spinal column, as well as your abdominal, back, and also hip muscular tissues. Avoid any kind of workout that causes you to stretch your back to the point of pain. Bend at the knees when raising a heavy item, as well as keep it near your body with your knees somewhat curved as you hold it. Exercise great stance: Do not sag when you sit, and also utilize the muscles in your shoulders as well as abdominal areas to maintain your spine in a neutral placement.
People with back pain in some cases also suffer from depression. Treating depression can reduce the pain due to the fact that the very same chemical messengers in the mind influence your state of mind and just how you perceive discomfort. The antidepressant duloxetine is FDA-approved for dealing with chronic lower back pain. A word of warning: The medicine can trigger uncommon but serious negative effects, including lowered blood pressure and danger of liver failure.
What Kind Of Physical Therapist Do I Need
All physical therapists are prepared through education and clinical experience to treat OA of the spine. However, you may want to consider:
- A physical therapist who has treated people with OA of the spine. Some physical therapists have a practice with an orthopedic or geriatric focus.
- A physical therapist who is a board-certified clinical specialist or who completed a residency or fellowship in orthopedic or geriatric physical therapy. This physical therapist has advanced knowledge, experience, and skills that may apply to your condition.
You can find physical therapists who have these and other credentials by using Find a PT, the online tool built by the American Physical Therapy Association to help you search for physical therapists with specific clinical expertise in your geographic area.
General tips when you’re looking for a physical therapist :
- Get recommendations from family and friends or from other health care providers.
- When you contact a physical therapy clinic for an appointment, ask about the physical therapists’ experience in helping people with OA of the spine.
- Be prepared to describe your symptoms in as much detail as possible, and report activities that make your symptoms worse.
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When To See A Physician
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Back pain is a typical trouble that can interfere with a persons job and also individual life. The good news is, numerous natural home remedy exist to aid eliminate troublesome back pain.
Lower back pain is an extensive problem, creating even more global disability than any other problem. Approximately 80 percent of adults will certainly experience low back pain at the very least once in their lives.
People can likewise experience discomfort in other areas of the back, including the middle and top back.
The back muscle mass as well as back assistance much of the bodys weight. An individual utilizes the muscle mass for daily motions, including resting, standing, and walking.
Non-prescription pain drugs, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, might help relieve pain.
Hi there! Im Sara and welcome to my site, 4thicft. As someone who has been suffering from back pain for most of my adult life, I understand what a pain it can be. Thankfully my back feels almost as good as new these days after much trial and error. I am also a big Yoga fan as it has helped with my posture. Hope my site helps!
How Does It Feel
Symptoms of OA of the spine vary from person to person and can range from mild to disabling. You may not have symptoms even though the condition is present. Its onset and progression can be quite slow.
With early or mild disease, symptoms may be intermittent. You might feel stiffness or aching after sitting a long time, on waking in the morning, or after vigorous activity. You or your family may notice changes in your posture. Some people will bend forward or shift to the side. With more advanced OA of the spine, symptoms will become more constant and tend to interfere more with your daily activities, especially with walking and standing.
Common symptoms of OA of the spine include:
- Pain in the back or neck.
- Pain that is worse after prolonged inactivity, on getting up in the morning, or after physical activity.
- Pain that worsens with standing and walking, and gets better with sitting or lying down.
- Stiffness after prolonged inactivity, on getting up in the morning, or with movement of the involved area of the spine.
- With a more advanced condition, symptoms that do not improve with rest and that interfere with sleep.
- Pain, burning, or tingling sensations that spread to the shoulder or arm, or to the buttocks or leg.
- Difficulty performing normal daily activities, such as dressing and bathing, as well as walking and standing, as the condition progresses.
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