When Should I See A Doctor If I Have Lower Back Pain
In many cases lower back pain stops on its own. But if it doesnt, here are some guidelines on when you may want to start seeking professional help:
- If the pain lasts four weeks or longer
- If the pain keeps getting worse as time goes by
- If you are experiencing other symptoms, such as fever, major weight loss or weight gain, loss of function or weakness in extremities, bladder problems, etc.
Prescription Medication And Surgery
If OTC medications arent easing your symptoms, your doctor may recommend corticosteroids or muscle relaxants. Corticosteroids are used to control inflammation, and muscle relaxants are used to minimize muscle spasms.
Your doctor will only recommend surgery as a last resort. Its typically only needed in cases where the bones have fused together or where the pain is so extreme that it prevents any range of motion.
Symptoms Of Arthritis In Lower Back And Hips
When we think of arthritis, we think of joint issues in senior people. While senior citizens do suffer the most from arthritis, it isnt exclusive to any age group, nor is it a single condition describing a specific type of joint related issue. There are several different types of arthritis that affect different age groups.
If you are someone who experiences chronic joint pain, you should be aware of arthritis. In this article, well try to give you a detailed description of arthritis, and its symptoms in lower back and hips.
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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.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Of The Spine
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the immune system turns on itself. It attacks synovium the lining of the joints. Although rheumatoid arthritis is more common in other joints, it can also affect the spine, specifically the cervical region . Rheumatoid arthritis of the spine is not caused by wear and tear, so its considered an inflammatory arthritis. It may cause back pain even when these joints are not in use. It tends to affect women more than men.
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Inflammatory Arthritis Versus Osteoarthritis
Arthritis of the spine falls into two basic categories:
- chronic autoimmune disorders such as , a condition which often begins at a young age and is characterized by low back and/or neck pain, morning stiffness, and limited motion in the back, which is improved by exercise and unrelieved by periods of rest.
- degenerative changes in the joints that occur as a person ages. Osteoarthritis of the spine causes joints along the spine to deteriorate and may result in the formation of bone spurs, cysts, and a narrowing of the disc space.
Osteoarthritis of the back or neck is significantly more common than is inflammatory arthritis. Below is a narrated video animation about osteoarthritis of the spine.
Back Arthritis Physical Therapy Will Pt Help
In short: YES!
Physical therapy is very effective arthritis back pain treatment.
A licensed physical therapist, like the ones at In Motion OC, can teach you how to perform movements that can relieve your symptoms and get you back on your feet.
Back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek professional help from a physical therapist.
Strengthening the muscles around the vertebrae allows the muscles to do the worknot the joints. Stronger muscles will help you move with less pain and discomfort.
Physical therapy is crucial to reducing the symptoms of back arthritis.
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Natural Remedies For Arthritis Pain
Living with arthritis can be a rollercoaster both physically and emotionally. Many people with arthritis experience bouts of significant pain and inflammation, followed by periods of disease inactivity. Not knowing when arthritis pain will flare up can reduce your quality of life and take its toll on your mental health.
Being able tomanage arthritis pain effectively is key to preventing debilitating symptoms from affecting your daily life. If youre looking for a toolbox of arthritis management techniques, here are six proven ways to help ease pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.
Risk Factors For Inflammatory Spinal Arthritis
Inflammatory arthritis of the spine includes ankylosing spondylitis, , and reactive arthritis. Risk factors for the most common form, ankylosing spondylitis, include:
Male gender younger than 30 years of age
Family history of inflammatory spinal arthritis
Presence of the gene HLA-B27
Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic American, and White American race
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How Chiropractic Can Help With Osteoarthritis
As we age, the wear and tear on the spongy cartilage of our spine can begin to become thinner. Since the cartilage is necessary to keep the bones of the spine from rubbing together, the loss of cartilage can be very troublesome for spinal health. Chiropractic treatment can help relieve the pressure of spinal vertebra that rub together due to loss of cartilage.
When the spinal vertebrae continually rub together, small irregular growths called bone spurs usually form on the joints of the spine. Bone spurs are natures way of trying to stabilize the spine due to loss of the cartridge. This instability can cause patients to experience pain in their back. The lower back is the most common area where the cartilage of the spinal vertebra is lost.
The overall loss of cartilage in the joints of the body is known as osteoarthritis. When located in the spine, osteoarthritis can be divided into two groups: The lumbar spine and the cervical spine.
The lumbar spine is the lower back area. When osteoarthritis, also called lumbosacral arthritis, is located in this area, pain and stiffness in the lower spine is present. The joint that is located between the spine and pelvis, called the sacroiliac joint, can loosen the cartilage that protects it from the surrounding bones. This will cause intense pain in the lower back.
There are several risk factors associated with spinal arthritis such as:
Whats The Role Of Chiropractic Care
Some doctors refer back pain sufferers to a physical therapist right away. But many people with back pain see acupuncturists, massage therapists, or a chiropractor on their own. Experts disagree about the role of chiropractic care, and there are not many high-quality studies to consult about this approach. As a result, there are a number of questions regarding the role of chiropractic care: Should it be a routine part of initial care? Should it be reserved for people who dont improve with other treatments? Are some people more likely to improve with chiropractic care than others?
The answers to these questions go beyond any academic debate about how good chiropractic care is. Estimates suggest that low back pain costs up to $200 billion a year in the US , and its a leading cause of disability worldwide. With the backdrop of the opioid crisis, we badly need an effective, safe, and non-opioid alternative to treat low back pain.
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How Is Osteoarthritis Of The Spine Treated
In most cases, treatment of spinal osteoarthritis is geared toward relieving the symptoms of pain and increasing a person’s ability to function. The goal is to have a healthy lifestyle.
Initial treatment may include losing weight if needed and then, for everyone, maintaining a healthy weight. It may also include exercise. Besides helping with weight management, exercise can also help:
- increase flexibility
- improve blood flow
- make it easier to do daily tasks
- Strengthening exercises. These exercises seek to make muscles that support the joints stronger. They work through resistance with the use of weights or rubber bands.
- Aerobic exercises. These are exercises that make the heart and circulatory system stronger.
- Range-of-motion exercises. These exercises increase the bodyâs flexibility.
Including rest periods in the overall treatment plan is necessary. But bed rest, splints, bracing, or traction for long periods of time is not recommended.
There are non-drug treatments available for osteoarthritis, including:
- heat or cold compresses, which refers to placing ice or heated compresses onto the affected joint
- transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation using a small device that emits electrical pulses onto the affected area
- nutritional supplements
Spinal Arthritis May Contribute To Other Issues In The Spine
Spinal arthritis may cause bone spurs overgrowths on the edges of the bones. In the spine, bone spurs particularly affect facet joints, making them grow larger. This condition is called facet joint hypertrophy. Although bone spurs on their own are not harmful, they may narrow the passages for the spinal cord and the nerves exiting the spine. This may lead to two painful conditions:
Spinal stenosis compression of the spinal cord inside the spinal canal
Radiculopathy pinching of the peripheral nerves as they exit the spine
Ankylosing spondylitis may also cause additional problems such as:
Stress fractures in places where new bone has formed
A spinal deformity called kyphosis
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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
Nerve Pain Or Numbness
As the joint breaks down due to arthritis, bone spurs can form. These bone spurs can come in contact with nerves in the spinal column and cause pain, tingling, and numbness in other areas.
You may not notice these sensations all the time, but they can become problematic when doing even the most basic activities, like bending over to tie your shoes, or reaching up to get something from the top shelf.
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Are There Any Complications
Some people who have osteoarthritis in their neck might have problems swallowing or when they speak, but this is not very common. This can be caused by bony spurs affecting blood supply to the spinal cord.
If you have osteoarthritis of the spine, you may have other problems that may need treating. Let your doctor know urgently if you:
- have trouble going for a wee, or feel like you need a wee when you dont
- lose control of your bladder or bowel the organs that control wee and poo
- have feelings of numbness or tingling around your genitals or bottom
- lose power in your legs
- feel unwell like having a fever or sweating.
Spinal stenosis is a condition that happens when the spinal canal, which contains the spinal cord, gets narrower. The most common symptoms are pain and weakness or numbness in the area linked to the affected part of the spine such as the legs, arms, neck, back or shoulders.
Spinal stenosis is often caused by osteoarthritis, as the bony spurs that form on the edge of the vertebrae can irritate the nerves in your spine. It can usually be treated with exercise, over-the-counter drugs and steroid injections.
Sometimes surgery will be needed to remove the spurs and make space in the vertebral column.
Typical Symptoms Of Spinal Osteoarthritis
The full range of symptoms that typically occur with spinal arthritis includes some combination of the following:
- The back and/or neck stiffness and pain tend to be worse in the morning , often called “first movement pain.”
- The pain will usually subside to a more tolerable level over the course of the day as the person carries on his or her activities.
- Pain and stiffness tend to get worse again in the evening.
- Pain that disrupts sleep is often an indicator of osteoarthritis.
- Swelling and warmth in one or more joints, particularly during weather changes .
- Localized tenderness when the joint or affected area of the spine is pressed.
- Steady or intermittent pain in a joint, which is often described as an aching type of pain. The pain may be aggravated by motion.
- Loss of flexibility of a joint, such as inability to bend and pick something off the floor.
- A crunching feeling or sound of bone rubbing on bone when the joint is moved , particularly notable in the neck.
- A sensation of pinching, tingling, or numbness in a nerve or the spinal cord, which can occur when bone spurs form at the edge of the joints of the spine and irritate the nerves.
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Low Back Pain Caused By Osteoarthritis
The most common symptom of spinal osteoarthritis is pain in the lumbar spine . This pain may also radiate down to the pelvis, buttocks, groin or thighs. It is usually treated through a combination of:
- and that strengthens a person’s core
- , acetaminophen, and/or adjuvant pain medication
When these treatments are not enough to alleviate pain and stiffness, a patient may require procedural pain management, such as or blocking of the medial nerve through radiofrequency neurotomy, where heat generated by radio waves disrupts the nerves ability to transmit pain signals.
Half Crunch On The Ball
Do 2 sets of 5 to 10 repetitions.
Repeat 10 times.
The number of repetitions and sets recommended here are just thatrecommendations. You may do more or less depending on your ability. Remember that keeping good form is more important than doing multiple sets or repetitions. If you have questions about form, a doctor or physical therapist can help guide you.
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Contact Spine Institute Of North America For Your Spinal Pain Consultation
No matter the level of spinal pain or discomfort you feel, Spine Institute of North America understands and is here to help. Our physicians specialize in alleviating back and joint pain and are committed to providing an honest, empathetic and personalized approach.
We are leaders in spine and joint pain, and we use the most cutting-edge technology and the least invasive techniques. To learn more about arthritis in the back and how we can help, call us at 609-371-9100 or set up an appointment for a consultation today.
Lower Back Arthritis Symptoms
Lower back arthritissometimes called lumbar spine arthritis or lumbar facet joint arthritiscauses pain and stiffness in the joints of the lower back and inflammation of the surrounding tissues 12. Normally the lumbar joints are cushioned by gel-filled discs and protected by an outer covering of cartilage however, arthritis can cause cartilage to wear down and discs to erode, leading to friction, irritation, decreased flexibility and pain in the lower back region.
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Lower Back Pain: What Could It Be
Do you have lower back pain? You are not alone. Anyone can experience lower back pain at any time, even if you dont have a prior injury or any of the risk factors. It is not always serious and can often get better on its own. But in some cases pain is your bodys way of telling you that something isnt right.
Learn more about lower back pain and what causes it from rehabilitation physician Akhil Chhatre, M.D., who specializes in back pain in the Johns Hopkins Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.