3 Ways Osteoarthritis Affects Your Spine Health

Jan 08, 2024
3 Ways Osteoarthritis Affects Your Spine Health
Osteoarthritis is the type of arthritis that most frequently affects your spine, usually impacting your lower back and neck. A wear-and-tear disease, osteoarthritis takes a toll on your spine health in several ways.

Osteoarthritis isn’t only the most common form of joint disease, it’s the type of arthritis that most frequently affects your spine. While osteoarthritis can happen anywhere along your spine, it’s most likely to affect your lower back and neck. Since it’s a wear-and-tear disease, osteoarthritis tends to strike joints used the most or under the greatest loads. 

Back pain and neck pain are just two of the specialties we handle at Pain Management 360 in Huntington, Hurricane, and Charleston, West Virginia. Dr. Rudy Malayil and our team have the experience and know-how to help you cope with the effects of spinal osteoarthritis. Today, let’s examine three ways osteoarthritis affects your spine health. 

Osteoarthritis basics

Osteoarthritis starts when the cartilage covering the ends of your bones starts to wear down. While it’s most common in your hands, hips, and knees, your spine is also a frequent site of joint wear. The facet joints behind and between your vertebrae lose their cartilage cushion, triggering osteoarthritis symptoms. 

The most common symptoms of osteoarthritis in your spine include: 

  • A feeling of grinding accompanying movement
  • Discomfort and pain
  • Stiffness
  • Tenderness and swelling

Osteoarthritis in your neck may cause headaches. When arthritis causes nerve compression, you could have referred pain and other symptoms along the path of your affected nerves into your arms, hands, or legs. 

The impact of osteoarthritis on your spine health

The impact of osteoarthritis can be mild or major, depending on the advancement of your condition. Typically, pain increases as your cartilage deteriorates. When bone surfaces come into contact with each other, pain can be quite severe, and you may require more extreme medical intervention, including surgery. 

Besides pain, here are three ways the health of your spine can be affected by osteoarthritis. 

1. Loss of flexibility

Arthritis in your cervical spine typically makes it harder to turn your head from side to side. Tipping your head forward or backward may also become more difficult. When your lumbar region suffers, it’s harder to stand straight. You may also lose the range of twisting you once enjoyed. 

2. Spinal stenosis

In the medical field, the term “stenosis” refers to any form of narrowing of passageways. The structure of your spine is complex and includes your spinal cord — your body’s information highway of threadlike nerves that branch out to every organ and body part. 

Spinal stenosis happens when the space around your spinal cord becomes too narrow. This irritates your spinal cord and/or the nerves that branch off of it. When osteoarthritis causes inflammation and swelling, this could cause spinal stenosis, compressing or irritating your nerve tissue, causing pain and other symptoms along the nerve’s path. 

3. Bone spurs

Also called osteophytes, bone spurs form around your joints suffering damage from arthritis. These don’t always cause problems, but they can cause issues when this extra bone tissue rubs against other bones or muscle tissue, when they interfere with the normal movement of your spine, or when they press on your nerves. 

Treatment depends greatly on your condition and how much arthritic deterioration has already occurred. You can learn more about your condition and pain management options through a consultation with Dr. Malayil. 

Contact Pain Management 360 by calling our location nearest you or clicking to request an appointment online. Let us help you find a pain management solution that works. Set up your visit today.