How Arthritis Affects Your Back

Arthritis can cause a significant amount of back pain and lead to serious mobility issues. A number of different kinds of arthritis can affect the back, so it is important to see a spine doctor in Miami to get a definitive diagnosis and the proper treatment plan. Could arthritis be to blame for your back pain? Here is what you need to know. arthritis - back - pain

Types of Arthritis that Affect the Back

There are many different kinds of arthritis, and many of them can impact the back. Two types, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, are particularly common. Osteoarthritis occurs as the result of wear and tear. Over time, pressure from body weight and physical activity can wear down the joints in the spine and cause osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the joints. Ankylosing spondylitis is another type of arthritis that causes vertebrae to fuse together, reducing mobility and causing pain.

Signs of Spinal Arthritis

Because so many different conditions affect the back, how does your spine doctor determine if arthritis is to blame? Unlike some other spine conditions, arthritis usually comes on slowly and gets worse over time. It also frequently causes numbness and tingling in hands and legs. The only definitive way to determine if arthritis is the cause of back pain is to perform imaging tests. Blood tests may also be informative, especially in the case of rheumatoid arthritis.

Treatment for Spinal Arthritis

Treatment options for arthritis in the spine depend on the type of arthritis. For osteoarthritis, rest, weight loss, and exercises to strengthen the back can help. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, medications to stop the immune system form attacking the joints may be helpful. Medications and physical therapy can also help ankylosing spondylitis. In most cases, steroid injections, pain medications, physical therapy, and hot and cold therapy can help to control the symptoms of arthritis in the spine.