Arthritis is a type of inflammation of the joints in your body. It may affect any joint or multiple joints at a time. Believe it or not, more than 100 distinct types of arthritis exist in the world. Every type has a different cause, and the method of treatment also varies. In this blog, let’s talk about various arthritis types that affect your spine.
Arthritis affects the bones and joints of your spine and can develop anywhere along your spine. Mostly it affects very mobile segments of the spine, viz. lumbar spine (lower back) and the cervical spine (neck). It is called spinal arthritis resulted due to degenerative changes and inflammation of lower joints of the lumbar spine.
Spinal Arthritis mostly involves the inflammation of the facet joints and disc spaces of your spine. As arthritis is an extremely painful condition, OTC drugs and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can provide relief from pain and help to reduce inflammation. Lumbar Arthritis or Spinal Arthritis is a chronic symptom of arthritis where most of the arthritis types are long-lasting.
Different Types of Spinal Arthritis
Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic inflammatory condition related to the spine. It affects the joints between the vertebrae and sacroiliac joints between the spine and pelvis. The term Ankylosing means stiff or rigid, and Spondylitis means inflammation of the spine. Ankylosing spondylitis is an autoimmune disorder, i.e. it triggers the immune system mistakenly to attack healthy tissues of the joints in the spine. Over time, the affected joints of the vertebrae in your back become fused. Generally, it develops between the ages of 20 to 40 years. It is three times more common in males than in females.
Reactive Arthritis, a chronic form of arthritis which is triggered by a reaction to infection from other body parts. It mostly occurs due to the infection of genitals, urinary system. Not only the spine, but the infection also causes inflammation to other joints like eyes and gastrointestinal structures such as intestines, kidneys or bladder.
Psoriatic Arthritis is accompanied by a skin disease called psoriasis. PsA typically affects people with psoriasis but in some cases, it appears on its own before psoriasis problem. Arthritis Foundation states that about 20% of people with psoriatic arthritis involves the spine. In some instances, bony overgrowth fuses two or more vertebrae to grow together, causing stiffness.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is also a common form of arthritis affecting the spine. It is an autoimmune disease which affects your joints when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the thin membrane(synovium) lining the joints. We know that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease that mostly affects the joints of hands, hips, knees, feet, ankles and typically the facet joints in the spine.
The severe form of RA causes intense pain and damages your joints. This includes the upper vertebra slips forward and rests on top of the lower vertebra, which is called spondylolisthesis condition. RA and spondyloarthritis can affect your whole body.
It is also called spinal arthritis or juvenile-onset spondyloarthritis. The term defines spondyloarthropathies that begin before 16 years of age. This condition, not only affects your spine, it might cause pain and inflammation of your other joints which include pelvis, hips, ankles and knees.
Enteropathic Arthritis or Etheseopathic
Spondylitis Association of America states that enteropathic arthritis affects 5% of people suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. This condition affects sacroiliac (SI) joints are located between the sacrum and bones of the pelvis, which is the main support of the spine.
It is a form of arthritis which occurs when uric acid (a natural waste product) circulating more than in your bloodstream. When blood traveling to different parts of your body, it will get deposited as needle-shaped crystals in the tissues of your body, including joints.
Mostly it may occur in the foot and knee joints, and typically gout affects the spine resulting in extreme pain, numbness and tingling sensation. It is often confused with other spinal infections.
It is also known as septic arthritis. Infectious arthritis characterized by an infection caused by a joint. It occurs mostly in the facet joints of the spine. Often, infectious arthritis is caused due to bacteria that spread to the joint through the bloodstream. Sometimes, it can also be caused by viruses or fungi.
Treatment For Spinal Arthritis
A combination of treatment is recommended to manage the symptoms of spinal arthritis as long as possible. Which include:
- Over-the-counter (OTC) medication to get relief from mild to moderate pain and inflammation.
- Heat and cold therapies to avoid pain and inflammation caused by spinal arthritis.
- Physical therapies and low-impact exercises to improve your range of motion.
- Weight management can relieve extra stress on your spine and other joints.
- Steroid injections are given into the facet joints to provide temporary relief from severe pain.
Surgical treatment for spinal arthritis includes:
- Facet thermal ablation
- Spinal deformity correction and spinal fusion
Improper treatment for spinal arthritis can lead to permanent damage to your spine. If you are facing any spine problems, contact a spine specialist immediately. For more information, contact Dr. Surya Prakash, the best spine surgeon in Hyderabad. Never ignore spine problems, book an appointment right away.