Osteoarthritis of the spine is one of the most common types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints that often occurs in the neck and lower back and leads to moderate to severe back pain. Over time, the pain can become quite debilitating and make walking, bending or moving very difficult. These are some of the different types of treatment for osteoarthritis of the spine.
There are a variety of different types of medications that are commonly used to treat back and neck pain caused by osteoarthritis. These may include over the counter medications, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen. There are also different types of topical over the counter medications that can help relieve pain, such as capsaicin, lidocaine or menthol. These medications make the area of skin they are applied to feel extremely warm or cold which helps numb the pain temporarily.
If the pain is severe, it may require taking prescribed painkillers, muscle relaxers, and corticosteroids to keep it better under control. Some back pain specialists also give injectable steroid treatments directly into the affected area of the spine to help reduce pain and inflammation.
Physical Therapy and Exercises
There are also certain exercises and physical therapy treatments that can help relieve the pain of osteoarthritis of the spine. These may involve stretching and range of motion exercises that reduce stiffness and help keep joints moving as they should. Strengthening exercises are also commonly implemented into a physical therapy plan for osteoarthritis patients. These exercises help build muscles that surround the joints so that less stress is put on them during movement.
If medications and physical therapy do not substantially decrease the back and neck pain caused by osteoarthritis, it may be necessary to have a surgical procedure performed. Osteoarthritis can also cause damage to the discs of the spine and it is not uncommon for damaged discs to need to be surgically replaced. Lower back pain may also be due to damage of the hip joints caused by osteoarthritis. Having the hip joint replaced may also help relieve lower back pain.
Along with medical treatments, there are other things that those with osteoarthritis of the spine can do to gain relief from back and neck pain. Being overweight, having uncontrolled diabetes, and not taking time to rest and relax can make osteoarthritis pain worse. Losing excess weight reduces strain on the spine which also decreases pain. Controlling glucose levels helps prevent cartilage in the spine from hardening and also reduces inflammation. Getting extra rest also relieves osteoarthritis pain by allowing less stress being placed on the joints and spine.
Osteoarthritis of the spine can be extremely painful. If you need it, don't hesitate to get back pain treatment.