Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
Arthritis, be it in the spine or the knees, is a degenerative condition with no known cure. However, just because there isn’t a cure doesn’t mean that there aren’t treatment options available to help alleviate symptoms and prevent the condition from worsening. Today, we take a look at five treatment options for spinal arthritis.
Exercise is one of the best treatment options for spinal arthritis. By strengthening muscles and other structures in the area, you can help take some of the painful stress off the arthritic areas of your body. Unfortunately, exercise for spinal arthritis can be a little bit of a Catch 22, in that arthritis can make it too painful to exercise, and since you’re not exercising, the arthritis problem only gets worse. However, we strongly recommend finding some exercises, even if they are low-intensity, because strengthening those spinal structures can really help with your pain levels.
Pain medications and anti-inflammatories are another treatment option for spinal arthritis, but if you choose to pursue medication, it should not be your only option. Pain medication is a passive treatment, which while it can provide temporary relief, isn’t doing anything to address your problems long term. Talk to your doctor about the pain medications available to you, and never mix medication with alcohol or other drugs.
Ice and Heat Therapy
Some people with spinal arthritis find relief with the help of hot and cold therapy. Heat can help reduce inflammation and improve blood circulation around painful areas of your spine, while cold therapy can help numb pain and soreness. The key is to find what works for you. Try taking a warm shower or putting an ice pack on your spine when pain flares up to see if either technique provides relief.
When passive interventions fail, a more hands-on approach is needed. A doctor can help provide relief with the aide of a pain injection. Similar to medications, these injections help provide short-term relief but typically don’t have great long-term results. A good pain injection can provide relief for up to three months, but the patient will eventually need to have another round of shots, and over time a larger dose is needed to provide adequate levels of relief.
If all else fails, an operation like spinal disc replacement can help a person regain some mobility and increase their quality of life. If the problem is contained to one or two discs, an operation may be helpful, but if arthritis is in a number of discs, surgery may not solve the whole problem. If conservative treatment fails and your doctor thinks you’re an ideal candidate, a total disc replacement could help with your spinal arthritis.