Spinal Osteoarthritis, also known as “degenerative arthritis of the spine,” is a common condition that affects millions of people. It often occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of the joints in your neck and lower back begin to wear away over time. As a result, the vertebrae rub against each other, causing pain and inflammation. Common symptoms of osteoarthritis include back and neck pain, stiffness and swelling, and the sensation of “grinding when moving the spine.” It can also cause whole body weakness and fatigue, as well as pain and numbness in your arms or legs, which can make it difficult to perform everyday activities.
Managing spinal osteoarthritis can be a real challenge, but there are some things you can do to help keep the condition under control. In this blog, follow along as we share some of our best tips for managing pain caused by spinal arthritis, and explore your options when it comes to treatment.
Improve Your Diet
One of the most important components to managing osteoarthritis is diet. Like it or not, eating a healthy, balanced diet that’s full of fruits and vegetables can help reduce inflammation and provide your body with the nutrients it needs to heal. Likewise, it’s also important to avoid inflammation-causing foods such as processed meats, fried foods, and refined carbohydrates and seed oils.
If you ever wondered what inflammation is and how it works, picture this: inflammation in the body is like a fire alarm: when triggered by an injury, infection or, even, irritation, your body sends out signals to effectively alert the rest of your body to take action. When inflammation occurs in the joints due to osteoarthritis, it can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling. Eating highly inflammatory foods can merely make your symptoms worse.
That’s why it’s important to eat a balanced diet and to exercise regularly, to reduce inflammation and make healing a regular part of your lifestyle.
Exercise More Often
Exercise is another important component of managing osteoarthritis. Low-impact exercise like walking and lumbar stretching can help strengthen the muscles around your joints, reduce pain, and improve range of motion.
That said, it’s important to start slowly and to listen to your body, as too much exercise can actually worsen your condition. Yoga and tai chi are also great options for those looking to ease the discomfort of osteoarthritis, as these forms of exercise can help stretch and strengthen the muscles around the joints while also promoting relaxation and improved balance.
Manage Your Pain
Pain management interventions can also be a huge help when it comes to managing osteoarthritis. Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen can help reduce inflammation and provide relief from pain. If these medications are not enough, however, your osteoarthritis doctor may prescribe stronger medications such as opioids or corticosteroids.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat osteoarthritis. Two common surgeries that may be used to treat osteoarthritis are lumbar laminectomy and spinal fusion. A laminectomy is a procedure in which the lamina—the back part of the vertebrae—is removed to create more space for the spinal nerves—helping to relieve nerve pressure. Spinal fusion, on the other hand, is a procedure in which two or more vertebrae are fused together to stop them from moving against each other, and to provide support and stability.
Keep in mind: Making the decision to treat spinal osteoarthritis surgically should not be taken lightly. That’s why it’s important to speak with an osteoarthritis specialist who can assess your condition thoroughly in order to determine the best treatment option for you.
Talk to A Specialist
Ultimately, managing osteoarthritis can be a challenge, but with diet, exercise, and pain management, it is possible to manage your condition and reduce its impact on your life.
If you are experiencing symptoms of spinal osteoarthritis in Dallas, consider speaking with a osteoarthritis specialist to determine the best course of treatment. At the Comprehensive Spine Center of Dallas, our osteoarthritis specialists are highly experienced in treating spinal osteoarthritis and can help you find the relief you need. Moreover, our orthopedic surgeons are seasoned in the very best procedures and techniques for relieving arthritic pain. Rest assured, we’ll help you better manage your condition, reduce your pain, and improve your quality of life.
Don’t wait—contact us today to schedule an appointment with an osteoarthritis specialist in Dallas and get the relief you need!