When you have pain in your joints, the usual cause of the problem is some form of arthritis. Medical science has found over 100 different forms of arthritis, but the two most common forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Arthritis is basically any condition that causes inflammation of a joint. Most arthritis shows up in the large joints of the body, such as the knee or the hip, but you can very easily have arthritis in your back.
At BASIC Spine, we will get to the heart of your joint pain and come up with the correct treatment for it. Arthritis is often corrected by controlling the inflammation and rebuilding the joint. If you have one of these arthritis causes in your back, we can help you to manage your pain and tell you when it’s the right time for surgery.
Arthritis can be caused by many different agents, depending on the type of arthritis you have.
Two Major Types of Arthritis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis. This is the normal wear and tear on the joint that comes with aging or with hard use.
For instance, a football player can wear away the joints of his knees, and this would technically be called osteoarthritis. You can have this type of arthritis in your back. It essentially involves the wearing down of the discs between the bones of the back and this results in pain. At BASIC Spine, we can help you to manage this pain from arthritis.
The second most common type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis. This condition is not caused by the mechanical breakdown of the joint, but by the body attacking the joint as if it was foreign material. Rheumatoid arthritis is autoimmune, which means the immune system destroys the joints and this causes pain. Researchers are still unsure what causes many autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, but more studies are currently underway to find a cause and cure.
No matter the type of arthritis you have, the symptoms are generally the same. This is because whether by autoimmune or normal wear and tear, your joints are essentially broken down.
The most common symptom of arthritis is pain in your joint. In osteoarthritis, this pain is usually on both sides. For instance, both knees can experience wear and tear. With rheumatoid arthritis, the pain is usually on one side. For instance, the knuckles of one hand will have pain. You also have bulging and disfigurement of the joint with this particular type of arthritis.
When you have arthritis in your back, you may also experience stiffness and a decreased range of motion. Most arthritis includes episodes of swelling around the joint, but this is often hard to detect with arthritis of the back. Still, it is important to understand that the joints do swell up and cause pain, even in the back. To help relieve the pain from the arthritis, you need to find a way to relieve the swelling that is present.
Medication is usually the first line treatment for arthritis of any kind. You can take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, over the counter to help reduce the swelling. For minor arthritis pain, this is usually sufficient. However, with more complicated cases, you may need narcotic pain medications.
When you have rheumatoid arthritis, the use of steroids is often helpful to decrease the inflammation in the joint. You can take other types of drugs, such as biologics, to help combat the pain caused by the autoimmune function of the arthritis.
Surgery is sometimes necessary for cases of arthritis because this is often the only way to restore the joint. If the arthritis is affecting the knee, then knee replacement surgery is a safe and effective way to mitigate pain. When the pain is in your back, though, surgery is not as clear cut.
One of our surgeons at BASIC Spine, Dr. G. "Ty" Thaiyananthan or Dr. Bryan Oh, can evaluate you for possible spinal fusion surgery. In this surgery, the joint is removed from between the vertebrae and the two bones are fused together. This leads to a decrease in pain, but also a decrease in the mobility of the back.
Come see us for a consultation regarding your arthritis pain, and we will help you decide the best course of action for your condition.
- Back Pain
- Brachial Plexus Injuries
- Cervical Radiculopathy
- Lumbar Radiculopathy
- Compression Fractures
- Degenerative Disc Disease (Cervical and Lumbar)
- Facet Joint Syndrome
- Failed Back or Neck Syndrome
- Herniated Disc
- Lower Back Pain
- Nerve Impingement
- Spinal Infection
- Spinal Canal Stenosis (Cervical and Lumbar)
- Spinal Cord Compression
- Spina Bifida
- Cervical Neck Pain
- Lumbar Back Pain
- Lumbar Disc Herniation
- Other Ultra-Invasive Styles
- Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF)
- Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF)
- Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)
- Artificial Disc Replacement
- Endoscopic Spine Surgery
- Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy
- Micro Endoscopic Lumbar Discectomy
- Micro Endoscopic Cervical Discectomy
- Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF®)
- Interlaminar Lumbar Instrumented Fusion (ILIF™)
- Facet Joint Injections
- Pain Pumps
- Spinal Cord Implants
- MILD Procedure (Minimally Invasive Lumbar Decompression)
- Ultra Minimally Invasive Endoscopic Spinal Surgery
- Compression Fracture (Cervical/Thoracic/Lumbar)
- Headaches (Migraines, Tension, Cluster)
- Heel Spur
- Medial Lateral Epicondylitis
- Myofacial Pain Syndrome
- Occipital Neuralgia
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Postherpetic Neuralgia
- Sacroiliac Joint Disease
- Slipped Rib Syndrome
- Shoulder/Hip/Knee/Ankle/Wrist pain
- Trigeminal Neuralgia