Sunday, December 16, 2018

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Back Pain And Neck Pain Caused By Arthritis

Arthritis affects as many as 80% of the population of the United States over the age of 50. Estimates show that by the year 2020, over 60 million will suffer from this disabling disorder. Arthritis is a group of conditions involving damage to the joints of the body. Common forms of arthritis include but are not limited to:

•Osteoarthritis
•Rheumatoid Arthritis
•Ankylosing Spondylitis
•Juvenile Arthritis
•Psoriatic Arthritis
•Gout/Pseudo-gout
•Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Arthritis can affect any part of your body including your spine, and any part of your spine. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, occurs when the cartilage of the joint is worn down by wear and tear, the aging process, injury or misuse. This causes the bones to rub together causing pain, swelling and the loss of motion to that particular joint. Specific to the spine, osteoarthritis can cause neck pain and lower back pain, loss of range-of-motion and flexibility.

Another form of arthritis affecting the lower back and pelvis is Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). AS begins in the sacroiliac joints of the pelvis, but may also move up the spine and affect the lower back region. AS may be mild in nature or severe enough to cause bony fusion of the sacroiliac joints, causing loss of motion and lower back pain.

In the spine, arthritis symptoms may include: neck and/or lower back pain, spinal stiffness in the mornings, sciatica symptoms, a crunching feeling or sound of bone rubbing on bone, weakness and/or numbness in arms or legs, limited range-of-motion, and spinal deformity.

A diagnosis of arthritis is made by your physician after obtaining your medical history, symptoms, blood work-up. You may be sent for specific imaging exams such as a MRI, CT or Bone Scan. There is no “cure” for arthritis, but you can still live an active and productive lifestyle. Evidence based treatments for arthritis include: pain management (over-the-counter and/or prescriptives) based on your pain levels, physical therapy, exercises and alternative therapies (Yoga, Chinese Medicine, Lifestyle Modification).

Exercise is an important part of a treatment plan, reducing joint pain & stiffness, increasing flexibility strength & endurance of the arthritis sufferer. Range-of-motion exercises should be done daily to maintain and increase normal spinal, and joint movement, and should include bending forward and side-to-side. Strengthening exercises will help increase muscle strength to help support your spine and joints. Endurance, or aerobic, exercises will help control weight and overall functioning.