Arthritis is a chronic, often degenerative condition that causes inflammation, pain, and stiffness in the joints around your body.
Most people associate arthritis with the bigger joints, such as knees and hips, but arthritis can affect any joint in your body, including the small ones in your spine called facet joints. Facet joints occur between each of the small bones, or vertebrae, in your spine.
You also have sacroiliac joints that connect your spine to your pelvis. Even the ligaments and tendons that connect to your spinal bones can fall prey to arthritis, a condition called peripheral spondyloarthritis.
At South Texas Spinal Clinic, our team of spinal medicine experts treat new and existing patients with back pain, neck pain, and other potential indicators of spinal arthritis from our locations throughout San Antonio and South Texas. If you’re dealing with spinal arthritis, we can help you understand and address your condition.
Types of spinal arthritis
Several types of arthritis can affect your spine.
The most common type of arthritis in adults in the United States is osteoarthritis (OA), a degenerative type of arthritis caused by wear and tear. Past injuries make spinal OA more likely.
OA is most likely to affect your lower back due to the breakdown of cartilage that cushions your spinal facet joints. Degenerative OA in your neck is known as cervical spondylosis.
Some types of spinal arthritis are autoimmune conditions, where your immune system attacks your own joints. Inflammatory types of arthritis may have a hereditary component, as this condition can run in families. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), types of spondyloarthritis, and psoriatic arthritis can all occur in your spine.
Symptoms of spinal arthritis
You can suffer from arthritis at any point on your spine. Statistically speaking, though, you’re most likely to experience arthritis symptoms localized in either your neck or your lower back.
Spinal arthritis most commonly causes symptoms of pain and stiffness. You might struggle to fully turn your neck, or suffer from nagging, persistent pain in your lower back. You could also notice swelling and feelings of tenderness around the affected spinal area, or feel like there’s something grinding when you move your spine.
Sometimes, inflammatory spinal arthritis doesn’t cause symptoms in your neck, back, or around your spine, but rather, you experience whole-body weakness, fatigue, headaches, or pain and numbness in your extremities (arms and legs).
Treatment options for your spine
At South Texas Spinal Clinic, we diagnose your spinal arthritis and work with you to put together a treatment plan that addresses your specific symptoms. Depending on your condition, we may recommend physical therapy, pain medications, steroid injections, or, for severe cases, surgical treatment.
If you have concerns about spinal arthritis, or you have symptoms like neck pain or back pain, contact the spine experts at South Texas Spinal Clinic today. Schedule your consultation appointment online or over the phone now.