What Is Spinal Osteoarthritis?
Spinal osteoarthritis is a condition that causes breakdown of the joints and discs cartilage in the neck and lower back. In some cases, osteoarthritis may produce spurs that put pressure on the nerves leaving the spinal column. While the definite cause of this condition is largely unknown, it seems to be closely associated to the natural degeneration of the spine.
Osteoarthritis of the spine is caused by the gradual breakdown of the cartilage that protects the facet joints. Facet joints allow adjacent vertebrae to flex and extend, but can become stiff and inflamed if the cartilage becomes brittle and wears away. Bone spurs, or osteophytes, can develop in arthritic joints as a natural response to this increased joint friction. Inflamed joints and bone spurs can both narrow the spinal canal and nerve root exits, potentially leading to painful nerve compression.
A comprehensive diagnostic approach for spinal osteoarthritis is particularly important because most individuals over age 50 have some degree of osteoarthritis in their lumbar or cervical spines. St. Louis Pain Consultants will diagnose, target, and relieve the source of pain, to help you return to an active lifestyle.
Arthritis of the spine is primarily caused by the following factors:
What to Expect
We begin with a thorough clinical evaluation with an analysis of your symptoms, and physical examination. Testing may include x-rays, MRI and/or CT scans, and electro-diagnosis (EMG) to definitively pinpoint the source of pain.
Every patient is different and we work with each one to establish an individualized, comprehensive plan, to achieve maximum relief. Pinpointing the source of pain and utilizing a targeted treatment plan makes our approach highly successful.
With the help of today’s technology, our pain management specialists accurately diagnose, target, and relieve the source of pain, to help you return to an active lifestyle.
Tests are usually included as part of the diagnostic process both to gain further information about the extent of the spinal osteoarthritis and to rule out other possible causes of your pain.
- MRI / CT scans
- Diagnostic Injections
Osteoarthritis of the spine is a degenerative disease. It cannot be reversed, but treatment can slow down its progression, help control pain, and restore some or all of normal function.
There is a wide range of treatment options. Patients may respond to one or a combination of treatments for a time. St. Louis Pain Consultants will finding the most effective therapy of osteoarthritis symptoms to help you get back to your active lifestyle.