The spine is vulnerable to wear and tear with age, and when an issue like spinal arthritis strikes, the result is pain, inflammation, and stiffness. Depending on the severity, arthritis can drastically impact your quality of life, preventing you from doing things you once enjoyed.
Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Thomas Jones II, MD, and the rest of the skilled team at The Spine Institute of Southeast Texas in Pearland, and Lake Jackson are devoted to helping patients restore a life with less back pain. Here’s what you need to know about addressing spinal arthritis.
Understanding spinal arthritis
The spine is composed of small bones, called vertebrae, and between each one are intervertebral discs that provide cushion and act as shock absorbers. Over time, these discs can wear down, causing the bones of the spine to rub together, triggering inflammation and pain.
This sets the stage for arthritis and makes everyday movements like bending to pick something up from the floor painful. Factors such as genetics, previous injuries, or carrying excess weight raise your risk of developing spinal arthritis.
Treating spinal arthritis
If you receive a diagnosis of spinal arthritis, various treatments can help reduce your symptoms. The most appropriate treatment depends on a number of factors, including age, location of the arthritis in your spine, symptoms, and severity.
While there’s no treatment that can completely reverse spinal arthritis, treatment is aimed at slowing the progression, and relieving symptoms so you can do more and enjoy more of your life.
Lifestyle interventions for spinal arthritis
When you’re faced with the pain of spinal arthritis, it’s common to cut back on activities in order to limit pain. However, spine-safe exercise is good for you and can provide numerous benefits.
Exercise can strengthen the muscles that support your spine, which helps to relieve pressure in your spinal column. It also improves flexibility and reduces joint stiffness.
Science has known for some time that exercise eases arthritis pain, and that people with arthritis who engage in regular physical activity have less pain and stiffness. It’s crucial to find ways to incorporate enjoyable physical activity into your daily routine.
Dr. Jones may refer you to a physical therapist who can implement targeted exercises to improve your spinal arthritis.
Regenerative therapies for spinal arthritis
Stem cell therapy is a promising treatment that addresses arthritis at the source. Orthobiologics uses tissues from the body — such as bone marrow, fat, or blood — that when injected into damaged tissue promotes repair.
Commonly, the biologic material comes from the patient’s own tissues, but it may come from a donor source. Stem cells are unique in that they have the capacity to self-renew. They can replicate many times, and create many types of cells, such as cartilage. This makes stem cell therapy highly beneficial for orthopedic conditions like arthritis.
Dr. Jones may consult with other specialists to ensure that all appropriate options are explored.
Help for spinal arthritis
Living with spinal arthritis can be challenging, but there are things you can do and treatments you can explore to get relief. Take the first step by calling The Spine Institute of Southeast Texas to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jones today.