Arthritis of the Spine Arthritis is a common term that means many distinct diseases, which cause pain, stiffness of joints, swelling, and tenderness. The word "arthritis" has derived from the term "arthros," which denotes a joint and related attachments, and the word "-itis," which means inflammation. Different types of arthritis affect almost 50 million people in America, which contribute to the maximum number of all other physical disabilities. Arthritis affects around 90 percent of individuals with the age of more than 55 years in the United States. Some estimates reveal that by the year 2020, arthritis will affect more than 60 million individuals in the United States. Arthritis can affect almost all parts of the body, which include the spine. There are various forms of arthritis; however, the commonest, the most often disabling, and the most terrible is the osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis may be related to degenerative disc disease, which is a gradual worsening of the discs among the vertebrae of the spine. Anatomically, the osteoarthritis is divided into two sections. One is lumbar spine osteoarthritis, which develops pain and stiffness in the lower part of the spine and the sacroiliac joint. The other is the cervical spine osteoarthritis, which can cause pain and stiffness in the upper spine - that is arms, head, neck, and shoulders. Generally, osteoarthritis affects the weight-bearing joints (hips and knees), feet, hands, and spine. Normally, the joints are hinges at the bone ends, usually enclosed by cartilage and lubed within a closed sack by the synovial fluid. The normal joints have significantly less friction and move comfortably. However, in the degenerated joints, the cartilage turns rough and exhausted, which causes the joint halves to rub in contact with each other. This creates the formation of bone spurs and inflammation with severe pain. The fluid lubricant may turn thin and the joint covering inflamed and swollen. Some other form of spinal arthritis develops in the facet joints, which join two vertebrae together. These joints are found in the posterior facet of the spine. Usually, these joints can produce hardening and thickening with age, which may lead to arthritis of the spine. This arthritis can create little to severe pain. Sometimes, the pain may radiate into the buttocks or upper part of the thighs. Certainly, spinal arthritis is one of the usual causes of the back pain, which collapses the cartilage present between the aligning vertebral joints in the rear part of the spine and very frequently leads to severe pain. The back motion and the flexibility decrease proportionally to the severity of the back pain induced while sitting, standing, and even walking. There are treatments (for example, foraminotomy, laminotomy, and percutaneous discectomy) that offer advanced, less invasive, and outpatient surgical procedures, which can eliminate the pain of spinal arthritis. For arthritis of the vertebral joints, a laser treatment called facet thermal ablation is very effective. Robert Grazian is an accomplished niche website developer and author. To learn more about arthritis visit Arthritis Made Painless for current articles and discussions.
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