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
Robert Grazian is an accomplished niche website developer and author. To learn
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