Osteoarthritis often occurs in the hips, knees, and fingers. It is also known for affecting the vertebral facet joints in the lower back. The degenerative condition which occurs when the cartilage cushioning the facet joints in the lower spine break down is called Spinal Osteoarthritis
How does spinal arthritis cause pain?
When you move, the healthy cartilage ensures that your joints move freely and glide against each other. Spinal Osteoarthritis is when the cartilage between the facet vertebrae in the lower back degenerate. This doesn’t directly cause back pain directly, but can lead to changes in the joint that causes the pain.
Damaged or missing facet cartilage causes the vertebral facets to rub and grates against each other, the resulting friction causes more joint damage.
The damage and friction at the damaged joint lead to inflammation that causes pain and stiffness.
Pain signals travel through the affected facet joint.
These signals can cause the back muscles to go into spasm.
This is a painful combination of facet joint inflammation and muscle spasms that cause stiffness.
In most cases, spinal osteoarthritis develops gradually. Often accompanied by stiffness, the pain can be dull to severe.
If you have spinal osteoarthritis in your back, the first signs are achy lower back after exercise or physical exertion, pain in the surrounding areas such as around the groin, buttocks and the back of your thighs.
Spinal osteoarthritis causes pain and stiffness in the neck and can also be felt in the shoulders. It can also spread to the upper, middle back and cause frequent headaches.
What can you do if you have spinal osteoarthritis?
Spinal arthritis has many methods of treatment. The best and most utilized treatment is back strengthening exercises. Other treatments include a warming pad or ice pack, usage of topical pain relievers, loss of excess weight and preventing yourself from physical exertion that may trigger the pain.
Spinal osteoarthritis pain is fairly common and can be treated, especially in its early stages. If you experience nerve pain, such as shooting pain or numbness, see your doctor.