Among all types of spinal arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common. In osteoarthritis the joint’s protective cartilage wears down or deteriorates and results in swelling and pain. Any joint in the body may be affected by the condition. Also, it could cause the development of diseases like osteophytes or bone spurs. Since the pain is the result of physical damage, it is more noticeable when your back is engaged in particular activities like bending.

It usually affects facet joints between your vertebrae, also called facet joint arthritis, facet disease, and facet joint syndrome. Degenerative disc disease sometimes results in facet joint arthritis. More pressure is shifted to facet joints as discs become thinner, which creates more friction between joints and cartilage quickly deteriorates. It is known as cervical spondylosis if this degenerative condition affects the upper spine. Sometimes osteoarthritis leads to the development of bone spurs, which puts extra pressure on the nerves in your spinal column. As a result, your arms and lower limbs become weak and painful. Early diagnosis and treatment help in managing symptoms of spinal osteoarthritis.

Contact Specialty Care Clinics if you have pain and stiffness that doesn’t go away. We will take care of your health and help you recover.


Osteoarthritis is caused by the degeneration of the spinal discs that lie in between the vertebrae and these discs may be damaged by :

  • Age :– As you get older, your chances of having osteoarthritis increase.
  • Weight :– Obesity puts extra strain on the joints of the spine.
  • Hereditary :– You have a family history of osteoarthritis.
  • Injury :– Sports injuries, and accidents can lead to osteoarthritis.
  • Stress :– Repeated joint stress increases your chances of having osteoarthritis.
  • Other arthritic conditions :– A connection with rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or other arthritic diseases.
  • Diabetes and other infections can also harm spinal discs.

Osteoarthritis of the spine


Symptoms of osteoarthritis start slowly and get worse with time. In the early stages, pain and stiffness increase when you wake up or after long hours of sitting. Its symptoms include :

  • Joint stiffness in the spine
  • Back pain
  • Limited range of motion
  • Joint tenderness
  • Weakness in the arms or legs

Back pain is often worse if you are sitting or standing. Lying down usually helps.

It can affect any part of your spine- neck(cervical region), mid back(thoracic region), or lower back(lumbar region). In osteoarthritis of the cervical region, neck pain travels to the shoulder or arms. Osteoarthritis pain in the thoracic region is caused by forward flexion movement and hyperextension. If this affects the lumbar spine region, you may feel morning stiffness.


Non-surgical treatments

  • Medications- NSAIDs, acetaminophen, and opioid analgesics for pain and swelling. Topical creams are also available to treat pain but they are not that effective.
  • Physical therapy improves muscle strength and the range of motion of the spine.
  • Acupuncture or massage therapy can reduce pain.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Try gentle exercises- Aerobics, strengthening exercises, or range of motion exercises.
  • Heat or cold therapy.
  • TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)- A tiny device sends electrical pulses to the affected area.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.

Surgical treatment

The majority of spinal osteoarthritis patients don’t require surgery but surgery is sometimes performed. One in three people may require surgery while others can be treated by conservative methods. If the condition doesn’t improve with conservative treatments, surgery is performed such as lumbar laminectomy or spinal fusion.

In surgery, a small piece of bone that puts pressure on the spine is removed. Several segments of the spine are fused together to provide stability.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *