Arthritis in the Spine
- When you’re having bladder or bowel incontinence problems, but your doctor can’t find an infection, it may be a spine-related issue. Get diagnosed and then try some of our advanced leading-edge medical treatments. Some of our treatments are natural remedies, as well!
- Since your spinal column shields your central nervous system, you may experience a myriad of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Some serious symptoms, like breathing problems, require immediate medical attention to keep them from getting worse. Don’t wait! Schedule an appointment with ReBalance today.
- Have you noticed unexplained muscle weakness? It may be related to arthritis in the spine. Before you try to push yourself more at the gym, visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis. At ReBalance, we get to the source of your health problems.
The Types of Arthritis
If you have arthritis of the cervical spine, you’re well acquainted with the associated pain. If you’re active in sports or dance, this disease can shut you down if it progresses too far without treatment. There are two types of arthritis of the spine:
- Rheumatoid arthritis affects the small vertebrae. It’s a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation, stiffness and pain. It can also ravage the tissue around and beyond the affected joints.
- Osteoarthritis is the result of wear and tear on your vertebrae. The symptoms are similar to those of rheumatoid arthritis, except that osteoarthritis doesn’t cause damage to the surrounding tissue.
Both types of arthritis generally appear in men between 40 and 60 years old, but the condition actually can begin at any age. Although women are affected more than men, arthritis hits many men as well. If anyone in your family suffers from arthritis, your risk is increased.
The symptoms of arthritis wax and wane. They don’t appear overnight. In fact, arthritis of the spine is a slow-forming disease that may take you years to notice.
The inflammation from arthritis in the spine causes pain in your neck and back. Another common symptom is a stiff neck with limited rotation. Once the disease starts causing pain, it soon causes various other symptoms, such as muscle weakness, bladder or bowel incontinence or breathing problems. Untreated, the symptoms tend to get worse.
Diagnosing Your Cervical Pain
When you come in for an appointment at ReBalance, the first step is a definitive diagnosis. To diagnosis arthritis in the neck, we start with a complete medical history and a physical examination. Tell your doctor when and how your pain started, as well as what makes it improve or worsen. You may need cervical spine x-rays, CT scans or an MRI, which help rule out other diseases and pinpoint arthritis of the spine.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease. There is no cure, but effective treatment helps relieve your pain and other symptoms. Treatment also prevents further damage of your cervical vertebrae, effectively halting the progression of the disease. Osteoarthritis likewise has no cure, but it does not cause the extensive tissue damage that rheumatoid arthritis is known for.
Treating Arthritis in the Spine
Surgical options are very rarely needed. We use minimally invasive procedures from both the latest medical research and natural alternative treatments. During your consultation, you’re always informed of all your options, in addition to the doctor’s recommendation.
Both types of arthritis in the spine respond well to regular stretching and light exercise. Start your morning with a full-body stretching session. If possible, include a 20-minute walk in your daily routine. In addition, several medical treatments can help alleviate your pain:
- Physical therapy with specific exercises
- Over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers
- Regenerative joint medicine
- Platelet rich plasma injections
- Epidural steroid injections
- Stem cell therapy
Treating the Symptoms
We start treatment for arthritis of the spine with specific exercises to strengthen your neck, shoulder and back muscles. Muscle strengthening helps improve balance and maintain spinal flexibility and stability. Your muscles can compensate for weakened cervical vertebrae.