Spinal Arthritis In The Spine: Effective Treatment Options And Lifestyle Tips

spinal arthritis treatment


Spinal arthritis is the inflammation of the joints in the spinal or sacroiliac joints between the spine and the pelvis. The joints of the spine make it possible for us to stand, walk, bend, twist, and stretch. A flexible substance called cartilage acts as a cushion between each of the vertebrae that makes up the spine and facilitates smooth, pain-free movement.

“If a cartilage breaks down due to aging, overuse or disease, it can lead to spinal Arthritis.” The symptoms involve inflammation, stiffness, severe pain, and restricted mobility. IN this blog, let’s discuss about causes, diagnosis and treatment for arthritis in spine.

Types of Spinal Arthritis:

As it is known, Arthritis can develop in any joint of the body, including spinal vertebrae. Arthritis may be further classified as follows:

Rheumatoid Arthritis: It is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks and destroys joints and cartilage.

Osteoarthritis: A wear and tear disorder in which the cartilage weakens and breaks down over time. Also called degenerative joint disease. It is the most common type of Arthritis.

Ankylosing Spondylitis: Spondylarthritis is a group of inflammatory diseases that affect the joints and the area where ligaments and tendons attach to the bones. When this condition occurs in the spine, it is called Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Several factors can add to the risk of developing arthritis of the spine like excess weight, menopause, diabetes, genetics, previous injuries, and repetitive movements from certain occupations.

Causes of Spinal Arthritis:

Yet the causes are unknown. Some common factors that play a role in spinal arthritis include:

Age: The older you are the greater the chances of having spinal arthritis (Osteoarthritis).

Weight: People who are overweight are more likely to have it.

Stress: Repeated stress in joints from work or sports can increase the risk of arthritis in the spine.

Injury: A back injury can also be the reason for spinal arthritis.

Genetics: Family history may also be a reason for this condition.

Symptoms of Arthritis of Spine:

Symptoms of Arthritis of the spine will vary from person to person. The most common symptoms are:

  • Constant pain in your back or neck.
  • Stiffness, especially first thing in the morning or after resting.
  • Crunching or grinding noises when moving back or neck.


In addition to a physical exam and medical history, your spine specialist can often confirm a diagnosis of spine arthritis through a simple X-ray. To have more clarity following tests can be conducted.  

  • Blood tests to look for genetic markers or rheumatoid arthritis antibodies.
  • Additional imaging tests (MRI, CT, Bone Scan) can be suggested to know the exact location and extent of the damage or to rule out other possible causes.

After confirmation, spine specialist Dr. Akhil Tawari will develop a personalized treatment for arthritis in spine, based on your age, overall health, and the severity of your symptoms. Although there is no cure, treatments can improve the functioning of joints, keep joint pain and inflammation to a minimum, and prevent further damage.

Spinal Arthritis treatment plan may include:

Non-Surgical Treatment: In many cases, the symptoms of spine arthritis can be managed with a combination of conservation and non-invasive treatments. These include:

  • Medication: Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) may be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Hot and cold compresses: Applying hot or cold compresses to your back may improve your pain.
  • Physical therapy: Low-impact physical therapy exercises can relieve stiffness, strengthen back muscles, and improve your range of motion.
  • Corticosteroids: Steroid pills or injections may be used to reduce swelling and temporarily relieve moderate to severe pain.

Surgical Treatment: If conservative treatments do not provide you with relief, a surgical procedure may be recommended. Due to advancements in spinal surgery techniques, many of these procedures may now be done using a minimally invasive approach called arthroscopy. The type of surgery will be discussed with you by your surgeon.

Surgical procedures may include:

  • Spinal cord decompression surgery.
  • Spinal fusion surgery.

Other things you can do that can help you to feel better:

  • Exercise: After proper consultation with your surgeon, you can do exercises which will not only help in reducing the pain, and stiffness but also help in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Diet: Another key player in helping you to manage your arthritis of the spine is a healthy diet.

It is always good to ask your doctor about the food that will help you to stay healthy and cope with your arthritis condition. Include vitamins and other essential nutrients to maintain a balanced diet.

Other ways to relieve the pain:

  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): It involves sending electrical pulses through pads attached to the skin. A physical therapist or your doctor should be able to give you advice about its use.
  • The Alexander Technique: It is a therapy that improves posture and reduces strain and tension in the spine by teaching new ways of sitting, standing, and moving.

Take Away!

Though arthritis is a chronic condition with proper guidance and care life can be made better. Dr. Akhil Tawari extensive experience in the field will help you with the highest level of care for spinal arthritis treatment. Make an appointment today!