Does Spinal Osteoarthritis Spread?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a prevalent type of arthritis that affects the spine. Like many forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis of the spine is a progressive condition, meaning it worsens over time. You can work with a pain management doctor to help you manage the discomfort and other symptoms. Osteoarthritis can improve with treatment, which includes gentle exercises, heat and cold therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.

Spinal Osteoarthritis Progression

If you have pain in the neck or back areas, you should seek a professional diagnosis promptly. Osteoarthritis of the spine doesn’t occur suddenly. The condition follows the stages of arthritis progression and can worsen with each day, especially if it goes untreated. Spinal osteoarthritis may result in significant discomfort that changes the way you move. If left unattended, the condition can affect other parts of the spine and spread.

Stages of Spinal Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis manifests in four primary stages, which include minor, mild, moderate, and severe. Minor osteoarthritis (Stage 1) involves minor wear and tear in the joints between vertebral bones. You’ll feel little to no pain in the affected areas. Mild osteoarthritis (Stage 2) causes more noticeable bone spurs. The affected areas of the spine might feel stiffer after spending hours sitting or standing. Patients may need OTC medication to relieve the pain.

Moderate osteoarthritis (Stage 3) marks the beginning of significant erosion of the cartilage in affected areas. The spinal joints become inflamed, which can result in pain and discomfort when performing routine activities. Severe osteoarthritis (Stage 4) is the worst phase of the condition. You’ll experience a lot of pain since the cartilage is all but gone, causing an inflammatory response from the joint. The stage may cause an overgrowth of osteophytes.

Symptoms of Spinal Osteoarthritis

Spinal osteoarthritis develops due to wear and tear of the cartilage that protects the bones from grinding against each other. The condition causes different symptoms depending on the stage. Minor osteoarthritis is barely noticeable because the discomfort is faint and intermittent. Severe osteoarthritis is more profound in its symptoms and causes unbearable pain. Here are the common symptoms of spinal OA:

•    Back Pain

Spinal osteoarthritis often results in back pain that doesn’t go away. The pain can start in your lower back and radiate throughout your spine, upper back, and neck. You may experience worse pain in the morning or after periods of inactivity. The pain becomes worse over time as the osteoarthritis progresses.

•    Other Symptoms

Spinal osteoarthritis can cause other symptoms that accompany back pain. People diagnosed with this degenerative condition may experience tenderness and stiffness around the affected area. Other symptoms include discomfort when bending or flexing and weakness or numbness in the arms and legs. You may experience tingling in the legs.

Risk Factors for Spreading Spinal Osteoarthritis

Spinal osteoarthritis is an irreversible degenerative condition. Your pain management doctor may recommend medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes to slow the progression and relieve the pain. Spinal OA can spread to other areas because the affected joints can become inefficient and put pressure on healthy joints. Some of the risk factors associated with spreading spinal osteoarthritis include:

  •    Trauma and injury
    •    Obesity
    •    Advancing age
    •    Family history
    •    Occupations that cause repetitive stress
    •    Defective joints and cartilage

Working With a Pain Management Doctor

Spinal osteoarthritis can disrupt your daily routines and prevent you from living a full, happy life. If you have persistent discomfort in the back and neck, seek medical care promptly. Early diagnosis allows you to make necessary changes to slow down the progression. You’ll need pain management to get rid of the discomfort.

Stick to reputable centers with a pain management doctor experienced in managing chronic and degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis. Working with expert doctors is the best way to halt the condition’s progression and improve the symptoms. They can provide you with suitable ways to relieve the pain.

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