Both osteoarthritis and chronic lower back pain are common in adults. In fact, over 32.5 million Americans live with osteoarthritis and are at increased risk for chronic pain and other arthritis-related complications.
As May is Arthritis Awareness Month, we’d like to highlight the solutions we offer to manage your chronic back pain and prevent osteoarthritis from worsening. Our spine expert, Gbolahan Okubadejo, MD, FAAOS, specializes in nonsurgical therapies to ease existing spine pain and protect it from further arthritis damage.
Here at The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care, we also offer minimally invasive surgical procedures to correct the underlying cause of your back pain.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that affects the function and health of your joints. The condition develops when the protective cartilage that surrounds the ends of your joints breaks down and wears away.
The loss of cartilage allows your bones to rub together, which further changes the bones and leads to persistent joint stiffness, swelling, and pain. Over time, your joints can also become deformed and no longer function like they should.
Osteoarthritis is especially common in the spine. The disease can affect any part of your spine, including the small facet joints in your lower back. These joints sit between and behind your spinal vertebrae and when they rub together, you can experience persistent lower back pain and develop bony growths known as bone spurs.
Bone spurs can also increase your risk for chronic back pain because they can press on nearby nerves.
The underlying cause of osteoarthritis isn’t well understood but there are several known factors that can increase your risk for this degenerative disease.
The overuse of your joints is a contributing factor for many cases of osteoarthritis. If you play sports, lift heavy objects, or do other activities that stress out your spine joints, you may develop osteoarthritis at an early age.
Spine trauma can also make you more susceptible to osteoarthritis, especially if you don’t get the treatment you need for the injury.
Other risk factors for osteoarthritis in your spine and other joints include:
You can schedule a diagnostic evaluation with Dr. Bo at the Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care if you have persistent stiffness or pain in your lower back that you can’t manage with rest and over-the-counter medications.
The earlier you seek treatment for back stiffness and pain, the less invasive your treatment will likely be.
Dr. Bo may initially refer you for physical therapy to strengthen your spine and relieve any pressure on your spinal nerves. If your pain prevents you from exercising, he can provide steroid injections into your lower back to reduce inflammation or use other pain management strategies.
In advanced cases of osteoporosis, surgery to remove damaged joints or bone spurs may be an option. We also offer resources to prevent additional spine complications osteoarthritis can cause.
Call The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care office near you to schedule a diagnostic evaluation for chronic lower back pain or book a consultation online today.