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Degenerative Arthritis

This type of arthritis is a physical condition that involves the degeneration of the joints. The erosion of joint cartilage and bone causes stiffness in the joints, pain, and a type of inflammation known as joint effusion. Healthy cartilage and bone are needed to sustain the proper movement of the joints. A patient’s joints may lock due to damage in these areas, preventing of the limbs and spine.

While some people are prone to this degenerative condition due to hereditary factors, others suffer the condition from excessive wear and tear.

Degeneration of cartilage and bone tissue occurs most often in the hips and knees, which are the weight-bearing joints. Symptoms can also appear in the spine as well as the hands and feet. Affected joints can often appear much larger than they previously appeared due to inflammation caused by the abrasion of wearing cartilage or bone against bone in the joints. Stiffness and pain can be present whether the joints are in use or not. 

How Can Degenerative Arthritis Cause Back Pain?

Osteoarthritis of the spine can cause back pain through its effects on the vertebrae.  When this condition is present in the spine, bone spurs will form at the edges of the vertebrae. These spurs are known as osteophytes. They can irritate nerves in and around the spinal canal and can lead to severe pain. Patients have also reported numbness and tingling as a result of these bone spurs.

How Is Degenerative Arthritis Diagnosed?

If you have experienced symptoms of joint pain, swelling, and stiffness in your back, you may be suffering from this particular manifestation of arthritis. Speak to your physician to discuss a proper workup. This will likely include an examination and possible spinal imaging. 


Treating Degenerative Arthritis

To treat the degeneration caused by osteoarthritis, there are five primary more common methods that can be used. These include dietary changes, medication, physical therapy, exercise, and in some cases, surgery. Depending on the severity, one or more of these methods may be necessary to manage the symptoms.

For overweight people, obesity is often the main cause of osteoarthritis. Educating patients about how their diet affects their health has been proven to be an effective way of helping them manage this condition. Weight loss can lead to less pain in the affected joints, especially those that bear weight.

Doctors often prescribe analgesics or painkillers, such as acetaminophen, to alleviate the pain associated with osteoarthritis. Sometimes, stronger medications or injections may be needed to manage the pain levels.

Studies have shown that physical therapy, as well as massage and chiropractic treatment, can be effective in reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Exercise is a common form of effective treatment for osteoarthritis. Moderate physical activity can help reduce pain in the affected joints and improve overall functioning.

In some cases, joint damage may be severe, and no form of therapy provides significant relief. In these cases, surgery may be necessary, which may involve joint replacement or joint fusion.  It is important to discuss all available treatment options with a medical professional to determine the best course of action for managing the condition.