Spinal arthritis causes stiffness and pain in the lower back. The stiffness is worst upon waking up in the morning, tends to ease with activity, and then worsens again toward the end of the day. Presumably, this is because fluid has built up in the joint due to inactivity overnight, which causes more swelling. There are two major types of arthritis in the back – degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis) and inflammatory arthritis.
Causes of spinal arthritis are largely unknown except for osteoarthritis, which is usually the result of wear and tear. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to affect the spine.
Arthritis affects approximately 80% of people over the age of 55 in the United States. Arthritis may affect the joints in the spine, which enable the body to bend and twist. Part of the problem may be the body’s response to arthritis, which is to manufacture extra bone to stop joint movement. The extra bone is called a bone spur or bony overgrowth.
Osteoarthritis is often called degenerative joint disease and is the most common type of arthritis among those over 50. As we get older, the rubbery cartilage that serves as a shock absorber to our joints becomes stiff, loses its elasticity, and becomes more susceptible to damage. As the cartilage wears away, tendons and ligaments stretch, causing pain. It can occur in almost any joint in the body – most commonly in the fingers, hips, knees, and spine.
Medications, painkillers, and alternative supplements (like glucosamine and chondroitin) can help relieve or lessen the pain of osteoarthritis. But lifestyle changes like weight loss may also be necessary to reduce stress on weight-bearing joints.
One out of three American adults suffers from some type of joint disease. Gaining one pound puts four times more stress on knee and hip joints. Although symptoms usually develop years later, osteoarthritis damage can begin as early as age 20, especially among athletes who over-train or sustain injuries. By age 50 you’ve probably logged 75,000 miles or more on your knees.
Creaking knees, hips, and ankles aren’t necessarily normal aches and pains that come with age. Your pain might be arthritis. Luckily, medicine has a lot to offer — from exercise and alternative supplements to medications and joint replacement.
Creaky, achy joints. A twinge in the knee. A sharp shooting pain from the shoulder to the elbow. No big deal, right? Wrong. All too often, we assume joint pain is a normal part of aging that we just have to learn to live with. Nothing could be further from the truth, say experts, pointing to a wealth of treatment options from exercise and alternative supplements to medications and joint replacement surgery. Find out how Ogden Clinic providers can help mitigate the symptoms of arthritis and restore a healthier quality of life for you.