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There are two main categories of spinal arthritis: inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis. The first is caused by chronic autoimmune disorders, while the second is related to the deterioration of the joints that happens as a person gets older. 

At Princeton Orthopaedic Associates, we understand both types of arthritis and have treatment options to address them. 

The Basics of Spinal Arthritis

Spinal arthritis includes disease of the vertebrae in the neck (cervical) and the middle (thoracic), and the lower back (lumbar). These bones are separated by discs that serve as joints and cushion the bones. These bones can deteriorate because of chronic diseases or degeneration due to aging. This causes arthritis. 

There are two major types of arthritis: 

Treating Arthritis in the Spine

Osteoarthritis in the lumbar spine causes pain that often radiates down through the lower body, including the pelvis, groin, buttocks, and thighs. Treatment usually involves physical therapy or specific exercises designed to strengthen your core (torso). This can include yoga, aquatic therapy, or similar strengthening exercise routines.

Patients with lumbar osteoarthritis may also go on a regimen of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as acetaminophen. If the pain becomes too severe, corticosteroid injections may alleviate the pain. There is also a radiofrequency neurotomy procedure, where radio waves are used to create heat that disrupts the medial nerve’s ability to transmit pain signals. 

Neck pain from osteoarthritis, called cervical spondylosis, is caused by a deterioration of the discs and joint cartilage in the cervical spine or neck bones. It’s most common in older patients, though younger people can develop cervical spondylosis. Some patients have little to no symptoms. Others may have stiffness or pain in the neck or shoulders or between the shoulder blades. 

Treatment for cervical spondylosis can range from NSAIDs pain medications to corticosteroid injections. Patients may also use muscle-relaxing medication.

In severe cases of osteoarthritis, surgery may be needed to repair herniated or degenerated discs or to remove bone spurs from the spine. Recovering can take up to six months and requires physical therapy to return a proper range of motion. 

Get Started With Princeton Orthopaedic Associates

Princeton Orthopaedic Associates has doctors and nursing teams dedicated to treating spinal pain due to arthritis. Our team provides exceptional diagnosis, treatment, and recovery support from your first visit to your last. We know that each patient is unique, which is why we tailor every treatment plan specifically for you and your needs. 

Contact Princeton Orthopaedic Associates to find out how we can help you live without the pain of spinal arthritis.

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