My father’s back pain is an old topic in our home. It’s been normal for us to hear his moans while walking and even sleeping. But on the last vacation that my father had planned, we went to one of the villages around the city, and this time the everlasting pain frustrated us. On the first day of the trip, after leaving the house for a walk around the village, after less than fifty yards, my father’s back pain began and, unfortunately, he could only accompany us halfway.
This time, even after the holidays, his back pain was worrying me, and immediately, I booked an appointment with a specialist. But before visiting the doctor, as usual, I went to my laptop and searched carefully for this pain. I was worried most about whether it has a cure or not. I think our relatives or me and you have more or less experienced this type of pain. Thus, join me so that I share with you the doctor’s comments and my own findings.
What Is Spinal Arthritis? (Also known as Back Osteoarthritis)
Yes, you are right! All the signs and symptoms that my father had led me to a disease called “Back or Spinal Arthritis.” By facing the name, my worries were doubled, but I didn’t disappoint and continued to search. The most important question was that what damages the back and bones have suffered, which has made my father feel such a pain. In fact, the part that we call it waist and where my father feels the pain and makes it difficult for him to move is the spine.
Actually, spinal osteoarthritis affects the bones and vertebrae of that part. Bones, joints, vertebras as well as discs in the spine are subject to changes for various reasons, which make the spine less effective, and any movement puts pressure on this part and you feel pain. Clearly, the main cause of the smooth and painless movement of the spine in healthy people is a tissue called cartilage. In fact, cartilage makes the movement of the bones easy. If this tissue disappears, the movement of the bones will definitely make you feel pain. We call this pain arthritis.
Arthritis in the Spine and Its Symptoms
Back arthritis causes pain in the back. Naturally, if you feel pain in this part while walking and moving, it’s advisable to think over your backbone. However, people with spinal arthritis have other symptoms, apart from the pain in the back, including:
Increased pain at lower back due to walking: as you start walking, if you feel pain in your back, this is not a good sign for your spine. The pain of arthritis is exactly between the bones and after a short rest, you can continue to walk, but you still need to stop sometimes.
Sudden Pains: Have you ever experienced back pain after sneezing? When serious damage occurs for the spine, it begins to ache even with a small movement like sneezing. In fact, in this situation, the person feels pain in the waist after any kind of physical activity, such as lifting an object or sneezing.
Bending the waist: I had seen many times when my father bent forward to relieve the pain of his waist and walked bent down. This can relieve the pain. In fact, my father, by bending himself down, created a distance between the lower bones that make it easier for his spine bones to move. Before the arthritis, cartilage helped the spine move, but now with the damage and loss of the tissue, it is necessary to create a gap between the bones so that they don’t rub against each other.
Feet tingling: The fact is that there is a direct connection from spine to the leg. In some cases, people also experience pain in the thigh and feet, in addition to pain in their waists while moving. Of course, this pain is not as painful as the pain in the spine, and it is just as much as the pain of tingling.
Back spasm: Maybe the most painful part of the day for my father was in the morning and right after waking up. If you also have the same pain, you’ll probably face a spasmodic waist. In fact, spinal arthritis causes the joint and bones to be damaged and the tissue inside and outside the bone be dried, which reduces the flexibility of the bones. Drying is a natural reaction of the body that tries to feel less pain.
Why Do We Get Back Arthritis?
After I realized that my father was very likely to develop spinal arthritis, the first question I asked was why my father? I asked the same question from a specialist who answered me as follows: “naturally, as age increases, the organs of the body become old and have no longer their previous efficacy. Spine and waist aren’t exceptions”. But I think it’s not the only reason.
Weight gain is actually one of the other reasons that puts the bones of the spine under pressure. As the weight increases, the spine must withstand more and more weight, and it causes pressure on the bones and vertebrae and slowly destroys the cartilage between the bones. Along with these, consider the lack of exercise, doing heavy activities, avoiding the treatment of rheumatic diseases that damage the spine. What a disaster could happen!!!
Is It Easy as ABC to Diagnose Spinal Arthritis?
If you feel pain in your back while walking or feel numb after waking up, these are not good signs for the backbone. These pains warn you to be more careful. In fact, pain is a good sign that you can come to your senses very quickly and try to do something to stop it.
When you experience back pain and the pain constantly bothers you, refer to a specialist. Firstly, the doctor listens to you and your explained symptoms and, after examination, writes the imaging instruction for the radiology department. However, in some cases, it is necessary to apply an MRI or CT scan for a more accurate diagnosis and determining the severity of the disease. Anyway, the diagnosis is out of our control and it is the specialist who can diagnose correctly and tell you about its progression.
Get Familiar with Spinal Osteoarthritis Treatment Methods
Honestly speaking, my concern was right and my father had developed spinal arthritis, and now it was a duty for all of us to do our best to make up for the damage and reduce the back pain as much as possible. There are obviously several ways to prevent damage to the spine, some of which are for reducing pain and preventing progression of the disease, and some other for the treatment of spinal arthritis. Methods of treatment for arthritis are generally two types: non-surgical and surgical treatment methods. Treatment methods for spinal arthritis without surgery are:
If you are still at the first place and the disease has not progressed that much, the best way to control it is to change your lifestyle. Healthy diet, exercise, and weight loss will definitely make your spine feel less pressure.
One of the best and cheapest ways to treat the spinal arthritis is doing exercise. Exercise, in addition to weight loss, makes bones more flexible. Make sure that you put on your schedule exercises, such as water aerobics, swimming and walking, Of course, if you want to soothe your back pain, it’s best to exercise under the supervision of a sports expert. Basically, a rest period is required in the treatment of arthritis.
Cold or warm compress:
I learned from the doctor that a cold or warm compressor reduces the patient’s pain, but the doctor constantly reminded how to use and choose a specialist must do a cold or warm compress. Therefore, i recommend that you consult your doctor before using a cold or warm compress.
After the doctor diagnosed that my father had spinal arthritis, he soon prescribed a series of medications. As a matter of fact, the type of medication and the amount of drug use will entirely depend on the severity of your disease the doctor diagnose. However, the medications the doctor prescribes at this stage are tranquilizers that vary according to the severity of the disease. In some cases, ointments are also suitable, but only for the purpose of reducing pain and not a definitive treatment.
Spine or Waist Massage:
Firstly, it is better that a physiatrist do the massage. In fact, by spine massaging, he intends to remove muscle cramps and consequently the bones can move more easily. Massage increases blood circulation in the body and increased blood circulation obviously reduces stress and muscle cramps.
Definitely, physiotherapy along with use of medication is a good way to treat spinal arthritis. In fact, physiotherapy, in addition to reducing pain, increases body movements, fitness and strength. You can have physiotherapy alongside other therapies and under the supervision of an expert. The physiotherapist uses a therapeutic approach and teaches you what is specifically designed for you. In this method, they design some exercises particularly to increase the movement of the bones and joints of the spine, strengthen the muscles of the area, and enhance the stamina, as well.
Surgical Methods for Spinal Arthritis Treatment
When spinal arthritis progresses, the bones in the lower back are seriously damaged, which sometimes due to excessive pressure causes disc protrusion. At this stage of the disease, the doctor simply prescribes injection to alleviate the pain and prevent the progression of the disease. In simple words, the injection is performed between the spine and the nerves behind the spine. The main nerves pass through this area and go to other parts of the body, such as the legs. When the injection is performed in this area, a tranquilizer called ‘strong steroid’ directly enters the nerve where the pain is. Usually, it takes two to three days to have an effect on the nerve.
Luckily, few patients need surgery for the treatment of their back arthritis. The doctors usually use all non-surgical treatments and combinations of two or three methods to relieve pain. In most cases, non-surgical methods respond well and surgery is rarely required. However, spinal surgery is sometimes the last resort to cure this arthritis. In addition, one of the commonly used surgical procedures is spinal fusion. In fact, bone marrow is located between the two vertebrae and is firmly fixed by the pin and plaque. Vertebrae development and bone grafting will, indeed, take about three to six months after surgery. Keep in mind, however, that this does not make your spine turn into that of a 20 years old youth and you should be careful about it after the surgery.
I sincerely hope you will never have to choose these methods for treatment. As I said, spinal arthritis is a damage to the bones and vertebrae of the spine and is due to the pressure put on that area. I suggest you to think about prevention before you have to choose a therapeutic way for back arthritis and never think that spine arthritis is exclusively for the elderly. The pain of arthritis occurs when you constantly overlook it and serious damage has affected the spine. So think a bit; have you ever had back pain? Have you ever experienced the symptoms that my father had? I hope the answer is no, but if the answer is yes, go to a specialist without any worries and stop any damage before it deteriorates.