Osteoarthritis is a spine degenerative disease that often affects people over 50, but can develop in younger people. The process of spine degeneration occurs because of wear and tear of the spine joints. Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of lower back pain that can lead to disability and decrease the quality of your life. There is no cure for this condition, but treatment can help you slow down the progression and relieve the symptoms.
Below are 7 most popular treatment options for spinal osteoarthritis that really work.
Injections aren’t the first-line treatment. The doctors usually prescribe them when other non-invasive treatment options cannot reduce osteoarthritis symptoms. The doctor usually injects through the capsule that surrounds the two facets, into the joint itself. The two main types of injections include cortisone and regenerative medicine injections.
Cortisone injections help relieve inflammation, swelling, pain, and stiffness in the joints. Regenerative medicine injections like platelet-rich plasma and stem cell injections relieve pain and stimulate healing processes in the affected joint.
2. Physical therapy
Physical therapy is an important part of nearly every treatment plan for spine osteoarthritis. Physical therapy usually includes exercises for back stretching and strengthening. This is crucial for osteoarthritis treatment. Strong and flexible back muscles support the bones and joints. This helps to ease pressure on them, preventing further spine degeneration.
The physical therapist can create a special set of exercises to help your unique condition. The exercise program is usually designed to improve muscle strength, increase the range of motions, and improve overall well being.
3. Radiofrequency ablation
Radiofrequency ablation can help relieve pain in people suffering from osteoarthritis. This therapy works by interrupting the pain signals to your brain. Unlike similar procedures, radiofrequency ablation doesn’t affect other functions like normal sensation and muscle strength. The injection causes heat damage to the pain-transmitting nerve near the affected joint. This prevents the nerve from sending a pain signal to your brain.
While surgery is effective, it isn’t the first choice of treatment for patients with osteoarthritis. This type of treatment can be recommended if osteoarthritis is accompanied by other conditions like spinal stenosis or degenerative disc disease. Depending on your unique situation, the doctor can suggest spinal implants to improve spine stability or decompression surgery to provide more space for spinal cord or nerve roots. It is important to find an experienced spine surgeon to avoid complications and ensure the success of the operation.
Depending on your lifestyle, the levels of pain, and medical history, the doctor can prescribe you certain medications to relieve symptoms. During an appointment, it is important to tell your doctor about any medications and supplements you take. This can help the doctor make a treatment plan that doesn’t interfere with current medications.
The common osteoarthritis medications include acetaminophen, anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, and topical medications. These medications work together to relieve pain, inflammation, swelling, and muscle spasms. The doctors rarely prescribe opioid medications for osteoarthritis pain treatment.
6. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a type of non-invasive therapy. This treatment method uses mild electrical impulses to lower the sensitivity of nerves in your spine. This procedure is almost painful. During the therapy, you can feel a gentle vibration on the procedure site. Not all patients experience pain relief from TENS, but this is a good non-medication and non-invasive option to try for spine osteoarthritis treatment.
Supplements are an important part of osteoarthritis treatment. The doctors usually recommend opting for turmeric, ginger, omega-3, and vitamin D supplements. While more studies are needed to confirm the effect of these supplements, this can be a great addition to the main treatment recommendations. Before taking any supplements, you need to discuss it with your doctor to avoid drug interactions and other complications.