Define Arthritis

– Learn About Back Arthritis Causes And Symptoms

By: - Diseases & Conditions - December 19, 2011 Comments Off on Define Arthritis – Learn About Back Arthritis Causes and Symptoms
define arthritis

Arthritis is usually a word used as an umbrella term that is actually describing more than 100 conditions that affect the joints of the body. To define arthritis can be very simple, as you can say it is pain and inflammation of the joints. However, a more detailed attempt to define arthritis could fill up an entire medical textbook.

Arthritis affects millions of people and one of the most common places people get it is in the back. Back arthritis, also known as spinal arthritis, is a type of osteoarthritis.  This means that over time, the cartilage in the joints of your spine has worn away. This can happen due to age, being overweight or having a back injury. Spinal arthritis is most common in those who are over 50 years old.

Symptoms of back arthritis will include pain in the spinal area, pain in the neck that seems to radiate out to the arms and shoulders, pain in the back that seems to push out to the buttocks or legs, numbness or weakness in the legs and arms and loss of bowel or bladder control.

Diagnosis of spinal arthritis is usually done by speaking with a doctor and sharing your medical history. A patient will likely need to get an exam done on their back and may need x-rays or an MRI. Treatment doe spinal arthritis will usually start with physical therapy and have the patient work on strengthening the muscles in the back. Medications commonly recommended for inflammatory conditions, like NSAIDs should also be taken to relieve pain and swelling. If the patient is overweight, weight loss should be a priority and a regular exercise routine should be introduced.

Alternative treatments for spinal arthritis include chiropractic back manipulations and acupuncture. If there is a lot of uncomfortable pressure on the spine or on the nerves, surgery may be recommended. Surgery may also be recommended if you are feeling a lot of radiating pain, numbness, weakness or loss of bladder and bowel control.

There is no cure for spinal arthritis and it is very common. In fact, it is estimated that about 95% of people over 50 years old have at least the start of spinal arthritis. There are methods of prevention when it comes to spinal arthritis like keeping a recommended weight. You should also make sure you are eating a well balanced diet and getting enough vitamins and minerals. You should take supplements of vitamin D and calcium if you are not getting enough in your diet. Adding exercise to your daily routine is also recommended. Giving particular focus to building the muscles in your back and shoulders can help prevent arthritis. You should avoid smoking and stick to minimal alcohol consumption. Both will put you in a higher risk group for arthritis. Finally, women going through menopause may benefit from some type of hormone replacement in order to prevent arthritis.

If you think that you may have arthritis, it is important to see your doctor. Depending on the type of arthritis you have, it can deform your body and spread to other areas. Some forms of arthritis can affect your organ systems as well. Each year about $135 billion is spent on disability for those suffering from arthritis. The sooner you get treatment started, the sooner you can begin slowing the spread of arthritis throughout your body.

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