Arthritis In Your Back
Arthritis In Your Back
Arthritis in your back is not a common diagnosis that you hear to explain recurring back pain, but this does not mean it is not the problem. In fact, given that the anatomy of the human back consists of multiple joints in the vertebrae that can wear and tear over time, it is actually not surprising that arthritis can occur in this part of the body. As such, understanding arthritis that affects the spine and learning to spot it early is important so that the appropriate treatment options can be adopted to manage the condition.
Here is a short list of things to watch for when determining whether or not the pain that you feel is indeed due to arthritis in your back.
•Arthritis is often characterized by pain that comes and goes and worsens over time. This is consistent with the nature of arthritis which happens when the interface between bones in the joint wears out. Conversely, if the back pain is caused by some other problem other than arthritis, the pain will often be more painful at first and then gradually subside over time as the back is healed. This is not the case with arthritis in your back where the worn out interface between joints only worsens and the pain progresses over time.
•Arthritis in your back is also often characterized by stiffness. This is similar to the feeling that you get in the morning when you feel limited and achy. When the lining between the bones wear out, the joints get inflamed. That inflammation restricts your movement resulting in pain and stiffness that is not often seen in other causes of back pain.
•Just because you have arthritis in your back does not mean the symptoms will be restricted to back pain. In fact, many times the pain also extends into the neck area and affects the shoulders and even the head. This happens because the poor performance of the stiff spine is being compensated by the muscles in the neck, back, and shoulders. This compensating action in turn leads to additional tension which then manifests as pain in the neck and shoulders. In the case of other back pain causes, the neck muscles are often not involved because these muscles are not involved in compensating for the limited range of motion.
•Pain and numbness. This is the symptom which can be often be confused with other causes of back pain such as a herniated disc, so it is important to take all the symptoms in context rather than individually. Still, arthritis in your back can lead to numbness in the arms or weakness in the legs as the inflammation and limited range of motion presses on the nerves.
If you feel any combination of these symptoms and suspect that you have arthritis in your back, arrange for an appointment to see your doctor immediately. There are several diagnostic tools that can be used to confirm the condition and subsequent medication can be prescribed to ease the symptoms. It is also crucial to remember that earlier detection leads to a higher likelihood of effective treatment, so do not wait for extended periods before reporting these symptoms to your doctor.