Diagnosing Osteoarthritis for the Spine

Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative disease, is a condition where the cartilages which protect the joints face wear and tear. This causes swelling and pain.  Osteoarthritis in spine breaks down the cartilages in the disc and joints in the neck and the lower back.  Sometimes Arthritis causes spurs which puts pressure on the nerves leaving the spinal column. This can cause weakness and pain in the arms or legs. In general, older people get osteoarthritis. Young people also get it due to different causes like injury or trauma to the joint or a genetic defect involving the cartilage.

The way to diagnose this issue is through X-rays. The doctor would additionally need to know the medical history of the patient, to see if they have pain, tenderness or motion related issues in the neck or lower back or any involvement of nerves such as weakness, reflex changes or loss of sensation. Doctor may order certain tests like X-rays, blood tests and MRI scan.

Treatment Methods

Initially, conservative treatment methods like weight loss and mild exercises for losing weight. Lifestyle/Weight Management is utmost necessary as obesity can make osteoarthritis even more worse. Exercising can not only help in losing weight but also in increasing flexibility, improving mood and attitude, improving the blood flow, strengthen the heart and also make your daily tasks easier to perform.

Other than exercises like swimming, walking and water aerobics, the Physiotherapy and Exercise session may include exercises like strengthening exercises, which makes the muscles that supports the joints stronger, aerobic exercises to make the heart and circulatory system stronger and range of motion exercises to increase the flexibility of the body.

Pain Relief Medications can also be used to treat Osteoarthritis. Over-the-counter products include acetaminophen. Non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs include aspirin, ibuprofen etc. But these medications may have some side effects.

Facet Joint Injections are taken if the pain remains unmanageable after trying all the possible methods to treat Spinal osteoarthritis. Facet Joint Injection is used as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool, which can be very effective. These injections just take around 20 to 30 minutes. These injections are limited to three, within a six month timeframe.

Dr Jwalant S Mehta is a consultant spinal surgeon who has specialized in treating spinal conditions and deformities. He has completed spinal fellowships in Bristol and Columbia, Missouri and USA. He has been a full time spinal surgeon since 2009. He is actively involved in teaching and research as well. His practice mainly focuses on rectifying children and adult spinal issues and deformities. Even then, he treats all spinal conditions and spine related deformalities.

Dr Mehta is experienced in treating many spinal conditions and deformities like Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis, Adult Spinal Deformity, Neuromuscular Scoliosis, Early onset scoliosis, Spondylolisthesis, congenital scoliosis and Scoli Zone.

You can approach Dr Mehta for spine related queries, treatments and consultations. Please contact the clinic for new appointments, reviewing the appointments and for any change in date and time.