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Anatomy of Spinal Arthritis

The spine is composed of vertebrae and intervertebral discs, with facet joints connecting the vertebrae. These facet joints, like other joints in the body, can become inflamed and arthritic. In spinal arthritis, the cartilage that cushions the facet joints wears down. Over time, this can lead to bone spurs, inflammation and pain.

Causes and Risk Factors

Spinal arthritis is primarily linked to the natural wear and tear of aging. However, other factors can contribute to its development:

  • Genetics: A family history of arthritis can increase risk
  • Previous Injury: Past spinal injuries can lead to arthritis later in life
  • Obesity: Excess weight puts additional stress on the spine

Overuse: Repetitive motions or occupations that stress the spine


Symptoms of spinal arthritis can vary in intensity but often include:

  • Persistent back or neck pain, especially in the morning or after periods of inactivity
  • Stiffness and reduced flexibility in the spine
  • Tenderness over the affected vertebrae
  • Grinding sensation or noise during spine movement
  • Weakness or numbness in the arms or legs if nerves are affected

Diagnostic Process

Diagnosing spinal arthritis at Excel Health begins with a comprehensive physical examination. Our specialists assess pain points, mobility, and nerve function to understand the extent of the condition. This is followed by imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI, or CT scans, which provide detailed views of the joint changes and inflammation characteristic of arthritis.

In some cases, blood tests may also be conducted to rule out other types of arthritis or related conditions. This thorough diagnostic approach ensures an accurate understanding of each patient’s specific situation, guiding the development of an effective treatment plan.

Treatment Options

Conservative Care

Our approach to treating spinal arthritis begins with non-surgical methods:

  • Physical therapy to improve strength, flexibility, and posture
  • Medication to manage pain and reduce inflammation
  • Weight management and lifestyle modifications to alleviate stress on the spine
  • Heat and cold therapy to relieve pain and stiffness

Surgical Treatment

Surgery is considered when conservative treatments have proven ineffective at providing long-term relief. At Excel Health, we utilize advanced, minimally invasive surgical techniques designed to alleviate pain and restore function. These procedures may include decompression techniques to relieve pressure on nerves and spinal fusion to stabilize affected joints.

The decision to proceed with surgery is made only after a thorough evaluation and when it is clear that surgery can significantly improve the patient’s quality of life. Our surgical team is committed to employing the latest technologies and techniques to ensure the best possible outcomes for our patients.

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